U.S. Navy has for the first time reportedly verified the authenticity of a series of three UFO videos leaked over the past two years and insisted the footage never should’ve been made public.
“The Navy designates
the objects contained in these videos as unidentified aerial phenomena,” Joseph Gradisher, spokesperson for the deputy chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, told the Black Vault, a website dedicated to exposing secrets and revealing declassified government documents. The statement was later confirmed by Motherboard.
The military increasingly prefers the “UAP” phrasing over UFO.
Gradisher told the Black Vault that the term UAP “provides the basic descriptor for the sightings/observations of unauthorized/unidentified aircraft/objects that have been observed entering/operating in the airspace of various military-controlled training ranges.” The website also reported that while the Navy now considers the footage “unclassified,” it has not yet been formally cleared for release to the public.
The footage caused a sensation when The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others, revealed that the video had been obtained and released by the To The Stars Academy Of Arts And Science, the private research and media firm co-founded by rocker Tom DeLonge, formerly of Blink 182.
In one video, two Navy pilots tracked an unidentified object flying off the East Coast in 2015.
Wow! What is that, man? Look at that flying!” one of the pilots said in the clip.
In another instance, an object called the “Tic Tac” ― because it was shaped like the candy ― was spotted
descending from 60,000 feet to 50 feet in a matter of seconds off the coast of California in 2004. One pilot described a disturbance up to the size of a football field in the water at the same time.
And in a 2014 incident, a U.S. Navy Super Hornet pilot
almost collided with an unidentified flying object during a mission near Virginia Beach. Story continues
Although the Defense Department had no comment about the videos at the time, Luis Elizondo, the former military intelligence official who led a government UFO program, said there was even more information out there that the public has not yet seen.
“My personal belief is that
there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone,” Elizondo, who is now part of the TTS Academy, told CNN in 2017.
In a Facebook post, the organization called Navy confirmation of the footage “
another exciting day of progress for TTSA and our community of supporters.” Also on HuffPost Airline Captain Júlio Miguel Guerra In the chapter he wrote for “UFOs,” Airline Captain Júlio Miguel Guerra relives his lengthy encounter with a highly active UFO while serving as a flight instructor for the Portuguese Air Force in 1982. He writes: “At various times the object had been very close to me and I was able to verify that it was round with two halves shaped like two tight-fitting skullcaps. I carefully looked at the lower one, which seemed to be somewhere between red and brown with a hole or dark spot in the center. The center band looked like it had some kind of a grid, and possibly a few lights, but it was hard to tell since the sun was so bright and was reflected.” The object circled his small airplane for 15 minutes while he was alone in the sky, in his DHC-1 Chipmunk. He made this drawing the day after the encounter and submitted it with his report to the Portuguese Air Force. (Júlio Guerra, CNIFO Case Report) Airline Captain Júlio Miguel Guerra Guerra states that the object “flew at a fantastic speed in a large elliptical orbit to the left, between 5,000 feet to the South and approximately 10,000 feet to the North, always from left to right, repeating this route over and over. I tried to keep it in sight.” Two fellow Air Force officers, Carlos Garcês and António Gomes, flew to the location, and they too watched the object repeat its elliptical course, passing between the two planes on each return, for about 10 minutes. They were able to estimate the size, given its proximity to the two aircraft: about eight to 10 feet. (Artist’s drawing.) Airline Captain Júlio Miguel Guerra After landing, all three pilots filed detailed, independent written reports with the Air Force. General José Lemos Ferreira, the Portuguese Air Force Chief of Staff at the time, authorized the release of all the records to a team of scientists and experts, which conducted a lengthy scientific investigation. The group estimated that the unidentified object was flying at over 300 MPH vertically and its velocity when it circled Guerra’s aircraft was about 1550 MPH. (See chapter for more details.) Since leaving the Air Force in 1990 after 18 years of service, Júlio Guerra has been a Captain with Portugália Airlines (TAP), Portugal’s largest commercial airline. He has 17,000 hours of flight experience, and in 2009 he received an aeronautic science degree from the Lusofona University of Oporto. (Courtesy Júlio Guerra) Captain Phil Schultz In 1981, TWA Captain Phil Schultz was flying a passenger jet over Lake Michigan on a bright, clear summer day. Suddenly he saw a “large, round, silver metal object” with six jet black “portholes” equally spaced around the circumference, which quickly “descended into the atmosphere from above.” Captain Schultz and his co-pilot were so close to the object that it appeared to Schultz to be the size of a grapefruit held at arm’s length. Expecting a mid-air collision, they braced themselves for impact. The object then made a sharp, high