the foo fighters
of world war II
PART THREE OF THREE PARTS
Feburary 10, 1945 London edition of Stars and Stripes.
BY THE TIME the first two months of 1945 had passed, Americans had been so deluged with news of the moment that each day's banner headlines came and went almost immediately from memory, each new newspaper edition reporting fresh blows against the German forces, with both the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe left reeling and ever nearer to collapse. Those first two months had seen Allied bombers taking off by the hundreds or even thousands daily and raining destruction on Hitler's Reich, sometimes with tens of thousands of German civilians dying below. American troops were pushing forward into the industrial base of the Ruhr and further south had Cologne under siege. Soviet forces had captured Warsaw on their inexorable march to Germany's eastern border. Auschwitz and other camps had been liberated and German atrocities on civilian populations were being revealed with revulsion. Meanwhile, Berlin radio was blaring out Nazi valedictories to the troops who would fight to the last man.
No wonder then, that a one-day story from January 1, 1945 highlighting the freakish encounters by pilots of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron based in France would be quickly forgotten by Americans at home.
THE STORY HAD BEEN the work of Associated Press war correspondent Robert C. Wilson, who had very briefly stopped by the 415th on his way between assignments. Sharing cognac with the air crews on New Year's eve he had heard their incredible tales of encounters with what they now called 'foo fighters', named after the popular comic character Smokey Stover, an antic firefighter who called fire 'foo' and drove around in his 'foo mobile'. Newsweek magazine would summarize Wilson's story in its January 15, 1945 edition...
Lt. Donald Meiers of Chicago was flying a Beaufighter on an intruder mission over Germany. He was braced to meet Nazi planes or anti-aircraft. Suddenly an eerie light split the darkness around his plane. Looking up from his instrument panel, the horrified lieutenant saw two red balls of fire cruising alongside his wingtips. Thinking he had run into a secret anti-aircraft weapon, Meiers tensed and waited for a German on the ground to push a button and blow him up. But the balls merely kept pace with him for a while, and then disappeared.
That was more than a month ago, one of the first times Allied fighters encountered what they now call "foo-fighters."* In addition to the wingtip balls, pilots have reported two other types. One is a group of three smaller balls which fly in front of their planes, the other a group of about fifteen which appear some distance away and flicker on and off. Apparently controlled by radio, the foo-fighters keep formation with the planes, even when they dive, climb, or take evasive action. "But they don't explode of attack us," Meiers said last week. "They just seem to follow us like will-o'-the-wisps."
Probably related to the silvery balls seen by daylight pilots (NEWSWEEK, Dec. 25, 1944), the foo-fighters so far apparently baffle intelligence officers. Possibly they are the results of a new anti-radar device which the Germans have developed. On the other hand, they may be the exhaust trails of a smaller model of the radio-controlled Messerschmitt-163, a rocket-propelled flying wing.
Day bombers have met the Me163, which has an explosive charge in the nose and is apparently designed to crash into Allied planes. When one pilot closely inspected foo-fighters tagging him, however, he detected nothing but the spheres.
*The name comes from the "Smokey Stover" comic strip.
But though forgotten by the public at large they were very much still on the minds of the Allied pilots operating from France who continued to encounter them.
And come February, 1945, by Allied pilots based in Italy as well.
A P-61 'Black Widow' Night Fighter of the 414th Night Fighter Squadron at its base in Italy. The P-61 was the most advanced night fighter in the world, including built-in night binoculars. But the majority of aircraft at the 414th as well as the nearby 416th Night Fighter Squadron was made up of Beaufighters and Mosquitos.
THE 416TH NIGHT FIGHTER SQUADRON, had been based in Pisa, Italy, since October, 1944. In January, 1944, a separate detachment of the 416th had been sent to operate from Etain, France, attached to the
425th Night Fighter Squadron. In mid-February the detachment returned from Etain to rejoin the main squadron at Pisa. And it is perhaps partly from those returning pilots that the following was noted in the 416th's report of February 17, 1945...
Our crews are beginning to report mysterious orange-red lights in the sky near La Spezia and also inland. These "foo fighters" have been pursued, but no one has been able to make contact. G.C.I. and intelligence profess to be mystified by these ghostly apparitions. The hypothesis that the foo-fighters are a post-cognac manifestation has been disproved. Even the teetotalers have observed the strange and mysterious foo-fighters which have also been observed in France and in Belgium.
