Project 1947 has updated or enhanced over one hundred cases in this new version of the draft Navy, Marine and Coast Guard catalogue (NavCat 2.0). The new material consists of illustrations, additional details and links to reference material hosted on the Project 1947 site. Various map references have been added to help place the incidents. We have also added over one hundred new cases to the catalogue, doubling the previous version in size. This updated compilation represents about 80% of the cases gathered so far.
Half of the cases in the current NavCat occurred before January 1953. Since Project 1947 is mainly concerned with cases at the beginning of the UFO era, this is not surprising. Many cases only came to light due to the more accommodating official UFO information policies in 1952. After the close of Project Blue Book, the number of cases from seagoing services declined as there was no central collection point for such incidents. The breakdown of the origins of the cases are: Navy 77%, Marine Corps 12%, and 5% Coast Guard, with the remainder from other services. Again the statistics will change as new cases come to light.
As this is a draft document, a number of equivocal incidents have been presented. Some entries might be considered quite difficult to believe or to be almost in the category of rumors. We hope to gain more information on such entries before the catalogue is finalized. Cases with weak provenance will be culled from the final version.
Some cases listed here are termed “unidentified contact” which may be radar, sonar, visual, or all three. A number of these are not UFO-like at all. Some are listed to illustrate the type of reports in official files, ship’s logs or other accounts. These too will be culled for the final document.
The Navy has an extensive world-wide submarine detection system. Few anomalous USO reports from this system are publicly known. The 1951-52 reports list come from Naval Intelligence Submarine Contacts which were supplied to Project Blue Book. Capt. Ruppelt wanted to see if it was possible to correlate unidentified submarine reports with UFO activity in the US. No correlation was found. Researcher Robert Todd was able to obtain a listing of the submarine contacts supplied to Ruppelt. Several unidentified or “doubtful submarines” are listed in the catalogue. Most contain few details and do not seem to be of an unusual nature.
When one thinks of UFO cases at missile test ranges, one immediately thinks of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake also has some cases in the Project Blue Book files, some of which might appear to have only vague connections to UFOs. However, in the late 1960s Dr. James McDonald visited both Point Mugu and China Lake to speak to the facilities’ personnel. After his first talk at China Lake, he was granted extraordinary access to the base where he interviewed a number of personnel who reported various UFO incidents there from as early as the World War II era.
Unfortunately some of this interview material was lost during an airline flight when Dr McDonald's briefcase containing audio tape records and notes went missing. Fortunately some material from his investigations still existed in his papers at the University of Arizona. Dr McDonald also used his position as a contractor for the Office of Naval Research to cultivate sources to find other Navy cases. (Regrettably, he had no luck in his attempts to locate the records of the Navy’s UFO project ordered by Secretary of the Navy Dan Kimball in 1952.)
A number of cases given to NICAP by various sources were confidential. They were often from serving military personnel or people in other high security capacities where their identities had to be protected from possible official repercussions. The authenticity of the cases were certified or sworn to by NICAP Board members or officials and they were referred to as “Hidden Cases.” Keyhoe’s Flying Saucers: Top Secret contained a list of such cases including a number of Navy, Marine and Coast Guard incidents. The location of the files on these cases is currently unknown, however, several of these cases have become public over the years: the North Atlantic case of Feb, 1951, the Korean case of 1951, and the so-called “Navy Squadron” case over the Atlantic, 1953. (In this last case some of the correspondence concerning attempts to get accounts from the witnesses still exist. Also, the case has been confirmed through the efforts of Dan Wilson.) The other files are considered lost, but may have existed in a private office Keyhoe supposedly had in his hometown.
Keyhoe, as a Naval Academy graduate and retired Marine officer, had numerous Navy contacts and sources. The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP)’s bulletin “UFO Investigator” contained a lot of officially released information on space or aviation developments and the occasional UFO report. Even with these contacts, however, Keyhoe was apparently not tipped off about UFO-related articles in the semi-official “Naval Aviation News” magazine and the public release of information on the 1952 Greenland sighting.
As has been pointed out before, some witnesses of UFO events self-censored and did not report them. Unless other witnesses made a report, there would be no official record of the incident. In a number of cases the witness(es) might report the case, sometimes in writing, only to be told, “If I report this, I will be laughed out of the Navy.” “I want to be promoted someday, so this will not be officially reported.” As a result, the official receiving the report ended up censoring the information and removing potentially good cases from the historical record.
