Thursday, 2 June 2016

"OPREP-3" - A Classified US Military Reporting 

Channel For UFO Incidents?

Part 1


While going through officially declassified military records that relate to the spooky 1975 US/Canadian border Northern Tier “over flights”, as well as other 1970’s–era UFO cases, I noticed a specific and hitherto barely discussed term repeatedly appearing in the documents. The term was “OPREP–3”, and it was sometimes followed by other codewords like “PINNACLE”, “BEELINE” or “NAVY BLUE”. After further study, it became quickly apparent that this terminology refered to a unique class of “operational reporting” used by the US Armed Forces. Firstly, “OPREP” means “Operational Report”, and, secondly, the number “3” refers to a category of OPREP known as “Serious Event/Serious Incident”. There are dozens of available publications that detail the OPREP–3 process. One such publication, promulgated by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), is an Instruction dated 1st of December, 1993, titled “Joint Reporting Structure Event and Incident Reports”. Page 1 establishes:

         “The OPREP–3 reporting system… …is used by military units at any level of command to report significant events and incidents to the highest levels of command.”.

         Another publication, titled “Air Force Instruction 10–206 Operational Reporting” (AFI 10–206), and promulgated by the Secretary of the United States Air Force (SEC–USAF) on 15th October, 2008, states in Chapter 3:

        “Command Posts use the OPREP–3s to immediately notify commanders of any significant event or incident that rises to the level of DoD, AF, or MAJCOM interests. Submit the applicable OPREP–3 regardless of whether or not the event is being reported through other channels.

          This is interesting, and we have inadvertently known about it all along. After the closure of the United States Air Force’s (USAF) Project Blue Book, no reporting channels, except the “Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings” (CIRVIS) system, and the “Air Force Reporting System” (AFOREP) channel, were to be used for UFO reporting in the USA. Even knowledge of those was kept reasonably quiet. These reporting channels were mentioned by Brig. Gen. Carrol H. Bolender, who was the Deputy Director of Development, for the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, USAF, when he authorised Project Blue Books closure. Dated the 20th of September, 1969, Brig. Gen. Bolender’s “Air Staff Summary Sheet”, usually referred to as the “Bolender Memo”, states:

         “Moreover, reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue Book system... …as already stated, reports of UFOs which could affect national security would continue to be handled through the standard Air Force procedures designed for this purpose.”

          At the time, “Air Force Manual 55-11, Operations, Air Force Operational Reporting System” (AFM-55-11), which was promulgated on 20th of May, 1968, laid out the “Air Force Operational Reporting System” (AFOREPS). The AFOREPS included several operational reporting categories, one of which was the OPREP-3 channel. As we shall see, there is irrefutable, documented proof that OPREP–3 procedures have been followed to report UFOs to higher commands, just as Brig. Gen. Bolender had stipulated.

          On the night of May 14, 1978, the United States Navy’s (USN) Pinecastle Electronic Warfare Range, in Florida, endured a very unusual incident. A UFO was both visually sighted and tracked by primary radar. It was reported as displaying red, green, and white lights, and was accompanied by no sound. Also, the UFO apparently took evasive action when there was an attempt to lock radar on the object. When records relating to the case were released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), even the Public Affairs officer, N. P. Young, stationed at Jacksonville Naval Air Station (NAS Jacksonville), who processed the records, had this to say about the incident:

“I have never been a believer in UFOs, but I assure you I am convinced that a number of people witnessed an unexplainable event that night.”.

Five pages of records were released relating to the incident, including a two page telex sent from NAS Jacksonville to the Commander–in–Chief of the USN’s Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANFLT) at Norfolk, Virginia. Classified CONFIDENTIAL, one line states:


Note the term “OPREP–3”. Further, beneath this line, the telex reads:


Two more lines down the telex states:


Note the term “UFO” is openly used here. This is indisputable proof that a UFO event, of some sort, caused the sending of an OPREP–3 to the CINCLANFLT. I have imaged the page below.

