Robert Salas

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Captain Salas graduated from the Air Force Academy and spent seven years in active duty from 1964 to 1971. He also held positions at Martin Marietta and Rockwell and spent 21 years at the FAA. In the Air Force, he was an air traffic controller and a missile launch officer as well as an engineer on the Titan 3 missiles. He testifies about a UFO incident on the morning of March 16, 1967 where 16 nuclear missiles simultaneously became non-operational at two different launch facilities immediately after guards saw UFOs hovering above. The guards could not identify these objects even though they were only about 30 feet away. The Air Force did an extensive investigation of the incidents and could not find a probable cause. At a debriefing about the incident, an officer from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations required him to sign a non-disclosure form and told him that he was not to talk about the event to anyone including his family or other military staff. At a time during the Cold War when minor technical anomalies were openly communicated amongst the staff, this incident was not and to this day Captain Salas thinks this to be very unusual. … The UFO incident happened on the morning of March 16, 1967. I was on duty along with my commander Fred Mywald. We were both on duty at Oscar Flight as part of the 490th strategic missile squad and there are five launch control facilities assigned to that particular squadron. We were at Oscar Flight. It was still dark out and we're sixty feet underground [at the ICBM launch control facility]. It was early in the morning and I received a call from my topside security guard who's the flight security controller and he said that he and some of the guards had been observing some strange lights flying around the site around the launch control facility. He said they were acting very unusual just flying around, and I said, "You mean UFO? He said, well, he didn't know what they were but they were lights and were flying around. They were not airplanes; they weren't making any noise. They were not helicopters; they were making some very strange maneuvers and he couldn't explain it… It wasn't more than a few minutes- maybe a half hour later- and he calls back and this time he's very frightened; I can tell by the tone of his voice he's very shook up. He says, "Sir, there's a glowing red object hovering right outside the front gate - I'm looking at it right now. I've got all the men out here with their weapons drawn…" I immediately went over to my commander who was taking a nap - we have a little cot down there for rest periods - and I was telling him about the telephone call we just received. As I was relating this to him our missiles started shutting down one by one. By shutting down, I mean they went into a "no-go" condition meaning they could not be launched. So we get bells and whistles - a red light no-go condition… These weapons were Minuteman One missiles and were of course nuclear-tipped warhead missiles. As they started shutting down, immediately he gets up and we both start querying the status board. We've got the ability to query and determine what the cause of the shutdowns was. As I recall, most of them were guidance and control system failures. And then he started reporting to the command post. In the meantime I called upstairs to find out what the status was of this object and the guard said, well, the object has left - it just left at high speed… The Air Force did an extensive investigation of the entire incident and was not able to come up with a probable cause for the shutdowns. And I've got quite a few witnesses that will testify to that - we've got a couple of people who worked on the investigative team - and I've got correspondence from the man who actually organized the investigative team. There was no viable explanation for this [shutdown of multiple ICBMs]. Each missile is basically self-supporting. Most of them are powered by commercial power but each missile has its own power generator… At our site anywhere from six to eight went down but they went down in rapid succession which again is an extremely rare happening. We rarely had more than one missile go down for any reason at all… After I talked to my guard upstairs, my commander talked to the command post. When he finished talking to the command post he turned to me and said, "The same thing occurred at ECHO Flight." ECHO Flight is another squadron, I'd say probably 50 - 60 miles away from our location but they had the same sort of thing happen. They had UFOs that were hovering, not at the launch control facility but at the actual launch facilities where the missiles are located. They had some maintenance and security people out there at the time and they observed the UFOs at those sites. Now they lost all ten of their weapons - all ten… It was the same morning. So that morning we lost anywhere from between 16 to 18 ICBMs at the same time UFOs were in the area and were observed by airmen. Those missiles were down the entire day because we've got testimony from Colonel Don Crawford, who relieved the crew at ECHO Flight and he was there when the missiles were being brought up to alert status and he said it took the whole day. So I'm assuming it took our missiles all day to be brought back up also… I wrote up a report about this incident; it was in my log and I turned it in. When we got to the base we had to report to our squadron commander right away. And in that room with my squadron commander was a fellow from AFOSI (we had an Air Force Office of Special Investigations on the base). He was there in the office with the commander. He asked for my logs and he wanted a quick briefing although it seemed to me he knew pretty much what had happened already. But we gave him a quick briefing and then he asked us both to sign a non-disclosure agreement saying this was classified information- we were not to release this to anybody, and that was it. We couldn't talk; he told us we could not talk about this to anyone, including any of the other crews, our spouses, our family, even amongst each other… I've got a copy of a telex which we received under FOIA coming from SAC headquarters and coming to Malstrom and other bases right after the morning that happened saying that this incident was of extreme concern to SAC headquarters because they couldn't explain it. Nobody could explain what happened. And yet we never got de-briefed. And we were cleared for very high classification because these are nuclear weapons we're dealing with. We did get the security incursion alarms at those sites when the missile went down. That is unusual because usually when a missile went down for something like guidance failure, we wouldn't get security incursion alarms, which means a perimeter is breached, an object crossed the fence, or something broke the security alarm system that we had on the perimeter of the launch facility. I did sent out guards to a couple of those facilities to investigate that. The reason I think this story is very significant is because, going back to August of 1966 at Minot, ND, a very similar thing happened at one of the launch control facilities at Minot Air Force Base. They had the same kind of weapon system that we had - they had M-1 missiles. This [UFO] was observed on radar, there was some communication failure and the object was observed over the launch control facility. That happened in August 1966 and that's a well-documented incident. About a week prior to my incident, in March 1967, I've got a record of a call from one of the security guards who was out roaming looking at the launch facilities and saw an object very similar to what I just described over the launch facility… Bob Kominski headed up the organization to look at all aspects of these shutdowns. Kominski relates to me in writing that at some point he was told by his boss that the Air Force said, "Stop the investigation; do no more on this and in addition do not write a final report." Again, this is very unusual especially in light of the fact that CINC-SAC headquarters was stating that this was of extreme importance to find out exactly what happened here. And yet, the head of the investigative team was told during the investigation to stop the investigation and not to write a final report.....

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