UFO Dives At Military Police Officers

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During the early hours of September the 8th, 1973, the United States Army’s historic Hunter Army Airfield, located near Savannah, Georgia, was apparently the scene of a provocative, “close encounter” UFO incident.

Two military policemen, MP Specialist Bart Burns and MP Specialist Randy Shade, who were assigned to the 298th Military Police Company (298th MPC) at Hunter, were the main witnesses. The local Provost Marshall at nearby Fort Stewart was involved, and event was the subject of a US Army “Serious Incident Report”. Two years later, Army officers at Headquarters, 1st Brigade, 24th Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, would have to deal with the event all over again.

A Secondary Sighting

Considerable media attention was given to the UFO sighting, and both witnesses were able to make statements to reporters. In fact, press coverage was so swift that it appears that local the Army units were caught somewhat off guard. Furthermore, the next night, on the 9th of September, 1973, MP Burns, and other military police officer, MP Murray, would report another UFO in the vicinity of Hunter, though this secondary incident was little more than a light–in–the–sky event. Ultimately, in a rare coup, the Army would officially release significant documentation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

In . Witnesses were numerous and varied, and local newspaper outlets published the more soundly described occurrences with a degree of sense and caution. But it was the close–up–and–personal UFO incident at Hunter that was the most provoking. Drawing from numerous primary sources, including US Army records, witness interview testimony, and local newspaper accounts, a chronology of events can be established.

A Sequence Of Strangeness

Around 2:30am, on the 8th of September, 1973, MP Bart Burns and MP Randy Shade were driving amongst Hunter’s installations, as part of their routine patrols, when they noticed a bright cluster of multi–coloured, flashing lights tracking across the sky. The sky was cloudy, with cloud layers at both nine–thousand feet and twenty–five thousand feet. MP Burns, who had previously served as a helicopter crew chief, didn’t feel it was the lighting on an aircraft, but had to assume it was anyway.

He estimated the altitude of the lights to be no greater than two thousand feet, but admitted that it was “difficult to judge”. In any event, the curious lights disappeared behind tall trees. No sound, or other stimuli, was apparent, and the MP’s continued on their patrol towards the disused runways.

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Shortly later, at 2:45am MP’s Burns and Shade were patrolling the taxiways near the northern permitter of the base, and the unidentified lights returned. MP Shade, who was driving, would state that they “sure looked like the same collection of flashing lights” as what they had seen moments earlier, and that they now “hovered near the end of the runway”. Perplexed, MP Shade stopped the patrol car to get a stable look at the phenomena, which hung motionless in the sky.

Looking For Answers

At this point, the MP’s were still prepared to believe that the object, somehow, could be a helicopter, despite the lack of noise. Suddenly, the phenomena “dropped to treetop level” and “came straight towards” them. It quickly became apparent that the lights were “only a cluster underneath a metallic looking saucer–shaped body”. The mass of the object wasn’t self–illuminating, but, rather, was lit up from beneath.

Shade admitted that they both “just sat there absolutely amazed”. The men estimated it to be some fifty feet in diameter. Abruptly, the object “swooped” towards them. It was at that point MP Shade made the decision to act.

The officers made “like hell” back to the main guard building. Reaching speeds of nearly one–hundred miles an hour, the vehicle was shadowed by the UFO so closely that Shade had trouble seeing through the windshield due to the whirling maelstrom of colored lights above them. Both men would report that the object, if any closer, would have potentially contacted the top of the car.

An Accident To Happen

Ultimately, before making it to the guardhouse, Shade lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road into a grassy ditch. While the men attempted to remove their car from its resting place, the UFO hovered in front of them, but at a more comfortable distance. Eventually, it departed thereafter, “skimming off into the distance” as the MP’s regained some semblance of composure and drove to back to their station.

In summing up their ordeal, Shade admitted that he had “…never believed in UFO’s in the past”. Burn’s likewise confessed the he was “terrified”, and that he had “crouched down under the dash–board” when the UFO stuck with them before they came off the road.  As the night progressed, the MP’s would make an official “Military Police Report” back at the Provost Marshall’s office at Fort Stewart, and, seemingly, the Pentagon were notified.

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The Chief Public Information Officer for Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Lt. David Anderson, saw that immediate checks were made regarding local aircraft movements and radar coverage, but no one could shed any light on the UFO inicdent. Local law enforcement officials with Chatham County were likewise notified, and, as it turned out, they too had had civilian reports of a low–level concentration of lights in the area.

It Came At Them

In fact, one local press report would quote that police officers explicitly witnessed the “UFO dive” at Hunter during a surveillance operation. If correct, this would mean that MP Shade and MP Burns had off–site witnesses to their close encounter. Barely twenty–four hours later, MP Burns would have a second sighting, but this time he was with an MP Murray, who was also with the 298th MP Company.

At 430am, on the 9 Sep 1973, the two MP’s were patrolling the Hunter runway when they observed what they “first believed to be the red light of an aircraft some distance away”. Moving off quite rapidly, the light “disappeared into the woods”. This, of course, is hardly a noteworthy sighting, but it appears in official report paperwork, so it needs to be mentioned. Credit: Paul

A US Army “Serious Incident Report”

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Forty years ago this week, a four-man crew of an Army Reserve helicopter was flying over Mansfield, Ohio, around 11:00 p.m. when they “encountered a near midair collision with an unidentified flying object,” according to the official report, signed and submitted by the crew after the incident.

