Ufos in Vietnam - enemy helicopters -
VIETNAM UFO REPORTS
Military Sightings of UFO's
The question is often asked, why don't more military
UFO witnesses come forward publicly, and provide names, dates and places? Surely they aren't REALLY intimidated by such empty
threats as JANAP 146-E, which provides for hefty fines and jail sentences for breaking silence on a military UFO sighting.
Surely they realize the scientific import of
their sighting transcends any nationalist or military considerations. If more
military witnesses don't come forth publicly, isn't it possible that there aren't really as many
as hardcore ufologists
would have us believe? Its a question I've often asked myself.
GENERAL GEORGE S. BROWN
"THEY WEREN'T CALLED UFOs"
In 1968, I briefed General Brown the USAF Chief
of Staff most mornings on the intelligence situation in Vietnam. Later, at a press conference on October 16, 1973, he stated:
"I don't know whether this story has ever been told or not. They weren't called UFOs They were called enemy helicopters. And
they were only seen at night and they were only seen in certain places. They were seen up around the DMZ (demilitarized zone)
in the early summer of 68. And this resulted in quite a little battle. And in the course of this, an Australian destroyer
took a hit and we never found any enemy, we only found ourselves when this had all been sorted out. And this caused some shooting
there, and was no enemy at all involved but we always reacted. Always after dark. The same thing happened up at Pleiku at
the Highlands in 69. Department of Defense Transcript of press conference in Illinois.
June 16, 1909 - Dong Hoi, Vietnam - Van Thi Binh,
7, and her sisters were awakened by a whooshing sound at around 3 a.m. As they looked out the window, they saw a glowing "bolide"
flying slowly in an eastward direction over the city. The bright white glow lit up the rooftops, and the "bolide" was seen
by Vietnamese fishermen offshore. They watched it for 8 to 10 minutes before it abruptly dropped into the South China Sea.
Although it couldn't possibly have been a bolide or detonating meteor (Not at that slow speed!), it was written up as such
in the French magazine L'Astronomie.
(See the book ANATOMY OF A PHENOMENON by Jacques
Vallee, page 28)
10:30 a.m. Witnesses: many in crowd watching a
white-silver disc-shaped object flew straight
and fast for 2
minutes In Chicago, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff
Gen. George S.
Brown told a news conference Tuesday UFOs were
Vietnam during the war and even triggered an air-sea
the Demilitarized Zone in 1968 in which an Australian
was hit. "I don't know if this story has ever
been told," Brown
told a news conference, but they (UFOs) "plagued
us in Vietnam
during the war." "I think it's nothing," Brown
said, "I think
it is atmospherics."
Que Son Valley 1969
Hello; I served in Vietnam from 1968-72 with a
few breaks to wash my socks, etc.. During the summer of 1969, early Fall; I was on LZ West (Que Son Valley, I Corps) with
the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. One night at say 2300-0100 I saw a glowing light move from above another Fire Base (LZ Siberia)
over the five or so miles across a valley below our base and then pass over at a speed of say 300-500 mph........then rise
off still going East towards the sea (Chu Lai). I reported it to the Battalion XO and he got the CO; as I was Senior Bn medic:
I was not suspect as to my observations. Others on the bunker line also saw the event. Our theory was that since I heard nothing
it was not a plane or chopper and the CO said a 122mm rocket could not make such a course change? but who knows? We had just
finished the heavy combat of August 12-30th, 1969 known in the book Death Valley (Keith Nolan). What did I see? Who knows.
Perhaps a "dud" 122 rocket but perhaps something else? xxx xx xxxxxxx
B-52 Crew Mutilation
Several years ago, Bill English, son of an Arizona
legislator and former Captain in the Green Berets had been
assigned to an RAF `listening Post' north of London
information analyst. English was, in the course of his duties,
asked to prepare an analysis of the elusive GRUDGE
13 report. On
his discharge from his work at the `listening Post' he returned
to the United States and began to do a
little UFO research on his
own. English had been no stranger to the UFO phenomenon. In Viet
Nam he was member of a Special
Forces investigative team that
went in to retrieve a B-52 that was forced down by a UFO and all
the occupants killed.
Communications had been received from the
B-52 before it went down to the effect that it was "....under
attack by a
UFO....", a "....large light....". The plane was
found intact, sitting in the jungle There was no swath
a crash landing. Only the bottom of the fuselage
showed any damage, there was no damage to the underside of the
pods. Although the plane was completely intact the entire
crew had been mutilated.
