Rendlesham Forest Incident

Carl Grove

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So, secretive comings and goings at a front-line USAF base. Why would anyone consider that unusual?
Well, normally it might not have drawn much attention -- but under the circumstances, any secretive activities in the same time frame may be relevant. Unusual numbers of unknown personnel with or without helicopters searching the forest after military and civilian witnesses have reported strange aerial activity seem to demand some attention.
 

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So, secretive comings and goings at a front-line USAF base. Why would anyone consider that unusual?
For sure, however, I came across this.

More 'intrigue' though - apparently until the mid-1980s, they would be parked on the runway!

'The occasional C-5 Galaxy used to visit, as i remember in the early days they had to park them on the runway but in the mid-eighties a special hardened parking area was built to the north of the main runway just below where the two old runways intersect (can easily be seen on aerial photos),still known to everyone as the 'C-5 pad''.

https://www.fightercontrol.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4971

One thing which comes to mind is that any such activity - not only helicopters, ground personnel also reported by Burroughs as being involved, is it must surely have been witnessed by the forestry workers.

I'm not aware of anything suchlike being mentioned by Vince Thurkettle.

I wondered if you were possibly still in touch with him and might perchance enquire?

Why also, in all my correspondence with those who served on the twin-base at the time, has nobody brought up this activity, which according to Burroughs occured directly after the incidents?

On which note, I have come across the following:

I am writing in regards to the UFO sighting at RAF Woodbridge Dec 1980.

I was the Law Enforcement Desk Sgt at the time. My name is Alan Cohen. I was stationed there from Dec79-Dec81.

By all accounts I was the Desk Sgt that didn't want to be bothered. On that evening it was somewhat true.

It was the middle of the night when Burroughs called me via the direct line.

I remember that I was extremely busy when the call came in so I brushed him off.

A little while later he called back when security showed up and after checking with my supervisor he was told to call security that they could go out and investigate.

I was the one who gave Burroughs permission to start his search not CSC. I have no recollection of anybody saying that they feared a US plane might have gone down in the forrest. It was 3AM, nothing but
lights in the forest was happening.

Colonel Halt came in the office a short time later where I briefed him.

I was the LE Desk Sgt who laughed when I told Colonel Halt about a couple of men chasing UFO's.
(End)

I specifically asked Cohen about the helicopter claims and he had no recollection of this at all, noting:

"I made the duty rosters for the Flight Chief pretty often and Burroughs was a gate guard 75-90% of the time".
 

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... why does everyone presume any possible copters in the area were USAF craft operating on USAF business?
I suppose that speculative C-5 connection, however, this was mentioned by Chuck Dalldorf (see post #350):

“I remember one night, I lived at the west end of the runway for 5 years in base housing. It was a black night. I was woken up by a wind and whooshing sound coming in my bedroom window. I looked out and saw three small helicopters doing a lights out assault landing. They did not make a lot of sound, but they came in fast. When they departed, they turned their lights back on and went off in separate directions. We did exercises with the SAS all the time. I figured this was part of that type of exercise”.

Hmmm...
 

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Unusual numbers of unknown personnel with or without helicopters searching the forest after military and civilian witnesses have reported strange aerial activity seem to demand some attention.
There seems to have definitely been an exercise/alert of some kind taking place just after the incidents.

Burroughs stated:

"I was even posted on the east gate for 3 days from 1500-2300".

"The gate always closed at 1800 hrs on week days and was closed on weekends".


Alan Cohen wrote :

"Lets talk alert. I don't believe we were on alert until after Christmas. We don't do boxing day. The alert probably started on the 26th but of cause I can't say that for certain. In those days there really never seemed to be any reason for an alert because it seemed like it was every 4-8 weeks".

"You asked if the gate should have been manned permanently. It was!! During the alert condition Burroughs spent alot of time posted there. Once the alert conditon was cancelled the hours of the gate went back to normal".

"To this day I do not believe there was UFO out there.

Consider other possibilities. This base was one of the most watched bases in Europe. I know for a fact that the Russians were there".
(End)


Also, in Greg Battrom's account, as related to Larry Fawcett:

"I was in the planning and program section".

"We had an alert over there for exercises and things about once or twice a month. And during those times all the back office people would go on a security post, additional posting and stuff out there. So, the night we saw the UFO we were out there on duty, on one of these exercises, and it was night time".