UFO Reports are supposedly recorded in ship’s logs, but very few of these log entries have actually been found in the final or “smooth log”. Sometimes UFO reports are made in separate documents and not mentioned in the smooth log, even though witnesses claimed the entries were made at the time. Over and over again, in answer to FOIA requests, the Navy insisted that no records were kept, they were routinely destroyed, or they never existed in the first place. Despite this reticence to release information, some material has been located in official records. They were usually not listed as UFOs, but rather under unusual or unidentified radar contacts or displays.
During the Korean War, the 6004th Air Intelligence Service Squadron (AISS) and Air Technical Intelligence Liaison Office (ATILO) at the Far East Air Force (FEAF) did record several such unusual Navy contacts in their intelligence reports. [Air Technical Intelligence Liaisons or their representatives were present in Germany, Austria, Japan and Korea, the last especially during the Korean War. The German office made 12 UFO reports to ATIC in 1952 based on extensive investigations. The ATILO at FEAF made a number of official reports and comments based on their investigations. ATILO personnel in Korea had their own sightings.]
The Navy on occasion has been forthcoming with reports. The 1952 August Greenland report was made public in news headlines. The Pascagoula, Mississippi 1973 USO report was released to a number of sources. Other sightings were also later released to the press. After the closure of Project Blue Book, the Navy has responded to a number of FOIA requests with the release of records.
Most official Navy reports have come from either Project Blue Book or other agencies. One Navy source which regularly carried unusual aerial reports was the Hydrographic Office in its “Notice to Mariners” publication. Some were mentioned in various publications such as “Naval Aviation News” along with others.
The US Coast Guard is far more forthcoming. However, except for a small amount data in files titled “UFO” or similar subjects, the majority of the information is listed under witnesses’ names, locations or other such classifications. Locating a particular UFO report therefore is dependent on being able to nominate a specific name or location.
While the Navy and other agencies many times respond to requests negatively, many documents have been found in general files such as “Naval Intelligence Reports, 1946.” A number of documents on Ghost Rockets (GR), formerly classified as “Top Secret” and below, were found just by turning over each page in the file. There was no separate file on the subject of “Ghost Rockets;” indeed no such file on GRs or Swedish Incidents or a dozen other names has yet to be found except those within the papers of General LeMay. [LeMay had a number of such reports in messages in his file which also included General McDonald, USAAF A-2 Report on GRs to the Commander of the Air Force Commander General Spaatz.] Other than LeMay’s papers, all other documents found to date were either by FOIA requests or by manually thumbing through documents at the National Archives and other record centers.
One instance of reports being made to officials that never reached the status of official records involves Major Dewey Fournet, USAF Intelligence HQ UFO monitor. Fournet made a presentation to Naval and Marine officers in a Naval Intelligence class in late 1952. He asked for and received three UFO accounts from class members. However, he did not send the reports to Project Blue Book, but rather they were recorded in a separate list of UFO reports and articles entitled “Operation Interloper.” The “Operation Interloper” documents Fournet brought from the Pentagon were captioned as “Unclassified.” One speculation is that “Operation Interloper” was used as a convenient way to learn of other UFO incidents by discussing the subject with individuals outside the government, or personnel who lacked the proper security clearance.
"NFIA": (No Further Information Available) has been added to catalog entries for which no other details or information is known to exist.
Project 1947 continues to gather reports from the Seagoing Services. We welcome
any new reports, information, clarifications and corrections.
— Jan L. Aldrich
Read the updated Catalogue of UFOs/USOs Reported by Seagoing Services - NavCat 2.0
As demonstrated in the book UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry, the history of US Navy involvement in the UFO problem is elusive and incomplete with many serious gaps in the historical record. Most of the documentation of the Navy’s involvement can be traced through records from other agencies, with the main source being the USAF Project Blue Book records.
Over 50 years before World War II, the US Navy Hydrographic Office obtained extracts of merchant ship logs, internal reports concerning matters dealing with navigation, ocean phenomena and occasional unusual celestial phenomena. Of the latter these were either filed away or published in various notices and bulletins. A later publication entitled “Notice to Mariners” contained a number of such sightings of interest to UFO researchers.