speed turn, avoiding the aircraft, and departed. This drawing of the event was made by Dr. Richard Haines, former senior scientist with NASA, while he sat with Captain Schultz in his cockpit. The Captain completed a detailed report for Haines, who interviewed him extensively. (Courtesy Richard F. Haines) Captain Phil Schultz In this photograph, Captain Schultz demonstrates the size and location of the object relative to his cockpit window. With extensive experience as a US Navy fighter pilot in the Korean War and afterward, Captain Shultz never accepted the reality of UFOs prior to this incident. This encounter changed that. He wrote as much in his handwritten report, saying he had no choice but to characterize the object as “spaceship.” (photo (C) courtesy Richard F. Haines) Air Force Captain Jean-Pierre Fartek In his chapter for “UFOs,” French Major General Denis Letty reports on the case of Air Force Captain Jean-Pierre Fartek, then a Mirage III pilot, who had seen a UFO in 1979. (Collection J. Fartek) Air Force Captain Jean-Pierre Fartek Captain Fartek’s case was most unusual, because the sighting did not occur while he was flying, but had taken place at his home in a village near Dijon, during the day. He and his wife witnessed an oscillating object hovering low to the ground, in front of a row of apple trees. General Letty met with them at the location, and wrote this in his notes during the interview: “The object looked like two reversed saucers pressed against each other, with a precise contour, a gray metal color on the top and dark blue below, with no lights or port-holes.” The clarity and precision of the shape of the object left no doubt that it was something solid and physical, and Captain Fartek made this drawing. He provided many more details, as Letty describes. The similarities between the object described by the three Captains -- Guerra, Schultz, and Fartek –- in different countries and in different years, are both suggestive and fascinating. (Collection J. Fartek) Air Force Captain Jean-Pierre Fartek Captain Fartek submitted a report to the Air Guard Station at the base, and he was instructed not to talk about what he saw. Letty writes that Fartek, shown above in a more recent photograph, was very upset by this experience. “He told me when we met that the sighting called into question his perception of what were then called ‘flying saucers,’ because he had never believed in them,” Letty says in his chapter. “Now, he acknowledged to me that after seeing this craft he could no longer doubt their existence. Hearing his testimony, I too did not have any more doubt about the reality of the phenomenon. In fact, taken together, I found the Farteks’ testimony so disturbing that I have been preoccupied by the UFO problem ever since. In 1996, after he became a Major, Commander Fartek was interviewed for the COMETA study which I initiated, and even then, after seventeen years, he was still visibly shaken by what he saw.” (photo (C) courtesy Bernard Thouanel) Sergeant James Penniston In 1980, when he was 25 years old, James Penniston was assigned to the largest Tactical Fighter Wing in the Air Force, the RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge complex in England. He was the senior security officer in charge of Woodbridge base security. At the time, he held a top-secret US and NATO security clearance and was responsible for the protection of war-making resources for that base. In this photo, Sergeant Penniston, now retired, described what happened at a 2007 press conference in Washington, DC. One night he was called into nearby Rendlesham Forest, just outside the base, bringing Airman First Class Edward Cabansag and Airman First Class John F. Burroughs with him, to investigate a possible downed aircraft. “There was a bright light emanating from an object on the forest floor,” he writes. “As we approached it on foot, a silhouetted triangular craft about 9 feet long by 6.5 feet high, came into view. The craft was fully intact sitting in a small clearing inside the woods.” (photo (C) Lisa Kimmell) Sergeant James Penniston “As the three of us got closer to the craft we started experiencing problems with our radios. I then asked Cabansag to relay radio transmissions back to Central Security Control (CSC), and he stayed back while Burroughs and I proceeded towards the craft. At first I was confused, not understanding what I was seeing. This was truly unbelievable. Then fear struck me, but I told myself that I had to stay focused. Was this a threat to the base and to us? I had to determine that first and foremost. When we came up on the triangular shaped craft there were blue and yellow lights swirling around the exterior as though part of the surface and the air around us was electrically charged. We could feel it on our clothes, skin and hair. It felt like static electricity, which made your hair stand-up and dance on your skin. But there was no sound at all coming from the craft. Nothing in my training prepared me for what we were witnessing. This was no type of aircraft that I’d ever seen before.” Penniston made this drawing of the landed craft for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. (Collection of James Penniston) Sergeant James Penniston Penniston walked around the craft, taking photographs and making notebook entries, while relaying messages through airman Cabansag, following required procedures. He discovered symbols on one side of the craft that measured about 3 inches high and two and a