Pacific Stars and Stripes
information for NVA helicopters
For date 68 06 19
Quang Tri Province, I Corps, South Vietnam
Description: 19Jun68(Wed)-North Viets May Be Using Copters SAIGON (UPI & S&S) - Unidentified aircraft,
believed to be enemy helicopter, have been spotted and fired on by U.S. Navy vessels near the eastern end of the Demilitarized
Zone, the U.S. military command in Vietnam said Monday night. If they are enemy copters, it marks the first time they have
been used in the war. The report comes on the heels of rumors that a Communist copter gunship was responsible for the sinking
of a Navy Swift boat, the PCF 19, at 1:30 a.m. Sunday a few miles below the DMZ. It was the first U.S. gunboat lost in the
war. Early reports on the sinking indicated it was the work of Communist shore batteries above the DMZ. The boat went down
about a mile offshore, four miles below the DMZ. Five of the seven crewmen were listed as missing. The other two were picked
up. A South Vietnamese general said Monday U.S. warplanes shot down seven North Vietnamese copters from the skies around the
DMZ. Lt. Gen Hoang Xuan Lam, commander of South Vietnam's (northern) I Corps, said two of the copters were shot down over
South Vietnam and five more over the north in two separate night-time battles Sunday. Lam also said there had been reports,
still unconfirmed, that a Communist jet airplane, possibly a Russian made MIG interceptor, buzzed the frontier area Sunday.
Lam said two of the copters went down on the south side of the buffer zone between North and South Vietnam. A U.S. radar installation
at Dong Ha, about seven miles south of the border, picked up the Communist copters early Sunday, he said American jets swept
in and blasted three of them from the skies, Lam said. Sunday night the copters returned and this time Allied troops at a
string of military bases along the DMZ saw them, the general said, American warplanes, believed to be flown by Air Force pilots
based at Da Nang shot four of them down, according to Lam. Two of these, he said were pair that fell into South Vietnam. The
helicopters, believed to be of the ML4 model built in the Soviet Union and exported by the Russians to numerous other nations
since its development in 1952, "are probably hidden in the various jungle sites around the Dong Hoa area," Lam said. In Monday
night's announcement a U.S. military spokesman said positive identification of the aircraft had been impossible because the
spotting was at night. He said the "UFOs" had been spotted flying low "in the vicinity of the eastern end of the DMZ, above
the Ben Hai River." This would put them on the Communist side of the demarcation line. There was the mention of time in the
announcement only that it had been dark. The Navy vessels fired on the unidentified aircraft with unknown effect, the spokesman
said. He said a daylight aerial reconnaissance operation had been started to seek wreckage or other evidence that could determine
if the aircraft were copters The source for this information was 6806PSS.AVN supplied by Les Hines 3/97
Vietnam War Conspiracies
The Vietnam war has become a stain on American
foreign policy for the external conflicts and complications that came out of it. Recently, as more and more government documents
become unclassified, and retired high ranking officials release their knowledge, more covert operations are uncovered. If
you can imagine it, it probably went on in Vietnam.
The whole time William Cooper was in Vietnam,
he had noticed that there was a lot of UFO activity. He had individual 24-hour crypto code sheets that he used to encode messages,
but because of the danger that one of them could be captured at any time,sed special code words for sensitive information.
UFOs, he was told, were definitely sensitive information. Cooper learned exactly how sensitive when all the people of an entire
village disappeared after UFOs were seen hovering above their huts. He learned that both sides had fired upon the UFOs, and
they had blasted back with a mysterious blue light. Rumors floated around that UFOs had kidnapped and mutilated two army soldiers,
then dropped them in the bush. No one knew how much of this was true, but the fact that the rumors persisted made him tend
to think there was at least some truth in them. Cooper found out later that most of those rumors were true. Cooper also claims
that during the Vietnam War a UFO shot down a B-52, that U.S. troops were attacked by "something" which they first thought
were helicopters and that he himself witnessed an incident involving the recovery of "a craft" which was listed as a Soviet
submarine. Aliens weren't the only perpetrators of atrocities in Vietnam.
The U.S. Government transacted operations during
the war that could be considered atrocious. Officially launched in 1963, The CIA's Operation Phoenix, planned to assassinate
and torture over 40,000 in Vietnam. The government also made a certain type of marijuana that would make the troops extra
violent...and they did several test runs of the drug on a couple of platoons. The story went that several of the troops they
tried it on ended up turning on themselves, and attacking each others platoons, killing most every body.
There are stories created to explain everything
and Vietnam has more than its share. True or not, they add interesting if not frightening twists to an already horrific war
which affected so many.
