1. Ground-visual UFO Observations (2:15-3:44)

2. B-52 Air-radar UFO Observation (3:44-4:02/4:06:51)

3. B-52 and the Ground Observers at N-7

4. B-52 Air-visual UFO Observations (4:24-4:28)

5. Oscar-7 Launch Facility Break-in (4:49)

6. Final Ground-visual UFO Observations (4:26-5:34)


Narrative of UFO Events at Minot AFB
on 24 October 1968

Thomas Tulien


[1] Project Blue Book was the official USAF project to investigate UFOs. The USAF UFO program was active from January 1948 until December 1969, and investigated approximately 13,000 UFO reports. Following the closure, the project files were transferred to the Air Force Archives at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL, and later, to the National Archives for redaction and public release in 1976. The files currently reside at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. See: The index for the 94 rolls of 35mm microfilm (T1206) of the Project Blue Book files is available from:

[2] The UFO observations occurred during the early morning hours from 2:15 until 5:34 a.m. (CDT), for a total period of 3 hours and 19 minutes. Daylight Saving Time ended on Sunday, 27 October . Documentation originating at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, is Eastern Daylight Saving Time (EDT, and later EST). For documentation originating at Minot AFB, both CDT (later CST) and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), or the equivalent letter designator Z (Zulu Time) are used. For Minot, ND, CDT offset from GMT is -5 hours. CST offset is -6 hours. “[3:44]” is a corrected time (for 3:34) based on our reconstruction of the B-52 flight track. See: “Discrepancies and Omissions in the Transcription of Recorded Conversations, 24 October 1968.”

[3] Information and procedures regarding the targeting and alignment of Minuteman ICBMs available from the Association of Air Force Missileers: Part 1; Part 2; and Part 3.

[4] Smith, William, Jr., 2001b. Transcript of interview by Thomas Tulien and Jim Klotz, 25 August (Sign Oral History Project), 14-16. In addition: Smith, William, Jr., 2001a. Transcript of interview by Jim Klotz, 11 July (Sign Oral History Project), 6-7; and 2001a, 10-11. Regarding the Camper Teams, see: 2001b, 8.

[5] Smith, William, Jr., Air Force Form 117 (AF-117), Sighting of Unidentified Phenomena Questionnaire, 26 October 1968, 1, 5. Smith estimated the distance to the object at 10 miles, which, according to his drawing, suggests the object was 1-2 miles southeast of O-6 (7).

[6] Smith, AF-117, 8.The 91st Strategic Missile Wing, Command Post (later, Missile Support Base), provides logistics support and control communications for the 740th, 741st and 742nd Strategic Missile Squadrons, comprising the 15 Launch Control Centers (each responsible for 10 missiles) at Minot AFB.

[7] Smith, William, Jr., 2001b, 14-16. In addition: Smith, William, Jr., 2001a, 10-11. It appears as though November-FSC SSgt. James Bond was also informed of the UFO incident at O-6 by his MCCC:  “They told me, ‘well, believe it or not, there’s a maintenance crew over there that’s really scared out of their gourds because this thing is right in the area where they are, and they’re trying to do a reprogram on one of the birds that’s in one of the holes over there’—and I thought that a little strange” (2005, 15). Unfortunately, the Camper Team and the Target and Alignment Team did not complete AF-117’s and were not interviewed during the subsequent investigation. Consequently, there is scant mention in the documents. The Camper Team are listed as personnel who sighted the UFO in a document ostensibly created by the 91st Strategic Missile Wing, Security Control controller, however, no time is noted for the observation. During our research, we were unable to properly identify and interview the Camper Team.

[8] Smith 2001b, 10-12. Smith had also been receiving reports of strange lights at O-2, near the Canadian border: “Some of our Camper Crews, and some officers had told us that they had seen lights up at Oscar-2. A lot” (2001b, 22). In addition: Smith 2001a, 11-12.

[9] O’Connor, Robert M., Air Force Form 117 (AF-117), Sighting of Unidentified Phenomena Questionnaire, 28 October 1968, 1, 7. In this instance, “S.E.” refers to the ordinal direction in relation to their position, and not the direction the object was traveling. O’Connor was an electrician and Field Maintenance Team chief, while Isley was a heating and air conditioning technician responsible for the environmental control systems.

[10] O’Connor, Robert M., 2005. Transcript of interview by Thomas Tulien, 23 February (Sign Oral History Project), 6-7.

[11] Isley, Lloyd M., 2001. Transcript of interview by Thomas Tulien and Jim Klotz, 23 August (Sign Oral History Project), 7-8.

[12] Smith, AF-117, 1, 7; Isley, AF-117, 1; and O’Connor, AF-117, 1.

[13] O’Connor, AF-117, 3; and O’Connor 2005, 6-7. This is also suggestive of a parallax effect: the apparent shift of an object against a background due to a change in observer position.

[14] Isley 2001, 6-8.; and O’Connor 2005, 7.

[15] O’Connor 2005, 11. In addition, ISLEY: “We were both pretty much wide-eyed and a little bit, you know, a little bit frightened by being out in the middle of nowhere like that” (2001, 6).

[16] Isley, Lloyd M., Air Force Form 117 (AF-117), Sighting of Unidentified Phenomena Questionnaire, 28 October 1968, 7, 9. Also: Isley 2001, 8-9. In his AF-117, Isley notes the sighting time as 12:30 until 4:30 a.m., and the length of time the phenomenon was in sight as “3 ½ to 4 hours” based on “the length of time we were on N-7” (1, 3). Isley’s sighting time is inaccurate by 2 hours. In addition, the observation time at N-7 is too long and would be about one hour (3:00-4:02). The total length of time the phenomenon was in sight would be 2:30-4:02. For a discussion of this with Isley, see: Isley 2001, 10-11.

[17] Isley, AF-117, 1, 4, 6. Also: Isley 2001, 9, 13, 17-18. The KC-135 Stratotanker is an air-to-air refueling tanker aircraft similar in appearance to a Boeing 707: Length: 136’ 3” (41.53 m); Height: 38’ 4” (12.70 m); Wingspan: 130’ 10” (39.88 m).