For clarity, I have clipped the section of the above page, showing the reference to “OPREP–3” and two usages of the term “UFO”.

Three years before this incident, a far more serious succession of still unsolved events took place all the way along the northern border of the USA and Canada. For a full week, sensitive US and Canadian military bases were intruded upon by a confusing blend of unidentified aircraft, helicopters and unusual objects. These craft seemed to principally focus their unannounced flight regimes near, or above, nuclear missile and nuclear bomb storage sites. None of this was rumour or innuendo. The information came primarily from hundreds of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by researchers Barry Greenwood and Lawrence Fawcett, and the unusual events were fully revealed in their 1984 book “Clear Intent”, later published with the title “UFO Cover Up: What the Government Won’t Say”.

Contained in a 1 November, 1975 telex, which was sent to the National Military Command Center (NMCC) in Washington DC, from the Command Post at nuclear weapon–equipped Loring Air Force Base, Maine, are a number of very curious lines of text. The telex signal was classified CONFIDENTIAL, and was sent with “IMMEDIATE” precedence. More importantly, it is an OPREP–3, as we see by this line of text:


Further down, the message says:


Below is the image.

As the above document is not easy to read, for clarity, below, I have clipped the two sections of the above page to make absolutely clear that the terms “OPREP–3” and “UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT” are used. Like the NAS Jacksonville telex, this is documented proof that an unidentified object behaving oddly above the nuclear storage igloos at Loring caused enough concern that this OPREP–3 report was issued.

While these mysterious intrusions were occurring, repeatedly, at Loring AFB, similar events were taking place on the 30th Oct, 1975, at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Michigan. A National Military Command Center (NMCC) “Memorandum for Record”, dated 31st October, 1975, states in the subject line:

“Low Flying Aircraft/Helicopter Sightings at Wurtsmith AFB, MI.”

It goes on to say,

“1. The SAC Command Post notified the NMCC of reported low flying aircraft/helicopter sightings at Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan at 302342 EST.”


“2. The attached OPREP–3s give a summary of the reported sightings.”

The memorandum was signed by Brig. Gen. Donald M. Davis, Deputy Director for Operations, NMCC, and is imaged below.

Accompanying the above memorandum is the actual OPREP–3 that was transmitted from Wurtsmith AFB to the NMCC. Dated 30th October, 1975 it describes the penetration of the base area by at least one, and probably two, unknown helicopters. This event also constituted a serious violation of the secure “no fly” airspace near the nuclear weapons storage area. The helicopter(s), or whatever they were, were plotted on the base’s Radar Approach Control (RAPCON) primary radar, as well as seen visually from the cockpit of a KC–35 aerial refueling tanker aircraft, assigned to the Strategic Air Command (SAC). The term “OPREP–3 REPORT” is printed at the extreme top of the document, though it has been cropped off by poor reproduction during the release of these records. This document is imaged below.

Note at the very top of the page, the word “OPREP–3” is visible, if half chopped off by poor reproduction during the release of these records. For clarity, I have provided a clipped image below for close–up scrutiny.

        Another document concerning this event, which I imaged below, provides additional detail. The term “OPREP–3” is once again visible – so there is no question of its applicability to this event. The line states:


Again, for clarity, I have provided a clipped image below for close–up scrutiny.

        Yet, another record related to the unusual aerial oddities at Wurtsmith AFB is a “DDO Update” dated 31st of October, 1975. “DDO” refers to the “Deputy Director of Operations” at the national Military Command Center (NMCC). Also known as a “DDO Talker”, these raw intelligence messages are not meant for long–term preservation, which makes it surprising that they were able to be released. Imaged below, this example states, in part:

       “The SAC Senior Controller notified the NMCC… …of unidentified low-flying aircraft/helicopter sightings at Wurtsmith AFB, MI… …RAPCON showed several objects on radar at the same time. A tanker was dispatched to the area and obtained both visual and radar skin paint of two aircraft. Both aircraft had lights on initially but appeared to turn them off simultaneously.  (SOURCE: OPREP-3 302327)”

Again, for clarity, I have provided a clipped image below for close–up scrutiny.