A full explanation for this terrifying UFO close encounter has never been offered, and to this day, the helicopter-UFO incident remains one of the most credible — and terrifying — in the history of the subject. The commander of the helicopter, Maj. Larry Coyne, and his crew, thought at first that the light on the horizon was a radio tower beacon.

The Incident Unfolds

“We were flying along at about 2,500 feet when the crew chief on the helicopter observed a red light on the east horizon. He then informed me that the light was closing on the helicopter — that it was coming at us on a collision course,” Coyne told this reporter in 1975.

“I looked to the right and observed that the object became bigger and the light became brighter, and I began to descend the helicopter toward the ground, to get out of the collision course path. We were descending and this object was like a missile locked onto the helicopter, only it came at us on a perpendicular angle, to hit us almost broadside.

“It looked like we were going to collide with it and we braced for impact, and then I heard the crewmen in the back say, ‘Look up!’ and I observed this craft stopped directly in front of us — stopped — it was hovering, right over the helicopter!” (See main story illustration above)

Watch this video excerpt of the Coyne account from a documentary report. The story continues after the video.

With the unknown object hovering in the air above the helicopter, Coyne and his crew suddenly noticed a light coming out of the aft end of it — a light that swung 90 degrees and came into their cabin. “It was a bright green light. And all of the red night lights that we utilize for night navigation were dissolved in this green light — the whole cabin turned green. It hit all of us directly in the face.”

Coyne and his crew knew they were encountering something extraordinary. “We assumed it was a high-performance fighter, but when it stopped directly in front of us, then all four of us realized that was no high-performance aircraft. This craft, from the angle that we saw it, was cigar-shaped. It had no wings, no vertical or horizontal stabilizer, was approximately 60 feet long, 15-20 feet in height.”

But Wait There’s More…

What occurred next was like something out of science fiction. “We were at 1,700 feet,” Coyne recalled. “Then this craft began to move slowly to the west away from us. At this time, I was worried we were going to hit the ground, and I looked at my altimeter and our helicopter was at 3,500 feet, climbing 1,000 feet a minute with no changes in the control. We went from 1,700 feet to 3,500 feet in a matter of seconds and never knew it!”

The helicopter topped out at 3,800 feet and the four men felt a bump, “like turbulence, at which time we had control of the aircraft again. I had control and we went back down to 2,500 feet and then continued on to Cleveland,” Coyne said.

“As far as the vehicle itself, there’s no doubt in our minds what it looked like. A craft that can move at terrific speeds in excess of 1,000 knots, and then stop on a dime, maintains altitude, can change altitude, climb, descend. To encounter a UFO when it approaches your aircraft, you have no idea what it is. I think if it wanted to collide with us, it could have. You can’t get away from it — you don’t have that much time to respond!”

A Separate  Witness

Lending credibility to this case were eyewitnesses on the ground who observed the UFO-helicopter encounter. The Army didn’t prevent Coyne and his crew from speaking out about their experience. In fact, Coyne was allowed to recount the UFO incident to the United Nations in 1978, as seen below, under the sponsorship of Grenada.


This 1973 UFO incident, while certainly dramatic and terrifying for the helicopter crew involved, is not the only time that conventional aircraft have had encounters with unknown objects. Many crew members of major airlines have witnessed unusual objects near their aircraft but have been reluctant to tell their stories publicly.

A Reporting Centre

In 1999, Richard Haines, a retired senior research scientist for the NASA-Ames Research Center in California, created the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena, or NARCAP, to give pilots and air traffic controllers a confidential place to report their own unusual sightings of what Haines refers to as unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAP.

“We have two objectives: To make flying safer with regard to unidentified and poorly understood phenomena in the atmosphere. And the second objective is to collect, analyze and then report high quality data from the aerospace world on the phenomena, to help us understand them better,” Haines, 76, told The Huffington Post.

According to Haines, on an average daily basis, since the creation of NARCAP, he’s received six to 12 reports a year. He absolutely believes there are real dangerous or safety issues that come up between pilots and some UAP.

Exotic Effects Mooted

“Based upon analysis of past cases, a potential for a very serious event does exist,” Haines said. “We have reviewed a great many encounters in flight where several things can happen. One of them is an electromagnetic effect in close proximity to the phenomenon, where cockpit instrumentation are affected — it might be a magnetic field, radio interference or even an inertial effect, and that’s obviously unsafe. Pilots don’t want to be flying airplanes where they can’t trust their instruments.”

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Larry Coyne’s drawing of what he saw. Mansfield News Journal

Another area of concern that Haines and his colleagues have found is similar to what Coyne and his helicopter crew experienced in 1973. “It’s where a UAP is near the airplane, perhaps ahead of the plane, and the pilot makes a rapid emergency dive to avoid a perceived collision. That’s not very common, but it would have to be reported. It has happened in the past and there are still near-misses that occur which sometimes are associated with a nearby UAP.”

A Credible Report

Haines has always been impressed with the Coyne helicopter incident. “It qualifies as a genuine UAP encounter. Multiple witness cases are very important and should command the attention of aviation officials. In the Coyne case, its color, speed and apparent shape — those are all important physical characteristics that can be related to other pilot sightings.

“I think the Coyne case ranks very, very high in credibility. One reason is Coyne’s reputation as a good pilot before this happened. And his courage — the fact that he was willing to come forward with this very bizarre story and to stand by it says an awful lot. And he would give encouragement to other pilots to do the same. “If everybody remains silent, we’re never going to get to the bottom of this.” CR: Huff Post


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