July 31, 2011

Case Closed? A Re-Evaluation of the Echo Flight Incident


RU member and former SAC Missile Crew Commander Tim Hebert has now posted an intriguing summary of his findings and conclusions on his blog Did It Really Happen? regarding his lengthy investigation into the now famous March 1967 Malmstrom AFB Missile/UFO Incident.

As followers of this blog know, the heated debate in this case between Robert Hastings and James Carlson, son of Eric Carlson, one of the two launch officers present at Echo Flight, reached a fever pitch last year running up to Hastings’ scheduled press conference at the NPC in Washington, DC in March of 2010 with Robert Salas and a number of other alleged “witnesses”.  Salas claims another missile shutdown occurred a week later at Oscar Flight and it was caused by UFOs, however, unlike the Echo Flight incident on March 16th, no documentation or witnesses exist to support a shutdown occurred on March 24th, let alone that UFOs were involved in either case.

In an effort to get to the bottom of all this and make sure everybody had all sides of the story, RU’s Ryan Dube took it upon himself to dig through all of the claims and counter claims and this resulted in a number of articles published right here at Reality Uncovered (shown below).

He interviewed, – for the first time anywhere – one of the two key “witnesses” in this case, James’ father Eric Carlson and also helped to facilitate the dissemination of James’ correspondence with the other key witness, Walter Figel.

With all of this information to hand, it was now much easier for everyone to make their own minds up about the case and not have to rely on dubious sources or rumour:

(in reverse chronological order)

The James Carlson Malmstrom Problem

The Echo Flight UFO Debate Continues

An Interview With Malmstrom AFB Witness Eric Carlson

Malmstrom AFB Missile/UFO Incident – Part III

The Malmstrom AFB Missile/UFO Incident – Part II

The Malmstrom AFB Missile/UFO Incident, March 1967

Tim’s previous articles posted at his blog have also been discussed here:

Did UFOs Disable Minuteman Missiles at Malmstrom AFB in 1967?

The Makings of a UFO Myth

Tim begins his summary with the following introduction:

First, let me start off by saying that the Malmstrom AFB Echo Flight case is a great UFO story.  It’s the perfect storm for UFO buffs in that there are reports, documents, and “witnesses.”  Its listed in the top ten of UFO cases. People have been interviewed to the extent that every surviving individuals cerebral memory capacity has been extracted, evaluated, discarded and re-extracted for what ever purpose in the attempt to prove or disprove individual pet theories. In short, it’s a ufologists dream come true…or is it.

He then goes on to explain why he feels this case is nothing more than an “illusion” and what factors he used to base his “case closed” conclusion on.

Walter Figel’s Story

Tim notes the following regarding Hastings’ latest “witness” that has become the focus of much debate and a source of a great confusion for many of us trying to get to the bottom of all this:

Walter Figel’s accounting of events on 16 March 1967 remain the only seemingly solid foundation for the UFO story and has remained so up to this current time.  But, is it a consistent story?  Based on the two interviews, one given to Robert Salas in 1996 and the second given to Robert Hastings in 2008, there are numerous inconsistencies when the two interviews are compared for content.

Go to Tim’s blog to read his very comprehensive analysis of these interviews and a number of other factors.

Hebert’s Email to Walter Figel

The above discussion cumulates with the following email sent to Walt Figel requesting clarification…

Col. Figel, my name is Tim Hebert.  I, like you, am a former Minuteman crew member.  I was assigned to Malmstrom AFB, 490th SMS, from 1981-1985, with a follow-on assignment to Grand Forks AFB, Wing Codes Division, from 1985 to 1988.  I’m writing you in regards to the Echo Flight case which occurred back in 1967, as I have been following the history of the case and on-going points of contention between Robert Hastings and James Carlson.  I was wondering if you would indulge a fellow Minuteman crew dog by my asking your opinion of the case.  I am aware that the Echo Flight incident occurred some 40 years ago and that you have been asked numerous times for your recollections of that event, yet will spare me some of your time.

