September 12, 2010

An Interview With Malmstrom AFB Witness Eric Carlson


For those of you following along with this story (or for those of you who are just coming along now), I have the pleasure to introduce you to one of the men who has been at the epicenter of a storm within the Ufology community.

It has been a longstanding legend within Ufology that a UFO was sighted over the Silos at Echo Flight and Oscar flight, and that those UFOs were related to the electronic malfunction and shutdown of the nuclear missiles protecting the United States of America from the Communist threat.

The major source of these stories has been a man who alleges that he was a witness to at least Oscar flight, and that he has insight knowledge about events at Echo flight.

You can read many of his claims at the CUFON website, or you can check out the book published by Robert Salas called Faded Giant, with James Klotz listed as contributor. Robert Salas and Robert Hastings are actively promoting this book, and speaking at an upcoming National Press Conference in Washington DC on September 27th.

The Interview with Retired AF Captain Eric Carlson

After we were contacted by James Carlson, and provided with information from his research and interviews, we carefully reviewed the claims by Salas and Hastings, and eventually decided two things. There were two primary witnesses to the Echo Flight event – Walt Figel and Eric Carlson. These two men were in E-Flight LCC, watched the systems fail, and responded in the manner they were trained to respond. No one out there – no one- would know better than these two men what really happened in the control room on that day.

Walt Figel provided his feedback to James, which we’ve published previously on this blog. He does not want to be a part of the debate, and wishes to be left alone after providing his final statement, so we will respect that. However, Captain Eric Carlson remains an excellent witness, and told his son that he would be willing to talk to anyone who is truly interested in the truth.

So – I contacted the retired Captain and he agreed to the interview. It is provided below. I have only edited grammatical or spelling errors, but left his responses exactly how he provided them to me. Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Echo Flight witness Eric Carlson.

Question and Answer

Ryan: According to the stories, on Thursday Morning, March 16, 1967, you (Captain Eric Carlson) and First Lieutenant Walt Figel were serving as the Echo-Flight Missile Crew in the E-Flight LCC. According to Salas, “more than one report came in from the security patrols and maintenance crews that they had seen UFOs.”

According to Salas, a UFO was even sighted directly above one of the E-Flight silos. At an estimated 08:30, Salas claims that an alarm sounded reporting to you and Figel that one of the Minuteman missiles you were responsible for had become inoperable.

First – lets touch on this claim. Could you describe what you remember about this specific part of the story? Was there such an alarm at all and was it unusual?

Eric: There were no reports called in to either me or Lt Figel on the morning of March 16, 1967.  The report that we had lost ten missiles is accurate.  It was not uncommon to lose one missile or even two to no-go status, it was unheard of to lose all ten.

I recall that both Lt Figel and I were Kept rather busy completing our checklists, which included calls to the wing command post and maintenance control.  Shortly after completing the check lists we received a call from the senior controller at SAC headquarters, a general.   He wanted to know my status and I informed him that E-2 thru E-11 were in no-go status.  He asked me if I was sure and how did I know they would not launch.

I advised him that my tech order indicated they would not launch.  I am sure he was concerned because our targets would have to be covered by someone else.  He then asked it E-1 would launch and I advised him that that was the launch control center where we were.  I recall wanting to tell him that I sure as hell hoped it wouldn’t.

The Alleged UFO Sighting and System Failure

Ryan: The stories claim that when Figel called the security guard on the surface, the guard reported that no maintenance had taken place and that a UFO had been hovering over the silo. Do you recall Figel making this phonecall, and did he tell you that anyone on the other end of the line mentioned anything about a UFO?

Eric: There was no call, at any time, telling us about any UFOs.

Ryan: Reportedly, the entire flight of ICBMs went into “no-go” status – and once you and Figel completed the checklist procedure you learned that all systems were offline due to a guidance and control systems malfunction. Could you elaborate on the accuracy of that claim?

Eric: The voice reporting system did report a guidance and control system malfunction.

Ryan: Did either you or Figel (or anyone else) eventually determine what caused the system malfunction? Or was there any speculation? In other words, did you eventually receive any follow-up information about what the engineers learned about the malfunction?

