"OPREP-3" - A Classified US Military Reporting
Channel For UFO Incidents?
Previously, in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series, I looked at the US military’s OPREP–3 reporting system, and, in particular, its use in alerting top–echelon military commands of serious UFO incidents. During the 1970’s, the OPREP–3 system was used to convey urgent and current information regarding perceived UFO activity near a number of United States Air Force (USAF) bases assigned to the Strategic Air Command (SAC), as well as a United States Navy (USN) facility. In Part 4, I highlighted a formally classified joint North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and Aerospace Defence Command (ADCOM) manual which specifically asked that “unidentified flying objects – UFOs” events be submitted by regional NORAD Commanders via the OPREP-3 system. In Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7 of this series, I moved away from the reporting of UFOs via the OPREP–3 system, and began to discuss the US government’s response, concern, evaluation and investigation of these intrusive aerial events. These alarming UFO incidents, known euphemistically as the “over flights”, as well as the widespread reaction they triggered within the US government, can only be studied through the examination of begrudgingly declassified documents. The release of these records, which number in the many hundreds, only occurred due to the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by a handful of dogged researchers. In particular, Robert Todd, Barry Greenwood, Lawrence Fawcett and Todd Zechel spearheaded this extraordinary and voluminous research effort, often at great cost.
In this Part 8, I will begin to look at how the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and Aerospace Defence Command (ADCOM) assessed and responded to the apparent UFO activity during 1975. It is worth stating that I will soon discuss, at much greater length, NORAD and ADCOM’s actions in another series of blog posts I author titled “NORAD and the UFO Smokescreen”.
For those unfamiliar, NORAD is a bi–national, United States–Canadian military organisation charged with both “aerospace warning” and “aerospace control” for almost all of North America. NORAD’s current “Fact Sheet” states, firstly, that “aerospace warning” includes “the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles”, and, secondly, that “aerospace control” includes ensuring air sovereignty and air defence of the airspace of Canada and the United States.”. NORAD was established in September, 1957, and continues to be an extremely major component of the US and Canadian military apparatus today. ADCOM, on the other hand, was a major command (MAJCOM) of the USAF, and was tasked with defending the continental USA only. Borne from the older Air Defence Command (ADC), ADCOM was inactivated in March, 1980, and its assets were mostly absorbed into the new Tactical Air Command (TAC). It is important to note that both NORAD and ADCOM were, in the 1970’s, headquartered at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado. However, during the late 1970’s, both organisations, after years of huge restructuring, moved to Peterson Air Force Base, also in Colorado. I raise this because some of the documents I will be highlighting are letter–headed with both Ent AFB and Peterson AFB, which, without explanation, could cause confusion. Also, during the 1970’s and 1980’s, NORAD’s air sovereignty responsibilities were divided into a number of geographical “NORAD Regions”, often shortened to “NR”. Likewise, ADCOM’s air defence mission was similarly divided into distinct “Air Divisions”, frequently notated simply as “AD”.
Of the two, NORAD has brushed off the UFO problem the most brashly. In a reply letter, dated the 10th November, 1975, Colonel Terrence C. James, NORAD’s Director of Administration (NORAD/DAD), stated to researcher Robert Todd:
“…this command has no present activity in investigating UFOs, nor does any area of the United States government that I’m aware of.”
Another letter from NORAD/DAD, dated 28th November, 1975, also to Robert Todd, said:
“We do not undertake investigative measures… …our interests are satisfied in near real time, and no formal documentation is created by this command.”
Ten years later, in an April 25th, 1988 reply letter to researcher Dr. Armen Victorian, NORAD/HQ’s Chief of Operations Branch, Directorate of Public Affairs, Lt. Col. Roger I. Pinnell, stated:
“Thank you for your recent letter requesting information on Unidentified Flying Objects. Unfortunately, we have not recently released any information concerning UFO’s, nor do we keep any such information on file... ...Although we do not have any information on UFO’s, you may want to write to the following address and they should be able to assist you...”