half feet across. He describes the experience. “They were etched into the surface of the craft. I put my hand on the craft, and it was warm to the touch. The surface was smooth, like glass, but it had the quality of metal, and I felt a constant low voltage running through my hand and moving to my mid forearm.” This is the original sketch he made in his logbook of those symbols. (Collection of James Penniston) Sergeant James Penniston Sergeant Penniston made an improved drawing of the symbols later, based on his logbook entry and his recollection of their placement. After roughly 45 minutes, the light from the craft began to intensify, and he and Burroughs watched the craft lift off the ground without any noise or air disturbance. It maneuvered through the trees and shot off at an unbelievable rate of speed. Abundant physical evidence was documented at the landing site, including broken branches forced down to the ground when the craft landed, scorch marks on the trees facing the site, and, most importantly, three indentations in the ground, left by the UFO landing gear in the three corners of a triangle. Penniston was told by the base lab that his two rolls of 35 mm film, depicting the craft and landing site, were over exposed or fogged. Two days later, another series of extraordinary events occurred, as described by witness Colonel Charles Halt, US Air Force (Ret.) in “UFOs.” These multiple witness events at Rendlesham Forest are among the most thoroughly documented in UFO history. (Collection of James Penniston) UFO Wave Over Belgium In 1989-90, a UFO wave occurred over Belgium, as described in slides 3 – 5 in the previous Huffington Post slide show. There, Kean presented an outstanding photograph of a triangular object with powerful white lights on each corner and a reddish one in the center. In addition, numerous independent witnesses provided drawings to a scientific team investigating the sightings. Above is an artist’s rendition of what the most commonly described object looked like, including the one depicted in the photo. (Drawing © A. Meessen) Major General Wilfried De Brouwer Major General Wilfried De Brouwer writes in “UFOs”: “On 1 December, air weather forecaster Francesco Valenzano and his young daughter, walking at the square Nicolai in Ans, near Liège saw a large, slow moving craft approaching at low altitude. The craft made a tour of the square without making any noise and when it passed directly over their heads, Valenzano noticed a delta shape with three lights in a triangular position and a red rotating light in the middle which was positioned lower than the belly of the craft. His drawing included red and blue lights on the leading edge and four lights underneath.” (SOBEPS Archives) Colonel André Amond Colonel André Amond, a retired civil engineer, was the Director of the Military Infrastructure for the Belgian Army and also formerly in charge of Army environmental impact issues at the Joint Staff level, cooperating closely with American officials. He and his wife had an extensive look at one of these low-flying machines while driving down a country road. At first, they observed a row of “light panels” before the object moved closer. After stopping on the side of the road, De Brouwer writes, “They saw a giant spotlight, about twice the size of the full moon, which approached them to an estimated distance of 100 meters. The Colonel’s wife was frightened and asked to leave. As he opened the car door, the craft made a very tight turn to the left at a speed of approximately 10 MPH and three other lights appeared at the underside of the craft, in a triangular form with a central pulsing light. There was no sound…” Another witness had observed the object from a nearby location a few minutes earlier. Amond had absolutely no doubt about the exceptional nature of what he saw, and with total conviction, went all the way to the top, filing a written report and provided this drawing, one among a series, for the Belgian Defense Minister. (Courtesy A. Amond) UFO Wave Over Belgium During the first night of the Belgian wave, on November 29, 1989, a witness in Eupen provided this drawing of the craft from two perspectives -– the same views as described by the Amonds some weeks later. The first view shows the underside of the craft, and the second depicts the side view with the light panels and spotlight beaming to the ground. The many drawings of the Belgian objects show a variety of placements for the lights; they’re not always described exactly the same way. This kind of variety points to the authenticity of the drawings. Many more drawings are presented by Major General De Brouwer in “UFOs.” (SOBEPS Archives) UFO Wave In Hudson Valley A few years before the Belgian wave, back in the USA, a similar UFO wave occurred in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York and Connecticut, and witness drawings were collected there as well. In the previous slide show, slide 14 is a photo of an array of lights taken by a police officer during the Hudson Valley wave, in 1987. The objects observed mainly during a three year period were primarily boomerang shaped. Above is an artist’s copy of drawings made by independent witnesses in different locations in 1983 and 1984, reduced and sized to fit the same scale. Once again, there is an overall similarity between the drawings, with individual differences. (collection of Phil Imbrogno) Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today. This article originally appeared on HuffPost.