One of the elements of the November 2004 USS Nimitz encounters, which is often overlooked, is the fact that several pilots from the Nimitz reported seeing an unusual disturbance on the surface of the ocean.
Douglas S. Kurth
The first to report this was the Commanding Officer of Marine Hornet Squadron VMFA-232 Lt. Col. “Cheeks” Douglas S. Kurth. Operators on the USS Princeton asked him to investigate an unidentified airborne contact. Princeton then asked Kurth to stay above 10,000 feet as two other Hornets had been sent to investigate. Kurth’s radar picked up the Hornets but no other contacts. The ocean surface at that time was calm and glassy. Kurth reported seeing a disturbance on the ocean surface – round in shape, turbulent, and about 50-100 meters in diameter. It was the only area and type of “whitewater” in that area. It looked to him as if there were something below the surface. He overflew the disturbance. As he turned away, and the other Hornets arrived, the whitewater cleared.
Fravor et al
There were two crew in each of the other Hornets. One pilot, David Fravor, reported that he noticed whitewater on the surface of the ocean, the approximate size of a 737 aircraft. He took his F-18 lower. As he descended through about 20,000 feet he saw a white object moving just above the frothing water. It was a white featureless, oblong shaped object, making lateral movements over the turbulent circle of water.
In an interview on the TTSA website Fravor stated:
“I look out the right side and I see something in the water. And it looks like about the size of a 737 in the water pointing east. So you don’t see an airplane, but if you’ve ever been out to sea with like an underwater sea mountain, as the waves come and there’s something right under the surface, they’ll break. Same thing that happens on shore. They’ll break and you’ll get whitewater. So this thing looks kind of like that shape. Looks, you know… like if you put a 737 about 10 to 15 feet under the water. The waves are gonna crash over the top and you’re gonna get this whitewater.”
In another interview on the TTSA website the female pilot of the other Hornet described what she had seen:
“…noticed a small patch of water, approximately 60 feet wide by 80 feet in length. It appeared choppy and turbulent against a calm sea. The disturbance was unusual in that there was no apparent cause. The area was generally the shape of an oval and appeared to be “rolling.” Towards the center of the disturbance, water appeared to be lighter in color and smooth again, as if an unknown object had recently submerged beneath the surface. She then noted a small, elongated, white object, 30-40 feet in length…(when the incident had concluded) looked back at the ocean but the water was again smooth and calm…”
Perhaps the best fit for an explanation for the ocean disturbance, was either that the small, white, “Tic-Tac” shaped object had emerged from beneath the surface of the ocean; or that some other object had also been there and submerged, leaving the airborne “Tic Tac” there alone.
On a number of occasions, Luis Elizondo, when discussing the “five observables” of UAP, includes one of these as “Multi medium travel.” For example, at the October 2018 Centro Ufologico Nazionale conference talk which he gave in Rome, he referred to “Multi Medium travel,” i.e. that UAP can operate in a vacuum, or in atmosphere; and in water, without changing their physical properties.
There have been some excellent efforts at collecting together reported observations of UAP from seagoing service, e.g. Jan L Aldrich’s “Updated Draft Catalogue of UFOs/USOs Reported by Seagoing Services.”
What U.S. large scale underwater sensor systems exist?
If there are unknown objects traversing our oceans, underwater, what underwater sensor systems exist which might detect them? The U.S.A. has the following:
SOSUS consists of high-gain, long length fixed arrays of hydrophones, on the ocean bottom, which relay data to onshore facilities where that data is analysed. SOSUS and SURTASS are now part of IUSS.
A number of seagoing vessels use a towed sonar array. It is a non-military program, used to detect submarines and also used in drug surveillance operations.
3. The Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS) uses the Fixed Surveillance System (FSS), the Fixed Distributed System (FDS) and the Advanced Deployable System (FDS.) IUSS is under the operational command of the U.S. Navy’s Commander Undersea Surveillance.
In 2016 the Office of Naval research awarded a contract to design, and install three DRAPES arrays, with the work to be completed by 2020. It is designed as a fixed, passive listening system which can transmit its data onshore for processing by one of three remaining Navy Operational Processing Facilities, which also process data from SOSUS and SURTASS.
This aims to create a semi-autonomous controlled network of fixed bottom and mobile sensors.
Collaborative sensor platforms to detect and track submarines over large areas.
Have we any well documented occurrences of USOs arising from use of the above sensors? The short answer is, no we do not.
The National Underwater Reconnaissance Office (NURO)
A recent Tweet on Twitter dated 31 October 2020, directed at a number of people including myself, asked the question as to whether or not we had directed a request to NURO re UFO/USO? In this Tweet was mention of a recent B. R. Inman talk. (Link given at the end of this section.)
Are there any U.S. Intelligence Agencies specifically established to look at underwater reconnaissance? Indeed, there is. I recently came across discussion about the US National Underwater reconnaissance Office on Twitter, and wondered what it was. I turned to Jeffrey T. Richelson’s classic work “The U.S. Intelligence Community” (7th. ed. 2015) for information. As the entry was short, I will cite it in full, below:
“In 1969, as a result of an agreement between the CIA and U.S. Navy, an underwater counterpart to the NRO, the National Underwater Reconnaissance Office (NURO), was established, with Secretary of the Navy, John Warner, as its first Director.
The office served as a means of managing the conduct of submarine intelligence missions and the exploitation of their product.