"...it was strange that night, because it was the second night we had been out on this alert. I had thought the night before, now I get to see if these guys are really high or if they are really seeing something".
(End)

If indeed, the second night of an alert and Halt's incident was on the night of the 27th, then the first night of that alert would of course be the 26th, the night following our initial incident in the early hours of the 26th.

There is naturally a, 'however' as Cohen highlights:

"It seems to me that we have finally established the fact that we were in alert status on 27 Dec 1980. If this is true I can't believe that there would be a Christmas party going on during the alert on base. This makes no sense to me. Everybody!!! works very long hours during alerts. How would they have time to throw a party on base. That can't be right".

If Battrom's account is accurate, then could we have an exercise, rather than an alert and one which did not necessitate cancelling the Christmas awards dinner?

He does use both the, 'alert' and, 'exercise' terminology as interchangeable.

If an actual exercise on the night of Halt's involvement then to complicate matters further... should that be possible... then SMSgt Kevin Conde's hoax seems to come right back into the frame re our, 'beams of light' at RAF Woodbridge.

It could explain why Halt claims they were being seen and reported over the radio.

To recap, Kevin explained:

"This incident [hoax] occurred right after Christmas. For reasons that are hard to explain it is my impression that I pulled my
stunt during an exercise. We would not have had an exercised during the Christmas holiday. That is a strong indication that my stunt is not the source of this specific incident".

It would appear we may have had an exercise, after all.

So, how many plots is that now, I can't keep up...

Anyway, this, I believe published for the first time and courtesy of Kevin, is a photograph illustrating the location of his stunt. I'm not certain where the NMSA was in relation. Strictly, as Kevin clarified, Bentwaters had a WSA and Woodbridge an NMSA
(Weapons Storage Area and Non-Nuclear Munitions Storage Area), although the latter at Woodbridge was also simply known as the WSA:

Kevin_6_resize_71.jpg


One further anecdote I have though only just rediscovered, came from Senior Airman Kenneth Green, who explained re base exercises:

"There were, 'War Games' with the Territorials in Rendlesham Forest adjacent to RAF W/B.

This would be the section of forest between the east side of W/B and the area referred to as Capel Green. I also remember the Territorials were choppered in by the 67th Pararescue Squadron and they set down in the Capel Green area and deployed into the forest from that location".

There was a major joint exercise in November 1980, where it would seem HH-53 helicopters, with triangular landing gear....

Would our, 'landing site' clearing be too small to accommodate an HH-53?

The point being, Capel Green, the location of our inaugural incident, was a focal point for landings in previously staged base exercises.

Whether related, or otherwise, obviously remains speculative.
 

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A rediscovery, also from Chuck Dalldorf and one which I dearly wish could be followed up (with my emphasis):

"Here is another option to think about. I was very active in the Radio Control Airplane club there. We were called Bentwood Model Plane Club. We were registered with the organization BFMA, British Flying Model Association.

There were some guys that liked to fly at night. They would tape green chem lights to the wing tips of the models and fly. We flew all type of aircraft from power, to gliders, to helicopters.

We even had a well known group called the Ghost Squadron fly with us. These guys flew really big scale military aircraft. Cool stuff".
 

EnolaGaia

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Would our, 'landing site' clearing be too small to accommodate an HH-53?
The point being, Capel Green, the location of our inaugural incident, was a focal point for landings in previously staged base exercises.
Whether related, or otherwise, obviously remains speculative.
Assuming the 'landing site' clearing was correctly identified and Bruni's photo of two guys inspecting it is valid (depicting the scene as of December 1980) ...

No - the clearing couldn't accommodate an HH-53 landing. The main rotor diameter of an HH-53 is circa 24m, and the overall length of the copter (rotor blades included) is circa 30m.

In any case, one of the accounts you quoted earlier claimed the 67th ARRS (helicopter) personnel were not only not flying that night but weren't even on base.
 

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In any case, one of the accounts you quoted earlier claimed the 67th ARRS (helicopter) personnel were not only not flying that night but weren't even on base.
Slight misunderstanding! I was wondering if the, 'landing marks' could have come from that November exercise. You have, however, confirmed my suspicion that the clearing we know of as the, 'landing site' is too small.

There does still seem some dubiety about whether it is the, 'landing site' and I might be able to help here; local researcher Robert McLean put considerable effort into resolving same.

I put Robert in touch with James Caston, who had visited the actual site next morning and I believe his recollection of the directions from east gate contained something of significance.

I shall revist my correspondence forthwith.
 