[18] O’Connor, AF-117, 4, 6. Also: O’Connor 2005, 8-9. Note: Both O’Connor and Isley recall completing the AF-117 later that same morning in Base Operations, although the AF-117’s state 28 Oct. 68 as the date when the form was completed (AF-117, 8). For a discussion of this with O’Connor, see: O’Connor 2005, 15-16; and Isley 2001, 15, 17.

[19] O’Connor 2005, 7-8. 400 yards is about a quarter mile. In his AF-117, he estimated the distance to the phenomenon as “½ to 6 miles,” and noted: “The noise I heard was similar to that of a jet engine only more steady and at a lower pitch” (7).

[20] Note: Minot AFB investigating officer, Col. Werlich, has misconstrued the initial reporting sequence in the Basic Reporting Data and Format [TWX], 290428Z OCT 68, 5. (The equivalent date of the Teletype is 28 October, 10:28 p.m. CST). Werlich states that O’Connor reported to the “WING SECURITY CONTROLLER OVER THE VEHICLE RADIO,” however, O'Connor reported to Base Operations and later to November-FSC SSgt. Bond, who subsequently reported to Wing Security Control at 3:08. The general provisions of Department of the Air Force. Research and Development. Air Force Regulation No. 80-17, Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO), 19 September 1966. Washington, D.C., required each Air Force base commander to provide an investigative capability (#3). In this regard, Minot AFB commander Col. Ralph E. Kirchoff designated Base Operations chief Lt. Col. Arthur Werlich as investigating officer to the UFO program. Werlich’s primary responsibility was to collect and collate a list of Basic Reporting Data and Format (#11), and to provide his “initial analysis and comment on the possible cause or identity of the stimulus in a supporting statement” (#10). The analysis section comprises the last four pages of the 8-page report. This was Werlich’s first official UFO investigation: “Col Werlich said this was his first report and didn’t know how to ask questions or anything” (Memo, 1 Nov. 68a, 7). AFR 80-17 with changes and attachment is also available from:

[21] Base Operations Dispatcher’s log, 24 October 1968, 0800. Object S/E of N-7, 0800.

[22] O’Connor 2005, 7, 10-11; and O’Connor, AF-117, 8. In addition: Isley 2001, 8-9; and Isley, AF-117, 8. For a brief description of SSgt. Bond’s workstation in the LCF, authorization procedures, and the use of code packs, see: Bond 2005, 9-10. Also, SSgt. Smith explains the routine of a Flight Security Controller, see: Smith 2001, 4-9. Regarding the “two-man rule,” Bond recalls: “What you have to remember about nuclear weapons, there always [has to] be two of everything. SAC two-man policy is what they called it; and believe it or not, I can still recite this: ‘Any time a completed nuclear weapon, a disassembled nuclear weapon, or a nuclear component is not in complete secure storage, not less than two authorized persons each capable of detecting incorrect procedures with respect to the task being performed, will be allowed physical presence of the weapon.’ You had better know that policy. It was to keep one person from doing something the other didn’t know anything about” (2005, 12). The Launch (Soft) Support Building  housed electrical distribution equipment, a back-up generator, and brine chiller to maintain temperature and humidity-controlled air for the launch equipment in the silo. Bruce Ecker’s spherical panoramic image of a 1963 Launch Support Building at Ellsworth, AFB is available from:

[23] Jablonski, Joseph, 2005. Transcript of interview by Thomas Tulien, 22 February (Sign Oral History Project), 9-10. And: Jablonski, Joseph P., Air Force Form 117 (AF-117), Sighting of Unidentified Phenomena Questionnaire, 25 October 1968, 1, 5. See also: Adams, Gregory, Air Force Form 117 (AF-117), Sighting of Unidentified Phenomena Questionnaire, 25 October 1968, 1, 5; and Bond, James F., Air Force Form 117 (AF-117), Sighting of Unidentified Phenomena Questionnaire, 26 October 1968, 1, 5.

[24] Bond, AF-117, 8.

[25] Basic Reporting Data, 5. The 91st Strategic Missile Wing, Command Post (later, Missile Support Base), provides logistics support and control communications for the 740th, 741st and 742nd Strategic Missile Squadrons, comprising the 15 Launch Control Centers at Minot AFB. Three Squadron Command Post (SCP) LCCs, serve as command units for their respective squadrons, and report directly to the Wing Command Post. One SCP is also designated as the Alternate Command Post (ACP), and serves as backup for the Wing Command Post. The other 12 LCCs are classified as primary LCCs. The four primary LCCs within each squadron report to their respective command post (SCP).

[26] Wing Security Controller’s summary, n.d., On 24 Oct 68 the following personnel. Note: The 3:08 time of the “initial report from a maintenance team” is actually when Bond and his SAT first observed the UFO.

[27] O’Connor, AF-117, 3, 7; and O’Connor, 2005, 8, 19.

[28] Isley, AF-117, 1, 9.

[29] Isley 2001, 9, 13. The Dispatchers log notes at 3:28: “Jet engines heard now very clearly,” and at 3:30,“could hear engines” (0828, 0830). Werlich states: “WHEN ALMOST OVERHEAD, A LOW MUFFLED JET ENGINE SOUND WAS HEARD. THIS OCCURRED TWICE DURING THE SIGHTINGS” ( Basic Reporting Data, 2). Later, as a B-52 passed by the observers at N-7, Jablonski noted, “As to avoid confusion between the plane and the object Base Op’s had pointed out where and when we saw the B-52. Must add that the B-52 engines could be easily heard while the UFO made no sounds to be heard at about the same distance” (AF-117, 7).

[30] Jablonski, AF-117, 4.

[31] Adams, AF-117, 4.

[32] Jablonski 2005, 11-13. Bond’s recall of radio conversations with the SAT while on the road, at: Bond 2005, 16-17. Jablonski recalls that Adams was extremely anxious about the situation, and in an attempt to put him at ease, he teasingly alluded to the then-popular TV show The Invaders (2005, 16-18).

[33] Wing Security Controller summary, 1. See also: Smith 2005, 17.

[34] O’Connor, AF-117, 4; and Isley, AF-117, 4.

[35] Base Operations Dispatcher’s log, 0828.

[36] Bond, AF-117, 4.

[37] Basic Reporting Data, 8. Security personnel at Mike-1, Juliet-1, and the Oscar-Security Alert Team of A1C Bajgiar and A1C Vennedall, did not complete AF-117s.