I have read extensively both of your interviews given to Robert Salas in 1996 and Robert Hastings in 2008.  In both of the interviews you mention the actions of maintenance and security teams in the Echo flight area on 16 March 1967.  Both interviews are somewhat remarkably different as to who initially reported to you the sighting of the UFO over one of Echo’s LFs.  After reviewing the contents of the declassified 341st SMW Unit History, I was struck by the total lack of any mentioning of any wing agency debriefing either a maintenance team or security response team.  Yet, the Unit History goes into detail mentioning you and Eric Carlson as being debriefed by a wing maintenance evaluation team, OOMA, and Boeing.  This would lead me to conclude that there is a high probability that no maintenance teams were located on any of Echo’s LFs on 16 Mar 1967.  This would also explain why no names have ever surfaced as eye witnesses to any actual UFO sighting.  Knowing that this incident occurred some 40 years ago, is it possible that there were no maintenance activity on any of your LFs?

When Hastings and Salas gave their press conference in Washington D.C. back on 27 Sept. 2010, I noticed that you were not in attendance.  This struck me as odd as for the past few years Mr. Hastings has used your interviews as the foundation to proffer his UFO theory.  Did Mr. Hastings ever ask you to sign an affidavit similar to the other participants of that conference?  If Hastings did ask and you declined, why so?

And lastly, did Mr. Hastings offer to pay you for your interview?  Please forgive my directness, but if this was so, then this would explain Mr. Hastings on and off attitude towards you as he has recently stated in numerous articles that you were “timid” and “waffling” as far as his (Hastings) perceived weakening support for his UFO theory.

Your thoughts in these matters would be greatly appreciated.  Quite honestly this would go along way towards the clearing up of a lot of confusion concerning this case.  Personally, I’m not a big fan of Robert Hastings (he is not a fan of mine) as he tends to paint those of us that served honorably in SAC and on the crew force as pawns or dupes of the government.  It appears that he may attempt to do the same regarding the recent events at FE Warren.  Our command and government were not perfect by any means, but we all, including our leadership, attempted to do the best that was possible in the defense of the country.

Sincerely,

Tim Hebert

As of this writing, Walter Figel has not responded.

Conclusion

Tim begins the conclusion section of his article with these important points:

I believe that I have shown that there is now enough evidence to strongly support that UFO/s could not have caused Echo’s ICBMs to shut down.  The following strongly supports my conclusion:

1.  High probability that no maintenance teams were out on any of Echo’s sites during shutdowns.
2.  No maintenance or security teams mentioned in the Unit History.
3.  After 44 years, none of the supposed eye witnesses have ever been identified, nor have these people ever came forward, concluding that they may never have existed in the first place.
4.  Walter Figel’s inconsistency from both Hastings and Salas’ interviews.
5.  Walter Figel’s perceived reluctance to publicly support Hastings’ UFO theory, as evidence by, his absence from the D.C press conference, lack of an affidavit affirming his statements.
6.  Eric Carlson’s strong denial of receiving any UFO reports from security personnel.
7.  No intercept missions flown by the Montana National Guard against any unknown radar contacts.
8.  Minuteman LF design of connectivity isolation precludes any one event (UFO included) from affecting the remaining ICBMs in a given flight.
9.  Echo was a flight specific event with no other adjoining flight effected
10.  The only plausible UFO scenario would have been a UFO over/near Echo’s LCF/LCC.  This never occurred and no reports or rumors ever comes close to supporting this scenario.
11.  The Boeing ECP and final installation of EMP suppression fixes resulting in no Echo-like situation from ever happening again for all SAC missile wings (Minuteman and Titan).

Case Closed?

At this point I think the ball is now firmly placed in Figel’s court to come forward and respond to these questions in public as he sees fit… or not.

Please go to Tim’s blog to read his entire article and let him know what you think…

http://timhebert.blogspot.com/2011/07/case-closed-re-evaluation-of-echo.html

Also, feel free to discuss this in our ongoing thread (link is to a recent relevant post of mine) in the Reality Uncovered Forums or leave a comment below.



Filed under: UFOlogy,Ufology History,UFOs — Tags: , , , , — Access Denied @ 5:51 pm






Reality Uncovered Social Networking
Visit us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Reality Uncovered on You Tube




RU Custom Search

Help support the continued growth of Reality Uncovered