But though the mention of French sightings may have come from air crews detached to the 425th, the report from La Spezia had occurred that very day, as noted in the daily Operations Report of the 416th...
At 21:30 saw reddish white light going off and on in spurts about 6 or 8 miles away, near La Spezia at 10,000 ft. going NE. chased it at 280 MPH for 1 1/2 minutes. It took erratic course and faded out. At 21:40 saw some type of light 10 miles South of La Spezia and it went North and turned East of La Spezia at 9000'. faded near La Spezia. Pilot came within 5 miles of La Spezia, suspected Ack Ack trap. At 21:55, 10 miles south of La Spezia chased another and it went across La Spezia and pilot followed. Faded 10 or 15 miles North of La Spezia. Our aircraft at 300 MPH couldn't catch it. No ack ack at La Spezia. At 22:50, 5 miles south of Pisa, saw same light from distance of 10 miles. Chased it for 2 or 2 1/2 minutes. It took north course, disappeared over mt. this light 10,000'. Light described as glow that alternates between weak and bright. No contacts on AI. Apparently no jamming.
Another sighting would be reported on February 21, 1945...
At 0045 hrs. observed two large red balls of fire, altitude about 4,000 or 5,000 ft. hovered in air about 10 minutes above Piacenza.
And again on February 22, 1945...
Rotating white beacon at Parma. 10 or 12 miles East of Parma at 4000', strong white light which lasted about 4 minutes. It seemed to be stationary. No traffic observed.
And at the same time, pilots from the 414th Night Fighter Squadron based at Pontedera, Italy were reporting similar encounters. The Operations Report for the night of February 16/17 tells of an encounter over northwestern Italy with two "very bright lights which appeared directly in front" at "about 8-10,000 feet," also reporting that they "stayed on for approximately 2 minutes" -- even though the crew reported that it had "strafed the area beneath them."
The next night a different crew had a similar sighting nearby, as told in the February 18, 1945 daily Operations Report...
Lt. Gravel and F/O Moore reported another interesting observation: Four very bright lights appeared from Mantova area at 8,000 ft. and seemed to remain stationary in air until they burned out. Smoke could not be seen coming from them.
And from the 414th Night Fighter Squadron's daily Operations Report for February 27, 1945...
Between 2200 hours and midnight Lt. Gordon and F/O Gigerich, L. Dohrman and Lt. Beam saw balls of fire north and northwest of Bologna ranging from 10,000 to 5,000 ft.
And it may be from communications between the 416th and the 414th Night Fighter Squadrons that the mention of 'foo fighters' sighted in Belgium arose, for their bases in Italy were less than 20 miles apart, and the 414th had sent a separate detachment in January, 1945 to be attached to the 422d Night Fighter Squadron, based in Florennes, Belgium.
The issue of sightings over the next month would become clouded, with reports labeling encounters variously as 'flares', 'foo fighters', and 'balls of fire', so that what was conventional and what might not be became intermixed. Two examples occurred on the same night, March 13, 1945, near Bologna, when the crew of a P-61 reported "100 balls of orange fire" followed two hours later by another crew reporting two "balls of foo fire".
And the situation would remain ambiguous with the last reported strange encounter over Italy. On March 18, 1945, a Mosquito pilot and his navigator of the 416th were patrolling an area in northwest Italy when they spotted and chased a moving "light" for 30 minutes. The chase began at 13,000 feet altitude and climbed to 16,000 feet, but even at hundreds of miles per hour the light eluded them, until suddenly it seemed to simply extinguish.
Meanwhile, from their base in France, a report from an air crew of the 415th flying over Speyer, Germany, on the night of March 19/20 stated...
Saw 2 "Foo" Fighters - 1 orange ball and 1 green one.
The same report noted that they "seemed to be closing in from portside."
And though that's the last official report known from the 415th, in Jo Chamberlin's December, 1945 article in American Legion magazine -- which revisited the experiences of the 415th after interviewing the crews themselves -- the last reported encounter had a slightly different flavor...
The last time the foo-fighters appeared, the pilot turned into them at the earliest possible moment -- and the lights disappeared. The pilot was sure that he felt prop wash, but when he checked with ground radar, there was no other airplane.
