Echo Flight UFO Incident Not Unique

Retired Col. Frederick Meiwald Says "Bright Object" Also Sighted During Oscar Flight Missile Malfunctions

Previously posted at UFO Chronicles

On September 27, 2010, seven U.S. Air Force veterans took part in a press conference in Washington D.C. during which they discussed dramatic UFO incursions at nuclear weapons facilities in the 1960s and '70s. CNN streamed the event live—see below …

One of the participants, former USAF Captain Robert Salas, spoke of being on duty as an ICBM launch officer at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, in March 1967, when a UFO disrupted key systems in each of the ten Minuteman nuclear missiles under his control. Although Salas first divulged the astonishing Oscar Flight UFO Incident in 1995, and had even discussed it at previous public events, the unprecedented, worldwide media coverage surrounding the September 2010 UFO-Nukes Connection press conference resulted in huge publicity for the still-classified case.

On the other hand, intriguing, corroborative statements by the other officer on duty during the Oscar missile-shutdown event, now-retired Colonel Frederick C. Meiwald, have received far less attention. Although Meiwald had candidly discussed it during a tape-recorded telephone conversation with Salas in 1996, his reluctance to talk about the subject further has been obvious.

Nevertheless, during a second telephone interview, conducted on May 6, 2011, Col. Meiwald cautiously confirmed to me that a "bright, flying object at low-level" had indeed been sighted near one of Oscar Flight's missile silos during the disruption event. Then-Captain Meiwald had received the startling report from a two-man Security Alert Team sent to the site by his deputy missile commander, First Lieutenant Bob Salas, to investigate the reason for triggered alarms there. After making their report to Meiwald by radio, the terrified team had raced back to Oscar's Launch Control Facility, frantic to get inside. The men had apparently been so distraught that they had to be transported back to Malmstrom before the end of their normal work shift.

Later, after returning to the base themselves, Meiwald and Salas had been debriefed by an agent from the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and ordered to sign national security non-disclosure statements relating to the incident.

An audio link to my taped conversation with Meiwald appears below.

Meiwald's revelations are especially important because a number of UFO debunkers, following the cue of James T. Carlson, have noisily claimed that Bob Salas has been lying about his UFO-related experience at Oscar—allegedly making up the story to increase sales of his book Faded Giant, in which the topic of UFOs at Malmstrom AFB's missile sites is extensively examined.

But Carlson's oft-repeated, frequently hysterical accusations are completely untrue, according to Col. Meiwald, who told me that Salas has reported the UFO-related events at Oscar Flight "very accurately."

During the incident, deputy missile commander Bob Salas had been on alert in the underground Launch Control Capsule when he suddenly received a frantic telephone call from his head guard, the Flight Security Controller, saying that a glowing, oval-shaped craft was hovering over the ground-level Launch Control Facility (LCF). Within seconds, one of flight's ICBMs malfunctioned—its guidance and control (G&C) system disrupted by an unknown force.

Salas quickly alerted Captain Meiwald, who had been resting at the time, whereupon Meiwald took his position at the commander's consol. Within a minute or two, all ten missiles had dropped offline, according to Salas. (Meiwald recalls the number as six-to-eight.) Regardless, had U.S. President Lyndon Johnson ordered a nuclear strike against the Soviet Union at that moment, most or all of Oscar Flight's ICBMs would have remained in their subterranean silos.

Just as this crisis was unfolding, alarms began sounding in the launch capsule, indicating that the security at some of Oscar's widely-separated missile silos (known as Launch Facilities or LFs) had been breached. Salas immediately ordered Security Alert Teams to those locations to investigate. According to Col. Meiwald, that is when one of those teams reported observing a UFO near one of the sites. But let's now listen to Meiwald, as he tells the story himself:

Robert Hastings' Call to Col. Frederick C. Meiwald

What follows is a partial transcript of my May 6, 2011 telephone interview with Col. Meiwald. Emphasized words are italicized; confidential comments have been excluded at Meiwald's request; numerous "uh" and "um" sounds, uttered by both of us, have been eliminated for easier reading, although I retained a few of them when appropriate.

After I introduced myself to Meiwald and described my association with his former deputy missile commander, Bob Salas, I asked Meiwald whether the telephone interview might be tape-recorded. He agreed and our conversation about the mass-missile shutdown incident at Malmstrom's Oscar Flight, in March 1967, began.

(Unfortunately, an electronic hum mars the quality of the tape and makes Meiwald's soft voice hard to hear at times. However, if one reads the transcript below while listening to it, the colonel's important comments are discernable.)

