Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

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Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby Tim Hebert » Thu May 27, 2010 7:40 pm

As stated in my posting on the MAFB UFO thread, I'm in the process of formulating a rebuttal to Robert Hastings and Robert Salas claims that UFOs disabled Minuteman ICBMs at Malmstrom AFB, MT from 16 March to 24 March 1967. Both Hastings and Salas have over the past few years interviewed past Air Force personnel assigned to Malmstrom during the 1967 events. Based upon Hastings' interviews and Salas' personal experience, both have advanced a position that UFOs disabled numerous ICBMs and that the Strategic Air Command (SAC), the Air Force and the Department of Defense were involved in a massive cover-up. As I advance my own hypothesis, we shall see if Hastings' and Salas' position "holds water."

The forum members must keep into account that the events occured some 43 years ago. The Minuteman ICBM system was in a constant state of evolution that involved both the missile and the corresponding Command and Control structure. Also, the environment (geopolitical and Cold War) that SAC operated in must be taken into account. To an outsider, SAC presented as a "paranoid" institution. But this was normal standard operating procedures based upon SAC's then mission.

My next posting will be a brief synopsis of the Echo Flight event, 16 March 1967.
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby Access Denied » Fri May 28, 2010 7:53 am

Tim Hebert wrote:My next posting will be a brief synopsis of the Echo Flight event, 16 March 1967.

Looking forward to it. I would like to encourage our membership to give you any constructive feedback they may have in order to help you refine your hypothesis in preparation for your plan to publish a concise rebuttal.

[Note to participants: This thread will be strictly moderated in accordance with our board rules]

In the meantime, I hope you don’t mind but I had a few comments I wanted to make in reference to your last post in the previous thread…

Tim Hebert wrote:SAC eventually would implement a force-wide fix by installing EMP filters in the Launch Facilities and Launch Control Centers.

Hah! Imagine that, the Zeta Reticulan’s (pre-invasion?) plan to “encourage” nuclear disarmament (albeit unilaterally?) by demonstrating their ability to disable our arsenal at will thwarted by a handful of basic electronic components…

Tim Hebert wrote:I believe that the key to approach the incident is to look at all of the Montana UFO incidents that were reported starting in Jan 1967 and ending in March 1967. […] All of the nighttime sightings happened around 9 PM.

Interesting, that would seem to suggest these sightings may have been related to some type of regularly scheduled activity. I assume that also means an astronomical source can safely be ruled out?

[no need to answer now if you already planned to address this at some point]

Tim Hebert wrote:So, basically, what occured near Winifred, MT (Echo Flight, 10th SMS) March 16, 1967 may have been the combination of an electro-mechanical quirk and "old" fashioned psychology.

As one who has spent a lifetime chasing down electrical gremlins of one sort or another, I have to say “must have been a UFO” is often as good an explanation as any…
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby Tim Hebert » Fri May 28, 2010 9:28 am

On the morning of March 16, 1967, Capt Eric Carlson and Lt Walter Figel were finishing up their alert cycle at the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron's Echo-01 Launch Control Center located near Winifred, MT. At approximately 0845, an alarm sounded indicating a missile fault. One of Echo's Launch Facilities (LF) had dropped from "Strategic Alert" to off alert. The crew, following tech order procedures initiated a Voice Reporting Signal Assembly (VRSA) channel check that revealed a reporting channel 9, LF No-Go, effecting the Minuteman I's guidance and control system. In rapid succession, the rest of Echo's remaining 9 sorties drop off alert status. All with the same VRSA channel 9 LF No-Go report.

Fast forward three decades. UFO researcher, Robert Hastings, tells an interesting tale of UFOs and subsequent Air Force cover-up involving the Echo Flight shutdown. In an article on the ufochronicles.com web site, "Did UFOs Cause the Shutdown of ICBMs at Malmstrom AFB in March 1967?" dated 12-26-2008, Hastings provides the contents of a telephone interview with Col Walter Figel (USAF Ret).

Figel basically tells Hastings that during the morning of 16 March 1967 all ten missile did drop off alert with VRSA ch 9 No-Go reports. At least two of the LFs had maintenance teams on site. Two LFs were on diesel generators as backup power sources. When asked what was causing the faults, the maintenance team member stated, "Must be a UFO hovering over the site." Figel thought that the individual was joking. A subsequent call from a security guard stated that he could see an object over the LF. Figel thought that the man seemed serious but not panicked.