The pilot continued on his way, perturbed, even angry -- when he noticed lights far to the rear. The night was clear and the pilot was approaching a huge cloud. Once in the cloud, he dropped down two thousand feet and made a 30 degree left turn. Just a few seconds later he emerged from the cloud -- with his eye peeled to rear. Sure enough, coming out of the cloud in the same relative position was the foo-fighter, as though to thumb its nose at the pilot, and then disappear.
This was the last time the foo-fighters were seen in Germany, although it would have seemed fitting, if the lights had made one last gesture, grouping themselves so as to spell "Guess What" in the sky, and vanishing forever.
But they didn't.
The foo-fighters simply disappeared when Allied ground forces captured the area East of the Rhine. This was known to be the location of many German experimental stations.
The encounter Chamberlin described was actually just one of the last few encounters, and actually occurred on the night of January 29/30, 1945. But it shows once again the vivid difference between dry official reports, and the encounters as described person to person.
And though the strange lights had seen their last in Europe, half a world away the 'foo fighters' may have fought on.
Above: The crew of the B-29 named GOIN' JESSE on July 6, 1945, two days after their encounter near Yokohama, Japan.
ON MAY 7, 1945, GERMANY SIGNED its unconditional surrender in the French city of Reims, and the 'European War' was over. But Japan was still far from defeated, and the air war over the Pacific turned full throttle, accompanied by sightings similar to those in Europe.
But the war in the Pacific was of an entirely different nature than on the battlefields of Europe, and far more savage. The European theater had been a matter of air power and land-based forces progressing across a contiguous land mass replete with rivers, pastures, villages and cities. In the Pacific, the war was a matter of many islands, replete with jagged peaks, jungles, swamps and deep mud, some counter-intuitively small but strategically vital, each island separated by vast spans of ocean, and all of them with years of booby traps, fortified caves and deep tunnels in place before any U.S. Marine stepped ashore. In Europe, it was a matter of Armies and great mechanized movements. In the Pacific it was a matter of bloodied beaches and hand to hand combat. No wonder then that in Europe progress was measured by miles, in the Pacific, by yards.
The battle in the air was far different as well. In Europe, an aircrew could theoretically rise in the morning, fly into combat hundreds of miles distant, and that same night -- for the lucky ones who safely retuned to base -- take in a movie at a local theater, followed by drinks at a village pub. In the Pacific, nearly all the early air war was launched from ships at sea, and the returning airmen still faced the ever-present likelihood of a mass casualty attack from the air above or from a submarine below. As the war progressed it became a one-two maneuver -- the first Allied aerial attacks came from carriers in preparation for invasion, followed weeks or months later by the construction of an air strip on a newly-captured island which allowed Allied forces to project land-based bombers just a little further. But whether land-based or carrier-based there was next to no comfort or relaxation to be found in the Pacific theater of operations, and the battle-hardened Allied air crews faced each day seemingly powered by adrenalin and steely nerves alone, sometimes returning with the plane running on fumes, with damaged controls which made any landing but especially carrier landings even more perilous, and for those on carriers never knowing whether their ship would be there when they returned, the only alternative sometimes being a hard ditch into shark-infested waters. Meanwhile, every Japanese-held island of import held an airstrip or major air base poised for defense and retaliation, and protected by anti-aircraft weapons. And the Japanese had a legacy in the battlefields of the sky -- it had been their air techniques that paved the way for their relentless drive through the Pacific and Asia, leaving them controlling one-fourth of the globe.
Which all may account for the difference in tenor and tone in reports by Pacific flyers of what may or may not have been what the Allied pilots in Europe called 'foo fighters'. For instance, in the following Tactical Mission Report for August 10/11, 1944 on a mission over Sumatra...