Hastings/Meiwald interview, 2011
Robert Hastings interview with Col. Frederick C. Meiwald, May 6, 2011
duration: 11:04

FM: Okay, essentially, I was resting—whether or not I was sound sleep I don't recall—but I know Bob got me up because we had unusual indications on the consol, plus we'd had a security violation and, uh, the response team that [inaudible] had gone out to investigate at one of the LFs. They reported unusual activity over there and—by that time I was up—and saw consol indications. [I] also directed that the strike team return to the LCF while maintaining radio contact on the way back. As they came back we did lose radio contact for a short period of time, however, the flight [security] leader—the person who was in charge at the time—recognized the team as it was approaching the LCF and opened the gate so that his troops could get in.

RH: Okay. The letter that you sent Bob [on October 1,] 1996 elaborated on the phone conversation that you and Bob had—uh, I think it was in August 1996—in which you said that the persons, the Security Alert Team that had gone out at, I guess, Bob's direction, had seen something that scared them silly and they beat a hasty retreat back to the LCF. Do you remember that part of it?

FM: That's basically true. I can't remember [my] exact words, but they were directed to come back to the LCF upon completion of their mission [inaudible].

RH: Uh, they apparently described seeing an object in the sky. Do you remember any of the details?

FM: I remember them saying something along those lines [inaudible] to me. Beyond that, I couldn't elaborate.

RH: Okay. Now, when Bob, I think moments [after] he woke you up, or you got up and sat down at the commander's console—he of course had received a call from the Flight Security Controller, saying that there was a bright red, oval-shaped object hovering over the security fence gate—my understanding is that is what he told you as soon as you were at your consol, that he had received this call and, uh, that of course coincided with the missiles beginning to malfunction. Do you recall him telling you that?

FM: I really don't remember that portion of it, relative to the bright object. I remember an unusual condition [but] as far as the details, uh, I can't elaborate on that.

RH: Okay. He of course has also said that you two were, uh, when you were back at Malmstrom, you were debriefed by OSI and required to sign non-disclosure statements. Do you remember that?

FM: I remember being directed to do that. But that was no problem. I've been one of these people, when told to forget something, I forget it—eventually [inaudible].

RH: Right, well, is that a polite way of saying that you really don't want to discuss this, even though you know more than you're saying?

FM: No, I'm saying I don't remember.

RH: Okay, well, it's been 44 years. That's right.

FM: That's right!

Hastings tells Meiwald that he will send the colonel links to various articles he has written about the UFO incidents at Malmstrom AFB. (A new one—summarizing an earlier UFO-related missile shutdown incident at Malmstrom's Echo Flight, on March 16, 1967, some eight days before the Oscar Flight incident—has recently been posted at this website. The article contains audio links to my taped interviews with retired Col. Walter Figel, a former ICBM launch officer, who confirmed that a "large, round object" had been reported hovering over one of Echo's missiles just as that entire flight failed. This contradicts the statements of the other officer on duty at Echo that day, Captain Eric Carlson, who claims to have no memory of UFOs being involved. Debunker James Carlson is Eric's son.)

RH: Walt Figel, even though he has told me—he was in the same situation that Bob was, basically—Eric Carlson was resting and Walt was at the [deputy commander's] consol over at Echo and suddenly his first missile dropped offline. When he called the security guard who was out at the site—because the site was down overnight for maintenance; there was a two-man maintenance team there, and the security guard—when Walt Figel called the security guard, to ask if the team was working on the missile, uh, at some point the security guard said there was a quote large, round object end quote hovering directly over the silo.

And, even though he's acknowledged all of that and even though he said that, uh, back at base, he and Carlson were debriefed and told not to talk about this, he nevertheless has gone on-the-record about there being a UFO hovering above the missile when it went down. Now, you may or may not know—even though he admits that took place and that Echo was a real event and there was a UFO present when the missiles failed—he does not believe that the incident at Oscar ever took place. In fact, he's come just shy of calling Bob Salas a liar.

FM: Oh, is that right?

RH: Absolutely, and, you know, I know that you have confirmed Bob's story … and yet Figel has just decided that this never happened. Um, so how would you respond to something like that? You've described the Security Alert Team being out in the field, seeing this object, and beating a hasty retreat to the [LCF] and yet Figel says none of that ever took place.