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Lighthouse Beam Visible from East Gate?

Another rediscovery, also from Chuck Dalldorf and something perhaps of note.

"The light house, when conditions are right can be seen lighting up the sky all the way to base housing on Woodbridge base".

If factually accurate, I'm not so sure this is common knowledge.

Is this possibly a striking correlation to the observation of a beacon light, that Ed Cabansag explained was visible from the outset?

"Due to the terrain we had to go on by foot. While we walked, each one of us could see the lights. Blue, red, white and yellow. The beacon light turned out to be the yellow light.

...As we approached, the lights would seem to be at the edge of the forest. As we entered the forest, the blue and red lights were not visible anymore. Only the beacon light was still blinking...

We could see a glowing near the beacon light, but as we got closer we found it to be a lit-up farmhouse.

But we ran and walked a good 2 miles past our vehicle, until we got to a vantage point where we could determine that what we were chasing was only a beacon light off in the distance. Our route through the forest and field was a direct one, straight towards the light"


Additionally, Burroughs confirming:

"...and took a right at the stop sign and drove down about 10 to 20 yards to where there is a road that goes into the forest. At the road I could see a white light shining onto the trees...

We decided we better go call it in so we went back up towards east gate. I was watching the lights and the white light started coming down the road that led into the forest.

The whole time I could see the lights and the white light was almost at the edge of the road... We crossed a small open field that led into the trees where the lights were coming from... Also the woods lit up...

We got up to a fence that separated the trees from the open field and you could see the lights down by a farmers house. We climbed over the fence and started heading towards the red and blue lights and they just disappeared. Once we reached the farmer's house we could see a beacon going around so we went towards it. We followed it for about 2 miles before we could see it was coming from a lighthouse.


Penniston also stating:

Upon arriving at east gate directly to the east about 1.5 miles in a large wooded area. A large yellow glowing light was emitting above the trees... In the center of the lighted area directly in the center ground level, there was a red light blinking on and off 5 to 10 second intervals...
(End)

Obviously, these are selective extracts and particularly do not explain the blue light reported.

As for Penniston claiming there was a metallic/mechanical object involved, could he be certain of that from a stated closest proximity of 50 metres?

That's half a football (soccer!) pitch away in the darkness.

Is it just too selective...?
 

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Slight misunderstanding! I was wondering if the, 'landing marks' could have come from that November exercise. You have, however, confirmed my suspicion that the clearing we know of as the, 'landing site' is too small.
Without knowing what occurred during the November exercise(s) there's no basis for determining what they may have done that could have caused the 3 divots / holes subsequently claimed to be products of the December events.

However ...

If the 67th ARRS and their HH-53s were involved (at any time) they would have been performing drops and / or extractions from a copter hovering above the trees. That's part of the specific operational duties of an air rescue / recovery unit.
 

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Certainly a lot going on and a lot of potential for confusion with some of these newly ideentified activities. I did note, however, the key point (to me, anyway) that exercises were not usually done until a couple of days after Christmas. That suggests that the initial sighting, of the triangular object shedding fluid before descending into the forest in the Capel Green area, could not have been some special exercise.
 

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There does still seem some dubiety about whether it is the, 'landing site' and I might be able to help here; local researcher Robert McLean put considerable effort into resolving same.
FWIW ... I've always been skeptical about the claims the 'landing site' was precisely identified.

The minor reason is that there's little among the alleged observations that seems to indicate anything landing within the forest. The descending fireball at the beginning of the night's festivities is the main thing so much as suggesting something came down from the sky.

The major reason is that (IMHO) there's a heavy insinuation of the Columbus Effect* overlaying everyone's accounts of what happened on the first night. The documented reports are so vague and sketchy they leave me wondering whether the witnesses really knew where they were at any specific time or juncture in the night's events.

* By reference to the old joke about Columbus: He didn't know where he was going when he set out, didn't know where he was when he got there, and didn't know where he'd been when he returned.
 

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Slight misunderstanding! I was wondering if the, 'landing marks' could have come from that November exercise. ...
Another point I forgot to mention earlier ... The few accounts I've seen specifying the layout of the 3 marks / holes usually claim they were arranged as an equilateral triangle.

The landing gear footprint of an HH-53 isn't equilateral, and it couldn't be easily mistaken for equilateral.
 

