When the prologue to the 10th season of the X-Files aired, during the title sequence at the beginning, we saw a classic UFO flying along above some buildings at a low altitude. Close on its tail are two helicopters of obviously terrestrial and most likely military origin. That image always stuck in my mind. What were military pilots doing so close to a UAP? Were they about to attack? Were they providing an escort?
We don’t have to delve into the realms of television and fiction to find some data that might allow us to examine those questions in the real world. While they aren’t numerous and the reports of witnesses are of different value to various analysts, we have heard stories of occasions where military aircraft, land vehicles and even ships from various countries seem to show up in the vicinity of reported UFOs, and not always in response to someone calling in the cavalry to respond. Why would they be there? Let’s dig into a few of these.
The Cash Landrum incident of 1980
The most notable among the widely reported encounters where military craft were allegedly witnessed acting awfully “cozy” with a UFO is almost certainly the Cash-Landrum incident of December 29, 1980. Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum, and Vickie’s grandson, Colby, were driving along a remote highway in Texas. They spotted a huge triangular craft that hovered over the road spewing fire and brilliant lights below it. The exposure to this incident caused radiation injuries to the witnesses, nearly leading the death of one of the women in the following months.
Multiple helicopters that were military in appearance “surrounded” the UFO and trailed it as it flew out of sight.
As remarkable as the original sighting was, of more interest in our discussion here was how the encounter ended. Betty Cash reported that multiple helicopters that were military in appearance “surrounded” the UFO and trailed it as it flew out of sight. The witnesses had no way to call anyone and report their experience, so what were the choppers doing there and how did they arrive so quickly? They clearly weren’t trying to attack the UFO. If anything, they appeared to “escort” it away.
The Calvine UFO encounter
In August of 1990, two hikers in Calvine in Highland Perthshire, Scotland saw a diamond-shaped object hovering over the fields. They took six high-resolution photos of the craft which were published in a Scottish newspaper but later locked up by the British Ministry of Defense. The UFO wasn’t the only interesting thing in those pictures, however. The pair reported seeing multiple military fighter jets making passes near the craft at low altitudes. One of the photos actually captured a fighter jet passing in the background. Neither Great Britain nor the United States claimed ownership of the jets.
The UFO and the jets where already there when the hikers came into viewing distance, so is it possible that the jet pilots were hunting for the UFO and arrived before the witnesses? I suppose so, but that seems awfully convenient. Did they “just happen to be in the area” on unrelated business? If you prefer that answer go for it, but pilots who fail to notice a gigantic UFO hovering a short distance away should probably go back for a fresh medical screening to have their eyesight checked. So how do we escape considering the possibility that the pilots were there because they knew the UFO would be also?
The Shag Harbor incident
Sometimes referred to as Canada’s Roswell, “something” went into the water at Shag Harbor, Nova Scotia in October 1967. Witnesses called the authorities to report the crash and law enforcement responded. Multiple vessels from the Canadian navy and the RCMP soon swarmed the area. There were even reports of United States naval vessels eventually being involved. I wasn’t sure about including this as an example of the phenomenon we’re discussing because people had alerted the authorities, so perhaps they were simply responding to witness reports, but some researchers have suggested that they arrived incredibly quickly. Perhaps too fast. Could some of them have already been in the area because they knew of UAP activity in those waters? Or perhaps, were even involved with such activity?
I had considered including a few other incidents where military aircraft were definitely reported to be in the vicinity of UFOs. Those encounters certainly include the Washington, D.C. flap of 1952, the 1976 Tehran incident and the Coyne helicopter encounter. But in each of those, while military craft were definitely present, the pilots were either responding to the detection of a UAP or they themselves were the witnesses having the reported experience, so they were unlikely to be knowingly involved with the occupants (if any) of the vehicles.
We have no way of peering into the mind of a potential non-human intelligence and inferring their thought processes…
So what are we to make of these reports, assuming they are accurate depictions of the events in question? I’m specifically referring to the Cash-Landrum and Calvine events. We have no way of peering into the mind of a potential non-human intelligence and inferring their thought processes, motivations and goals without running the risk of anthropomorphizing the tale into the realm of science fiction. But we do know quite a bit about human military operations and the things they do.
Tackling the most mundane explanations first, it is perhaps possible that the pilots in those cases were either responding to reports we are unaware of and simply investigating. Declining to launch an attack on a possibly alien craft with advanced technology that wasn’t actively attacking us would make sense. It’s a fight they would very likely lose. Following along to collect video and other data might be reasonable. But would a truly alien craft simply shuffle along meekly with a crowd of military choppers on its tail as with Cash-Landrum? Would it blithely hang there in midair and in broad daylight as fighter jets circled it at a close distance as was photographed in Calvine?
What if there’s more to the story and the military was actively engaged in some sort of operation with whoever was controlling the UAP? If we’re to believe that human military units were peacefully or even cooperatively engaging in some sort of joint operations with an off-world craft, that would mean that the governments of quite a few nations (or at least the deepest bowels of their militaries) are sitting on some really massive secrets beyond the imaginings of most anyone except sci-fi authors. Of course, if I proceed much further from here we’ll be veering into Galactic Federation territory, and that’s a bit much for me even while celebrating the arrival of the New Year.