Many of the documents concerning the “ghost rocket” phenomena from Naval Attaches and commands in Europe are available at the National Archives.
Captain Bernard Baruch, Jr., son of the financier and advisor to the government, was instrumental in formulating an important World War II reporting system used by both the British and Americans: Communication Instruction for Reporting Enemy Sightings (CIRES). Captain Baruch advocated and guided the effort to convert the system to peacetime uses in what became the Communication Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings (CIRVIS). In 1949, at Baruch’s urging, UFOs were included in the reporting scheme. Baruch continued his efforts to improve and upgrade the system until the 1960s.
For a short time the Navy had its own UFO project in the early 1950. Almost no records exist concerning the scope and content of the investigations.
Sometimes the Navy would release information about UFO sightings to the press. We know of a number of observations by Navy and Marine Corps personnel because of stories in the media. Most of these were from 1947-1970. After that, few stories appear in the media. Reports are now made by Naval personnel to UFO organizations. The service has always been historically reticent to make its UFO records public, but attempting to examine reports of the past few decades has been made difficult by an almost complete absence of accessible documentation.
The Coast Guard has been generally forthcoming in its involvement with UFO reports, which because of its size have not been as extensive in scope and number.
One area which the Navy controls completely concerns reports of objects on and under the water - USOs. Very little information about this aspect is ever reported in the press. The Navy’s anti-submarine patrols and huge underwater detection network seldom make the news with reports of USOs.
In the 1950s and 60s some within the Navy gave encouragement and facilitated, probably unofficially, the efforts of both Major Donald E. Keyhoe and Dr. James E. McDonald. Such support was not extensive, but was occasionally helpful as the Office of Naval Research (ONR) suggested a way for McDonald to get access to the UFO project files at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. After the closure of Project Blue Book, military UFO reports rapidly decreased although countries which continued UFO investigation projects saw no such decrease.
In the current climate of Popular Culture and Internet fringe theories, most new UFO reports come from UFO organizations or Social Media with all that entails.
Although serious discussions of UFOs always suffered from a skewed perception of both the UFO reporter and the investigator, we have still managed to conduct thorough, responsible and serious
research. One such investigation was utilized by the late Peter Jennings
for his 2005 ABC News program, "UFOs: Seeing Is Believing" report on the B-52
Minot AFB incident of 24 October, 1968:
The extensive collection of carefully researched material available on the Minot AFB incident is available here: http://minotb52ufo.com/
As one military officer told me, “I am happy to see people coming forward with their stories and getting them on the record.”
Project 1947 compiled this list with three goals in mind:
1. To update the Navy and Marine Corps UFO sightings list in NICAP’s The UFO Evidence, edited by Richard H.Hall in 1964. NICAP had access to only a few official reports in 1964 as the Project Blue Book files were not public.
2. To initiate the list called for in Task 7c in the of the CFI proposal
The list includes a number of cases without any official documentation. The hope is for additional information on such cases to be forthcoming.
3. To extend the topic of Navy involvement discussed in the recent historical publication, "UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiry". A large number of the listed reports are from official sources or were acknowledged officially.
With this compilation we are trying to put a few such accounts on the record. This remains a work in progress. It is not complete by any means and we will continue to add material to the combined US Navy, Marine and Coast Guard UFO and USO reports catalogue as more cases come to light.
— Jan Aldrich
Since UFO Evidence was published in 1964, few collections of US Navy UFO reports have been compiled. Notable exceptions on the Internet are:
Water UFO: (Carl Feindt) which covers not just US Navy UFO reports but reports from foreign navies, merchant marine, fishermen, and other vessels on oceans and bodies of water:
Blue Book UFO Report at Sea by Ships by Tony Rullan. This is a compilation of Navy and other reports from ships in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans with discussions and analysis:
One other large source of Navy reports is contained within a Chronology of general
UFO reports. See the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), The UFO Sighting Chronology:
The current preliminary listing covers about 60% of the reports collected. They are from diverse sources: official documents, especially the US Air Force Project Blue Book files, media sources, various UFO books, and collections of reports from various UFO organizations:
Project Blue Book Archives
Official Project Blue Book and other government microfilms converted to PDF files:
National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP)
J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS)
Mutual UFO Network (MUFON)
and other UFO organizations. Authors’ works cited include the following:
Bloecher, Report on the UFO Wave of 1947
Chester, Strange Company
Gross, Loren. UFOs: A History (cited by year of the booklets) later titled The Fifth Horsemen of the Apocalypse: UFOs: A History.