SOUTH VIETNAM UNDERWATER UFO
GULF OF SIAM
-- Joseph Foster writes, "In mid April of 1970,
we were anchored four miles off shore on the US Coast Guard Cutter Mellon. The Captain authorized swim call in the late afternoon
and I had the watch with a M-16 rifle on the flying bridge to guard for sharks. The swimming party was diving off the main
deck into the water and swimming to a raft.
Eight of us and the Captain were watching the
20 swimmers when our attention was drawn to a large underwater object, that slowly moved directly under the ship. The object
was an elliptical shaped dark shadow, that was by our estimate was 90 feet in length and 30 feet wide. It was about 50 feet
deep and moving perpendicular to the axis of our ship. The entire sighting lasted no more than 20 or 30 seconds. The men in
the water had no idea that a large object cruised directly under them. We ruled out whale shark or whale because there was
no gyration of a tail or any other appendages visible.
Our crew also had other UFO sightings. During
our July, we were on Ocean Station Victor patrol, when we had radar contact with three targets traveling at speeds in excess
of 3000 mph halfway between Midway Island and Japan. Eight crewman saw three white lights traveling southwest in a 'v' formation.
A sitrep report was filed.
Our second sighting took place in May of 1970
while we were 600 miles east of Guam. One of my duties as Quartermaster was celestial navigation. On the 4 - 8 shift, I had
to shoot morning and evening stars. I was with the Captain 'shooting' the stars, when we noticed a bright shiny perfect sphere
that seemed to have the consistency of liquid mercury. The object was traveling west southwest at 100 knots at an altitude
of 2500 feet.
In Honolulu, I made friends with a Fleet Intelligence
Yeoman, who stated, "We receive thousands of UFO reports from US Navy ships." UFOs come in and out of the water and fly directly
in front of our ships.
VIETNAM UFO INCIDENT UNCOVERED
NHA TRANG INCIDENT
Soldier Relates 1966 sighting
Light in the sky, electromagnetic effects, multiple
witnesses US forces base, Nha Trang, South Vietnam June 1966 UFO blacks out a U.S. military base at Nha Trang, Vietnam and
is seen by hundreds of American soldiers.
Caught up in the war around them, American GIs
stationed in South Vietnam in June 1966 rarely had reason to speculate about UFOs -- at least until the little-known Nha Trang
UFO incident took place. The Nha Trang incident if thorough documentation can be obtained, could become a UFO "classic" according
to one NICAP investigator familiar with the case. The sighting allegedly occurred during one of the most active periods of
the Vietnam conflict, and understandably received little publicity at the time. Now, however, with American participation
in the war concluded, numerous war-related incidents are beginning to emerge. One of these involves a startling UFO sighting
witnessed by possibly thousands of soldiers stationed in Vietnam at the time. NICAP investigator Raymond Fowler conducted
an initial investigation into the sighting and was able to contact an eyewitness to the event. Nha Trang , at the time of
the reported incident, was a heavily defended base in South Vietnam located along the coastline. It served as the home base
for more than 40,000 troops, including 2,000 American GIs. The base was situated in a valley, with warehouses and an airstrip
to the east, a fuel storage area and hills to the west, and docks and storage facilities located to the south along the China
Sea (see map, page 2 ... J.C. not reproduced herein.)
According to the witness, eight bulldozers were
operating that night cutting roads around "Hawk Hill," located less than one-half mile to the west of the American compound.
On another part of the base, two "sky-Raider" prop-driven aircraft were warming up on the airstrip located less than a mile
to the east. At the same time, a Shell Oil tanker lay anchored in the bay about a mile to the southwest. The witness, an enlisted
soldier holding the rank of Specialist 5, had gathered with an undetermined number of fellow soldiers around 8 p.m. in an
open area of the base to watch an outdoor movie. Outdoor films had become possible only recently, according to the witness,
thanks to the arrival and installation of six, new, independently-operated, 100 KW diesel-powered generators. One of these
generators had been installed near the compound where the soldiers were seated and was being used to supply power for the
movie projector. The film had been underway for some time, according to the witness's account, when suddenly, at approximately
9:45 p.m., the sky to the north lit up! The GIs glanced up and saw what at first appeared to be a flare exploding above a
ridge to the north.
"At first we thought it was a flare which are
going off all the time and then we found that it wasn't." recounts a letter from the witness mailed home a few days later.
"It came from the north and was moving from real slow to real fast...Some of the jet fighter pilots which were here...said
it looked to be about 25,000 feet (in altitude) ... then the panic broke loose. It dropped right towards us and stopped dead
still about 300 to 500 feet up. It made this little valley and the mountains around look like it was the middle of the day;
it lit up everything. "Then it went up and I mean up. It went straight up and completely out of sight in about 2-3 seconds.