[38] Transcription of Recorded Conversations, Transcript of tape for 24 Oct 68, 0830. The source and actual time of this UFO report received by RAPCON is unknown. See also: Discrepancies and Omissions in the Transcription (3:30-3:35 (0830-0835Z)).

[39] Jablonski recalls that shortly after observing the object at 3:08 they were dispatched to N-7, estimating a drive time of “maybe 15-20 minutes” (2005, 10).

[40] Jablonski 2005, 9-11, 17. Also, Bond: “I remember the combat crew said something about the maintenance team getting a little flaky out there and they might need some help from security, because they were getting a little scared” (2005, 21).

[41] Jablonski, AF-117, 3, 4; and Adams, AF-117, 3, 4.

[42] Jablonski 2005, 10. In his AF-117, Jablonski noted that a match held at arm’s length would cover about one half of the object (6). At estimates of 3-5 miles (7) the object size would be 197-330 feet. Adams noted that one third of the object would be covered (6). At estimates of 2-5 miles (7) the object size would be 212-530 feet. Bond noted that a match head would be covered (6). At estimates of 10-12 miles (7) the object size would be 350-420 feet. Isley compared its size to a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft.

[43] Jablonski 2005, 11-12. Unfortunately, the Transcription of Recorded Conversations begins at 3:34 [3:44], when the B-52 is over the runway. However, the first entry at 3:30 notes, “Controllers received information on UFO 24 miles NW.” This location is in Mike-Flight about 7 miles west-northwest of the observers at N-7, who were reporting a UFO in the southeast.

[44] Jablonski 2005, 19-20.

[45] In his AF-117, Isley notes the length of time of the observations as 00:30-4:30 (“by the length of time we were on N-7”), which is clearly inaccurate; and estimates the distance to the UFO as 2 miles (1, 3, 7). There is no data in Bond’s AF-117 to indicate when the N-7 personnel last observed the UFO in the SE. He estimated the distance to N-7 as approximately 10 miles and the distance to the UFO as 10-12 miles (1, 7).

[46] O’Connor 2005, 7, 10, 23. Also: Smith 2001, 12-13; Bond 2005, 15; and Isley 2001, 6, 8.

[47] Jablonski 2005, 11.

[48] Smith 2001b, 11-13. See also: Bond 2005, 17-18. Smith recalls that his capsule crew contacted Air Defense Command (redesignated Aerospace Defense Command on 15 Jan. 1968) at Minot Air Force Station, located about 15 miles south of Minot, ND: “And so when the [B-52] crew did that my Capsule [Crew] also were excited, really excited, so one of them I think had an idea that they might call Air Defense Command, I think he had some connections or knew some people there or something. And from what he was saying to us they were able to use some radar manipulations, and they were able to see something operating they said 50 miles above where we were in the general vicinity—they couldn’t pinpoint it but they said—50 miles above” (2001b, 13; and 2001a, 19-20). Regarding Minot AFS, see:,+ND.

[49] 3:34 [3:44] is the beginning of the communications between Minot, Radar Approach Control (RAPCON) and the B-52 pilots, when the B-52 is on low-approach over the runway (Transcription, 0834). 4:02 is when the UFO disappeared from the B-52 radarscope and the B-52 radio transmission resumed (Transcription, 0902). 4:06:51 (9:06:51Z) is the B-52 radarscope chronometer time of the last radarscope photograph (when the UFO disappeared). Regarding discrepancies in the transcription, and the B-52 onboard time, see: “Discrepancies and Omissions in the Transcription of Recorded Conversations, 24 October 1968.”

[50] Regarding the SAC B-52 mission, see; Runyon, Bradford, Jr., 2005. Transcript of interview by Thomas Tulien, 25 February (Sign Oral History Project), 4-8.  When not on alert status, the B-52 crews routinely flew ten-hour Combat Crew training missions over the continental U.S., involving: airborne refueling, navigational legs, simulated bombing runs, low-level flying, and overall crew proficiency exercises to maintain ratings. Regarding this particular mission, there was an additional pilot onboard from another B-52 crew, Major James Partin, being evaluated by the Aircraft Commander and Instructor Pilot (IP) Captain Don Cagle. This B-52 crew was certified an S-crew (Standards and Evaluation Board, or STANEVAL, and Stanboard), and all crewmembers were rated instructors in their respective positions. As one of the top crews, they were also responsible for instructing and evaluating other crews. See also: Goduto, Thomas, 2001. Transcript of interview by Thomas Tulien, 20 February (Sign Oral History Project), 4-7; and Judd, Arlie, 2001. Transcript of interview by Thomas Tulien, 27 February (Sign Oral History Project), 7-8.

[51] Project Blue Book was the official USAF project to investigate UFOs. The USAF UFO program was active from January 1948 until December 1969, and investigated approximately 13,000 UFO reports. Following the closure, the project files were transferred to the Air Force Archives at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL, and later, to the National Archives for redaction and public release in 1976. The files currently reside at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. See: Records of Headquarters United States Air Force (Air Staff); Records of Project Blue Book 1947-69, Record Group 341.15 (NARA Microfilm Publication T1206); National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. The records are available on line from:; and

[52] Basic Reporting Data, 5. Werlich notes the time of the ground sightings as beginning at “0800Z (0300 CDT) UNTIL APPROXIMATELY 1015Z (CDT 0515)” (2). The Air Route Traffic Control Center would have handed off the B-52 to Minot AFB RAPCON when it arrived at the 50 nmi clearance, which, according to Werlich, was at 3:00: “THE AIRCRAFT INITIALLY ARRIVED . . . AT ALMOST THE SAME TIME AS THE FIRST GROUND SIGHTING.” In fact, the “FIRST GROUND SIGHTING” preceded the arrival of the B-52 by 45 minutes. The Transcription of Recorded Conversations begins when the B-52 is on low-approach over the runway heading northwest at 3:34 [3:44], and affords no clue to the location of the B-52 for the first 34 [44] minutes. It seems most likely the B-52 remained east of the base practicing high-altitude maneuvers, and would be located high in the southeast before its descent (penetration) from FL200 to a low-approach over the runway at 3:34 [3:44].  Regarding “VARIOUS INSTRUMENT PRACTICE MANEUVERS,” Runyon recalls: “At higher altitude, like for the vertical S’s we might have gotten a block from 20 to 30; or 30 to 40,000 feet for that. . . . [So nobody could even see you up there.] No. [You don’t have your landing lights on?] No, no way, and we were probably not over our base anyway—were out in the middle of nowhere” (2005, 8).