As we shall see, these statements depart radically from NORAD’s own records.
On the 21st of February, 1976, researcher Robert Todd submitted an FOI request to ADCOM Headquarters, Ent Air Force Base, Colorado, for any records held by NORAD Headquarters (NORAD/HQ) regarding “UFO sightings”. Todd stipulated that he particularly wanted access to records which were created during December, 1973, January 1974, and October and November, 1975. Normally, a researcher would submit FOI requests directly to the organisation in custody of needed records. However, in this case, Todd had already submitted FOI requests directly to NORAD/HQ, on both the 3erd and the 22nd of January, 1976, but was never furnished with a reply. Thus, he felt compelled to communicate with ADCOM in the hope that his requests for NORAD documentation would be handled properly, if indirectly. In his request to , On the 11th and 23erd of March, 1976, Kay A. Wales, the Chief of the Documentation Systems Division within the ADCOM’s Directorate of Administration (ADCOM/DAD), informed Todd that an extension of time was required to search archived NORAD records. On the 26th of March, 1976, Kay A. Wales replied to Todd, stating:
“1. Reference your letter of 21st of February, 1976, and our letters of 11 and 23 March, 1976.
2. A determination has been made that the records you requested are releasable under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC 552. Attached are excerpts from the Command Directors Log. There are no entries in the log for December 1973 or January 1974 that relate to UFO’s.”
This reply is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, ADCOM had managed to secure NORAD records, where direct FOI correspondence with NORAD HQ had previously failed. Secondly, a hitherto unknown new type of NORAD records had been identified and released. These were known as “Command Directors Log” extracts, or, on occasion, “Command Directors Journals”. To be specific, in her letter, they were listed as “Unclassified Extracts from NORAD Command Directors Log”. Thirdly, with these records in hand, it was proven that NORAD did indeed deal with the UFO topic, despite their previous claims. In regards the “Command Directors Log”, it is worth noting that the Commander of NORAD’s Combat Operations Center (NCOC), at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex (CMC), Colorado, was responsible for producing them, and not the NORAD Commander–in–Chief (CINCNORAD) as commentators have suggested in the past. These logs contained raw, spontaneous, unevaluated information which concerned NORAD’s airspace management and aerospace warning mission. The NCOC Commander held, at minimum, the rank of Colonel, but was usually ranked Major General, and was directly answerable to the CINCNORAD. The above mentioned reply letter is imaged below.
And, with that, three pages of “Command Directors Log” extracts were furnished to Robert Todd. The most interesting aspect of them was not what was released, but what wasn’t. Nothing remarkable is contained within them at all. I have imaged below the first page of the released logs, for clarity.
Indeed, it was the dullness of these extracts that instantaneously raised Todd’s suspicions. As it turned out, those suspicions were well founded. As the years went on, ever more insistent FOI requests proved that NORAD’s NCOC, as well as various NORAD and ADCOM regional Headquarters, held far more UFO–related entries in their logs than they wished to initially admit. This didn’t just happen once. Repeatedly, researchers asserted themselves, even threatening litigation, to compel the release of more material specific to late 1975. Before the floodgates opened, however, there were a few more instances of lethargy and deceitfulness on behalf of authorities.
On the 11th of August, 1977, Todd submitted an FOI request to NORAD HQ, Peterson AFB, Colorado, asking for copies of records relating to “unidentified flight activity over two SAC bases near the Canadian border” during the months October and November, 1975. Todd, of course, was referring to Loring AFB and Wurtsmith AFB, which were both assigned to the USAF’s Strategic Air Command (SAC), and had been intruded upon by airborne objects variously described as “unknown helicopters”, “unknown objects”, “unidentified objects” and “UFOs”. These terms were not being thrown around carelessly by UFO researchers, but, rather, were repetitively contained in myriad declassified USAF documents, which I have detailed in previous entries in this series. In some of those already–released records, NORAD was an addressee on various distribution lists, and, as we know, three pages of NORAD “Command Directors Log” extracts detailing UFO sightings during November, 1975, had been released. So there was no question that NORAD must of being holding records related to the unidentified activity along the US-Canadian border. Amazingly, on the 26th of August, 1977, Maj. Donald B. Stephens, who was Chief of NORAD’s Community Relations Division, replied to Todd, stating:
“In response to your letter of 11 August, 1977 asking about ‘unidentified flight activity over two SAC bases near the Canadian border’, my check of files shows nothing that seems to correlate. On 31 October, 1975, there were three ‘unknowns’ in the records, all of which were identified: two small planes in Florida and an Air Canada DC–8 in Canada.
