The Echo Flight ICBM Incident
Retired USAF Officer Confirms Receiving A UFO Report Just as the Missiles Failed
June 4, 2011
On March 16, 1967, ten Minuteman I nuclear missiles operated by Malmstrom Air Force Base's Echo Flight suddenly malfunctioned, one after the other, just as a "large, round object" was reported hovering above one of them—according to retired USAF Col. Walter Figel, one of two launch officers on duty during the incident.
Figel received the startling news while in the missile flight's underground Launch Control Capsule, during a two-way radio conversation with an Air Force security guard posted at the missile silo in question. Although highly skeptical of the report, then-Lieutenant Figel dispatched two-man Security Alert Teams to the field to investigate. At least one of them confirmed the presence of the UFO.
These astounding admissions were audio-taped, with Col. Figel's permission, during three of our telephone conversations—in 2008, 2009 and 2010—in which Figel discussed the incident in great detail and, importantly, refuted the erroneous and deceptive claims of one James T. Carlson, who has posted countless messages in cyberspace over the past few years, falsely stating that there were no reports of a UFO being present at the time of the missile malfunctions. I will have more to say about Carlson's patently bogus allegations in a moment.
Links to excerpts from my 2008 conversation with Figel appeared in my article, "The Echo/Oscar Witch Hunt", posted at The UFO Chronicles in September 2010. However, the full-length tape of that interview has never been publicly accessible—until now. A link to it has been inserted below, as well as links to the conversations I had with the retired colonel in 2009 and 2010.
Figel's candid admissions are of obvious importance and deserve the widest possible exposure on the Internet. I am asking everyone reading this to utilize social networking and every other means of disseminating information to assist in this endeavor—not only to spread the word about the reality of UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites, but also to help neutralize the great many falsehoods posted by James Carlson at various websites' blogs.
It should be noted that Col. Figel had first gone on the record about a UFO presence during the Echo Flight missile shutdown in a 1996 audio-taped conversation with another ex-Minuteman missile launch officer, former USAF Capt. Robert Salas. (Links to excerpts from that conversation also appear in my Witch Hunt article.)
Shortly before, Salas had broken the news of his own involvement in a second UFO-related mass missile shutdown at Malmstrom in the spring of 1967. Attempting to reconstruct that incident using only the fragmentary, declassified information available to him at the time—largely secured by researcher Jim Klotz via the Freedom of Information Act—Salas at first thought that he had been at Echo Flight, and then at November Flight, during his disconcerting encounter with the unknown.
However, upon locating and speaking with the other missile launch officer present for the second event, now-retired Col. Fredrick Meiwald, Salas finally learned that the pair had been at Oscar Flight, something Meiwald unequivocally confirmed to Salas on audiotape in 1996. Links to excerpts from that conversation appear in my Witch Hunt article as well, in which Salas discussed the sudden appearance of a reddish-colored, oval-shaped UFO that briefly hovered above the flight's Launch Control Facility. The LCF's head guard had frantically called the underground launch capsule and reported the object's abrupt arrival to Salas—just moments before the flight's missiles malfunctioned.
During the same conversation Col. Meiwald also mentioned that, shortly after the UFO departed, a Security Alert Team had been dispatched to one of Oscar's missile silos to investigate a tripped alarm there. Over the years, Salas had forgotten that detail so Meiwald reminded him that the team reported seeing another (or possibly the same) UFO hovering at that location and, scared witless by the spectacle, had rushed back to the LCF as quickly as possible. Meiwald said that the guards were so shaken that they had to be transported back to Malmstrom before the end of their shift.
In short, both Salas and Meiwald confirm a UFO presence during the Oscar Flight missile shutdown incident which occurred on the evening of March 24, 1967—eight days after the event at Echo Flight. (Exactly how that date was determined is discussed on the tapes linked to this article.) Col. Meiwald has also confirmed that he and Salas had been debriefed—that is, interrogated—about the incident by an agent from the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations and were required to sign national security non-disclosure statements.