Observations were reported by several crews regarding a bizarre and confusing type of new weapon, probably of the rocket type. In some cases, crews believe the projectiles were ground released, but analysis of reports and further interrogation indicate that ground release was virtually impossible because of the unlikelihood of ground installations at many of the points where observations were made, and because of the fact that the attacks followed our aircraft continuously over great distances and in some cases out over water. Conversely, no enemy aircraft were sighted during the time of the attacks. Because of the need for clarification and identification of the weapon, crew reports are covered in detail below:
a. One aircraft was under continuous attack for 1 hour and 10 minutes, beginning 10 minutes after leaving the target area. Reddish-orange balls about the size of baseballs suddenly appeared "out of nowhere" on the starboard beam; a momentary flash or trail about 6 inches long preceded the red-ball effect and this was followed immediately by an explosion. The balls appeared to break up into 4 or 5 fragments that flew in all directions and appeared in fours, threes, twos, and singly, but never more than 4 appeared at the same time. There was usually about an interval of about ten seconds between volleys. The crews estimated that they observed a total of 250-300 separate bursts during the attack. The explosions were always off the right beam, never closer than 400 yards, never further away than 700 yards, and always accurate as to altitude. The aircraft was flying at 16,000 feet over an under-cast at 10,000 feet varying from 5/10 to 10/10. Lateral visibility was estimated as 30 miles except for occasional scattered clouds, but no enemy aircraft were sighted. There were no ground flashes observed when the ground was visible. Bursts were not observed when the aircraft flew through clouds, but reappeared when the clouds were passed.
On one occasion, the course was altered sufficiently to allow tail guns to bear in the direction of the bursts, but 20-mm and 50-cal. fire from the B-29 had no visible effect. There was no change in the continuity of characteristics of the bursts when our aircraft reached the west coast of Sumatra and flew out over the Indian Ocean. The explosions continued until after Siberoet island had been passed. There was no clue as to whether the projectiles were originating from below, level, or above. The B-29 was not damaged.
The extreme strangeness of the event speaks for itself and it can only be imagined what thoughts were racing through the minds of the air crew over the course of the seventy minutes that this encounter took place. The use of the terms 'continuous attack' and 'explosions' is confounding, particularly since "the B-29 was not damaged" and there is no report of concussion -- could it have been just the best available terms fitting the weird circumstances when experienced in the midst of a combat mission in the Pacific? That question, of course, is unanswerable and illustrates the difficulty of discerning which is conventional and which is not, when reviewing reports from the Pacific air war.
A situation which is summarized in Jo Chamberlin's December, 1945, article in American Legion magazine...
During the last months of the war the crews of many B-29s over Japan saw what they described as "balls of fire" which followed them, occasionally came up and almost sat on their tails, changed color from orange to red to white and back again, and yet never closed in to attack or crash, suicide-style.
One B-29 made evasive maneuvers inside a cloud, but when the B-29 emerged from it, the ball of fire was following in the same relative position. It seemed 500 yards off, three feet in diameter, and had a phosphorescent orange glow. No wing or fuselage suggesting an aerial bomb or plane was seen. The ball of fire followed the B-29 for several miles and then disappeared just as mysteriously as it had appeared in the dawn light over Fujiyama. Some B-29 crews said they could readily lose the ball of fire by evasive maneuvers, even though the ball kept up with them at top speed on a straight course; other B-29 crews reported just the opposite.
One of the reports Chamberlin refers to may have been from the night of May 14, 1945, on a mission targeting Nagoya, as told in another Tactical Mission Report...
A/C 4861 was followed by an unidentified plane described as a ball of fire. The object was first sighted directly after bombs away at 1848Z. This red or "flame colored" light stayed at the five o'clock position until the B-29 began to take evasive action. The object fell behind, and then caught up again. An attempt was made to pull away and speed was increased. The object stayed in the same relative position apparently with no effort. Power was then reduced, and the object also slowed down. As far as could be judged, the object stayed approximately 300 yards behind the B-29. Its light appeared to be about the same size as a B-29 landing light.
But like the 'foo fighters' it wasn't always balls of fire being reported, sometimes instead being described simply as a light. On a January, 10, 1945 mission over Iwo Jima, some 10 miles from the island one B-24 air crew "observed an amber light pass parallel and at the same altitude off the right wing and disappear into the clouds".
And in March, 1945, according to the 549th Night Fighter Squadron Unit History:
Combat Air Patrols were flown on the 22nd, 24th, 26th, 28th and 30 March. On 26 March Lieutenant Calvin P. Lamb, Pilot, Lieutenant James G. Holmes, Radar Observer, and Sergeant John W. McIsaac, Gunner, saw what they described as lights on an airborne object. The lights followed them through a few turns but turned away as the crew orbited north of Iwo Jima. A chase was made, with slight radar contact on the airborne set, and then the object pulled out of sight. The similar lighted object was again seen the next night of patrol by Lieutenant William F. Sill, Pilot, Flight Officer George W. Hayden, Radar Observer, and Private First Class William Brasvell, Gunner.
