Patrick D. McCaslin Interview, 11 November 2000

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PMWe were headed west-northwest, I think, and then in the next sweep of the radar, it was a very bright return, and it was a big return, it was at least as big, maybe bigger than the return a KC-135 would make, which I'd seen many times. So I alert the pilots to that. I said, "Here's an aircraft or something off the right wing three miles." Well, they could see nothing and they told me to keep them advised of it. As we approached the VOR, they were going to have to turn right toward this thing, so I told them, you know, "I'll just keep an eye on it." And they turned right toward it and as we turned right toward the VOR it moved off to the north and maintained that three mile separation, so as we rolled out, it was at three miles off our left wing, and we were headed back toward the base now, starting the approach. I alerted the pilots to that, and they still couldn't see anything visually. We started the approach, and again it was out there at three miles off the left wing. At some point, I don't remember what altitude, the pilots were descending toward the base, but at some point this thing, from one sweep to the next it moved from three miles off our left wing to one mile off our left wing. Which means it was going at a really high rate of speed, and, basically stopped instantaneously. The sweep—the full scan sweep was maybe one second, I don't know. So I alerted the pilots to that and, of course, they got even more excited then and everybody was trying to find it. Nobody could see anything visually. At about the same time that happened, the Electronic Warfare Officer, and that's one of guys whose name escapes me, mentioned that he had things on his scope that he had never seen before.
JKNow that's interesting.
PMAnd about that time, we lost—I believe it was, and I may be wrong about this, we could hear the tower talking to us, but they could not hear us. We lost communications. Either we could hear them and they could not hear us, or they could hear—the other way around, they could hear us, we couldn't hear them. I'm pretty sure that it was that we could hear them and they could not hear us. So, we continued on the approach, this thing still a mile off our left wing, and not able apparently for the tower to hear us. We got to a lower altitude, I don't know exactly, I'd have to see the approach plate again but there are intermediate level-offs on the way to the runway. And it was fairly low, maybe 5000 feet or less. The pilots leveled off and we were within a mile or two of the runway, or I don't know, maybe a little further than that—but we were approaching the runway, and at a much lower altitude. And I noticed that in one sweep the thing was there, whatever it was, in the next sweep it was weak—there was a weak return similar to when I saw it in the first place, and then in the next sweep it was gone.
JKBut it maintained the spacing?
PMYeah, it was still a mile off the left wing. I noted the coordinates 'cause we had an analog read-out of the coordinates where we were, and I guess my memory is that's what I did, I noted the coordinates and we continued the approach, and at that point, we had communications both ways with the tower. Then we landed. I think we did a touch-and-go, it might have been a low approach, but the tower asked us to go around and take a look to see if we could see anything on the ground. The pilot was apparently reporting this to the tower. I was, frankly, hoping that he would decline that offer, but he decided

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