Perhaps the SAC IO at Offutt AFB, NE, can be of assistance.”
As mentioned, it was already established that NORAD held a series of “Command Directors Log” entries relating to UFO activity during October and November, 1975, so Maj. Stephens’s letter seemed doubtful, and that’s putting it mildly. As we shall see, the claim that “nothing that seems to correlate” within NORAD files was utter nonsense. Anyone holding the rank of Major, not to mention being Chief of his division, is simply not worthy of the responsibilities bestowed upon him. The above mentioned letter is imaged below.
The above detailed FOI request wasn’t the only item Robert Todd sent out on the 11th of August, 1977. On the same day, Todd submitted an FOI request to ADCOM’s Directorate of Administration (ADCOM/DAD), Headquarters, Peterson AFB, also asking for thorough searches of NORAD “Command Directors Logs” for entries related to “UFOs” and “unidentified flight activity”. Similar to Todd’s 21st of February, 1976 FOI request, Todd was attempting to obtain NORAD records through ADCOM, because dealing with directly with NORAD had become frustrating. On the 26th of August, 1977, which happened to be the same day Maj. Stephens’s sent his “nothing that seems to correlate” reply letter, there was an equally significant response, filling two pages, sent from ADCOM’s Director of Administration, Col. Terrance C. James. Usually, successful FOI requests have released documents enclosed as attachments to the covering reply letter. In this case, however, Col. James presented the required information within the covering letter itself. It began:
“1. In response to your letter of 11 August 1977, the NORAD Command Director Log was researched for “unidentified flight activity” for the period 30, 31 October and 1 November, 1975. The following entries were noted…”
A number of NORAD Combat Operation Center (NCOC) “Command Directors Log” extracts were given:
“29 October/0630Z, Command Director called by Air Force Operations Center concerning an unknown helicopter landing in the munitions storage area at Loring AFB, Maine. Apparently this was second night in a row this occurrence. There was also an indication, but not confirmed, that Canadian bases had been overflown by a helicopter.
31 Oct/0445Z: Report from Wurtsmith AFB through Air Force Ops Center - incident at 0355Z. Helicopter hovered over SAC Weapons storage area then departed area. Tanker flying at 2700 feet made both visual sighting and radar skin paint. Tracked object 35NM SE over Lake Huron where contact was lost.
1 Nov/0920Z: Received, as info, message from Loring AFB, Maine, citing probable helicopter overflight of base.”
8 Nov/0753Z: 24th NORAD Region unknown track J330, heading SSW, 12000feet. 1 To 7 objects, 46.46N x 109.23W. Two F-106 scrambled out of Great Falls at 0745Z. SAC reported visual sighting from Sabotage Alert Teams (SAT) K1, K3, L1 and L6 (lights and jet sounds). Weather section states no anomalous propagation or northern lights. 0835Z SAC SAT Teams K3 and L4 report visual, K3 report target at 300 feet altitude and L4 reports target at 5 miles. Contact lost at 0820Z. F-106s returned to base at 0850Z with negative results. 0905Z Great Falls radar search and height had intermittent contact. 0910Z SAT teams again had visual (Site C-1, 10 miles SE Stanford, Montana). 0920Z SAT CP reported that when F-106’s were in area, targets would turn out lights, and when F-106’s left, targets would turn lights on. F-106’s never gained visual or radar contact at anytime due to terrain clearance. This same type of activity has been reported in the Malmstrom area for several days although previous to tonight no unknowns were declared. The track will be carried as a remaining unknown.”