[53] McCaslin, Patrick D., 2001. Transcript of interview by Thomas Tulien, 25 February (Sign Oral History Project), 11. See also: Runyon 2005, 8-9; and McCaslin, Patrick D., 2000. Transcript of interview with Jim Klotz, 11 November (Sign Oral History Project), 5.


[55] Runyon 2005, 8.

[56] Transcription, 0834. The transcription is time-coded to GMT (-5 hours CDT). In aviation, distances are expressed in nautical miles (1 nmi, US = 1.151 statute mile, or 1852 meters exactly. Conversely, 1 statute mile equals .8689 nmi. The derived unit of speed is the knot, defined as one nautical mile per hour). Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN) system is an ultra-high frequency electronic navigational aid that provides military aircraft with a continuous indication of bearing (azimuth angle) and distance (range) to a TACAN station. At Minot AFB, distances are relative to/from the Deering TACAN transmitter station (ground-to-aircraft beacon), located adjacent to the runway at 37% of the length from the northwest end. The “WT fix” is a virtual point 35 nmi from the TACAN transmitter in line (approach) with the runway, from which the B-52 begins its descent from FL200 and “penetration” of the Minot airspace. Additional technical information on TACAN systems from:

[57] Basic Reporting Data, 5. The runway at Minot AFB is designated runway “11/29” depending on the magnetic heading to the runway of azimuth 110/290 degrees (southeast/northwest). Flight Level (FL) is the nominal altitude of an aircraft referenced to a standard pressure datum, as opposed to the real altitude above mean sea level. Above 18,000 feet, FL is expressed in rounds of hundreds; for example, FL200 is a flight level altitude of 20,000 feet. “VOR,” short for: VHF Omni-directional Radio Range, became the primary navigational system in the 1960s. In this instance and elsewhere, VOR is used generically in reference to the more sophisticated TACAN system used by military aircraft. Aircraft altitudes are Mean Sea Level (MSL), whereby an aircraft’s altitude is measured relative to an average (mean) sea level, rather than the local terrain it is flying over. 

[58] Regarding initial time discrepancies from 0830-0845 (3:30-3:35), see: “Discrepancies and Omissions in the Transcription of Recorded Conversations, 24 October 1968.”

[59] The Transcription actually continues past 0915 (4:15), although following 0921 (4:21) the remaining time-code references are omitted. Regarding the initial time references, see: “Discrepancies and Omissions in the Transcription of Recorded Conversations, 24 October 1968.”

[60] Transcription, 0830-0835. The second statement in the transcription at 3:34 [3:44] appears erroneous: “A B-52 on a TA calibration check to rw [runway] 11 [110-degrees heading southeast] requested clearance to WT at FL200.” Conversely, also at 3:34 [3:44], the first communication between Runyon and controller indicates the B-52 is actually on low approach over runway 29 [290-degrees heading northwest]. The acronym “TA” is unknown. It may refer to transition altitude, or Terrain Avoidance System, which provides an aircraft with a situation display of the ground and obstacles so that the pilot can maneuver the aircraft to avoid the obstruction.

[61] See: Runyon 2005, 7.

[62] Don Cagle arrived at the appointment, was hired by Delta, and after thirteen years of military service resigned his commission in January 1969. Cagle was an instructor and evaluation pilot at Delta, before moving to management as Chief Pilot of the International Base after they took over the assets of Pan-Am. He retired from Delta in 1997. During several recent interviews he claims to have no recollection whatsoever of the UFO events. See also: Runyon 2000, 8-9; Runyon 2005, 18; and McCaslin 2001, 27-28.


[64] Transcription, 0852. See also: Runyon 2005, 10; and Runyon 2000, 7.

[65] McCaslin 2000, 6; and McCaslin 2001, 12-13. The Radar Navigator was also responsible for the B-52H’s AN/ASQ-38 Bomb Navigation System. For a description of the B-52 navigation station, see: McCaslin 2001, 8-9. Also: Goduto 2001, 8.

[66] McCaslin 2001, 14; and Goduto 2001, 7.

[67] McCaslin 2001, 15. McCaslin 2000, 6-7. “POSITION OF AIRCRAFT DURING AIR-ELECTRONIC OBSERVATION: INITIAL SIGHTING POSITION WAS 38 NAUTICAL MILES NW OF THE DEERING TACAN, 300 DEGREES RADIAL, FL200” (Basic Reporting Data, 3). At this time, Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) Captain Thomas Goduto powered his receiver equipment back up, but he “could not substantiate anything on my equipment that was unusual”(Goduto 2001, 12-14). Also, Gunner Tech Sergeant Arlie Judd recalls at some point during the radar encounter he observed a large return on his rear-facing ASG-21 “fire control radar” for a 5 or 10 second duration, first at 1,000 yards, and then at 12,000 yards before it disappeared (Judd 2001, 11-14). Later, at a debriefing in the Division Commanders office, Judd brought up the returns: I mentioned my radar returns. That was my confirmation of what somebody else had seen. I said, ‘Well it was also on my radar.’ But there wasn’t any follow through” (2001, 21-22).

[68] McCaslin 2001, 44. McCaslin recalls, “At that point where I saw something out there, I asked him to turn on the cameras” (2000, 9); and the duration of filming was “10-15 minutes worth of stuff” (2001, 36). The radarscope is a 10-inch circular tube face with illuminated bearing ring, technically referred to as the Plan Position Indicator (PPI). The data plate is superimposed as a snapshot via a separate optical path. Note: The 14-8X10 first-generation photographic prints of the B-52 radarscope are the original versions of the 13 low-quality (microfilmed) radarscope photographs included in the NARA Blue Book documentation. The photos ostensibly show the movements of the UFO in relation to the aircraft near the end of the air-radar encounter, as it spiraled around the B-52 from the front right to a position about 1 nmi off the left wing.

[69] McCaslin 2001, 16-17; and McCaslin 2000, 7.

