On January 30, 2013, I issued my latest press release, titled "Researcher Urges U.S. Military Veterans to Divulge Their UFO Sightings at Nuclear Weapons Sites". My hope was/is that persons who had not yet gone on-the-record about their UFO experiences would contact me at .
The first to do so, Larry Rogers, has provided an unexpected glimpse into UFO activity during the period of French atomic testing in the Sahara desert in the early 1960s. I have twice interviewed Mr. Rogers on the telephone and he has provided his DD214 military service record, which verifies his presence at a U.S. Air Force base in North Africa during that era.
In 1960, Airman 3rd Class Larry W. Rogers was assigned to the USAF's 3926th Air Police Squadron K-9, and stationed at Ben Guerir Air Base, in Morocco. At the time, France had begun to detonate its first atomic devices in neighboring Algeria, then a colony. The detonations took place at the Reggane test site, some 600 miles southeast of the American airbase.
Rogers told me, "I personally never saw the bright flash from any of the tests. What we could see was a sky that was brilliantly colored at sunrise and at sunset, as a result of the sand and other debris that was thrown into the atmosphere. In fact, it seemed like the whole dome of the sky was filled with color for days after each of those tests."
One night, shortly after such a detonation, Rogers and five other members of his squadron were on guard at the north end of the base runway, accompanied by their German Shepard companions. "I cannot even guess the time-frame," he said, "There are no seasons in the Sahara desert and so there was no distinctive weather that I could associate with the event. I'm afraid the date will remain unknown."
At some point, Rogers and the others began to notice a group of small glowing objects hovering in the sky, seemingly above the Atlas Mountains, some 90 miles away on the southeastern horizon. "There were maybe half-a-dozen of them. They were really bright but I don't know if they were lit up themselves or just reflecting the sun. They were high enough in the sky that, even though it was already dark, the sun below the horizon may have caught them in its glare."
Rogers continued, "The objects may have been directly above the mountains, or beyond them, or in front of them. You couldn't tell because of the distance and the darkness. Anyway, they looked strange to us so we called that in to the squadron's command post. A little while later, we saw four or five jet fighters streaking toward the lights. They had been launched from Zaragoza Air Force Base, in Spain, and flew almost directly over our position. They were really loud and you could see the blue-flame of their afterburners."
The guards watched the jets recede into the distance. A few minutes later, Rogers and the others saw them apparently interacting with the mysterious aerial lights. "We could tell when the fighters arrived, or we thought we could, because the UFOs suddenly began moving around really quickly and erratically. They had been nearly motionless earlier but now they zoomed one way or another, with sharp-angled turns, like they were playing tag with the jets. Some of the lights did full circles, like maybe they were flying completely around them. We couldn't believe what we were seeing. It was just amazing." Then he added, "My guess is that the UFOs were not there to observe an atomic test, but were there as a result of a test."
The aerial encounter lasted for perhaps 45 minutes. At that point, the fighters left the area, probably running low on fuel. Presumably, they flew back to their base in Spain. Rogers and his companions, after returning their dogs to the kennels and their weapons to the armory, were unexpectedly told to get into an Air Force sedan. They were then driven to the headquarters building, separated, put into different rooms, and debriefed by two officers in uniform.
"They were playing Good Cop, Bad Cop," Rogers told me. "One of them was calm when he asked me questions, but the other one put the fear of God in me, saying that if I talked about what I saw, I would deeply regret it. I suspect that they were OSI agents but I don't know for sure. I was shown a UFO regulation—I distinctly remember reading 'AFR 200-2' at the top—and ordered to sign a non-disclosure statement. I guess the other guys were as scared as I was because we never talked about the incident among ourselves again."
France conducted 210 nuclear tests between February 13, 1960 and January 27, 1996, either at the remote Algerian site mentioned by Rogers, or in French Polynesia. Four "shots" occurred in the Sahara desert during the period that he was stationed at Ben Guerir Air Base, in neighboring Morocco, including the first French A-bomb, code-named "Gerboise Bleue", on February 13, 1960.
Rogers' sighting occurred shortly after one of those tests, and the UFOs' presence was probably linked to it somehow, even though the unidentified aerial objects were at a rather great distance from the actual detonation site when they were observed by the Air Policemen. Had they been much closer to ground zero only minutes earlier? Or were those presumably aboard the craft monitoring drifting radiation clouds in the region of the Atlas Mountains? All of this is speculation, of course, and we will probably never know the answers.
A fuller discussion of UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites—including sightings by U.S. military personnel at bomb test areas in Nevada and the Pacific in the 1950s—may be found in my 600-page book, UFOs and Nukes, which is available at this site's Book page for $23.95. Beware, scalpers sell it at Amazon for $85 and up.