Everybody is still talking about it." Had the soldier's letter or his recent account of the incident stopped there, the case
would probably not have come to the attention of either NICAP or the officials from Washington that reportedly visited the
base the next day. But the letter and the witness's account of the incident continues: "That really shook everyone is that
it stopped, or maybe it didn't, but anyway our generator stopped and everything was black...
At the Air Force Base about one half mile from
here all generators stopped ... The engines on two planes that were the runway ready to take off stopped, and there wasn't
a car, truck, plane or anything that ran for about four minutes." In addition, the eight bulldozers working on nearby hills
also ceased operating according to the witness. "A whole plane load of big shots from Washington got here this afternoon to
investigate. It's on the radio over here. Is it at home? I swear if somebody says they saw a little green man I won't argue
with them." "Little green man" or not, the case could prove to be highly significant, despite the current lack of additional
Compounding this problem is the witness's inability
to recall anything more than the nicknames of those he was serving with at Nha Trang. Of extreme interest to NICAP, and apparently
of equal interest to the "big shots" from Washington," was the associated EM effects reportedly caused by the strange UFO.
The fact that diesel and gasoline engines scattered throughout the base all ceased to operate at the same time and remained
inoperative for more than four minutes provides added mystery to the event. Included in the list of engines that ceased running
at the time of the sighting, according to the witness, were those of the two "Sky Raiders" warming up on the nearby runway.
One can only speculate what might have happened had they suffered a power loss while airborne. NICAP is currently attempting
to contact appropriate Army officials in an effort to obtain the names of other enlisted or officer personnel who might have
witnessed the event. NICAP is also seeking to determine whether officials from Washington did in fact visit Nha Trang the
next day to investigate the sighting.
There was also an incident in Vietnam where a
UFO set down in a field. It terrorized some of the villagers, and there was a soldier who was out visiting his girlfriend,
who would later become his wife. Anyhow, he got tied up there and the UFO was trying to convince some of the people they should
go. It wanted to take some of the people. The soldier stood his ground and wouldn't let the entities do it. The M16 that the
soldier had was impervious to the aliens, but the cross that he always wore, and he always carried a Bible, they had regard
for that. Finally, they gave up and decided not to try to take any of the people...
Lone-Jon Island, Vietnam 1970
This case came to BUFORA via a letter from South
Australia at the end of 1996. JB wrote to BUFORA after reading John Spencer's UFO Encyclopedia. His letter reveals some information
about a very unusual incident during a patrol of a five-man team in Lone-Jon Island, Vietnam in 1970. According to his letter
JB claims they were stalked and chased by circles of four inch by four inch bright lights with 'black eyes', which zigzagged,
diving and hovering as close as five feet away. When the team returned fire at these lights/objects, they turned glowing red
and the 'black eye' part glowed bright green. These incidents occurred during daylight and at night over a five day operation
and JB went on to say that he had two very good slides of these lights, five lights captured on one slide and two lights,
at seven feet away, on the other slide.
This was a very frightening experience for all
five men in the team and when they reported the events to their Company Headquarters they were told to forget the incident.
However, they were then questioned by CIA personnel from Saigon at a debriefing four weeks later and their equipment from
that day was searched by American Military Police and two men, who stated they were from Alaska Barge Company stationed in
Vung Yau, Vietnam. JB commented in his letter to BUFORA that he believed these two men were with the CIA.
Several months later, JB's parents were questioned
by two Americans asking for any film that he may have sent to them, which was deemed to be classified material. His father
refused and told them to go away or he would call the police.
JB then went on to say that he would document
six other events from his notes and forward them on to BUFORA and could we put him in touch with David Summers a man who he
described as knowing abut this subject, who apparently resides in Australia.
His letter also gave details of a mobile phone
The follow-up to this letter was very unsatisfactory
and so unfortunately, we shall never know how much substance there was to this report. I responded with a letter to JB enclosing
a BUFORA Questionnaire and asking if he would consider sending us some prints of these lights he had captured. As I did not
know of David Summers I gave him details for Keith Basterfield an Australian researcher and also emailed Keith to let him
know of this report with the mobile phone number etc. However, I never heard from him again and Keith Basterfield was unable
to get in touch with him via his contact address or mobile. So this fascinating story unfortunately remains just that because
without any response, corroboration or checks with the witness or his colleagues during that time, it is impossible to make
any kind of assessment on this report. He did however quote his military number in his letter to BUFORA
From: Stig Agermose
Date: Tue Oct 5, 1999 3:34 pm
Engaged During Vietnam War?
else heard this
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1999 22:38:16 -0500 (CDT)
Organization: WebTV Subscriber
I first heard this
while attending a Navy school back in 76. A Vietnam War movie on earlier in the week triggered some memories, this is one.
two F-4's had a dogfight with an UFO over South Vietnam.