[70] Transcription, 0856.  “Wilco” is the established standard for—will comply (after receiving new directions); “Roger”—information received;  “Copy”—I understand what you just said (after receiving information).

[71] Approach procedures, see: Goduto 2001, 17. For a detailed explanation of Instrument Approach Procedure (IAP), see: The current Minot AFB airport diagram, and IAPs, or “approach plates,” are accessible online (near the bottom of the page) at: Based on Werlich’s overlay map, the diameter of the 30/180-degree turn is 5.5 nmi, and the circumference equals 17.25 nmi. Including the short final leg before passing over the WT, the distance is 19 nmi. At a speed of 280-230 knots, the flight time would be 4:00-5:00 minutes. Therefore, if the position of the B-52 at 3:52 was 19 nmi before the WT, it would have passed over the WT at 3:56-3:57. Also, in the Transcription, Runyon indicates (at 0904) that they were 35 nmi out, and passing over the WT at the time of the loss of radio transmission at 0858 (3:58 CDT).

[72] McCaslin 2001, 17-18.

[73] Runyon 2005, 10-11; and Runyon 2000, 6-8. Also: Partin, James 2001. Transcript of interview by Jim Klotz, 20 January (Sign Oral History Project), 2-3.

[74] McCaslin 2001, 19-20; and McCaslin 2000, 7. See also: Memo for the Record, 24 October 1968, Subject: UFO Observation, 1; and Basic Reporting Data, 6.

[75] Runyon 2005, 10; and Runyon 2000, 6-8. For a discussion of the B-52’s radios, see: Goduto 2001, 11-12.

[76] Transcription, 0903-0904.

[77] SIF/IFF is an acronym for Selective Identification Feature/Identification-Friend-or-Foe, which refers to onboard radio equipment with electronic coders, and decoders, which in conjunction with similar ground-based equipment, can be interrogated and respond automatically to identify themselves.

[78] Transcription, 0858-0900.

[79] Runyon 2005, 11; and Runyon 2000, 11. Also: “When target was close to the B-52 neither of the two transmitters in the B-52 would operate properly but when it broke off both returned to normal” (Memo, 24 Oct. 68, 1). Also: Goduto 2001, 11-12, 15.

[80] Runyon 2005, 12. Also, researcher Jim Klotz obtained the releasable portions of the B-52H Aircraft Mishap Report, 4 Oct 68 (HQ AFSC/JAR). Included are a Transcription of Recorded Conversations with Minneapolis and Great Falls Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC), covering a period of time from 0256-0852Z; and Aircraft Accident Transcription-Minot Approach Control, covering a period from 0842-0907Z.

[81] Basic Reporting Data, 3.  Note: Dr. Claude Poher’s analysis of the radarscope photos resolves the location of the last radarscope photo (when the UFO departed the B-52) at 18.8 nmi from the Deering TACAN, 8865 feet MSL. See: Claude Poher, “3.4. Refining the B-52 Position With Terrain Features,” in Analysis of Radar and Air-Visual UFO Observations on 24 October 1968 at Minot Air Force Base, ND (2005). Resolving the B-52 altitude in photo #783, see: Poher, “4.7. Discussion 1: The B-52 Altitude and the Tilt-up Angle of the Radar Antenna.”

[82] McCaslin 2001, 21-24; and McCaslin 2000, 7-8. Also: Goduto 2001, 16.

[83] Transcription, 0902-0904.

[84] At the time, the Blue Book staff consisted of Quintanilla, assistant Lt. Marano, secretary Marilyn Stancombe, and duty officer, SSgt. Harold Jones. Quintanilla had been project officer since July/Aug. 1963, and Marano since Sept. 1968. See: Quintanilla’s quixotic unpublished manuscript, UFO’s: An Air Force Dilemma, esp. chapter, “The Making of a UFO Investigating Officer” (34). Referring to Werlich’s initial report, on 29 Oct. Quintanilla informed Col. Pullen, HQ SAC that due to limitations in staffing, “we did not send anyone up [to Minot]. I talked to Col Werlich for over thirty minutes and since this didn’t appear to [sic] unusual I didn’t send anyone up.” Memo for the Record, 30 October 1968a, Subj: Telephone conversation with Col Pullen, 1.

[85] Apparently, it was a long day since the time of the call was 1730 (5:30 p.m. EDT), and both of Werlich’s surviving daughters recall being awoken very early in the morning (“in the middle of the night”) by a telephone call reporting the UFO incident to their father. See: Werlich, Kim 2001, 3, 6; and Werlich, Melody 2001, 9. That afternoon, Werlich had phoned SAC Headquarters requesting technical assistance with his investigation, but was denied: “Thursday afternoon I (Col Werlich) called, with the personal opinion that we needed technical assistance at that time and that is what we requested and we didn’t get it and we have tried to do what we could. Gen Hollingsworth is interested” (Memo, 1 Nov. 68a, 4). Also: “Col Werlich said we were hoping for technical assistance and we didn’t get it” (Memo, 1 Nov. 68a, 6-7).

[86] Major General Edward M. Nichols, Jr. was vice commander of the Fifteenth Air Force, March AFB, CA, one of the Strategic Air Command’s three numbered Air Force command units, with jurisdiction over SAC bases in the Midwest region. See Air Force Link biographies at: The Numbered Air Force (NAF) is a tactical echelon directly under an operational Major Command (MAJCOM; in this case, Strategic Air Command) that provide operational leadership and supervision.

[87] Memo for the Record, 24 October 1968, Subject: UFO Observation, 1.

[88] Basic Reporting Data, 6.

[89] Smith 2001, 17-20, 12-13.

[90] Bond 2005, 14-15, 17-18.

[91] O’Connor, AF-117, 3. Isley: “A B-52 was in the same area as the object, just before the object left our view” (AF-117, 3). Adams: “B-52 bomber heard approximately 45 minutes after seeing UFO [at 3:08]. B-52 west and much higher than UFO” (AF-117, 3). Also: O’Connor 2005, 11-13; Isley 2001, 12-13; and Jablonski 2005, 13.