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Certainly a lot going on and a lot of potential for confusion with some of these newly ideentified activities. I did note, however, the key point (to me, anyway) that exercises were not usually done until a couple of days after Christmas. That suggests that the initial sighting, of the triangular object shedding fluid before descending into the forest in the Capel Green area, could not have been some special exercise.
I'm assuming you're referring to the Collins sighting. Wherever his observation point was on the country road that night he was southeast or east of RAF Woodbridge and its runway, at a distance of at least a mile and with the forest lying between him and the base. If he'd seen an aircraft moving off to touch down at Woodbridge it would have given the appearance of descending into / behind the forest.
 

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I'm assuming you're referring to the Collins sighting. Wherever his observation point was on the country road that night he was southeast or east of RAF Woodbridge and its runway, at a distance of at least a mile and with the forest lying between him and the base. If he'd seen an aircraft moving off to touch down at Woodbridge it would have given the appearance of descending into / behind the forest.
He says the thing he saw was hovering above the road, not far away from him, dripping some liquid, then rose up and dived (or fell?) into the trees -- definitely not a conventional aircraft. I think this is probably the key event of the whole affair.
 

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Another point I forgot to mention earlier ... The few accounts I've seen specifying the layout of the 3 marks / holes usually claim they were arranged as an equilateral triangle.
Not that regular, according to Vince the forester who saw and sketched them
http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/rendlesham5.html
Scroll down to the subheading "The ‍forester’s ‍sketch".
There's also a link to him describing his reaction when he saw the marks.
 

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If the 67th ARRS and their HH-53s were involved (at any time) they would have been performing drops and / or extractions from a copter hovering above the trees.
I had in mind the following photograph, published in the twin-base magazine and depicting a scene from those November 1980 exercises - 67th ARRS providing transportation for, TA 'insurgents':

wargame9-1_compress76.jpg


However, I can confirm that with the assistance of James Caston and Chris Armold, who both visited the, 'landing site' early next morning, there was agreement the photograph we know is in fact that same location.

Cris Armold's involvement here is significant and to briefly recap his recollection, from our correspondence:

"After midnight, John Burroughs radioed the LE desk and reported he had seen strange lights outside the East Gate on RAF Woodbridge.

... Burroughs wanted to know if there were any reports of downed aircraft.

We called the Control Tower and I even called the local Constabulary...

In any case, after getting a negative reply from the British Cops, my flight chief asked me if I wanted to head out to Woodbridge to meet up with Burroughs and see what was up. I grabbed the back gate keys, and took the back way to RAF W/B. I met Burroughs at the East Gate of WB. We left our guns with the guy riding with Burroughs and drove to the end of the long access road. We left our vehicle and walked out there.

There was absolutely nothing in the woods. We could see lights in the distance and it appeared unusual as it was a sweeping light, (we did not know about the lighthouse on the coast at the time). We also saw some strange colored lights in the distance but were unable to determine what they were.

Eventually we found three depressions in the ground, about the diameter of a coffee can in a triangular pattern. However, there was no damage to trees or scorch marks, or any damage to any plant life in the area. We noted the location of the impressions and departed the area".


Caston pretty much agrees with the description of those indentations. Again, from correspondence;

"Remember now, I visited the site the next day; this is the next day after the alleged incident happened. In fact, it wasn't a whole day as the incident happened in the very latest hours of the previous night and the early hours of the morning.

Those indentations were about as fresh as a new baby's bum. They were perfectly round and pressed into the soil between 4 and 6 inches I'd guess. I never measured them with a tool of any kind, but this is a good educated guess".

Is Caston the solitary source for noticing a metallic residue?:

"In the direct center of these prints was something resembling a residue like melted metal.

There were burn marks on the grass surrounding the site and also burn marks on the nearest trees".

When I queried this further, he explained:

"It was a small patch of darkened earth with these tiny little separate balls and peices of what I took for metallic residue. The whole thing was only about 1 or 2 inches from side to side. It didn't seem to be a solid piece, but separate tiny pieces. It wasn't shiny at all, just tiny burned metal pieces".

So...

Armold:

"...there was no damage to trees or scorch marks, or any damage to any plant life in the area".

Caston:

"There were burn marks on the grass surrounding the site and also burn marks on the nearest trees".

There's nothing like consistency and this is nothing like consistency!

Nonetheless, does Caston's description sound like someone, for whatever reason had been soldering...?

(...the possibility of a remote controlled, large scale model in need of a quick repair...!)

I note that Caston does also remark, "John Burroughs did say that what he saw was light or lights".