Thus, it was finally established that NORAD held records regarding the most provocative and intrusive events of October and November, 1975. This was the tip of the iceberg, as I will later demonstrate. Of course, the above NORAD “Command Directors Log” extracts are nothing like the low level sighting report extracts released to Todd on the 26th of March, 1976, by ADCOM’s Kay A. Wales. In that meagre release, the three pages of records were indeed listed as NORAD “Command Directors Log” extracts. So, why, all of a sudden, was ADCOM’s Col. Terrance C. James now able to produce two pages of new NORAD “Command Directors Log” extracts which should have been released a year beforehand? Unsurprisingly, the fresh set of extracts contained more sensitive information, and one is bound to wonder if they had been held back deliberately in the previous FOI request. Furthermore, Col. James’s released extracts unequivocally discuss unidentified flight activity over three SAC bases, yet, Maj. Donald B. Stephens’s letter, which contained Todd’s initial question about “unidentified flight activity over two SAC bases…”, carried the statement “my check of files shows nothing that seems to correlate”. It is impossible to prove whether NORAD’s contradictory statements were innocent administrative bungling, or, were, in fact, deliberately deceitful. Whatever the situation, ADCOM was at least proving to be cooperative with NORAD records, and, following on from the above listed log extracts Col. James’s letter states:
“2. If further information is desired concerning the above, please contact the applicable air division or unit involved. Please forward your request to the air division in the specific geographic area of concern, as their logs are generally more complete than NORAD Command Directors Log.
3. The Command Chaplain publishes a map, suitable in size, and indicating the boundaries of each air division. We feel that this map will be helpful to you directing your requests to the location which can provide the most detailed information about a specific incident. The complete addresses for all ADCOM air divisions are listed below”
Listed were all ADCOM Air Divisions (AD), namely, the 20th AD at Fort Lee, Virginia, the 21st AD at Hancock Field, New York, the 23erd AD at Duluth International Airport, Minnesota, the 24th AD at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, the 25th AD at McChord Air Force Base, Washington, and the 26th AD at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. I have imaged Col. James’s two page reply below.
Unsurprisingly, Robert Todd sent FOI requests to a number of ADCOM’s Air Division HQ’s, and, as the months went on, significant information was released. On the 2nd of September, 1977, Todd sent an FOI request to the Directorate of Administration, Headquarters 24th AD, (24th AD/DAD) for “…all log entries held by the 24th NORAD Region which pertain to unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and unidentified flight activity… …during October and November, 1975”. Ironically, the ’Headquarters of both the 24th AD and the 24th NORAD Region (24th NR) are co–located at Malmstrom AFB. Researchers already knew that Malmstrom AFB was one of the locations where unknown aerial incursions had transpired. On the 15th of September, 1977, FOI Officer Lt. Col. Wayne C. Young, Directorate of Administration, Headquarters, 24thAD, sent back a three page reply. Similar to the reply Todd got from ADCOM/DAD on the 26th of August, 1977, Lt. Col. Young presented applicable records within the covering letter itself:
“In response to your Freedom of Information Act request letter dated 2 September, 1977. The following extracts are taken from the 24th NORAD Region Senior Director Log. This is the only source of information we have pertaining to Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) incidents outlined in your letter and all related incidents. The log itself has classified entries and cannot be copied; however, I assure you all pertinent entries have been extracted.”
It is important here to note that all ADCOM and NORAD regional ’Headquarters maintained a “Senior Directors Log”. These logs are comparable to the “Command Directors Log” maintained at the respective ADCOM and NORAD ’Headquarters in Colorado. Col. Young’s continues with the direct extracting of 24th NORAD “Senior Directors Log” entries:
“7 Nov 75 (1035Z) - Received a call from the 341st Strategic Air Command Post (SAC CP), saying that the following missile locations reported seeing a large red to orange to yellow object: M-1, L-3, LIMA and L-6. The general object location would be 10 miles south of Moore, Montana, and 20 miles east of Buffalo, Montana. Commander and Deputy for Operations (DO) informed.