The UFO made a controlled crash landing in the
middle of a firefight
between a squad of American M-60 tanks and an undetermined number of
NVA/Viet Cong.Things sort
of stopped for awhile until the NVA/VC fired a RPG [rocket propelled grenade] at the UFO. The first RPG had no affect, so
more were fired.
The UFO somehow neutralized the RPG's and started attacking the NVA/VC.
At this point the American
tanks opened fire on the UFO.
The UFO could not stop the 90mm tank rounds and was destroyed.
The NVA/VC broke off and
The Americans found several alien bodies and at least one survivor in the UFO wreckage.
When the American
commander, a Major, called for a medivac, he was told
nothing was available. Everything was being in used in the search
for the UFO. He told them he had it and a chopper was immediately sent.
When it arrived, the CIA type in charge refused
to take the wounded
American GI's onboard. Instead insisting he would only take the aliens.
At this point the Major, shot the surviving alien
and had his tanks grind the wreckage and bodies into the ground.
The chopper pilot overruled the CIA type and medivaced
After this was told, two of my classmates claimed to have seen the message traffic about this. One of
them had been a crypto tech on the OKLAHOMA CITY which was usually the flagship. This meant that he had access to everything
that came in, even the "EYES ONLY" material.
Anybody else ever hear anything about, or related
Vietnam UFO Encounter
I will tell you a true story about a UFO sighting
from a US navel ship in waters off Vietnam. This happened on a mild cloudless night quite a distance from any land.
Fortunately I was on watch on the port side of
the bridge next to the front bridge (or superstructure) It was my duty to keep a lookout for "Bogies"-- any aircraft-- within
sight, using powerful binoculars of course. It was quite late at night at this time, I believe the water was smooth and all
the stars in the sky were shining beautifully and clearly. During a pause from the binoculars I looked to my left, and about
35 degrees in the sky and to the left was a brilliant white light. It was much bigger than the stars I sighted and it was
up high in the sky.I grabbed my binoculars and zeroed on to it. It was moving in a straight line at the 35 degrees I spoke
of and through the binoculars I could tell it was definately oval shaped. It looked quite solid and well-defined. After it
got about midway in front of the ship I figured I had better report it to the bridge--and I did. About then a high-raking
officer came out and motioned for me to hand him the binoculars for a closer look. He made a spontanious remark -- He said,
"You know Ive often wondered just what those damn things are" By then I had noticed a bunch of the officers and crew hovering
over the radar.The Ufo was not a satellite; it was moving in a straight line of travel. The brilliant light seemed to have
been generated by the craft itself. When the UFO was almost to the otherside (of the sky) and while I was watching closely
it changed to red, then orange and finally from yellow to a dull yellow and completely disappeared like a light going out.
I no longer doubted that UFOs existed and that some of them could appear solid. As I mentioned this was on a US naval warship
in the sea off Vietnam and was witnessed by a whole group of people.For some strange reason, when I asked the radar obsevers
what it was, they waved me off. The whole incident simply was not talked about (However we were never told not to say anything
about it or that it was classified as secret.) Yes, UFOs are real and that convinced me.
If you can shed light on Billys sighting please
do not hesitate to contact us - email@example.com
HMAS HOBART -
attacked by US Airforce
June 1968 Vietnam
As Hobert tuned away from the threat direction
the aircraft was seen to be a swept wing jet fighter. Hobart got away 5 rounds of 5" and no further attack was made.
The TU joined USS Boston. And with USS Blandy
DD943 formed an anti aircraft screen around USS Enterprise CVAN 65. A helo from Enterprise provided a medivac and delivered
AB Parker, Mech Holmes, and AB Laity to hospital in Da Nang.
Edson relieved Hobart as leader of the TU and
Hobart steamed for Subic Bay. On passage the crew cleared the debris and collected pieces of missile for identification. It
was only then it was realised that the missiles had been fired from US Aircraft.
