In August, 1968, a Navy Photographer was standing the 2400 to 0800 security watch at a top secret intelligence installation in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict. He had just phoned the OOD at 0600 to report all secure and decided to step outside to get a breath of fresh air.
The two story concrete building was behind him. To his right was a range of low mountains obscuring approximately 20 degrees of the southern sky. To his left was (a bay) and the South China Sea. He was facing east where, about 20 miles away, another range of mountains obscured approximately 5 degrees of the sky.
Immediately upon stepping outside the building he saw a bright luminous object gliding silently from west to east above the range of mountains. He "felt" the presence of another object and turned toward the bay to see an identical object gliding at the same altitude and speed as the first. The objects were approximately one mile apart.
The second object sighted made a sharp right turn, glided overhead at an altitude calculated to be 1200 to 1500 feet, passed behind the first object and disappeared from view beyond the mountain.
The first object sighted continued eastward at approximately 20 to 25 miles per hour. Both objects were described as being as bright as a 1000 watt street light as seen from a distance of 200 feet. Neither object made any noise and neither object displayed any normal aircraft running lights. The objects were described as being the size of a dime as seen at arm's length. The witness estimates their size to be 40 to 50 feet in diameter and spherical in shape.
The first object was in sight for approximately 45 minutes. It did not deviate from its eastward course, nor did it pulsate or change colors. Its speed remained constant throughout the entire sighting.
The witness states that he was unaware that 45 minutes had passed until the morning crew began arriving for duty. At that time the eastbound object was a pinhead size bright light still visible on the face of the rising sun! He calculates that the object was approximately 20 to 25 miles away at the time he returned to the building.
He signed over the duty log, relinquished his sidearm and went back outside. The object was still visible on the lower edge of the rising sun which was approximately 10 to 12 degrees above the horizon.
The witness later remembered that the duty crash cameras, a 4x5 Speed Graphic and a 16mm Cine camera, were inside on the floor beside his chair and he had not even thought to take a picture!
This witness had been in the Navy for 10 years, the entire time as a photographer, a portion of that time as an aircrew member. His MOS was Photographer but his job was processing and printing surveillance and intelligence film from U2s, RA3Bs and other reconnaissance aircraft. He had been around aircraft, both civilian and military, for twelve years.
He cannot explain what he saw but believes they were not fixed wing or rotary wing aircraft, not weather balloons (one turned, the other did not) and they were not celestial bodies or atmospheric phenomena.
His original assessment, although the objects appeared to be identical, was that he had seen two different things, one a weather balloon, the other a slow flying aircraft of some kind. Neither, however, displayed the movements or identification lights one would expect for an aircraft.
Weather balloons, when blown by the wind (there was none that night) wobble and bob through the sky. Instrumentation packages swing below them, causing them to change shape and direction. Additionally, weather balloons are not lighted from within nor do the instrumentation packages carry such bright lights.
Helicopters can certainly fly at 20 to 25 miles per hour, however, none known at that time could fly silently at 1200 to 1500 feet. Neither of the TLOs emitted engine sounds or exhaust trails or displayed navigation lights. When seen against the sun, even at a distance of approximately 25 miles, no hull shape or fuselage could be seen.
The object seen against the sun appeared to have travelled in a straight line; that is, not following the curvature of the Earth. At last sighting, the witness estimates the altitude of the object to be 10,000 feet or higher above the ground.
Because of his background in photography and his experience as an aircrewman, the witness feels he properly calculated the altitude, speed and size of the objects. The description of the two TLOs does not fit any known aircraft or weather balloon. It does, however, perfectly define the phenomena known as Transient Luminous Objects which have been shown to glide silently and slowly for long distances, change directions with apparently intelligent purpose and emit no sounds or exhaust trails.
TLOs do not display any signs of hostility or covert curiosity. They do not damage objects or affect the environment in any apparent manner. They simply appear, move about the skies for a time, then glide away or vanish, leaving stunned and confused witnesses to wonder what they have observed.
Unlike UFOs, which seem to have destinations and purpose, and are solid and three-dimensional, TLOs are truly an unexplainable phenomena having no observable substance or core, no common size or brightness, no common speed or direction. They may forever remain a mystery.
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