2011-03-17 / View From the Middle

My Two UFOs In The New Mexico Sky

View From The Middle
By Charles Rogers

I t was only a week or so ago that we saw a Long Island resident being interviewed on television regarding the Unidentified Flying Object he had seen hovering not far from his home. The man seemed to have all his wits about him — not a nut from the hinterlands who had been studying these phenomena since 1950 — but a reasonable, thinking Long Islander. He even taped some of the flying thing’s motions over his yard. Even with the technology available nowadays, however, it was hard to tell just what the thing was. It was blue and seemed to be spinning like a top.

We TV viewers couldn’t tell just how large it was because the man didn’t tape any frame of reference near it, such as a house or barn or trees. Actually, all we saw was this blue spinning thing that he called “a UFO.” The TV crew on site didn’t refute what he saw, but there was still that slight tone of skepticism in the reporter’s voice; you know: “Yeah. It was a flying saucer. Right!” And you’d half expect the reporter to wink slightly at the camera.

Well, maybe it was a flying saucer. Maybe not. BUT MAYBE IT WAS.......

Let me tell you about my experience, a tale I’ve not told before, at least not in print, only because I don’t like being laughed at. (Now I’m too old to give a heck whether you laugh or not).

I must refer to my duty in the U.S. Air Force as an air traffic controller/control tower operator, a job I’ve always been proud of. If you were going to see a UFO, what better place than from a control tower? My incident with the “flying saucer” took place while I was stationed at a little air base in Clovis, New Mexico (Of course it had to be New Mexico).

I was doing a midnight shift. A lonely shift no matter how much air traffic there is. Our airbase was pretty important, though, and we had lots and lots of jet aircraft, from small fighters (F-84s) to big bombers (B-52s, B-47s) all over the place. Some would fly during the overnight hours on practice missions, and that would include the bombers and fighters, as well as helicopters, etc.

Even so, that late shift turns boring along about 4 a.m., at which time you get a chance to take out the carafe of coffee and pour a large one and start munching on a Yodel while staring at the broad New Mexico sky filled with millions of blinking stars. When you’re trying to direct air traffic and you see the lights of an airplane in the distance against that sky, it’s hard to discern which is a star and which is the plane. But that’s what I was there for!

On this particular night I was eating my Yodel and gulping the coffee and had no real air traffic to direct at the time. I looked out of the tower at that beautiful sky and saw two of those wondrous stars in the distance moving.

Moving? They weren’t supposed to move. I didn’t have any air traffic in my region, but there was something out there, uh, moving…

As far in the distance as they were, I could see two of them appearing to bob up and down through the maze of stars, like two small flying insects against a backdrop of gold lamĂ©. They seemed to be having a wonderful time for themselves — zooming in and out of the spectacular night and then coming closer to the tower and, yes, getting bigger as they flew closer to the edge of the air base. Mind you, only about 60 seconds had gone by between my first sighting and the time they flew closer, and, at this point, they still only appeared to be “stars.” Even with my binoculars I couldn’t see anything recognizable, such as what you might see on a plane; just a couple of tiny, roundish bright, star-like lights.

Of course, my first duty was to call the overnight Officer in Charge, who, when I told him what was going on, immediately thought he was in a science fiction movie and “played the role” for all it was worth. “Harrumph!” he said. “What’s going on here?” in his loudest, throatiest voice, while trying to twirl the edge of his pointed mustache. And then, when he looked through the binoculars and saw the two hovering things, his demeanor changed abruptly. “Oh, my God,” he whispered to me. “What the hell is that?”

The next thing we (me and my science fiction boss) did was call and wake up the base commander so he could look at the still-hovering objects. When he arrived at the tower, he played the role too, and then wisely called for two jet pilots to climb aboard their F-84s and “get up there and see what those things are!”

With me at the microphone and — by this time — a control tower full of would-be sci-fi nuts, I cleared the F-84s for takeoff and they, uh, took off into the 5 a.m. New Mexico sky.

Meanwhile, remember those two alien buddies of mine hovering above the air base? Well, they decided to take off too. We saw them zoom into the sky until they again became pinpoints, and then they appeared to stop and hover about 5 miles in the distance. It seemed they were almost teasing us; doing some last minute toying with us. Our pilots saw them and started to give chase, but, after about half-aminute, the pinpoints became even smaller — and smaller — and disappeared, enveloped by the darkness. The jets stayed up for awhile, looking for the UFOs, and then landed.

We never heard anything about those truly unidentified flying objects again. Never saw them. Never really talked much about them. It was just “an incident” as far as everyone was concerned. And nobody seemed to be very concerned.

About two months later, I was summoned to the Commanding Officer’s office and interviewed by a Big Deal from Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, where they investigated such things as flying saucers and such phenomena and they “interrogated” me (no, not waterboarding!). Right after that, they issued special 3-D cameras to all military control towers to be used, uh, “just in case” in the future.

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