Eric: I don’t know if anyone eventually determined the cause.  I have not read the report of investigation.  There was no way for either Figel or myself to make that determination and there was no follow-up from engineers.  Any report they made would have been classified and I had no need to know.

The After-Effects of the Experience

Ryan: According to the story, when Captain Don Crawford’s crew relieved you and Walt, you were “still visibly shaken by what had occurred.” Do you recall having such an emotional reaction to the event, and if so, why?

Eric: I do not recall being “shaken” by what had occurred.  I do not believe Lt Figel nor I had any emotional reaction other than perhaps surprise.

Ryan: Do you have an insight or experiences to report related to the reported Oscar Flight incident where allegedly another UFO was sighted which reportedly sent the missiles into “no-go” status?

Eric: The event at Echo became what could be referred to as the talk of the town.  Everyone knew about it and many crew members kidded me about it.  There was never any talk, at any time, about a similar event at Oscar.  I can only conclude from that that it never happened.

Ryan: Why would crew members kid you about a malfunction – was it because it was rare for all of the silos to go down at once? During the jokes and discussions with other crew members, did anyone mention anything about a UFO being sighted above the silo when the malfunction occurred?

Eric: The crew members of the 10th SMS were a tight group.  We were the first minuteman squadron activated and did a lot together.  When soomeone in the squadron had difficulties, that were not related to their skills or qualifications, kidding took place.  At no time were UFOs mentioned to me.

The Follow-Up Air Force Investigation

Ryan: CUFOS reports that subsequent investigations by Boeing engineers turned up no explanation for what could have caused the shutdown, and some speculated that only a high energy electromagnetic pulse (EMP) could have entered the shielded system to cause the failure. Were you aware of any of the subsequent investigations after the shutdown of Echo and/or Oscar, and are able to shed more light on what was actually determined?

Eric: I have no information that sheds light on the incident other than the official investigation or the Echo incident.  To the best of my knowledge there was no report or investigation of any Oscar incident.

Ryan: Had you ever had any conversations with the security guards or staff who allegedly saw the UFO hovering over the silo? What, if anything, did you learn from those conversations about the alleged sighting(s)?

Eric: I have never had any discussion with security personnel regarding UFOs.

Ryan: Do you know if Walter did? According to the stories, he was the one that answered the phone. Of course, you were right there, so I’m sure you would have known if someone told him a UFO had been sighted?

Eric: I am sure that if Figel had any discussions with security personnel about UFOs that he would have mentioned it to me.

Ryan: According to many former USAF personnel, the USAF allegedly frowned upon the reporting or even internal acknowledgement of such UFO events and/or sightings. Is this how you felt while you were serving in the USAF?

Eric: I never felt constrained in any way regarding reporting any unusual activities around missile sites.  In fact, I believe we were encouraged to report unusual incidents or events.

Ryan: Finally – I would like to give you an opportunity to share whether you were ever contacted or interviewed by Hastings, Salas or any other Ufologists before, and your perspective on the stories that they’ve put out there about the events that occurred at Echo Flight and Oscar Flight.

Eric: I was contacted by both Salas and Hastings and would neither confirm or deny anything they told me.  I really didn’t want to get involved in a pissing contest with either.  Hastings told me he had written a book and I told him that sounded interesting.  He sent me a copy and while I cannot attest or comment on anything other than the Malmstrom incident I found that particular incident full of errors.  A producer for some UFO TV series contacted me one time and a reporter from the Great Fall newspaper also contacted me one time.  There were no follow-ups from either.

Ryan: This is interesting! Hastings only called to talk to you after he’d written the book? Or was he calling you while he was writing his book in order to confirm information he’d learned from Salas?

Eric: Hastings called after he had written the book.  I don’t know what his motive was.

Final Words

We’ve learned recently that Robert Salas was recently interviewed on Coast to Coast, and repeated many of the claims that these two witnesses report are not true. James Carlson has been working diligently and honestly to uncover and report the truth about the Echo Flight incident that his father was a primary witness to. We can only hope that in the spirit of truth and unbiased reporting, that Coast to Coast will consider interviewing James and his father Eric Carlson, for a glimpse of the real story.

I would also recommend to our readers, that if you do decide to purchase and read Faded Giant, that you take what Salas has reported with a grain of salt, because unfortunately the real witnesses at Echo Flight do not support his claims.









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