All the President’s (Little Green) Men

By Bryce Bower, Co-editor

December of 2017 was filled with interesting news that no one heard about. On December 16, the New York Times published two articles about an encounter with an object that some believe to be extraterrestrial. One article described an experience two Navy airmen had in 2004. The other talked about the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program run by the Pentagon. They were both linked to an event that happened in November of 2004, and a video of the incident was released around the same time as the news-piece on the unaccounted-for $21 trillion.

During the two weeks prior to the encounter, the Navy cruiser USS Princeton had been tracking the movement of mysterious aircraft. The objects had “appeared suddenly at 80,000 feet, and then hurtled toward the sea, eventually stopping at 20,000 feet and hovering.” Then they would either shoot up again, or drop far below the tracking range of the ship’s instruments. These two pilots, who were stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz were tasked with investigating the aircraft.

The very fast F/A 18F Superhornet. Courtesy of Wikimedia

The Times interviewed the pilots, who said that when they approached this object, it was hovering 50 feet over the water and churning up the water to the point that it appeared to be boiling. As Commander Fravor abandoned his slow descent and began to dive toward the object, the 40 foot long oval-shaped craft shot away. “It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen”, Fravor told the NY Times. Fravor and his wingman were then instructed to meet at a rendezvous point 60 miles away. When they were still 40 miles away, they got a call saying that the oval shaped craft was already at the designated meeting point. These pilots were flying F/A 18F Super Hornets, with a top speed of over 1200 MPH, so they were used to going fast. It would take a plane going at top speed about three minutes to cover 60 miles, and the mysterious object had done it in only one. Keep in mind that this object left no exhaust trail and had no wings or rotors.

This sighting alone is crazy, but what is even more surprising is the news that from 2007 to 2012 the Pentagon ran a $22 million program whose sole purpose was to investigate unidentified flying objects. The Pentagon formally acknowledged the program alongside the release of the video that captured the incident with the two Navy pilots, as well as video footage of several other incidents. Funding dried up in 2012 as the military felt the use of these funds would be better served combating more relevant threats elsewhere. Despite the lack of interest among top brass, the members involved with the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program were convinced that they were seeing objects that did not originate from any country on our planet. One of the directors stated that the American military had no answer for some of the technologies they had recorded, and urged congress and the military to continue investigating these potential threats.

You can’t have a party without balloons! Courtesy of WAMC

Could the objects recorded by the Navy in 2004 have been advanced and secret military craft that some government or organization created? I think it is possible. The F-117 stealth fighter was flying secretly for 7 years before the public even knew about its existence. Considering how quickly technology has progressed, who is to say that science fiction hasn’t become science fact? After all, the US military revealed that the craft that crashed in Roswell, New Mexico was actually a weather balloon used to listen for Soviet nuclear bomb detonations during Project Mogul. But what if it wasn’t?

It would be easy for me to dismiss a flying oval as some secret military craft – if I didn’t find conspiracy theories so fascinating. Many politicians and members of military groups all over the world have insisted that there is hard proof being hidden from the public. But what intrigues me the most is the number of US presidents, military leaders, and scientists who also make these claims.

An underappreciated classic. Courtesy of IMDB

President Jimmy Carter claimed he saw a UFO in Georgia in 1969, and he told his story on Larry King Live. Ronald Regan‘s plane was followed by a “bright white light” for a few minutes before the light “went straight up into the heavens.” Ten days before President Kennedy was assassinated, he demanded to see the files on UFOs and planned to share them with the Russians, so the Soviets would not think the foreign crafts were an aggressive move by American planes. President Bush Sr. said that Americans “can’t handle the truth about UFOs.” When asked about UFOs, President Harry Truman responded, “I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by any power on earth.”

I am not quite sure what to make of all this, as the skeptic inside me constantly battles with the science-fiction fan inside me. If aliens existed, would it change the way I live my life? Are flying saucers and white ovals just military craft that we have yet to learn about? Are presidents, astronauts, and scientists a bunch of lunatics? I don’t know the answer to these questions. But what I do know is that I have the sudden urge to watch the 1996 movie Star Trek: First Contact.

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