At least that's consistent, with no actual object being reported by Burroughs.
 

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He says the thing he saw was hovering above the road, not far away from him, dripping some liquid, then rose up and dived (or fell?) into the trees.
A thoroughly unreliable account, as demonstrated - any actual object was only circa 9 feet long on each side, not some vast flying triangle - and as I have just explained re the seemingly sole report of, 'metallic residue', that was a, 'couple of inches'!
 

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Not that regular, according to Vince the forester who saw and sketched them...
Don't forget though, we still have what is understood to be the plaster cast made by Penniston and exhibited by Halt.

This clearly confirms a round, 'coffee can' type of indentation.

Well... maybe something went slightly amiss during the casting...

Screenshot_20210521-085044.jpg
 

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On the subject of a non-routine aircraft arrival, there does seem to be one which spread fear.

I found the following old post, on a website for ex twin-base personnel:

Operational Readiness Inspection [ORI]

Under the previous heading, 'Names of exercises and their purposes?', Terry C. wrote:

"This is a wing wide inspection of how well the they function. In our time, it was widely held that when an un-marked, un-announced cargo plane landed and the head inspector got off and announced and ORI that was the start of it.

Then followed 8-10 days of war-games, strike team alerts, weapons (read nuke) movements etc. Everyone walked around on pins and needles jumping at thier own shadows.

The only saving grace was to work in the SAS, Special Ammunition Storage, read nuke, area, they didn't play to many games down there...".
(End)

Again, does this tie-up with the aforementioned recollection of Mike Jenkins - "NCOIC of the Munitions Maintenance Shop at Woodbridge and then moved to 'Bentwaters Missile Maintenance'".

He states that 'during some UFO excitement' and specifically the morning after "Lt. Col. Halt went out on the night shift":

"When I came in the next morning, all I saw was a lot of our staff in uniform and in civilian dress, posted about the weapons storage area, and everyone being told to not ask questions, just do our jobs. To me it appeared to be no more than a regular training or alert drill after which there is normally a higher level of visible security at the twin bases anyway".

"As to the normal day to day operations training, alerts, exercises, and such it was common practice to have senior SPS personnel attempt to breach security of the WSA. These exercises often resulted in supplemental staff being brought in from the barracks to protect the area.

That would account for SPS staff in civilian cloths posted in the WSA. Again I was not there the night of the incident, however, the morning after, staff in the WSA were still in a heightened state of alert, i.e. more personnel in the WSA than normal".
(End)
 

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... Alan Cohen wrote :

"Lets talk alert. I don't believe we were on alert until after Christmas. We don't do boxing day. The alert probably started on the 26th but of cause I can't say that for certain. In those days there really never seemed to be any reason for an alert because it seemed like it was every 4-8 weeks".

"You asked if the gate should have been manned permanently. It was!! During the alert condition Burroughs spent alot of time posted there. Once the alert conditon was cancelled the hours of the gate went back to normal". ...

... "We had an alert over there for exercises and things about once or twice a month. And during those times all the back office people would go on a security post, additional posting and stuff out there. So, the night we saw the UFO we were out there on duty, on one of these exercises, and it was night time".

"...it was strange that night, because it was the second night we had been out on this alert. I had thought the night before, now I get to see if these guys are really high or if they are really seeing something".
(End)

If indeed, the second night of an alert and Halt's incident was on the night of the 27th, then the first night of that alert would of course be the 26th, the night following our initial incident in the early hours of the 26th.

There is naturally a, 'however' as Cohen highlights:

"It seems to me that we have finally established the fact that we were in alert status on 27 Dec 1980. If this is true I can't believe that there would be a Christmas party going on during the alert on base. This makes no sense to me. Everybody!!! works very long hours during alerts. How would they have time to throw a party on base. That can't be right".

If Battrom's account is accurate, then could we have an exercise, rather than an alert and one which did not necessitate cancelling the Christmas awards dinner?

He does use both the, 'alert' and, 'exercise' terminology as interchangeable.
It seems to me some clarification is needed about the nomenclature being used.

There are different types of alerts, and they don't have any necessary interrelationship with exercises.

Base alerts represent conditions that prescribe heightened or additional responsibilities associated with base functions per se. Base alert status is communicated to, and typically posted by, personnel manning the base's gates / entry points - both external and internal. Adjustments to base alert conditions typically involve access and verification procedures (e.g., ID checks; screening who is allowed in a given area; locking down a building or area). In other words, base alert status usually pertains to security posture.