         These OPREP3 reportable events were not just occurring at Loring and Wurtsmith AFB’s. During the same period, sightings of what were specifically described as “unidentified flying objects” and “UFOs” at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. The reports concerned simultaneous radar contact and visual reports of one to multiple objects with a bright light or groups of bright lights once again intruding into secure weapons storage sites. Though these events didn’t create an OPREP–3 report, dozens of records were generated at both Malmstrom AFB Command Post and the NMCC. One of these was a 8 November, 1975 NMCC “DDO UPDATE”, or, “DDO Talker”. The subject title says “UFO SIGHTINGS”, and the main message reads:

“(U) From 080253 EST Nov 75 to 080420 EST Nov 75, Malmstrom AFB MT and four SAC sites reported a series of visual and radar contacts with unidentified flying objects. Several reports from the same locations included jet engine sounds associated with the observed bright lights. Two interceptors scrambled from 24th NORAD Region failed to make contact with the UFO’s.”

(U) The UFO sightings occurred on an extremely clear night. Visibility was 45 miles. Although northern lights will cause phenomena similar to the received reports, weather services indicated no possibility of northern lights during the period in question. (SOURCE: NMCC 080600 EST NOV 75.)”

I have imaged this document below.

          So, the US military has a robust, classified channel which has been used in the past for reporting serious UFO events… Does it really matter? To serious UFO researchers, plus anyone interested in national security, it should matter a lot. A mystery within the UFO community has always been what happened to UFO investigations after Project Blue Book ended. The cancelling of two 1960’s–era regulations, namely “Air Force Regulation 200–2, Reporting of Unidentified Flying Objects” (AFR 200–2) and its short–lived successor “Air Force Regulation 80–17, Unidentified Flying Objects” (AFR 80–17), left only two known military reporting channels for UFO events. As I have mentioned, one was the well–worn “Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings” (CIRVIS) procedures. The lesser known system was the “Air Force Operational Reporting System” (AFOREP), which was first promulgated in “Air Force Manual 55–11 Operations – Air Force Operational Reporting System” (AFM 55–11). Frustratingly, researchers have not been able to access records from either of these two systems, despite the fact some of the reports are now over forty years old.

And now, we find that at some time in the 1970’s, the OPREP–3 system apparently became the channel of choice for very serious incidents. It goes without saying that there could potentially be a huge number of OPREP–3 records that contain disturbing, unsolvable UFO events, especially near US military installations. Also, the above mentioned AFOREP channel, promulgated in the 1960’s in AFM 55–11, contained an early version of the current OPREP–3 system we see in modern times.

In Part 2 of this series, I will discuss the OPREP–3 system at greater length, including the flag words “PINNACLE”, “BEELINE”, and “NAVY BLUE”, plus distribution lists for such reports and their seriousness. In Part 3 of the series, I will attempt to detail my, and colleague David Charmichael’s, efforts to obtain current OPREP–3 records straight from the Office of the Secretary of Defence (OSD) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), plus a mysterious letter sent to UK researcher Dr. Armen Victorian in the 1990’s.


  1. Very intriguing new info, Paul.

    Keep up the good work -- this is a very well done series involving NORAD and non-PBB reporting channels regarding UFO incidents, just as Bolander wrote about in his infamous memo on same, utilizing CIRVIS, MERINT, and other alternative reporting channels by the USAF and Navy.

    Also, at some point, look into Projects White Stork and Have Stork, two related projects partially involving UFO analysis of UFO reports by the Battelle Memorial Institute in the early 50's through the late 60's (and perhaps beyond, into the early to mid-70's).

  2. John Andrew Teglas3 June 2016 at 21:22

    Good work Paul.. i believe the beeline title reference deals with a specific secure channel of communication for the NRO, for it's correlated and uncorrected targets.

  3. Thanks for this key documentation that occured as i was falling down the rabbit hole in 1975 with events on the Manitoba - North Dakota border.