Actually Hobart had been one of only several ships
attacked by 7th Airforce jets on the nights of the 16th & 17th June. On the 16th USS PCF19 was sunk near the DMZ with 5 killed and on the 17th Hobart,
Boston and Edson were attacked. Edson 15 minutes after Hobart as were 'Market Time' vessels USCGC Point Dume WPB82325 and
PCF12, a US Navy Patrol Craft. Boston and Hobart both took
hits but only Hobart suffered fatalities.Webmasters Note: - The above is the Official US and Australian Navy's version about
the attacks on the US Navy Patrol Vessels PCF 12 and PCF 19, however I suggest you go HERE and read an account by James Steffes, a crew member of PCF12
that fateful night. Whilst it is clear that Hobart was indeed fired upon with Sea Sparrow missiles from fixed wing, jet aircraft,
what is not clear from James' and others eyewitness accounts is why it all happened.
Hobart arrived at Subic Bay on the 19th June where
CINCPAFLT, Admiral J.J. Hyland USN inspected the damage (above) and addressed the Ship's Comapny. On the 20th June all ships
in Subic Half Masted their Colours in honour of Chief Hunt and OrdSmn Butterworth.
Hobart completed 3 Gunline deployments to Vietnam
and decommissioned in May 2000.
Navy ship HMAS Hobart hit during Vietnam UFO encounter?
Date June 15, 1968
Location DMZ, Viet Nam
Summary: On Friday, 15 June 1968, Allied forward
spotters along the eastern part of the Demilitarised Zone, a 9.6km wide strip separating North and South Vietnam, reported
seeing about 30 strange slow-moving 'lights' in the night sky.
Type of Case/Report: StandardCase
Hynek Classification: CE2
Special Features/Characteristics: Military, Physical
Source: AUFORN Special Report, Issue 34, April
HMAS HOBART HIT DURING VIETNAM UFO ENCOUNTER?
Story by Jon Wyatt
In June 1968 Australia was dismayed by the news
that the guided-missile destroyer HMAS Hobart had been badly damaged by 'friendly fire' in Vietnam: Two crew died and seven
were wounded during the USAF attack.
Officially, the Hobart 'Incident' occurred during
a night operation against 'enemy helicopters' - but was it in reality a UFO story? The evidence is very intriguing, and to
find out why let's go to the beginning.
On Friday, 15 June 1968, Allied forward spotters
along the eastern part of the Demilitarised Zone, a 9.6km wide strip separating North and South Vietnam, reported seeing about
30 strange slow-moving 'lights' in the night sky. At the time the belief was these were lumbering North Vietnamese Russian-built
M-14 'Hound' helicopters ferrying men and materiel over the border. After the sightings, Allied Command, fearing another Tet
Offensive-style build-up, rushed more anti-aircraft guns to the border, and placed Phantom fighter-bombers at Danang Air Base
on standby, and it also asked available Allied warships to patrol the DMZ coast. HMAS Hobart II one of those warships that
responded. That night, the forward spotters along the eastern DMZ again reported the 'enemy helicopters' had re-appeared,
and the Allied forces sprang into action. Details of the subsequent aerial 'melee' remain sketchy, but it is known several
US 7th Air Force Phantom fighter-bombers soon arrived on the scene and began firing on the intruders; and were supported by
anti-aircraft ground fire. During the Allied attack the 'enemy helicopters' were seen to move down the east coast and then
out to the sea - and there things went terribly wrong. A US Navy Board of Inquiry, which investigated the Hobart 'incident'
for the Australian government, found shortcomings of the Phantom's radar system were partly to blame: to stop big targets
flooding the radarscope the radar had a cut-off mechanism, so the returns from a warship and a slow moving low flying helicopter
could appear similar on-screen. After the 'lights' fled seaward, the first 'friendly fire' incident occurred shortly after
midnight when the US Navy swift boat PCF-19 was sunk by three air-to-air missiles while patrolling some kilometres south of
the DMZ. Five of the seven crew died (more about this later). At about 3.30am, the Hobart was patrolling (blacked-out and
maintaining radio silence) near Tiger Island, about 20kms off Cap Lay, when her radar room detected a fast, in-coming aircraft.
The IFF (Identication Friend of Foe) system indicated it was 'friendly' and the ship was attempting to establish further identity
when a Sparrow air-to-air missile struck her amidships on the starboard (right) side. The missile penetrated the alluminum
hull and exploded killing Ordinary Seaman R J Butterworth and wounding two others. While the crew was rushing to Action Stations,
two more air-to-air missiles penetrated the starboard side and killed Chief Electrician Hunt and wounded several others -
and narrowly missed a magazine. Hobart fired five rounds from a deckgun, but the swept-winged attacker escaped. During the
DMZ 'lights' operation, the guided-missile destroyer USS Edson, the guided-missile cruiser USS Boston, the US Coast Guard
cutter Point Dume, and the USS PCF-19 also came under 'friendly fire' , but fortunately without causing more casualties. Eventually,
the Phantom pilots involved in the operation that night and early morning, were recalled and grounded. After daybreak, US
helicopters airlifted the wounded Australian sailors to Danang and the damaged Hobart went to Subic Bay, Philippines, for
repairs and was off the scene for five weeks - and that night DMZ 'lights' returned.