Salas kept his silence until the mid-1990s, when he finally felt compelled to inform the American public about the reality of UFO incursions at nuclear weapons sites—something I had been doing on the college lecture circuit since 1981, having first interviewed dozens of ex-USAF personnel who had been involved in such incidents.
Salas and I met in 1998 and began sharing research data. On September 27, 2010, we co-sponsored the UFO-Nukes Connection press conference in Washington D.C. which was streamed live by CNN. Our press release, announcing the event, went viral and was the #1 most-viewed, most-shared item on the prestigious Reuters news agency website for four straight days. A video of the press conference can be seen below:
The affidavits of the six ex-USAF officers and one ex-enlisted man who participated in the event, together with the small cross-section of declassified USAF and FBI documents, relating to UFO activity at nukes sites, that we distributed to the members of the media in attendance, may be found here.
Now, despite the fact that three of the four launch officers involved in the two mass-missile shutdowns at Malmstrom AFB, in March 1967, have unequivocally confirmed a UFO presence coinciding with the malfunctions, debunker James Carlson chooses to believe otherwise and has spent countless hours posting lengthy rants online, viciously defaming anyone who disputes his version of events. He has repeatedly referred to Bob Salas and me as "liars and frauds" and has written similar disparaging commentary about other ex-USAF personnel who support our assertions, including Col. Meiwald.
Further, as previously noted, Carlson has also completely misrepresented, in the most brazen manner, Col. Figel's clearly confirmatory statements about a UFO being sighted at Echo Flight—as you will hear upon listening to my taped conversations with Figel, in which he repeatedly refutes Carlson's many falsehoods.
What sets James Carlson apart from countless UFO debunkers is that his father, Eric Carlson, was the other officer in the Echo Flight launch capsule when Walt Figel heard the report of a UFO hovering over the missile that had just dropped offline.
Although the elder Carlson was sitting "two feet away" when that call took place, according to Figel, he claims to have no memory of a UFO presence being reported during the incident. Nor does Carlson recall being debriefed back at Malmstrom, while again sitting next to Figel, as Figel discussed in great detail the reports he had received from multiple missile guards and maintenance personnel in the field—all of whom, according to Figel, confirmed observing a "large, round object" hovering over one of the stricken missiles.
While it's possible that the elder Carlson has developed memory problems over the years—something he denies—it's much more likely that he simply does not want to talk about the dramatic, national security-related event at Echo Flight, even decades later. After all, according to Col. Figel, at the conclusion of their debriefing by their commander and several other persons not introduced to them, he and Carlson were told, "Thank you very much. Don't talk about it." One may actually listen to Figel discussing those events during the taped conversations linked to this article.
As one will hear, Col. Figel also calls James Carlson's grossly-distorted, often completely dishonest version of the facts "misguided" and "off-base" and says that Carlson "has an ax to grind".
In any case, despite James Carlson's endless, reality-detached rants on countless blogs, the available evidence strongly suggests that UFOs were indeed involved in disrupting the functionality of two flights of nuclear missiles at Malmstrom AFB, Montana in March 1967.
Actually, in the context of the testimony offered by more than 120 ex-U.S. military personnel whom I have interviewed over the years, as well as hundreds of declassified documents—all confirming the reality of ongoing UFO incursions at nuclear weapons sites—reports of a UFO presence at Malmstrom's Echo and Oscar Flights is not terribly surprising.
Now that Col. Figel's numerous, detailed, affirmative statements—about having received a report of a UFO hovering over one of his missiles—are finally available for anyone to listen to, James Carlson will probably claim that Figel's memory is muddled, due to the passage of decades.
On the other hand, it's equally likely that Carlson will just continue to lie about what Figel has said to researchers—something James has been doing for years—in the hope that only a few people will take the time to listen to these important tapes, which reveal the truth about the UFO incident at Echo Flight.