7 Nov 75 (1203Z) - SAC advised that the LCF at Harlowton, Montana, observed an object which emitted a light which illuminated the site driveway.
7 Nov 75 (1319Z) - SAC advised K-1 says very bright object to their east is now southeast of them and they are looking at it with 10x50 binoculars. Object seems to have lights (several) on it, but no distinct pattern. The orange/gold object overhead also has small lights on it. SAC also advises female civilian reports having seen an object bearing south from her position six miles west of Lewiston.
7 Nov 75 (1327Z) - L-1 reports that the object to their northeast seems to be issuing a black object from it, tubular in shape. In all this time, surveillance has not been able to detect any sort of track except for known traffic.
7 Nov 75 (1355Z) - K-1 and L-1 report that as the sun rises, so do the objects they visual.
7 Nov 75 (1429Z) - From SAC CP: As the sun rose, the UFOs disappeared. Commander and DO notified.
8 Nov 75 (0635Z) - A security camper team at K-4 reported UFO with white lights, one red light 50 yards behind white light. Personnel at K-1 seeing same object.
8 Nov 75 (0645Z) - Height personnel picked up objects 10-13,000 feet, Track J330, EKLB 0648, 18 knots, 9,500 feet. Objects as many as seven, as few as two A/C.
8 Nov 75 (0735Z) - J330 unknon 0753. Stationary/seven knots/12,000 One (varies seven objects). None, no possibility, EKLB 3746, two F-106, GTF, SCR 0754. NCOC notified.
8 Nov 75 (0820Z) - Lost radar contact, fighters broken off at 0825, looking in area of J331 (another height finder contact).
8 Nov 75 (0905Z) - From SAC CP: L-sites had fighters and objects; fighters did not get down to objects.
8 Nov 75 (0915Z) - From SAC CP: From four different points: Observed objects and fighters; when fighters arrived in the area, the lights went out; when fighters departed, the lights came back on; to NCOC.
8 Nov 75 (0953Z) - From SAC CP: L-5 reported object increased in speed - high velocity, raised in altitude and now cannot tell the object from stars. To NCOC.
8 Nov 75 (1105Z) - From SAC CP: E-1 reported a bright white light (site is approximately 60 nautical miles north of Lewistown). NCOC notified.
9 Nov 75 (0305Z) - SAC CP called and advised SAC crews at Sites L-1, L-6 and M-1 observing UFO. Object yellowish bright round light 20 miles north of Harlowton, 2 to 4,000 feet.
9 Nov 75 (0320Z) - SAC CP reports UFO 20 miles southeast of Lewiston, orange white disc object. 24th NORAD Region surveillance checking area. Surveillance unable to get height check.
9 Nov 75 (0320Z) - FAA Watch Supervisor reported he had five air carriers vicinity of UFO, United Flight 157 reported seeing meteor, ‘arc welder's blue’ in color. SAC CP advised, sites still report seeing object stationary.
9 Nov 75 (0348) - SAC CP confirms L-1, sees object, a mobile security team has been directed to get closer and report.
9 Nov 75 (0629Z) - SAC CP advises UFO sighting reported around 0305Z. Cancelled the flight security team from Site L-1, checked area and all secure, no more sightings.
10 Nov 75 (0215Z) - Received a call from SAC CP. Report UFO sighting from site K-1 around Harlowson area. Surveillance checking area with height finder.
10 Nov 75 (0153Z) - Surveillance report unable to locate track that would correlate with UFO sighted by K-1. 10 Nov 75 (1125Z) - UFO sighting reported by Minot Air Force Station, a bright star-like object in the west, moving east, about the size of a car. First seen approximately 1015Z. Approximately 1120Z, the object passed over the radar station, 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet high, no noise heard. Three people from the site or local area saw the object. NCOC notified.”
Below is the first page of the Lt. Col. Young’s reply, which includes the first few 24th NORAD Region “Senior Command Directors Log” extracts.