Greenwood, Barry and Larry Fawcett, Clear Intent
Haines, Richard, PhD
Haines I Advanced Aerial Devices
Reported During the Korean War
Haines II Project Delta
Hall I Airships to Arnold
Hall II UFO Evidence, Volume 1
Hall III UFO Evidence, Volume 2
Hall IV Alien Invasion or Human Fantasy? The 1966-67 UFO Wave
Hynek, J. Allen, PhD
Hynek I The UFO Experience
Hynek II The Hynek UFO Report
Keyhoe, Donald E. Major, USMC, Retired
Keyhoe I The Flying Saucers Are Real
Keyhoe II Flying Saucers from Outer Space
Keyhoe III Flying Saucer Conspiracy
Keyhoe IV Flying Saucers Top Secret
Keyhoe V Aliens from Space
Ruppelt, Edward J.
Ruppelt, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects
The other main source is the Internet reporting site National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC)
Large collections of newspaper clippings from Barry Greenwood, Loren Gross, the late Robert Gribble, Katherine Brisendine, and Project 1947 were used in this compilation. The authors of UFOs and Government contributed materially to this compilation, especially Professor Michael Swords and Robert Powell.
Other collections consulted were The Keyhoe Archives, Dr. James E. McDonald’s papers, Dr. Willy Smith papers, George Fawcett’s papers at the Roswell Museum and several other sources.
Origin of Reports and the Quality of Sources
The biggest reservoir of official Navy reports is the Project Blue Book files. No complete listing of Navy reports within the Project Blue Book files has been made although Tony Rullan’s paper probably contains the most comprehensive for ships in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
World War II cases in the current list mostly come from personal accounts in various civilian publications and reports to UFO organizations. Few reports have official documents to back them up either as ship logs or official war diaries. However, four decades after Commander Hendershot's 1945 letter voicing concerns about unknown aerial intrusions over the Hanford Nuclear installation, we find official backing in 4th Air Force documents suggesting the Navy uses its Pasco Naval Air Station, Washington, to counter the unknown incursions.
The Navy reports of flying discs sightings during the 1947 UFO wave come mostly from the media. Some are from official documents in the Project Blue Book files. More report went to the press as opposed to those which went through intelligence channels.
After the Air Force established Project SIGN more reports started to go through channels to the Air Force, and sometimes were also reported in the press. Occasionally the accounts only appeared in the local press. A New Zealand woman wrote to Sgt. Harold Fulton who led a UFO organization in New Zealand, Civil Saucer Investigations, New Zealand, that her son-in-law, an officer in the US Navy stationed near San Diego had seen a UFO in 1952. Recently, the San Diego Union newspaper became available online and Barry Greenwood was able to recover the news report.
Interestingly there was a report mentioned in the CSI-LA newsletter number 2 about an incident at the Naval Air Station at San Diego:
A very well confirmed report from an aerographer of San Diego, California, North Island Navy Station, reports that he saw numerous objects through a theodolite while tracking a weather balloon. The spectacle continued for such a long time that he informed his chief officer. Also the latter saw the objects passing by in large numbers. Other witnesses present were an aerological officer, a group of USAF and Navy pilots, the control tower operator and the commander of the field.
So it appears that rumors of this account were kicking around for years. Although in the CSI-LA newsletter the context implies it happened in 1952. A letter in the Project Blue Book files indicates the date was December 1950.
Beside official records and media reports there is a vast area of personal reports and rumors, some which have fantastical elements as one would expect occasionally from men that go down to the sea in ships. However, we have tried to maintain a serious demeanor here and eliminate the journalistic hoaxes and tall tales while keeping an open mind. Some of these reports have explanations, but are still listed here because they have historical significance.
This is a work in progress with many more accounts to be added in the future. As
always, Project 1947 welcomes the addition of new accounts, clarifications, comments, criticisms at:
— Jan L. Aldrich