Caught in the act: This UFO near Sarasota hung around just long enough to be photographed, once, in close range of a Coast Guard plane before vanishing over the Gulf of Mexico last month [Credit Chuck Marose]
At a quarter past 11 on Saturday morning, November 5, Bradenton Beach Police Officer Chuck Marose was driving south along Coquina Beach when something weird caught his eye. What he saw made him pull over onto the soft shoulder just north of the drawbridge at Longboat Key to get a better look.
A U.S. Coast Guard C-130 was flying over Sarasota Bay, low enough for Marose to see the plane’s markings and numbers. Altitude less than a mile, maybe 4,000 feet. But it wasn’t the Lockheed turboprop that made him stop – it was the car-sized “black mass” that appeared to be suspended in mid-air, to the west, over the Gulf of Mexico, like it was painted on the sky.
The USCG crew evidently noticed the object as well, and responded by shifting course, as if to pursue. Marose pulled out his Samsung Android as the C-130 closed to within “maybe less than one tenth of a mile” of the UFO. He managed to squeeze off a single shot that caught both vehicles in the same frame.
“As soon as the plane made its turn and I shot that picture, the object was gone in an instant. I mean, it went from a standstill to being gone instantaneously. It headed west out over the Gulf, in literally two seconds, a second and a half,” said Marose. He estimated no more than 15 seconds elapsed between the moment he noticed the plane and the disappearance of the near-miss UFO.
“It was a little bit of a shock – it’s obviously not something you see every day,” Marose said. “This is not the first time I’ve seen something unidentified in the sky, but this was something that really makes you scratch your head and wonder what the heck it was.”
The closest Coast Guard base is located in the nearby fishing village of Cortez, but the nearest USCG air strip is 60 miles north, in Clearwater. Marose asked around and came up empty. “I know they don’t have aircraft running out of Cortez, but they told me they had no comment and didn’t elaborate further,” he said. “We have a couple of deputies in Bradenton Beach who are (Coast Guard) reservists and they weren’t able to get any more information on it, either.”
My query to USCG/Clearwater for more details went unanswered.
Got them ol’ black-hole blues again, mama
In recent years, the defense establishment’s tortured relationship with UFOs has rearranged a lot of letters for processing this sort of high strangeness – AAWSAP, AATIP, UAPTF, AOIMSG. And in July, under Congressional pressure, it rolled out the latest product. The new model is called AARO, the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office, and what’s different this time is, you can actually pronounce the acronym. AARO’s sprawling mission statement reads like this: “… to synchronize efforts across the Department of Defense, and with other U.S. federal departments and agencies, to detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in, on or near military installations, operating areas, training areas, special use airspace and other areas of interest, and, as necessary, to mitigate any associated threats to safety of operations and national security.”
That was five months’ worth of crickets ago. So, with AARO’s report to lawmakers on the UFO dilemma now six inexplicable weeks overdue, I reached out to AARO’s email contact, who had been soliciting applications for the hot seat of AARO Senior Intelligence Collection Officer. The lengthy job description sounds masochistic. For starters, the AARO SICO “fosters and cultivates strategic alliances and professional networks with interagency partners and other U.S. Government elements to align and integrate the enterprise’s array of collection capabilities across the Nation’s most urgent and important UAP data and intelligence requirements.” The ensuing list of chores is all about trying to convince myriad bureaucracies to forsake their proprietary tribalism for the common good of clarity, at least until the statutory clock runs out in 2026. The Air Force will probably be the first to man up and lead by example (said no one, ever).
Anyhow, according to the announcement, the vacancy opened on September 30, the application deadline for the two-year position was October 28, and the start date was November 7. What I wanted to know was: Is anyone was running this show yet? And if so, had they received a Coast Guard accounting of the 11/5/22 incident?
I never got a response from AARO, but a week or so later I received an email from Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough. She directed me back to the Coast Guard. “What you saw,” she added, “was a job announcement, not a press release. We do not comment on personnel matters.”
Well, that settles that. Just don’t hate me for wanting to know who the new AARO SICO is. I’m only human.
Nice followup — but to what?
Still, a couple of issues: Did the C-130 crew collect sensor data or file a report? Or did they simply want to avoid the hassle and blow it off? If they blew it off, that might suggest the “sociological stigmas” cited in the Director of National Intelligence’s 2021 UAP report continue to undermine its professed intentions to get current and reliable info; after all, that same report claimed the phenomena “pose a hazard to safety of flight.” Which could get litigious if ignored. So if the crew did file a report, where did it go? AARO? AOIMSG? The cracks in between? Hellooo — anyone home?
For answers to these and a bazillion other questions, the buck will stop with ARRO if lawmakers have their way. Congress is on the verge of approving the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2023, which includes hefty provisions for reporting UFO activity. And if that happens, the pending language compels the AARO director to provide classified briefings to “appropriate congressional committees” no later than December 31, or less than three weeks from now. With Santa Claus coming to town, is that even doable?
As researcher Doug Johnson recently pointed out, the 2023 NDAA appears to fortify key sections of its 2022 predecessor, which includes whistleblower cover, and expand on others. For instance, it now wants an historical survey of the intel community’s entanglement with the phenomena going all the way back to January 1, 1945. There’s also a we’re-not-bluffin’ section on accountability: Within 72 hours of determining that a case for “authorized disclosure” resides within a classified program previously concealed from Congress, the Secretary of Defense is obliged to march that report to congressional leadership and specified committees. Also, by the way, henceforth, UAP will no longer mean “unidentified aerial phenomena” but “unidentified anomalous phenomena.” Sounds a tad redundant, but a rose is a rose, yo.
Anyhow, it all looks pretty good, at least on paper. But it’d look even better if we had an approximation of a vague idea about how well the ODNI and the SecDef complied with their responsibilities to the 2022 NDAA the first time around.
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Hi, is this image available to the British press?
"henceforth, UAP will no longer mean “unidentified aerial phenomena” but “unidentified anomalous phenomena.” Sounds a tad redundant..."
Not at all. This will also account for USO's