[92] Jablonski, AF-117, 7. In addition: “B-52 diverted to general area. First seen and heard approx 35 min. after first sighting of object [at 3:08]. Object basically stayed in the southeast, while the B-52 was in the southwesterly position” (Jablonski, AF-117, 3).  At N-7, Jablonski’s impression of the distance to the UFO was estimated at 3-5 miles in the south-southeast (AF-117, 2, 7), while the shortest distance to the B-52 flight track was about 5 miles to the southwest. At the time of the last radarscope photo (783), Poher’s analysis locates the B-52 about 6.5 miles west-southwest of N-7 at 8865 feet altitude. See: “3.4. Refining the B-52 Position With Terrain Features.”

[93] Jablonski, AF-117, 5, 9. Also, Adams: “Right before the B-52 was seen. The UFO descended gradually behind what could have been trees. Hard to say about trees it was so dark” (AF-117, 5). Also, Isley: “It [UFO] went low and out of sight in the southeast” (AF-117, 5).

[94] “(B) 0355 CDT—RADAR 9,000 FEET OVERCAST, VISIBILITY 25 STATUTE MILES” (Basic Reporting Data, 4).

[95] “[4:24-4:28]” is based on our reconstruction of the B-52 flight track. In his AF-117, Partin noted the period of the air-visual observation as “4:30-4:35” based on the pilot’s chronometer (B-52 onboard time).

[96] Jablonski 2005, 15; O’Connor 2005, 13-14; and Isley 2001, 12.

[97] Transcription, 0904-0909. A “precision approach” is an approach in which the controllers monitor dedicated radar displays to determine the precise heading and altitude of the aircraft. The controllers then provide corrections right and left, and/or above and below a predetermined glide path to the runway. During a “surveillance approach” the controller only provides heading corrections, and it's up to the pilots to determine their own rate of descent.

[98] Transcription, 0913.

[99] Transcription, 0917. The final approach fix (FAF) is the point in space where the “final approach” to landing begins, and is indicated when the aircraft crosses the outer marker. At Minot AFB, FAF is 6.3 nmi from the Deering TACAN.

[100] Runyon does not recall the name of the General. The only exterior photographic capability was the Bombay camera. However, the camera would only be loaded with film during combat missions. Runyon: “He told us to go back and fly over the object and I really don’t remember whether we had film in our Bombay cameras, but we were supposed to over fly the thing and observe it and take pictures if we could. So I never discussed with the nav team whether they were able to take Bombay pictures or not” (2000, 11, 24-25). Regarding the Bombay camera, see: Judd 2001, 18-19.

[101] Runyon 2005, 14-15. Also: Runyon 2000, 11, 23. At the time, the only General stationed at Minot AFB was the commander of the 810th Strategic Aerospace Division (SAD), Brig. General Ralph Holland(though to be precise, he was officially promoted on 1 November 1968). In recent interviews with Holland, it was determined that he was not the General that ordered the B-52 to over fly the UFO. See: Holland, Ralph T., 2005. Transcript of interview by Thomas Tulien and Jim Klotz, 20 February (Sign Oral History Project). A reasonable guess would be Holland’s superior, Maj. General Edward M. Nichols, Jr. Vice Commander of the Fifteenth Air Force. Runyon recalls the request came from a two-star general, and Werlich states in his initial 24 October report to Blue Book staff “the Base Commander and Major General Nichols of the 15th Air Force were both interested” (Memo, 24 Oct. 68, 1). The Fifteenth Air Force, based at March AFB, California, was a level of command under Strategic Air Command, responsible for operations in the western United States and Alaska. Under the command of the Fifteenth at Minot AFB were the 810th SAD, the 91st SMW, and 5th BW. In addition, the B-52 EWO, Capt. Goduto was responsible for the HF radio used to communicate with SAC headquarters over extreme distances, especially when over the Polar Regions. Goduto did not receive the call since his equipment was powered down in preparation for landing (2001, 14, 19).

[102]  McCaslin 2000, 22-23. Also: McCaslin 2000, 7-8. See also: Goduto 2001, 19; and Judd 2001, 17.    

[103] McCaslin 2000, 22; and McCaslin 2001, 22-24.

[104] Wing Security Controller summary, 1. 862nd CES, Minot AFB. Off-Base Disaster Control Grid Map [map]. 1:250,000. Minot AFB, North Dakota: 9 Nov. 1965. (Courtesy of Jim Klotz). This notation by the Wing Security controller appears to indicate that they also knew the location of the UFO on the ground, or were privy to communications with RAPCON at the time.

[105] Later, in the Basic Reporting Data, Werlich notes: “Visual sighting data: 3200 feet MSL, 335 degrees MH [magnetic heading], approximately 180 IAS.” In addition: “Position of aircraft during visual sighting: 14 nautical miles 320 radial of the Deering TACAN at 3200 feet MSL” (2, 3). For Minot AFB, 24 Oct. 68: Declination = 12° 59' E changing by 0° 2' W/year. Calculated at:

[106] Transcription, 0913-0921. IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) is a set of regulations and procedures whereby navigation is maintained with reference to aircraft instruments. A “surveillance approach” is a “non-precision approach” in which only azimuth is provided to keep the aircraft on the runway centerline as viewed on radar.

[107] Transcription, 0921[+]. The runway length is 13,200 feet, or 2.5 miles long.

[108] Runyon 2005, 14-15. Also: Runyon 2000, 12.  

[109] Partin, James, Air Force Form 117 (AF-117), Sighting of Unidentified Phenomena Questionnaire, 30 October 1968, 1, 3.  Regarding discrepancies in the B-52 onboard time, see: Discrepancies and Omissions in the Transcription of Recorded Conversations, 24 October 1968. Note: the ‘first visual sighting” location is actually north of Minot AFB.

[110] Partin, AF-117, 1, 2, 5, 7.

[111] Partin, AF-117, 4.  

[112] Partin 2001, 2-3. Partin’s recall that he changed seats with the co-pilot is incongruous. It is improbable that he would unstrap and change positions with the co-pilot, particularly while piloting the B-52 at low altitude. Runyon also rejects the possibility insisting that he remained in the right seat during the entire flight.