Figel recalls being relieved by the new on-coming crew and returning to base where he and Carlson were questioned by squadron personnel. When asked if Carlson heard all of the radio communications from the maintenance and security teams, Figel said that Carlson heard everything as he was sitting no more than two feet away.

When asked if Carlson had said anything to Hastings in a 10-6-08 interview, Hastings stated that Carlson seemed reluctant to talk about it. Carlson did not recall any UFO involvment nor did he recall ever talking to Figel about UFOs causing the shutdown incident. Thus ended the interview.

In another on-line article on the cufon.org site, Robert Salas and Jim Klotz, "The Malmstrom AFB UFO/Missile Incident" originally dated 27 Nov 1996, updated 15 May 2000, provides a brief accounting of the Echo Flight incident basically identicle to the Hastings/Figel account. The thrust of the article promotes Salas experience at Oscar Flight on 24 March 1967. Salas states that on alert as a Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander at the 490th SMS Oscar Flight (near Roy, MT), security personnel top-side reported that they saw two star-like objects zig-zagging around in the night sky. Moments later, Oscar's Flight Security Controller (FSC) reported a UFO hovering outside of the facility's gate. The object was glowing red. Salas states that he then reported the information to the command post. (Kilo-01, the sqaudrons command post or the Wing Command Post back at the base?) The FSC calls back Salas that one man has been injured and is in the process of being evacuated by helicopter back to the base. At this point Salas awakens his crew commander, Fred Meiwald, and briefs him on the events. About this time, alarms sound and 6 to 8 LFs drop off of alert all registering No-Go indications.

What is interesting about the Salas and Klotz article is that Salas thought that he was on alert at November-01 LCC during the night of 24 March 1967, hence the update to the original article.

So, as can be seen, Hastings, Salas and Klotz present "valid" testimony that UFOs caused, not just Echo Flight to shutdown, but 6 to 8 missile shut downs in Oscar Flight. Since the Echo Flight incident is referenced to in declassified Air Force documents with no mentioning of the November Flight incident. Hastings, Salas and Klotz have declared that SAC and the Air Force intentionally covered-up the fact that UFOs disabled numerous ICBMs.

As I will show in my next posting, the very same declassified documents that "supports" a cover-up actually points to a different, yet rational causation of the incidents of those two dates. I will also show that Hastings and Salas may have "cherry picked" only those portions of documents that support their theory, yet ignored contents from those very same documents that would have potentially weakened their case.

Note to the forum members, I will be out of action for a few days. Scheduled for surgery to repair a fractured ankle. I plan to be hitting the narcotics frequently and often.

Tim
Last edited by Tim Hebert on Sun May 30, 2010 7:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby Tim Hebert » Fri May 28, 2010 5:56 pm

On 1-12-2009, Robert Hastings posted another article on ufochronicles.com, "UFOs DID Shutdown Minuteman Missiles at Echo and Oscar Flight at Malmstrom AFB in March 1967." The focus of Hastings article was to show that Figel's account was echoed in a interview given to Robert Salas and Jim Klotz. By this time Salas and Klotz were in the process of writing their co-authoed book, Faded Giant. Hastings provides another interview which he uses as confirmation that both Echo and Oscar Flights were brought down by a UFO. Thus in Hastings' opinion this proves that SAC and the Air Force engaged in a cover-up.

Robert C. Jamison provided Hastings with his experience during the March 1967 incident. Jamison was a 1stLt assigned to a Combat Targeting Team (CTT). As the CTT commander, Jamison assisted in the restart of an entire flight of ten Minueman I ICBMs. He was "certain" that the restart occured in a flight near Lewistown, MT believing that in may have been Oscar Flight. (Oscar is near Roy, MT; November is near Grassrange, MT) Jamison recalled that the start ups occured around the 24/25 March time-frame.

Prior to being dispatched to the field, Jamison's team is kept on the base as a precaution to UFO reports coming from the field. He and his team received a special briefing concerning UFO reporting procedures. While awaiting to be dispatched to the field, Jamison overhears radio traffic concerning a UFO sighting near Belt, MT. (Belt is approx. 15 miles east of Great Falls/Malmstrom) Jamison's team is eventually dispatched and performs restarts at 3 to 4 LFs. While performing his tasks, Jamison stated that he saw nothing unusual. Two weeks later Jamison responded to a partial flight shutdown southwest of Great Falls. Hastings believes that this may have been India Flight.