I have yet to see any testimony that suggests the alert conditions alluded to are anything more than base alerts. (In other words, I have yet to see anything so much as insinuating there was an operational / DEFCON condition in effect.)

An exercise represents a test of procedures and / or performance, often conducted in the context of a mock scenario. An exercise need not involve participation of everyone base-wide. It may be localized to a given area, unit or function. Notification of an exercise in progress is typically posted for any area in which the exercise is being conducted. Perhaps most importantly - notification need not explain anything beyond the fact someone is conducting / performing an exercise.

As a training or testing activity, an exercise need not involve a heightened base alert status. Any out-of-the-ordinary security-related status may be localized or even non-existent.

The mixed-up mentions of alerts and exercises don't necessarily add up to anything. Neither do they connote any particular set of circumstances, insofar as they might be mixed-'n-matched any which way.

The apparent mock incursion mentioned for the November exercise would certainly have had ramifications for base alert conditions, both within the mock / exercise context and with respect to managing the base while the exercise was in progress. This interconnection need not have been as strict for a lesser or more localized exercise conducted in December.
 

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A thoroughly unreliable account, as demonstrated - any actual object was only circa 9 feet long on each side, not some vast flying triangle - and as I have just explained re the seemingly sole report of, 'metallic residue', that was a, 'couple of inches'!
I think I made the point a long time back that if a large object really did crash into the woods, then the small allleged "landing site" was probably quickly created to both lure people away from the real site and to promote the "ET landing" scenario.
 

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The obvious conclusion is that nothing crashed. You don't need to be lured away from a non-event.
 

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The obvious conclusion is that nothing crashed. You don't need to be lured away from a non-event.
Are you saying that Collins was lying? It's not the kind of sighting that could be put down to misidentification. His description is extremely specific. Is it because he was a civilian witness and you think military personnel must be more reliable or trustworthy? -- because it is quite clear from this whole business that most if not all of the military witnesses involved definitely aren't. Are you dismissing all of the civilian reports?
 

eburacum

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I'm certainly not confident that this (otherwise unsubstantiated) event occurred at the time described, and in the way described. How long after the event did he relate it?
 

Comfortably Numb

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It seems to me some clarification is needed about the nomenclature being used.

There are different types of alerts, and they don't have any necessary interrelationship with exercises.
That has precisely been the issue I was seeking to clarify.

I will come back to this, meantime here is a directly related observation from Alan Cohen:

"It seems to me that we have finally established the fact that we were in alert status on 27 Dec 1980. If this is true I can't believe that there would be a Christmas party going on during the alert on base. This makes no sense to me. Everybody!!! works very long hours during alerts. How would they have time to throw a party on base. That can't be right".
 

Comfortably Numb

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I was wondering about Penniston's original sketch and his illustration showing the perceived object seemed to have a, "blue glow" underneath:

Penn6.jpg


Whilst doubtless coincidence and presently not sure if such a thing existed in 1980, merely to note with regard to one scenario contemplated, I have come across this image:

Night-spraying-DC.jpg


Source:

https://www.fwi.co.uk/machinery/rival-blue-sprayer-lights-tested
 

EnolaGaia

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I'm certainly not confident that this (otherwise unsubstantiated) event occurred at the time described, and in the way described. How long after the event did he relate it?
Bruni stated that Collins had not told his story publicly (i.e., to anyone other than a very few acquaintances) prior to her interviewing him.

In her book (published in 2000) she lists her Collins interview as having occurred in 1999.

NOTE: It was Carl Grove (in his timeline) that attributed Collins' sighting to the first night (25 - 26 December). Bruni does not specify a date for Collins' sighting, and she clearly states Collins - like multiple other civilian witnesses - wasn't sure of the date when his sighting occurred. Her account of Collins' experience describes it as being "a usual night out at the Swan" in terms of the evening's setting. His American pals were paged about an alert and left, but Collins stayed at the pub until its closing time. If his experience happened on the 25th (i.e., Xmas) it would mean his pals were paged about an alert hours before any of the primary USAF witnesses claimed there'd even been a first indication of anything strange.

If one rules out the 25th there's nothing in Bruni's report of Collins' statements to demonstrate his sighting had to have occurred at the time of the second night's activities. As was the case with other civilian witnesses, there was a general inability to pinpoint dates within the span of the classic / canonical Rendlesham storyline.
 
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