U.S. pilot was ordered to shoot down UFO
He was told to never talk about Cold War incident; files now are public
Britain releases UFO files
Oct. 20: Britain’s Ministry of Defense has released files detailing reported UFO sightings. Msnbc.com’s Becca Field reports.
updated 1:50 p.m. MT, Mon., Oct. 20, 2008
LONDON – An American fighter pilot flying from an English air base at the height of the Cold War was ordered to open fire on a massive UFO that lit up his radar, according to an account published by Britainâ€™s National Archives on Monday.
The fighter pilot said he was ordered to fire a full salvo of rockets at the UFO moving erratically over the North Sea â€” but that at the last minute the object picked up enormous speed and disappeared. The account, first published in Britainâ€™s Daily Star newspaper more than 17 years ago and to this day unverified by military authorities, was one of many carried in the 1,500 pages the archives made available online.
The unnamed pilot said he and another airman were scrambled on the night of May 20, 1957, to intercept an unusual â€œbogeyâ€ on radars at a Royal Air Force Station Manston, an airfield at the southeastern tip of England about 75 miles from central London.
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â€œThis was a flying object with very unusual flight patterns,â€ the pilot said, according to a typed manuscript of his account mailed to Britainâ€™s Ministry of Defense by a UFO enthusiast in 1988. â€œIn the initial briefing it was suggested to us that the bogey actually was motionless for long intervals.â€
Ordered to fly at full throttle in cloudy weather, the pilot said he was given the order to fire a volley of 24 rockets at the mysterious object.
â€œTo be quite candid I almost [expletive] my pants!â€ the pilot said, saying he asked for confirmation â€” which he received.
Retired U.S. airman Milton Torres told Britainâ€™s Sky News on Monday that he was the pilot and has spent 50 frustrating years attempting to uncover the truth of his aerial encounter.
Speaking from his home in Miami, Torres said he never saw the UFO with his naked eyes, but watched in awe as it appeared on his jetâ€™s radar and sped off before he had chance to fire.
â€œAll of a sudden as it was coming in, it decided to take off and leave me behind … The next thing I know it was gone,â€ Torres told Sky News. â€œIt was some kind of space alien craft. It was so fast, it was so incredible … it was absolutely death-defying.â€
Impossible to miss?
In the newly published government file, the U.S. airman said the UFO appeared impossible to miss.
â€œThe blip was burning a hole in the radar with its incredible intensity,â€ the pilot said. â€œIt was similar to a blip I had received from B-52â€™s and seemed to be a magnet of light. … I had a lock on that had the proportions of a flying aircraft carrier.â€
As he closed in on the object to prepare for combat, however, the object began to move wildly before fading off his radar. The target gone, the mission was called off, and he returned to base to an odd reception.
â€œI had not the foggiest idea what had actually occurred, nor would anyone explain anything to me,â€ the pilot said. He said he was led to a man in civilian clothes, who â€œadvised me that this would be considered highly classified and that I should not discuss it with anybody not even my commander.â€
â€œHe disappeared without so much as a goodbye and that was that, as far as I was concerned,â€ the pilot said, according to the account.
No military record
Britainâ€™s military said it had no record of the incident, according to the files. Neither did the U.S. military. The second pilotâ€™s account, also included in the files, paints a somewhat different picture of events, saying there were not one but several â€œunknownsâ€ and that he did not remember being contacted by anyone about staying quiet. He did not mention the targetsâ€™ size.
â€œI know this is not a very exciting narrative but it is all I can recall,â€ the second pilot said.
His name, like his colleagueâ€™s, was redacted from the files.
The Ship– the Target