In Hastings' conclusion, he believes that Jamison responded to the Oscar Flight shutdowns. This is interesting as Jamison stated that he responded to a full flight shutdown not a partial shutdown as stated in Salas' and Klotz's article. No where in the article does Jamison actually state the flight that the restarts ocurred in. After confering with Hastings, Salas would then change his story that he was at Oscar rather than November Flight.

As stated in my last post, I will provide evidence from declassified documents that will cast the above story in doubt.
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby Tim Hebert » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:27 pm

In my last posting, I set the stage for Hastings' and Salas' UFO/cover-up hypothesis. Before forumlating an alternative hypothesis, let's look at some of the particular claims that supposedly supports UFOs as the cause of the Echo shutdowns.

1. Lt. Walter Figel receives a report from one of the maintenance personnel at one of Echo's LFs that a UFO is seen hovering over the site. The maintenance team member would have either been in the Soft Support Building (partially underground, houses diesel generator and other equipment, totally separate from the silo itself) or from inside the LF/silo. In either case, there would have been no way that the maintenance personnel could have had visual sighting of any object.

2. There are no names associated with the maintenance/security personnel. Simply, we do not know who these individuals were. Of all of the individuals that Hastings had interviewed, the people that supposedly saw the UFO remain unkown to this day.

3. Lt. Figel thought that the maintenance team chief was joking. He initially did not take this seriously. And most importantly neither Figel or his commander, Eric Carlson, ever make the claim that they had seen a UFO. After they were relieved from their alert duties, Carlson and Figel would have had at least a two hour drive back to Malmstrom. Surely they would have observed something unusual and would have told Hastings during the interviews.

4. Lt. Jamison tells a story of UFO briefings prior to dispatching to the field, yet he does not report seeing a UFO while performing his tasks for the missile restarts. Jamison states that he was dispatched with his CTT to perform a full flight missile restart, yet he cannot recall what flight that he responded to.

5. Salas has had difficulty in deciding which site that he was on alert. Initially he thought that he was at November but later changed to being at Oscar after confering with Hastings. Regardless, the 341st SMW Wing History, 1 Jan -30 March 1967 (pg 32) only describes the Echo Flight shutdowns. There is no mentioning of any issues ocurring in either Oscar or November Flights. There is no mentioning of airlifting an injured man back to the base via helicopter. Salas never states that he actually saw a UFO. Salas, like Hastings, is unable to name the individuals at Oscar that supposedly saw a UFO.

UFOs are talked about or alluded to, but none of the principle characters of Hastings' story sees or reports any strange objects flying in the sky or hovering over an ICBM launch site. The UFO hypothesis remains seriously in doubt. I propose a different set of hypothesis based upon the Minuteman I's complexity and the reporting of UFO sightings starting in January of 1967.

1.The ten missiles in Echo Flight shut down due to a power system anomoly, though unusual in the number of involved LFs, similar incident had occured in 1966, on a smaller scale, at another 10th Strategic Missile Squadron Flight.

2. The involvment of UFOs started out as a practical joke due to the past reports of sighting by the local population and subsequently published and talked about for three months prior to the 16 March 1967 Echo Flight incident.


Next postings, I will provide supporting information that will defend my two-hypothesis position. I am willing and wanting the forum members to ask questions. Thanks for allowing me this opportunity!

Tim
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby jbondo » Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:14 pm

Some good information Tim. Like anything even remotely complex, missile systems obviously evolve along with technology. My only concern is our Russian counterparts. I interact with Russian Engineers (all types) on a daily basis. They seem to have trouble where it concerns technology made any later than the 70's which is evident in their panel designs for example. This causes me to wonder about Russian ICBM's and how advanced the engineering is. It's downright scary. No insult intended toward Russians.

The "UFO joke" seems to be another case of perpetuating public perception in order to protect technological secrets.
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby Tim Hebert » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:27 am

jbondo,

The Russians are probably handicapped as we. The people who designed, tested and fielded the systems are no longer around. The Navy ran into a problem not that long ago when they tried to let a contract to replace all of the SLBM RV wiring. Nobody knew how to do it, the orginal guys are long gone....no coporate knowledge. Do we have to reverse engineer our own weapon systems? I believe that the current DELTA space launch vehicle employs a Russian rocket engine for its first stage. Kinda ironic?

