A line in the sand
'Nukes' author contemplates the last taboo
“The nuclear bomb is the most irrational weapon ever invented. It can be employed to no rational purpose. It is not even an effective defense against itself” — George Kennan
It’s been fascinating to watch the UFO conversation evolve from a political campaign killer to a re-election campaign logo over the past 15 years. Who would’ve thought, after watching Dennis Kucinich getting mauled by laughter during a 2007 presidential primary debate, that Congress would ever contemplate inviting federal employees to talk openly about what they saw or discovered while on duty?
Well, if Rep. Michael Gallagher’s (R-WI) proposed add-on to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act survives peer scrutiny in the House and the Senate, military intelligence is going to be facing hard choices. Among other things, the amendment would create a safe haven for government workers and contractors to speak freely about their UFO experiences without getting penalized for violating security oaths. Co-sponsored by House Democrat Ruben Gallego, the bill would install a “secure system” – within the Pentagon’s UFO office, whatever they decide to name it – for banking those reports. Congress would then have full access to that data, although the proposal avoids language about public release.
Similarly, in the Senate, a bill backed by Mark Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) will advocate “enhancing oversight of the IC and Department of Defense collection and reporting on Unidentified Aerospace-Undersea Phenomena,” whatever that means. Details are forthcoming.
Back in May, during the 21st century’s first UFO hearing on Capitol Hill, Gallagher was the guy who managed to drop the controversial Wilson-Davis notes into the Congressional record. He also tried pressing Pentagon bureaucrats Scott Bray and Ronald Moultrie for answers on the ticking bomb nobody wants to discuss – UFOs’ unmitigated access to the nuclear arsenal.
While Bray and Moultrie sat poker-faced, the investigator who wrote the textbook on the phenomenon’s ability to tamper with America’s strategic assets wonders if lawmakers are fully aware of what they themselves are about to tamper with.
“I’m amazed at what’s happened since 2017 and the New York Times article came out – I never expected to see these kinds of developments in my lifetime,” says Robert Hastings from his home in rural Colorado. “But it’s clear the nuclear cases are still a taboo subject for any kind of acknowledgement.
“Aside from (the late Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid, no public official has publicly stated they’re messing with our nukes. But if you’re willing to talk about it openly, that this surveillance is ongoing and on some occasions these craft have disrupted our weapons – well, once you let that horse out of the barn, you pretty much can’t go back.”
Author of the groundbreaking UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites in 2008, Hastings’ decades-long expedition into the Cold War’s darkest secret also generated a companion documentary. Both give voice to the 167 mostly Air Force veterans who’ve been willing to speak out. Last year, Pentagon whistleblower Luis Elizondo cited Nukes as a must-read for the ostensibly uninitiated like Bray and Moultrie. Launch control officers, targeting officers, maintenance officers, security personnel – some gave real names; others, fearing reprisal, remained nameless. Either way, Hastings says his book is just the first draft of a national security breach whose scope is incalculable.
“If what (Gallagher, Gallego, et al) propose goes into effect, I think it could indeed be a gamechanger for some of these folks,” he says of the pending NDAA amendment. “There must be thousands, if not tens of thousands, maybe even more veterans since the 1940s who’ve had these experiences and who are gonna take their stories to the grave because they’re afraid of losing their retirement or whatever. So this is a step in the right direction.”
Want real answers? Hastings says calling administrators to testify is pointless. Ask the veterans themselves instead, the ones who were there. Who knows – maybe a congressional appeal for witnesses could even embolden any surviving airmen to step up and vouch for David H. Schuur. Schuur’s testimony in UFOs and Nukes is the most undie-staining chapter in the book.
Schuur couldn’t remember which year it happened, 1966 or 67. The evidence places him with the 455th/91st Strategic Missile Wing at North Dakota’s Minot AFB from December ’63 to November ’67. He was a 1st lieutenant on alert duty at Echo Launch Control Facility that unforgettable summer night long ago. Echo Flight was one of 15 LCF platforms designed to fire Minuteman missiles at the Soviet Union. Each flight was armed with 10 missiles apiece.
Schuur was below in the LCF when the UFO approached the missile fields and topside security started freaking out. He followed the drama as it unfolded in real time via network communications. Described only as a large bright object, the intruder first hovered over Alpha Flight, apparently “moving from missile to missile” and scrambling control panels with “spurious indicators.” Wing command alerted SAC headquarters as the object visited one LCF after another, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, etc., in the sequential order of their semi-circular configuration, finishing up with Oscar at the end.
As it passed over Echo, the console boards also lit up with “spurious indicators” on “maybe six, seven or eight” missiles, which indicated the UFO had triggered a terrifying “Launch in Progress” signal. Schuur’s team had to stop the countdown with manual overrides. The grid returned to normal after the object departed; Schuur was convinced the UFO had “scanned” each and every missile in Echo’s subterranean holsters. Expecting a full debriefing the next day, Schuur said a base operations officer told them only “there was nothing to discuss.”
One would obviously like to hear more from Mr. Schuur, but he died in 2013 at age 73. Are the other airmen on duty that night all gone as well? Any Congressional probes into mid-20th-century nuke incidents – including those where entire flights were rendered inoperable – will be racing the undertaker for witnesses. Back then, says Hastings, there were likely no standardized protocols for tightening nondisclosure agreement screws on service personnel because the materialization of UFOs no doubt caught command by surprise as well.
However, a number of witnesses in Hastings’ book – some of whom had signed NDAs – also reported being grilled by Air Force Office of Special Investigations units. He predicts legislators investigating nuclear breaches won’t get far without bringing heat on the AFOSI.
“That’s where the family jewels are, that’s where the files are,” Hastings says. “And until they’re made public, or at least where congressional members can publicly talk about those records, I don’t see any real movement forward on the nuclear cases.”
Given how the USAF has been ostentatiously invisible during the last four years of disclosures, that begs the question of where the Pentagon will draw the line from which no outsider, lawmakers or not, may cross. Is it the nukes? Or something else?
“I’ve said to my lecture audiences over the years that, let’s suppose someone in the Pentagon finally publicly acknowledges the nuclear cases,” says Hastings. “Presumably a large number of Americans are gonna go, holy cow, if that really happened, what about everything else? What about alien abductions – are they real too?”
Along with co-author and USAF veteran Bob Jacobs, Hastings produced a first-person response in 2019 with the publication of Confession: Our Hidden Alien Encounters Revealed. Whether anyone believes him, he says, is irrelevant.
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Yeah, I'm sure the They're Here To Save Us From Nukes theme plays really well in Japan.
I knew Dave Schuur. We were both together in the 455th Strategic Missile Wing at Minot AFB, although we were in different squadrons. We never knew at the time that we both had an "experience," until we met up together at an Air Force reunion in September 2011. We were both Minuteman ICBM Launch Control Officers, and I had an experience in September 1966 when I relieved a launch Crew at November Flight where all ten of their nuclear tipped missiles were taken off "alert" and made unlaunchable by a UFO. The commander of that crew was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement and he is still alive, but is too frightened to talk. He spent 10 years at the Pentagon after Minot, and retired after 28 years of service. I and my crewmate took over responsibility to help coordinate bringing those missiles back to alert status, and the AFOSI told us verbally that "as far as you are concerned, It Never Happened!" We were commanded to never talk about the incident again, or talk to each other about it. I'll accept "whistle blower" status on this, and will testify in front of Congress, although that will probably be when hell freezes over, or when Congress or some other government agency finds the fortitude to do what is right.