Whatever the 'lights' actually were remains a
subject of conjecture, but it appears they were sighted for some weeks and went unchallenged. A week after the Hobart 'incident'
the Melbourne Sun noted: "sightings were reported by radarmen in Quang Tri Province about five miles [eight kms] below the
border zone. It was the sixth time since last Saturday that such sightings have been reported ... US command has ordered its
fighter-bombers and artillery to withhold fire not wanting a repeat of the incidents in which the Allied ships were fired
upon." Also adding further to the mystery, no wreckage of downed enemy choppers was found. In August 1968 the Royal Australian
Navy News confirmed: "No physical evidence of helicopters destroyed has been discovered in the area of activity nor has extensive
reconnaissance produced any evidence of enemy helicopter operations in or near the DMZ". In 1996 I interviewed the Hobart's
skipper, the late Ken Shands, and he also said, "Neither before nor after the incident ... was there any report by any of
the ships of a helicopter being there [around Tiger Island]. Now having said that, the captain of one of the American ships
told me later at Subic Bay that he thought there were helicopters there, but the fact is he didn't report, and if he believed
there was a helicopter ... it was his duty to report it at the time, but there was no report." So what appeared over the DMZ
that sparked the mission that saw Hobart hit? The events of that night have doubtless raised much discussion - it was the
RAN's costliest day of the entire war - and Australian navy history books mention 'unusual atmospheric conditions over the
DMZ', 'insect swarms' or 'bird flocks' as possible sources of the sightings, but were they unidentified flying objects?
General George S Brown (1918-1978) was commander
of the 7th US Air Force and deputy commander for Air Operations, Military Assistance Command Vietnam from 1968 to 1970 - and
so was in command of the Phantoms involved in the snafu. In later years he rose to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington.
In 1973, he fronted a Chicago media conference held to discuss the North American UFO flap of that year, and while airing
his views on UFOs at the conference he said: "I don't know whether this story has ever been told or not [but UFOs plagued
us in Vietnam]. They weren't called UFOs they were called enemy helicopters, and they were only seen at night and they were
only seen in certain places. They were seen up around the DMZ in the early summer of '68, and this resulted in quite a battle.
And in the course of this, an Australian destroyer [Hobart] took a hit ... there was no enemy at all involved but we always
reacted. Always after dark. The same thing happened up at Pleiku at the Highlands in '69".
George Filer, today Director of the Mutual UFO
Network Eastern, USA, served as a USAF intelligence officer under General Brown during the Vietnam conflict, and he has also
said, "In 1968, I briefed General Brown the USAF Chief of Staff most mornings on the intelligence situation in Vietnam...
a lot of times we'd get UFO reports over the DMZ".
The late Bill Cooper served as a patrol-boat captain
in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969, and during a talk at the 1989 Los Angeles UFO conference he said:
"After about five months I was sent up north to
the DMZ, to a place called Qua Vieaf [perhaps Qua Viet] on the Tacan [sic] river .... It was while there that I discovered
that there was a tremendous amount of UFO and alien activity in Vietnam. It was always reported in official messages as 'enemy
helicopters'. Now any of you who know anything about the Vietnam war know that the North Vietnamese did not have any helicopters
especially after our first couple of air raids into North Vietnam [during 1965]. Even if they had, they would not have been
so foolish as to bring them over the DMZ, because that would have ensured their demise."
Cooper later recanted his belief in an alien presence
and instead insisted UFOs are "technology originally developed by the Germans in their secret weapons programs during WW-II,
by geniuses like Nikola Tesla and many others". However the mystery of 1968 DMZ 'lights' marched on, and the following is
from another American patrol boat crew member.
Jim Steffes, ENC, USN Retired, served on the patrol
boat PCF-12 on the night of the Hobart 'incident', and he confirms strange goings-on in the sky. In his article 'The sinking
of PCF-19 as seen from PCF-12', he states the PCF-12 met the ill-fated PCF-19 at sea that night to fix the PCF-19's radar.