[113] Basic Reporting Data, 7. Partin was also an instructor pilot, but during this flight was being evaluated to maintain pilot ratings by Capt. Cagle. When he first observed the object he was turning onto a heading of 290 degrees [not 335], and piloting the B-52 from the left seat [not the right seat]. Also, he reported, “I turned onto the base leg about one mile [not within approximately two miles] to the south of the light and was above it” (AF-117, 4). It is not clear how Werlich obtained his information, since Partin did not complete the AF-117 questionnaire until 30 October, nearly two days after Werlich had transmitted the Basic Reporting Data (AF-117, 8). RAPCON stated, “JAG 31 (garbled) requests that somebody from your aircraft stop in at basops after you land.” [Perhaps “(garbled)” identified the requestor?]. Partin was the senior officer and attended the debriefing, which may have been the source, or second-hand source of Werlich’s information.

[114] Runyon 2005, 15.

[115] Runyon 2005, 15-16. Also: Runyon 2000, 12-14.

[116] Runyon 2005, 16.

[117] The body of the object is described as: egg-shaped (Runyon), football-shaped (Goduto), cough drop-shaped, and elliptically-shaped (McCaslin), and oblong (Partin), possibly watermelon-shaped, which could be defined as a prolate ellipsoid, generated by revolving an ellipse about its major axis with the polar diameter greater than the equatorial diameter.

[118] Runyon 2000, 13, 20.

[119] Runyon 2000, 12, 14; and Runyon 2005, 18.

[120] McCaslin 2000, 12-13. Also: “At that briefing it was described as an orangish, elliptically-shaped object—not perfectly circular, but elliptically-shaped, with kind of a halo—a boomerang-shaped exhaust, if you will, of the same color, slightly separated from the elliptical shape.  I didn’t see it, so I just go with what the pilot said, but that’s what I was told. And that’s my memory of what General Holland was told” (McCaslin 2001, 30). Goduto recalls, “Brad’s description that came over intercom was it was kind of a reddish, orangish football shape” (2001, 19-22).

[121] McCaslin 2001, 23-24. Partin recalls: “When I described to the crew over the interphone what I was seeing, the Navigator, the Radar-Navigator, and everybody tried to get up in our lap in the cockpit and—(laughs)” (2001, 4).

[122] Transcription, 0921[+]-0928. In his AF-117, Partin notes: “I turned onto the base leg about one mile South of the light and was above it” (4). After 0921, the time-code is absent and the final 0928 is erroneous. It appears as though the communications transcript was cut-and-pasted, or edited to include only procedural instructions, in which case the associated time references were problematic and simply excluded. It is unknown who actually transcribed the RAPCON tapes. Werlich informed the Blue Book staff: “Anyway, I’m sending the RAPCON TAPES” (Memo, 1 Nov. 68, 4). The reader may want to compare this transcription with the Transcriptions included in the B-52H Aircraft Mishap Report, 4 Oct 68, HQ AFSC/JAR. Claude Poher also reconstructed the timing and pattern of the final circuit. See: Poher, Appendix 1, Timing of the B-52 Approach Trajectory and Setting of the Radarscope Clock. Note: Poher based his reconstruction on the B-52 clearing the WT fix and departing FL200 at 3:54, whereas our reconstruction is based on 3:58.

[123] B-52 EWO Capt. Thomas Goduto: “Events that happened from landing to getting home we did again and again, and they’re always the same. You’d taxi in, park the airplane, unload the airplane, get on the bus, you’d go through the 781 and write up discrepancies, finish off paperwork—flight paperwork. [By discrepancies you mean equipment malfunctions?] Malfunctions. We had to go to maintenance debriefing. It was a formal debriefing.  Each aircraft specialty—engines, radar, electronic countermeasures, gunnery, hydraulics, electrical—those maintenance people would all be there and then we as a crew would go in and we’d sit pilot, co-pilot, radar nav, nav, EW, gunner, and they would read our write-ups, and then if there was a question understanding what the write-up meant, we would verbally communicate. Once it was all understood, they’d go work on the airplane, or make work orders to work on the airplane, and we would pack up our stuff and go back out on the bus. As electronic warfare officer, one of my crew responsibilities was taking care of all the classified material that we had. I had to go into the wing headquarters—not necessarily the command post, but another area so that I could deposit the classified communications information and crew materials that we would normally carry. Normally the pilots would go to the command post and drop off the mission paperwork, and I would go and take care of the classified material. I don’t know how quick you think this all happens, but from landing time; taxi time; bus time; prepare to go into debriefing; have a beer; get into maintenance debriefing; get back on the bus; get back to the wing headquarters; and be done so you can walk out to your cars—probably beyond an hour, maybe an hour and a half” (2001, 22-23).

[124] McCaslin: “Ordinarily they’d just wait for us to hand them in. We were met when we walked into the building by people wanting the film… they were not waiting for us to come to them, in this case” (2001, 43).

[125] McCaslin 2001, 29.

[126] O’Connor 2005, 13-14; Isley 2001, 12; and Jablonski 2005, 15.

[127] “In order to access the missile silo, maintenance crews had to pass through "formidable mechanical barriers" in a process that often took up to an hour. First, a weather cover was opened, a combination entered, and the vault door removed. This allowed for retraction of the locking shaft, and operation of the hydraulic controls used to slowly raise the steel and concrete primary door. The crew could then descend a few feet down the cylindrical shaft and enter another combination into the secondary door (B-plug), and retract the locking bolts. Following a preset, timed interval, the large steel B-plug would slowly lower to the level of the upper equipment room. The crews could then climb down into the equipment room surrounding the missile silo, lower their equipment, and begin maintenance tasks. See, “Chapter 5, Maintenance Crew” available from: Missile Plains Section II Chapter 5.pdf. In addition: Bruce Ecker’s spherical panoramic image of the Delta-9 LF at Ellsworth AFB shows the personnel access doors open. (In 1991, Ellsworth AFB, SD, was deactivated and Delta-1 LCF, and Delta-9 LF incorporated into the National Park System. At Delta-9, a glass enclosure has been placed over the top of the Minuteman missile in its silo for public viewing). Available from: Also, an image in the lower equipment room and the retracted B-plug is available from:

[128] O’Connor 2005, 14. In addition: “[There was no reason for you to stop.] No, no reason to stop. The SAT team was there, they were unlocking the gate getting ready to go in. [The gate was locked but all that stuff was open inside?] Yeah, that’s what caught my eye, and if I hadn’t seen the SAT team rolling up the road I would have stopped and checked it out” (O’Connor 2005, 15).