Sometimes the simpler design and technology is the better way to go. Back in the mid-1980s, the Peace Keeper ICBM's missile guidance system was basically identical to that of the Minuteman III's system. SAC could have insisted on a new and improved guidance system, but instead went with the tried and proven design.

I've read and heard that DOD, Air Force, NSA, etc. liked the UFO stories as cover. Someone coined the term "hiding in plain site." This could have easily been employed back in 1967 at Malmstrom. SAC would rather the entire world think that UFOs had disabled 10 of its ICBMs than have it known that they had stumbled across a serious system design flaw.

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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby jbondo » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:54 pm

Tim,

While I agree with what you say, there's a place for simplistic older designs and then there's a time to use up to date technology. I guess it just bugs me sometimes when I see them building these ginormous control panels with more knobs, buttons and lights than you could ever imagine. This switch has to be off for that button to work and that light has to be lit before you can turn that knob, it's mind numbing, especially when all they needed was a PLC and a panel-view touch screen.

I get your meaning though. Sometimes the proven design is the best. If it ain't broke...

I actually just heard thru the grapevine that in the past they've employed nuclear devices to kill oil leaks like the one we have. I don't know how true that is as it would be hard to hide something like that even at thousands of feet below the ocean surface.

I agree that it would have been better to perpetuate the UFO angle regarding those ICBM's. It may have otherwise caused a mild panic.

I have to say, it's extremely interesting to read your data. The time you put into it is appreciated.
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:53 pm

jbondo wrote:I guess it just bugs me sometimes when I see them building these ginormous control panels with more knobs, buttons and lights than you could ever imagine. This switch has to be off for that button to work and that light has to be lit before you can turn that knob, it's mind numbing, especially when all they needed was a PLC and a panel-view touch screen.


What should bug you even more is the rate of software "failures" (not really failures as much as ineffective and not fully tested SW designs). While a PLC and touch screen may be all you need from a functional standpoint, that does not address the failures and hazards associated with said failures. And this is where the idea of HARDWARE interlocks come from to prevent hazardous conditions which lead to injuries or death. A hardware interlock can be exhaustively tested and analyzed. Software, especially as the Source Lines Of Code (SLOC) increase, has a harder time (more $!) claiming 100% coverage, especially for unidentified failure modes. And the more devices that software has control over, the greater the geometrical expansion of potential failure mechanisms due to temporal sequencing of hardware.

Of all the services (and I have worked on projects for all of them), the US Navy has the most effective attitude towards software and safety. Dual, independent hardware interlocks are required (i.e. not under the control of software) before a piece of equipment can be put into a potentially hazardous state. This is a highly skeptical view of software, and when you are talking safety-critical systems (something associated with ALL things that fly), it is an appropriate stance to adopt.

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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby jbondo » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:53 pm

Woa Ray!

I didn't mean just a PLC and Panel. You are absolutely correct in what you say. I left a few things out because I was just trying to make a point.

Thanks for adding that on.
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby ryguy » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:20 pm

You Can Call Me Ray wrote:This is a highly skeptical view of software, and when you are talking safety-critical systems (something associated with ALL things that fly), it is an appropriate stance to adopt.

Ray


Being a programmer of those PLC software systems, I have to agree 100%. When you write the control systems software, you develop a troubling awareness of just how prone control systems are to failure based upon human mistake. Every time I get on an elevator, an amusement park ride or even fly in an airplane, I comfort myself knowing that even if the human programmer screwed something up (as I've personally seen happen hundreds of times) - at least you've got redundant hardware interlocks the ensure the safety of the system.

Anyway, I know it's a side issue from the overall discussion, but seeing Ray's comment about something I feel very strongly about - I had to add my 2 cents. :)

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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby Tim Hebert » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:18 pm

Echo Flight's ten Launch Facilities (LFs) shutdown due to a power system/supply anomoly.