Those missions involved the recovery of sunken submarines (The Soviet K-19), taping of underwater Soviet communications cables (The IVY BELLS program), ocean floor mapping (under a program designated DESKTOP,) and images and SIGINT collection from submarines ( a program at one time designated the Special Navy Control program.) Some of the covert US submarine operations were allegedly conducted in the territorial waters of non-Soviet bloc waters, sometimes with consent, including Sweden, to test the nations defenses.
The existence of the NURO was classified at its inception and remains so today.”
Some claimed USO observations
1. In June 1954 in the Atlantic Ocean/Pacific Ocean, [APRO Bulletin, July 1954, p.7.]
2. On 13 March 1958 near Bodega Bay, California. An unidentified undersea object was spotted by Navy Pilots. Despite a search nothing was found. [Associated Press, March 18, 1958.]
3. 23 May 1968 near the Azores, Atlantic Ocean. Crew of USS Monrovia, reported a large, submerged object. Ovoid in shape, luminescent orange in color, with a translucent quality. USO matched several course and speed changes. radar, compass and other equipment rendered inoperable until object disappeared. [Feindt, C W “UFOs and Water” p. 395.]
4. 1969. Gulf of Tonkin, off Vietnam. Ensign Will Miller was on the USS Leary, and saw a light which moved from above to below the waterline and approach the ship. It passed underneath the vessel. Not recorded on sonar or surface radar. [Good, T. “Need to Know: UFOs, the Military and Intelligence,‘ p 215.]
5. Ca. 15 July 1974. Mediterranean Sea. An E-2 Signalman on the bridge of the USS Forrestal, an aircraft carrier, reported seeing a bright underwater light through binoculars. There was no sonar contact. The light moved back and forth across the bow at 60 mph, all underwater. It suddenly pulled away and disappeared into the depths. [NUFORC 6/5/2004.]
One first hand account comes from MUFON’s Marc D’Antonio n around 2013. D’Antonio related the account to journalist Emma Parry of the English “The Sun” newspaper at a conference in the USA in 2017. Stating that he was on a US nuclear submarine at the time, D’Antonio says he heard the sonar operator shouting “fast mover, fast mover.” The operator estimated the object was travelling at “several hundred knots.” Four years after the event, when D’Antonio asked a senior figure in the US Navy about the Fast Mover program, and the man responded “Marc, I can’t talk about that program.”
A “Popular Mechanics” magazine article dated 9 October 2019, authored by Kyle Mizokami, titled “The Weird History of Unidentified Submerged Objects” reminded us that there has been a long history of objects reportedly going in and out of the ocean. Citing Ivan Sanderson’s 1970 book “Invisible Residents,” Mizokami gives details of a typical sighting of this type:
“19 April 1957, crew members of the Kitsukawa Maru, a Japanese fishing boat, spotted two metallic silvery objects descending from the sky into the sea. the objects, estimated to be ten meters long were without wings of any kind. As they hit the water they created a violent turbulence.”
Another incident in Sanderson’s book, recounts that during an anti-submarine exercise off the coast of Puerto Rico in 1963, involving a number of U.S. Navy ships, including the aircraft carrier Wasp, that one of the submarines involved had pursued an unknown object travelling at over 150 knots. The object was reportedly tracked for four days, to depths of 27,000 feet.
What do U.S. submariners have to say on the subject?
Another 2019 article by Tyler Rogoway, titled “What U.S. Submariners Actually Say About Detection of So Called Unidentified Submerged Objects” appeared on www.thedrive.com’s “The Warzone.” Rogoway contacted a number of individuals who serve(ed) on U.S. submarines and found:
“What we learned is that yes, unexplained noises and even tracked contacts do pop up on submariners’ sonars, some of which seem to move at incredible speeds, but it is rare and the data is often inconclusive as to what was actually detected. But maybe most interesting and peculiarly so, is that the Navy doesn’t actually have a way to classify these strange sounds as unknown and tag them for further review.”
Carl W. Feindt
Have there been reported USO observations by other countries? Yes, there have. A 2020 book titled “Russia’s USO Secrets,” by authors Paul Stonehill and Philip Mantle, details a variety of observations by Russian sources, for example:
1. In 2009Yury Beketov, said to be a former Russian nuclear submarine commander, related an account of instrumented detection of objects travelling at 230 knots.
2. Another incident where depth charges were dropped in front of a USO, which then changed direction and left the area.
3. A crew which watched a cigar shaped object slowly descend into the ocean, some half mile from their submarine.
Admiral Jorge Martinez Bush, former Commander in Chief of the Chilean Navy is cited by Timothy Good in the book “Need to Know: UFOs, the Military and Intelligence” referencing J. Antonio Huneeus, “UFOs in Chile and Peru” Fate, Vol. 56 No. 1, January 2003, pp6-7 as saying:
“There have been submarine contacts impossible to identify, with the characteristics of a submarine – metallic sound and rapid displacement. There are inexplicable things that require a profound study…”
Freedom of Information Act requests
I wondered if anyone had submitted a request under the FOI Act for data from U.S. underwater sensor systems? I looked around but couldn’t find any, that’s not to say there haven’t been any, just that I was unable to find any such requests.
There are numerous accounts in the UAP literature of objects being seen rising from or disappearing into the sea. There are a smaller number of observations of mysterious objects seen underwater. Fewer still are accounts of instrumented detection of such USOs. What is really lacking are official government documents providing detailed descriptions and analysis of USOs which defy conventional explanation.
Thanks to Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean for research assistance with this post.