[129] Smith 2001, 14. Regarding LF access, alarm systems, and Standardization (Stanboard) teams, see: Smith 2001 6-10, 21. Smith does not appear to recall the weather cover being open.

[130] Basic Reporting Data, 7-8.

[131] Smith 2001, 22-23, 13.

[132] Memo, 1 Nov. 1968, 2-3. Werlich also informs Marano: “This weekend I would like to go down with a geiger counter and go down to the OSCAR-7 break-in” (1). Regarding LF intrusion alarms see: Bond 2005, 11-14; and Smith 2005, 9-10.

[133] Clark, Richard, 2003. Transcript of interview by Thomas Tulien, 11 July (Sign Oral History Project), 14.  Also, during the B-52 crew debriefing, McCaslin and Runyon recall that General Holland discussed an incident at one of the missile sites, in which a UFO was hovering over a security alert team in a vehicle. McCaslin: I don’t think he gave us a great bunch of detail. I mean he talked in terms of, “Well, a couple of security policemen were—had this thing hovering right over them.” Scared ‘em to death. A couple of young guys. [Hovering over their vehicle?] Over their vehicle, and that—my memory is it’s at that briefing where I learned that when they saw that thing leave them, they—my memory is that he said that it went dark—it was hovering over them—that it went dark and lifted up” (2001, 29). And: Runyon 2005, 20-21.

[134] Goduto, Thomas, 2000. Transcript of interview by Jim Klotz. 22 November (Sign Oral History Project), 5.

[135] Wing Security Controller summary, 1.
From Robert Hastings’ book, UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites: More UFOs at Minot AFB in 1967-68. “In 2005, I posted a series of messages on the Yahoo missile_talk group’s bulletin board, summarizing the testimony of former and retired USAF sources who had reported their UFO-related experiences at various nuclear missile sites over the years. My hope was that some of the Yahoo group’s members, largely made up of U.S. Air Force missileers, would be encouraged to come forth and discuss their own experiences. A few members of the group, including Larry Manross, did just that. He wrote, Robert, You are right on. As a launch crew commander at Minot AFB from 1966-1970, I will tell you that there were UFO incidents. In one incident [during which I was present] the security team upstairs went into a defensive posture with lights turned out. They had called in a UFO sighting to the base and radar was tracking it. All of a sudden it buzzed the launch control center and that was when they cut the lights and took a defensive position. The details are fairly slim on the incident, [but it occurred sometime during] 1967 or ‘68. It was treated by the Air Force as a non-incident. In other words, no report was asked for from the missile crew. I am not certain if the security team made a report, but the whole thing made you feel somewhat uneasy. At the time, I was a 1st Lieutenant and was the junior officer in the capsule. The security team kept us informed of their concerns. Especially the buzzing of the launch control center. Sitting downstairs you obviously didn’t see a thing. I wish I had been upstairs when the incident took place, but as you know the launch crews were down in the capsules for 24 hour uninterrupted stretches. But base ops did confirm that they were tracking an unidentified object on radar. The number of UFO incidents at the time, during 1966-’70, were so frequent, that in the summer the security team sometimes would put chairs in front of the building, or on the roof of the building to watch for UFOs. Can you believe it?”

----- Original Message -----
From: Larry Manross
To: Robert Hastings
Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2010 12:17 PM
Subject: RE: UFOs at Minot


Let me clarify my experience for is some 40 years ago.
1. I was in the 742 squadron. The capsules we manned were K,L,M N,O. I was primarily assigned to K or L.
2. I do not remember the name of the senior officer that assignment...he was not the usual commander I was assigned with. He was several years older than I and was a career officer I believe. I was never assigned with him again and don't remember much about him. He may have been in a different squadron. Sometimes they mixed and matched us when they were having scheduling problems. 3. The year was 67 or 68 before I moved up to the commander role.
4. As I stated, I was attempting to sleep while the commander was dealing with security upstairs and the base headquarters regarding some unidentified object. He called for backup when the board lit up on him and then went blank, back to normal.
5. That was when I became engaged. The commander was rattled and so was the security team upstairs. The security team reported that something had buzzed the LCC and that they had gone into a defensive posture, turning out the lights and drawing their weapons. They indicated it was very bright and traveling at a high rate of speed. They did not describe any shape etc...other than it was bright. 6. Base headquarters reported that the unidentified object was no longer on radar and that was the last we heard of it.
7. There was no debriefing...nada. Just another day pulling an alert in Minot. I do remember the senior officer saying something about how I should not talk about the incident without getting authorization. It was the first thing I told my wife when I walked in the door after returning to the base.
8. All the officers talked about ufos and what was going on. As you can imagine there was quite a range of opinions. The stories were rampant including:
A. The security teams sitting on the roof watching for ufos in the evening. This was a common occurrence.
B. The story of a security team stationed at one of the missile launchers because the radar surveillance was out. If the surveillance went down they always stationed a team 24/7 on the site. As the story goes there was an object that scared them to death, as it hovered over the launch pad. They discharged their weapons and claim they heard plinks as the bullets hit the object. As you know, discharging a weapon in the military is considered serious and requires reports etc....Every security team I worked with said it was a true story and had taken place at Minot AFB. They even named the missile launcher where it took place and those who took part in it.
C. The common assumption among many was that the objects were somehow drawing power from the missile warheads.
I hope that this point by point description is helpful for you.

[136] Bond 2005, 20-23.

[137] Base Operations dispatcher, 0926-0940.

[138] Jablonski, 2005, 16-17, 18.

[139] Base Operations dispatcher, 0940-1010.

[140] Jablonski, AF-117, 9.

[141] Jablonski, AF-117, 5. Also: “The object appeared to move more westerly each time but never could be seen in the westerly direction until the last and final illuminations at 05:10 lasting until approx. 05:18 when it no longer could be seen” (6).

[142] Bond, AF-117, 5. The time of Bond’s last observation (5:34) is determined by the length of time stated in his AF-117 of 2 hours 26 minutes (3), given the time of his initial observation as 3:08 (1). Jablonski and Adams both noted the time of their last observation as 5:18 for a length of time of 2 hours 10 minutes (AF-117s, 1, 3). The camper team reported the initial observation to Oscar-FSC Smith at 2:15, for a total reporting time of 3 hours and 19 minutes.

[143] Bond 2005, 23.