The concept design and development of the Minuteman ICBM weapon system started as mobile rail based system. But due to logistical and local political problems, the system eventually evolved into a underground silo based missile system. The basing concept was one that had one Launch Control Center (LCC) being able to remotely monitor 10 distant LFs. Initially, each LF housed the Minuteman IA ICBM and over the coming decades the missile and its corresponding command and control system would be modified to eventually support the current Minuteman III system. The intial growth in the system's complexity was mainly due to the ongoing enhancement of positive control and the fear of an unauthorized launch.

Yet, as the system matured, problems arose due to the remoteness of the LFs from the support base. An LF could be as close to it's support base as 20 miles and as far as 150 miles. Security for the LF was remotely monitored from its LCC. The LF needed power which was supplied commercially and in the case of interruptions, a back up diesel generator supplied standby power until commercial powere returned. Should the backup diesel generator fail, then the site would go on battery power.

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nukevault/ebb249/doc04.pdf USAF Ballistic Missile Program, 1964-1966, Bernard Nalty.

As early as 1964, the LF diesel generators were a growing problem. Due to the intial system design, the missile launch crew could not monitor the backup diesel generators. The original diesel generators were used more than what SAC had anticipated causing an increase in fuel consumption and decreasing the oil levels leading to infield failures. This required the LF to switch to its last redundant backup system ....batteries.

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nukevault/ebb249/doc05.pdf USAF Ballistic Missile Program, 1967-1968, Bernard Nalty.

During the 1965-1966, SAC's Minuteman wings faced numerous operational disruptions due to storms which downed commercial powerlines. Diesel generator failures out in the field was of great concern. (pg. 13) In some cases, diesel generators continued running well after returning to commercial power. In 1966, SAC started a program to refurbish/replace the standby diesel generators and components. The program resulted in:

1. Mechanism to switch automatically to internal power supply.
2. Found out that the new switching mechanism was overly sensitive to fluctuations in commercial current.
3. This sensitivity was fixed by installing a 2 second delay after sensing a change in voltage and the shutting off of commercial power. Then the system would allow a switch to diesel generators.

As seen above, the system was continuously plagued with power supply issues. Next posting, I will discuss the actual Echo Flight shutdown as it was perceived and dealt with by SAC, Air Force, and DOD.

Tim
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby jbondo » Sat Jun 05, 2010 11:37 pm

Again, Some great info. Thanks Tim!

I had seen a couple of years ago where they were selling off silos and associated underground launch facilities to the general public. I took a virtual tour of one and was fascinated. Of course it was gutted but you could still tell the purpose it once had. Imagine how much pressure those missile crews were under. Especially during alerts and tenuous times during the cold war. Your data really gives us a good idea of what they dealt with on a regular basis which was obviously in addition to the pressure of holding the fate of the planet in the palm of your hand. You really have to wonder too about potentially unstable personalities with a grudge or something. Of course they go thru extensive screening but so did that female astronaut that freaked out a little while back. No amount of screening and testing is fool proof in predicting the future especially where it concerns the human brain and psyche.

One thing I wonder Tim and this does relate to issues that Ray was referring to. Do you know if it was even remotely possible to mistakenly launch? Meaning due to a problem relative to some of those you mentioned? Do you know how many backups/lockouts would be present in an emergency stop situation (auto and manual)? From what you describe it seems there was some sort of (minor to major) issue on a regular basis. You'd have to have UFO's hovering over the place day and night to cause all that, LOL.
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby Tim Hebert » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:55 pm

jbondo,

Thanks for the interest in my postings. Some of the answers to your questions would definitely be out of scope for the intent of my thread, but are definitely great questions concerning the day to day operations on a ICBM launch complex. My four years on Minuteman crew, can easily be described as organized boredom interspersed with "interesting" events. During my four years on crew, there never was a change in DEFCON.

SAC did everything possible to ensure that it had POSITIVE CONTROL over all of it's nuke weapon systems. If you take the time to read thru B. Nalty's works (link provided on my last post), it is clear that everything possible was looked at to eliminate any and all possible ways for unauthorized launches.

We did have capabilities to react to an unauthorized launch sequence. Though interesting as a topic of discussion, out of scope for this thread. I would be willing to talk about these things on a different thread....maybe we can do that?

Tim
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Re: Analysis of the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incidents 1967

Postby jbondo » Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:50 pm

My apologies Tim, I thought it was connected as far as relevance to this thread but maybe I was drifting a little too far off course. No intention to take it another way.

Thanks again!
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