FM: We had an incident in October [sic] Flight. Whatever happened over at Echo, I have no idea. What Walt Figel may have relayed [to Bob Salas, during a taped phone conversation] 15 years ago, versus what he's saying at the present time, I have no idea. I have no way of making a judgment upon what he has, uh, expressed whatsoever. I think since leaving Malmstrom I have only seen Walt Figel one time and, uh, not even to talk to him. So I can't verify—and I certainly don't know [his] motives. All I know is relative to the situation within Oscar Flight itself and, basically, what Bob Salas has relayed, relative to our actions at Oscar. I can't verify anything outside of that.

RH: Okay … I think you got a call, or maybe an email or two from James Carlson, who is the son of Eric Carlson. Eric, uh, James Carlson, rather, has spent the last three years posting [hundreds] of posts, literally [hundreds] of posts all over the Internet, saying that Bob Salas is a liar and a fraud; that there were no UFOs at Malmstrom; there were no incidents such as Bob has described. When you apparently corroborated part of Bob's story—the part after you were awake, in your taped phone conversation in '96 and in the letter you wrote, when you confirmed what you could recall of it at that time—Carlson [subsequently] said he still doesn't believe it happened and he still continues to call Bob a liar and a fraud.

FM: All I can say is something happened [at Oscar] and, to the best of my knowledge, Bob Salas has stated what he believes [to be] true and I've supported the majority of what he has said. I have read his book and [although] I can not, you know, support what other folks are saying, I know what happened at Oscar. I know that Bob has relayed what happened at Oscar very accurately. But, what goes beyond that, I am not in a position to even express a viewpoint. I certainly can't question somebody else's judgment. Uh, I think it would be best if I said no more.

RH: Okay. But you will at least confirm that there were reports from the Security Alert Team [at Oscar] of a UFO at the LF they were out at, is that correct?

FM: Yes!

RH: Okay, and it was quite clear that object was saucer-shaped—or do you recall what the description was, other than it being a UFO or a flying saucer? Do you have any sense of what they reported to you?

FM: All I remember is a bright object; a bright, flying object at low-level. Beyond that, uh, I can't say.

RH: But they were terribly frightened by their experience?

FM: They were upset and were directed to come back to the LCF.

RH: Okay, and I believe you said in your [1996] letter that they were so frightened that they actually had to go [back to Malmstrom] early; they couldn't complete—

FM: Well, uh, one man I know was directed to go back to the base, at least one of them was—

RH: Okay, and—

FM: —Whether or not they flew a special helicopter out there to get him or not, I don't recall that, but I know that he did go back to the base a very upset individual.

RH: Okay. Do you remember, well, you're willing to confirm, as Bob has said, that your debriefing was in the presence of an OSI agent? Is that correct?

FM: That did take place.

RH: And you were required to sign non-disclosure statements about the incident?

FM: Right.

RH: Okay. Well, to be redundant here, what you were involved in—and what the other 120 people [who] I've interviewed over the years were involved in at various bases—is dramatic history. I mean, it's American history. It's suppressed history but, hopefully at some point, you know, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, are going to read about it in the history books, because it's real and it's quite obviously important—

FM: Okay, do you want to turn off the recorder, just for a moment? I have a side comment about something.

RH: Sure. You have my word [that] it's off.

After making a comment that must remain confidential, Col. Meiwald gives Hastings his address. Hastings says he will type-up the transcript of the conversation, at least the relevant portions, and forward it to Meiwald, together with a copy of his book UFOs and Nukes.

Meiwald's first conversation regarding the Oscar Flight shutdown incident, taped-recorded by Bob Salas in 1996, resulted in nearly-identical admissions by Meiwald. A partial transcript of that interview, together with a link to the audio tape itself, appeared in my article, "The Echo/Oscar Witch Hunt", which I posted at The UFO Chronicles website in September 2010. The transcript appears again here:

Bob Salas' 1996 Telephone Call to Col. Frederick Meiwald

Salas began by asking Meiwald whether he recalled the earlier UFO-related missile shutdown at Echo Flight—given that researcher Jim Klotz had recently accessed declassified documents relating to it and, therefore, knew the flight's designation. In response, Meiwald said that he didn't recall the Echo incident, only the one he and Salas had been involved in, at Oscar Flight.

Salas/Meiwald interview, 1996
Bob Salas interview with Col. Frederick C. Meiwald, 1996
duration: 2:39

FM: I just remember [laughs] our side of it.