It is very difficult, from these transitory and limited descriptions to discern exactly what was going on above the nuclear missile fields near Malmstrom over these three days. My aim is not to study each event, or attribute causes. Other researchers have tried, and have failed to come up with definite and guaranteed conclusions. What can be guaranteed is that a very significant number of people, including USAF officers, thought they were dealing with a disturbing series of unidentifiable objects over Montana. The persistent use of the terms “UFO” and “object” demonstrates this beyond any doubt. The situation would be less alarming if it wasn’t for provocative statements like, “…reports that the object to their northeast seems to be issuing a black object from it, tubular in shape” and “SAC CP reports UFO… …orange white disc object”.
More importantly, at least for the purposes of my work, is the fact that the both the 24th NORAD Region’s Commander, as well as the Deputy Commander for Operations, were informed of these intrusions right from the beginning. Furthermore, there are no less than five occasions where the NORAD Combat Operations Center (NCOC), at NORAD HQ, Peterson AFB, Colorado, was “notified” of the unfolding events. Of course, NORAD and ADCOM were not the only entities involved. In Part 6 of this series, I outlined how the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and their huge National Military Command Center (NMCC), in Washington DC, were also being urgently informed of the alarming incidents near Malmstrom AFB. The NMCC’s Deputy Director for Operations (NMCC/DDO) produced a number of “Memorandums for the Record”, “DDO Talkers” and “DDO Updates” which summarised the information being relayed to them from NORAD. Numerous other commands were also on the “need to know” list, and responded with a degree of alarm.
On the 31st of October, 1977, Robert Todd sent an FOI request to the Directorate of Administration, Headquarters, 23erd Air Division (23erd AD/DAD), at Duluth International Airport, Minnesota for “…all log entries held by the 23erd NORAD Region and the 23erd Air Division which pertain to unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and unidentified flight activity… …during October and November, 1975”. On the 15th of November, 1977, Lt. Col. Jack W. Reid, Executive Officer at the Directorate of Administration, 23erd AD, sent his reply:
“1. A determination has been made that the records you requested in your letter dated 31 October 1977 are releasable under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C 552.
2. Extracts from the 23d Air Division Senior Directors Log for the month of November 1975 have been made and a copy is attached.”
No mention is made of any applicable 23erd NORAD Region logs, but ADCOM’s 23erd AD Headquarters apparently held pertinent records. Lt. Col. Reid’s letter is imaged below.
Attached to the reply letter were five pages of 23erd AD “Senior Director Log” extracts which concerned “UFOs” or “unusual sightings” during November, 1975. Some of the more provocative log entries are:
“1205Z/11 Nov 75 - Received unusual sighting report from Falconbridge AFS, Ontario, Canada. Info passed to NORAD Command Director, Intelligence and Weather.
1840Z/11 Nov 75 - Actions pertaining to scramble of JL08 and 09 due to unusual object sighting. With Director of Operations approval scrambled JL08/09 at 1745Z, airborne at 1750Z. NORAD Combat Operations Center notified of Falconbridge AFS incident at 1820Z. At 1804 22nd NORAD Region was briefed on aircraft scramble and Falconbridge incident. Aircraft over Falconbridge flying over incident, point no sighting, 1831 aircraft still in area, no radar aircraft or visual contact, Falconbridge AFS still reporting object at 26,000 ft.
2235Z/12 Nov 75 - Transmitted unknown report to NCOC Surveillance on N280 (track number) all parts (I, II and III) on incident at Falconbridge AFS which occurred on 11 Nov 75. Reference Log entry 1840Z/11 Nov 75.
0533Z/15 Nov 75 - UFO report from Falconbridge, occurrence time 0202Z, report sent to NCOC Surveillance, referred to Assistant Command Director, Space Defense Center, and Intelligence. These 3 individuals considered the report a UFO report and not an unknown track report.”