At approximately 0030 hours the PCF-12 received a 'flash traffic' that PCF-19, the first 'friendly fire' target, had disappeared
in a flash of light. The PCF-12 reached the scene as Point Dume was pulling the two badly wounded survivors aboard. As PCF-12
searched in vain for more survivors, she found she had company. As he and the crew peered into the darkness, the moon sometimes
behind clouds, "we spotted two aircraft 'hovering' on our port and starboard beams. They were about 300 yards away and 100
feet above the water. As the boat swung around to put the aircraft ahead and astern of PCF-12, I could hear Mr. Snyder [the
Officer In Charge] requesting air support and identification of these helos. The answer from the beach was 'no friendly aircraft
in the area, have contacts near you on radar and starlight scope'. Steffes says he saw one 'helo' in the moonlight and believed
"It had a rounded front like an observation helo and it looked like two crewman sitting side by side". Then, "I watched as
tracers began to come toward us as this helo opened fire. The guns were from the nose of the helo. Our guns opened up and
I ran back to my position as the loader on the after gun. We heard a crash of glass and a splash as one of the helos hit the
water, the other helo broke contact and left the area." Steffes says for the next two and one half hours the PCF-12 played
cat and mouse with one or more helos, opening fire whenever they moved in. He also observed the Point Dume firing tracers
at blinking lights moving around her in the air. All the radios were crackling constantly as friendlies were checked out.
"The result was no friendlies, these had to be North Vietnamese."
Then, three and a half hours later, at about 3:30am,
military jets roared overhead and after they acknowledged the PCF-19's position, he soon heard explosions and gunfire to the
north (the Hobart 'incident'?). "As dawn broke, we could only see the shoreline and the Point Dume." Steffes concluded: "We
continued to monitor and track these 'lights' for several weeks after this up until September ... I know what the 'official
story' is, but this is mine as true and complete as I can remember." Jim Steffes' story of course raise many fascinating questions
Did the PCF-12 crew fall victim to 'cultural tracking':
aliens using their advanced technology to mimick our technology to interface with humans? If the lights were North Vietnamese
observer helicopters? why did they fly around for hours with their lights on, why weren't they shot down, and why was no 'helo'
wreckage ever retrieved? Many Ufologists believe alien visitors havelong been studying human wars; and this may have been
the case in 1968.
Hobart served out three tours of duty in Vietnam,
however it seems after 1968 she had an extra crewman. A Signalman, who served on the ship during the 1990s, says that one
morning at 4am when the warship was approaching Hobart, Tas., he was climbing a flex ladder to the flag deck when he felt
the ladder move below him, then felt "something actually walk past/through me on the ladder". Then, when he reached the flag
deck and entered the Signalmans Shelter, he sensed "someone in there with me and could hear them breathing as though they
had been running or working hard".
The Signalman later learnt from the Chief Coxswain,
a 15-year veteran, that "a Leading Seaman Signalman" had been killed while scaling the ladder to action stations in 1968:
"Apparently, the ship took a missile hit and a piece of shrapnel took this poor man's head clean off his shoulders". During
the late 1990s when the Signalman was re-posted to the ship, he sent a young sailor up the ladder to 'test the waters', and
the bloke also came down shaking. The "Green Ghost", as the ship was also affectionately known, was de-commissioned in May
2000, and scuttled at Yankalilla Bay, south of Adelaide, in late 2002, where she is now a scuba-dive spot.
1. Sydney Morning Herald 19 June, 1968, p. 1 and
Australian 19 June, 1968, p.1
2. Melbourne Sun 24 June, 1968, p.2
3. Royal Australian Navy News, 16 August, 1968
4. Navy in Vietnam: A record of the Royal Australian
Navy in the Vietnam War 1965-1973 by Denis Fairfax (Australian Government Publishing Service 1980) pps.59-60
5. Interview with Ken Shands, Anzac Day 1996,
6. General George S Brown, USAF Chief of Staff,
Department of Defense transcript of press conference in Illinois, 16 October, 1973, found at: 7"http://gamegene.com/ufo.htm
7. 'George Filer Keeps Watching The Skies' by
Michael Vitez, Philadelphia Inquirer, 20 August, 2001, found at www.rense.com
8. 'The Milton William Cooper Speech', 17 November,
1989, found at: 9"http://www.the-greys.com/pirho/speech.html
9. 'MajestyTwelve' by William Cooper, 1997, found
10. 'The Sinking of PCF-19 as seen from PCF-12'
by Jim Steffes, ENC, USN Retired, found at www.gunplot.net/vietnam/hobartvietnamandpcf19.html
11. Jim Steffes' Vietnam Photo Album website found
12. Article 'Ghost At Sea' found at www.castleofspirits.com
Jon Wyatt is a Melbourne freelance writer and