William E. Smith Interview, 25 August 2001(b)

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WS:It was diverted to the area. It was, they said, "We have a B-52 crew that's going to Tower and we'll divert them." Matter of fact, we had an officer I think on the phone with the Capsule Crew, and of course I was patched in, they were asking me questions and they said, "Well OK, we'll have a diversion of this B-52 Crew coming in," and they gave a time when it would be coming and—
JK:Did you see it make a pass?
WS:We didn't see the '52. I don't know from which way it came, whether it was east-west or whatever, but I listened to them, they did say that they did see something and that it was behind them and at one point it did follow them. And then I was not getting the stuff, you know, they were patchy the radio transmissions were sort of difficult to hear through all that. But they did say they saw something. It was a large, very large light, and that it was following them, there was something—they estimated how far away it was from them and I can't—
TT:Would that possibly be a very large [radar] return?
WS:It wasn't radar. They actually saw a light, a large object, they said, behind them.
JK:[Provides a B-52 radarscope print to WS]. That's from the B-52.
WS:B-52, OK—Yeah but they—this was a visual they were talking about? They described it said, "We're breaking off," and then it followed them back for a certain time, and my understanding was that from the tower, they lost them on radar, and we were able to hear that, they said "We don't have them on radar right now." And so the conversation was, "My gosh what may have happened?" People were thinking about crashes or that kind of thing. And so then when it got within so many miles of the base they were able to pick them up on radar again, and the traffic came. Matter of fact, I remember they kept calling them trying to get them on radio and there was no radio transmission either and everybody was concerned at that time because they hoped they didn't crash. But, at any rate, the crew came back to the base and lands without a problem.
JK:I was just going to ask that... they made a, they really made two passes...
JK:...and their recall, their recall is that the radar contact was on the first normal high level penetration, that they were making a penetration...
JK:...they started at 20,000 [feet] and they go down, they end up at landing attitude and speed...
JK:...and during that time, they had this radar contact. Then they were asked to go around at a visual height level, which was 1500 hundred feet and that was why I asked you that because that's low enough for you to clearly hear and see if they came close to you.

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