These, as usual, contain the briefest of details. More important to my work here, however, are the implications around the very fact that “UFOs” were distinctly being dealt with at all, and how. Also, it is important to note that most of the information contained in this particular release of 23erd AD log extracts comes from Ontario, Canada. In the 1970’s, both the 22nd and 22erd NORAD Region’s covered much of southern Canada, and, both were fed primary radar data from Falconbridge Air Force Station near North Bay, Ontario. The 23erd NORAD Region Headquarters were co-located with the 23erd ADCOM Air Division Headquarters, at Duluth International Airport, Minnesota, thus, the 23erd AD log records we see here reflect what was happening directly from southern Canada. Why the 23erd NORAD Region didn’t release records, which would presumably be very similar, within this FOI request reply is unknown. The first two entries I highlight above are dated the 11th of November, 1975. At 12:05 Zulu, it is states that an “unusual sighting report” from Canada’s Falconbridge Air Force Station was passed to NORAD’s Command Director, as well as two other components listed as “Intelligence” and “Weather”. Hours later, at 18:40 Zulu, combat jets were in the air “due to unusual object sighting”, and the NORAD Combat Operations Center (NCOC) and the 22nd NORAD Region Headquarters at North Bay, Ontario were notified.
The next day, at 22:35 Zulu, the previous nights “unknown” was finalised with “NCOC Surveillance” in what is referenced as “all parts (I, II and III)”. This appears to reference a three-part form report. We have seen such paperwork before. In Part 4 of this series I highlighted a joint NORAD/ADCOM manual titled “NORAD/ADCOM Manual 55–19, Vol. VII, Aerospace Reporting System”. In that manual, dated 25th of November, 1977, Section 15 is titled “Identification of Air Traffic, and, contains a sub–section titled “Figure 15–4. OPREP–3 Unknown Track Report”. Point 1 states “This report provides the NCOC with additional data concerning each track classified as unknown (to include unidentified flying objects – UFOs)”. While this manual was published in 1977, one can’t help but wonder if a very similar, if not identical, three-part NORAD/ADCOM form was in use during the 1975 “over flights”. Whatever the exact procedures during the November, 1975, as opposed to the later published NORAD/ADCOM manual detailed above, clearly “UFOs” and “unusual object sightings” are taken seriously enough to not only alert top-echelon areas within NORAD and ADCOM, but also vector in USAF combat jets to identify the unknowns.
The final notable log extract, from an official response point–of–view, was entered at 05:33 Zulu, on the 15th November. A “UFO report” was sent to the NCOC Surveillance and “Intelligence”, as well as Assistant Command Director, Space Defence Center. No information regarding the “UFO” is given, but “…3 individuals considered the report a UFO report and not an unknown track report” make it clear that this was anything but a routine unknown aircraft tracking event. That the event was referred to Assistant Command Director of the Space Defence Center (SDC) is noteworthy. In 1975, The SDC, located at NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain Complex (CMC), maintained the old Space Detection and Tracking System (SPADATS). SPADATS was responsible for space surveillance, space object identification, and ballistic missile attack warning, and received continuous data from the US Navy’s Naval Space Surveilance System (NAVSPASUR) and the USAF’s SPACETRACK network. The fact that ADCOM’s 23erd Air Division referred a “UFO report” to the Assistant Command Director of the SDC clearly demonstrates that UFO events were considered significant. The first two pages of the 23erd AD “Senior Director Log” is imaged below.
To conclude, in light of the records I have highlighted here, it is proven that both ADCOM and NORAD dealt with the apparent UFO events of 1975. Without question, numerous military commands believed that they were dealing with aerial oddities. What are researchers supposed to think when the terms “unidentified flying object”, “UFO” and “unknown object” are ceaselessly used in their own documentation? It is quite puerile, thus, for NORAD to state, as they did in a letter to Robert Todd on the 28th of November, 1975, that “…no formal documentation” regarding UFO’s “is created by this command”. Again, are researchers expected to seriously accept this? Furthermore, we know that only fraction of the records they generated were released. In Part 9 of this series, I will continue to present hitherto unseen records begrudgingly admitted by ADCOM and NORAD during the late 1970’s.