RS: Yeah, alright, here's the sequence I remember: I remember receiving a call first and the security guard said, 'I've seen some UFOs up here flying around,' and I said, 'Ah, forget it.' I, uh, didn't believe him. I kinda hung up on him. And then, a little while later—I don't know how long it was, maybe five, ten minutes, maybe longer—they called back and the guy sounded real scared and said there was [a UFO] just outside the front gate. And, uh, he also said, I recall, that one of the other guards had gotten injured in some way. I don't think it was from the UFO; I think it was from, uh, trying to climb the fence or something like that. Uh, and then I hung up, or he hung up because he had to go—his guard got injured—and then I, I believe you were either getting up or I woke you up—and then some of our missiles started shutting down. Is that right?

FM: Uh huh.

RS: Is that about how you remember it?

FM: Right. We had security alarms and, uh—

RS: Yeah.

FM: —and problems at a couple of the, uh, sites.

RS: Yeah, okay, okay. Well, I'm sure glad I found you. [Both laugh]

[Were there] any reports from the field about UFOs?

FM: I remember that two guards that we had had gone out to one of the sites and finally got back scared to death and we had to relieve them of duty.

RS: Yeah. Oh, you mean our guards?!

FM: Yeah.

RS: Oh, I didn't know that.

FM: Yeah, a roving patrol type—

RS: Oh, I see—

FM: —and had gone out to one of the sites, uh, the LFs, and on the way back they lost radio contact and we ended up having to send them back to the base early—I'm not sure what happened but I don't think they ever returned to, uh, guard duty.

RS: What were they scared about?

FM: Oh, they had seen these, some crazy things and—

RS: Oh, they did?!

FM: Yeah, and—

RS: And they reported that to you?

FM: They reported it to the topside guy [the Flight Security Controller]—

RS: Oh, the topside guy. That's right. Okay, okay. Okay, well, interesting, don't you think?

FM: Yeah! [Both laugh]

Col. Meiwald's Follow-Up Letter to Bob Salas

Meiwald elaborated on all of this in an October 1, 1996 letter (seen below) to Salas which may be read in its entirety. According to Meiwald, the "crazy thing" that had frightened the guards so badly was a UFO. Excerpting from that letter:

Col. Frederick Meiwald's letter to Robert Salas, Oct. 1, 1996

"My records indicate that we were formed as a crew in Sept 66 in 'N' [November Flight] status. I don't have the date of update to 'R' [Romeo Flight]. Our home site was Oscar. I left crew duty for the Command Post in early Nov 67.

Related to the incident itself, I recall us being at the Oscar LCF. Topside security notified us [that] the mobile team had reported a 'UFO' while responding (obviously at your direction) to a situation at an outlying LF—this particular one being located just east of Highway 19, the state highway which runs north from Grass Range to the Missouri River. With little or no direction from higher authority (Command Post or Alternate Command Post), the Security team was directed to return to the LCF, maintaining radio contact at all times, as the security system reset. While enroute back to the LCF, radio contact was lost and remained out until the security vehicle approached the LCF. Two very upset young men wasted no time getting back inside.

I do not recall personnel injury of any type but the two individuals were sent back to the support base early. I heard second-hand that one was released from security team duties.

In a May 9, 2011 email to me, Bob Salas wrote, "I told Fred about the UFO over the gate of the LCF as he was waking up from a nap. The second [UFO] report apparently came to Fred from the FSC after the shutdowns and after I had directed the security team to one of the Oscar LFs, due to security incursion lights. Apparently the FSC communicated to Fred that an object was seen by the team as they were out responding to that security incursion. I was not a part of that conversation but I recalled Fred telling me about it after he wrote to me in 1996."

So, despite James Carlson's unfounded claim that Bob Salas has fabricated the story about having been involved in a full-flight missile shutdown at Malmstrom AFB, in March 1967, Salas' former missile commander, now-retired Col. Frederick Meiwald, has confirmed that such an incident did indeed happen—at Oscar Flight—and that the Security Alert Team sent out to investigate tripped alarms, just after the disruptions occurred, had been "scared to death" by the UFO they saw hovering over one of the silos.

James Carlson has known about all of this since September 2010, when I posted my "Echo/Oscar Witch Hunt" article at The UFO Chronicles, containing the audio link to excerpts from Salas' taped 1996 conversation with Meiwald. Not that it matters. True to form, Carlson has continued to brazenly lie about the dramatic events at Malmstrom AFB, claiming that no one other than Bob Salas has confirmed a UFO presence during the missile shutdowns.

Fortunately, relatively few people—mostly hardened skeptics irrevocably biased against the UFO reality—have been duped by Carlson's bogus claims. As for the rest of you, please circulate a link to this article far and wide. Simple facts, presented by the witnesses themselves, are the best antidote to the debunker's shameless dishonesty.