At SAC headquarters in 1958, a group of officers, airmen and missile engineers observed an elongated UFO with satellite objects for about 20 minutes.
The case was reported to NICAP by Major Paul A. Duich, USAF Retired, one of the witnesses, who was then on active duty.
Until recently, Major Duich was an Air Force Master Navigator, accumulating 4000 flying hours and 300 combat hours. During World War II he was one of those who saw foo fighters, while crew member of a B-29 making bomb runs on Japan.
The time was approximately 6:40 p.m. I had just ordered dinner at the Officers Club, Strategic Air Command Headquarters, Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, Nebraska. I excused myself from my friend and co worker, Major ****** , and went out the side door to cross the open space between the club and the Visiting Officers Quarters next door. I wanted to buy a newspaper in the lobby of the VOQ to read after dinner.
As I crossed the open area, something caught my eye. Glancing up and to the west, I noticed what appeared to be a short vapor trail in an otherwise clear, blue sky. There were no clouds. The sun had just set. I continued walking, but somehow that vapor trail didn't register properly. I have seen thousands of vapor trails but this one was peculiar. I did a double take at that point for suddenly the short vapor trail became a brilliant source of light, much the same as a magnesium flare. I stopped dead in my tracks and watched.
The light was intense, but the vapor trail hung motionless. Even a short trail shows generation and dissipation as the aircraft moves across the sky. I watched for several minutes, maybe 2 or 3, before I called to another officer:
Hey, what do you make of that?, pointing to the spot in the sky.
He replied: Looks like a short vapor trail.
I pointed out that it wasn't moving or growing or diminishing in size. He stopped to gape and several others joined us.
By then, I decided this called for a better look. What we all agreed, rather quickly, was that the vapor was reflecting sunlight, the effect being similar to a sun dog, even though the sun had already slipped below the horizon.
As the small crowd gathered, I hurried into the VOQ office and called the Offutt tower. I asked the tower operator to look west, about 30° from the horizontal and tell me what he saw.
Looks like a short vapor trail. Very odd.
Vapor trail my foot! Look at it now.
I could see it through the window as I talked to the tower operator. The glow was now diminishing and changing to a dull red orange and at the same time the fuzzy appearance gradually took on a solid look, in the distinct shape of a pencil or slender cigar. The upper end was blunter than the lower end.
By then, all those in the office were curious and we all stepped outside to join the 10 or 20 others who had gathered to look at the thing. All of a sudden we all started checking each others faces for some silly reason, for assurance of reality, perhaps, for as we watched there appeared at the lower end of the object a swarm of black specks cavorting every which way, much like a swarm of gnats. This procedure continued for a minute or so before they, the black specks, disappeared.
Then the object, which had hung motionless on the same spot, slowly changed attitude from an upright position to a 45° angle with the horizontal and started moving slowly toward the west. At the same time there was no drastic change in the coloring, but a perceptible color change did take place. It remained a dull orange red color and continued its westerly movement.
We watched in awe for several minutes, perhaps 5, and then the object changed attitude, again very gradually, until its longitudinal axis appeared parallel to the horizon. The westward movement continued, slightly to the southwest. The apparent size of the object diminished gradually and the color faded. About 5 minutes before we lost it completely, as it faded into the haze just above the horizon, the object changed attitude again, back toward the 45° position, but not quite.
As it continued on its westerly path, it maintained this last attitude until completely swallowed up by the haze. It never did drop below the horizon, just faded away. The fading, of course, was due to the many miles of hazy atmosphere between us and the object. The sky was cloudless, but the western horizon did have a slight haze, readily apparent against the bright background.
About 10 minutes after I sighted the object, a full colonel set up a tripod and 35 mm camera with color film and took several photographs of the object. He later denied getting any successful exposures after I asked him on several occasions.
Immediately after the object faded away, we asked one another what it was we saw. The popular answer was: I don't know, but I saw something.
The crowd was composed of airmen, officers and civilians, at least 25 officers and airmen were present. Several of the officers, and possibly a few civilians, were from the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division in Los Angeles. Several more, like myself, were Operations personnel engaged in a SAC planning session at the time. All except a few of the airmen were seasoned, veteran flyers or highly trained missile engineers. We concluded that what was seen by all was no conventional vehicle, nor was it an atmospheric phenomenon.
I collected a few names of individuals present, as I intended to report the UFO to the proper authorities. I called the filter center and reported the facts over the telephone in the presence of a fellow officer and co-worker. I was told that I would be contacted for interview within 48 hours by ATIC, Air Technical Intelligence Center representatives. I am still waiting 5½ years later.