And again on June 18, 1945, on a mission targeting Kyushu and Honshu, from the Tactical Mission Report...
One crew observed a fluctuating light, round in shape that changed alternately from bright red to dim orange. The light was first observed near land's end and it trailed the aircraft for a considerable distance (the crew was unable to estimate the distance, but apparently it was over a mile). The object trailed for approximately 42 minutes out to sea, or roughly 125 miles. The crew was of the opinion that the object gained a half-mile during this period. At no time was a wing or fuselage observed in connection with the light. The object finally faded out. Two other crews from the same group made similar observations on leaving the target but, after some time, concluded that the object was a star. The crew making the first report felt very strongly that it was not a star.
A personal report of the phenomena seen in the Pacific comes from Henry Huglin, commander of the 9th Bomb Group, written by him as chapter 3, Group Commander's Reminiscences, in History of the 9th Bomb Group:
During our night missions in June and July a UFO phenomenon was reported. Our air crews started sighting "balls of fire," i.e., glowing objects about the size of a full moon which flew around in the vicinity of our flying patterns over Japan. One of our crews reported that one of the objects followed their airplane half way to Iwo Jima. I saw them on two missions. I don't remember any reports of any hostile action by these objects and the reports of sightings stopped after a couple of months. The object of these reports was dismissed by some "experts" as the planet Venus. And, after these reports started coming in, some crews did mistake the rising full moon as one of these "balls of fire." Some reports speculated that these "balls of fire" were exhausts from a Japanese development called a "Baka Bomb," but exhaust flames can only be seen from the rear; and these objects appeared to have the same size and intensity in whatever direction they were travelling. I have never heard of any official assessment as to what these objects were. I had an occasion to ask General LeMay about them several years after the war and he had no explanation. I am sure that what I saw was neither Venus nor the moon nor a "Baka Bomb"; hence, for me, they were UFO's.
Another personal report from the 9th Bomb Group comes from a pilot, who recounted his air crew's encounter in The Global Twentieth: An Anthology of the 20th AF in WWII, Volume II (with forward by General Curtis LeMay). Charles Chauncey described his experience of July 4, 1945, as he piloted the B-29 named GOIN' JESSE:
After coming away from our bomb drop, we saw the UFO's. I especially recall seeing two groups of them in single file. One group of six were lower than we were and coming towards us from the front, their heading taking them off to our left. The other group was more distant and headed in the opposite direction, but were at about our level. They each looked and appeared like a great ball of fire, but there was no fire trail. Their color was very subdued, not blazing like a torch. They did not bother us and we did not bother them.
The most telling of any of the incidents, however, may be two different reports on the same event, taking place on the night/morning of May 2/3, 1945. It began with a Mission Report...
HEADQUARTERS VII Bomber Command
MISSION REPORT NO. 11-327
DATE: 2 MAY 1945 (GCT).
OBSERVATIONS: The crew of plane #616 over FALA ISLAND, TRUK ATOLL, at 021802Z observed 2 airborne objects at their 11,000 foot altitude changing from a cherry red to an orange, and to a white light which would die out and then become cherry red again. These objects were out on either wing and not within range of caliber .50 machine guns. Both followed the B-24 through all types of evasive action. A B-24 took a course for GUAM and one of the pursuers dropped off at 021900Z after accompanying the B-24 for an hour. The other continued to follow, never approaching closer than 1000 yards and speeding up when the B-24 went thru the clouds to emerge on the other side ahead of the B-24. In daylight it was seen to be bright silver in color. As the B-24 let down at GUAM, the pursuer took a course of 330 degrees at 15,000 feet to 20,000 feet altitude at 022130Z. One B-24 encountered eight intense flames light green in color, one of which burst and hung at 5,000 feet at 021013Z. There was no trail or warning until the actual burst. A B-24 reported 9 to 10 red tracer type trails of fire up to 5,000 feet. They came in pairs and one pair came within 50 to 100 yards of the tail of the B-24 at 021010Z. Source of each pair was at a different location.
The Mission Report entailed three different incidents, with the first being the most detailed, and baffling. The next day -- after "careful interrogation" of the entire crew, which at the time normally consisted of 11 men -- a message was sent out about the first incident to the War Department...
CLASSIFIED MESSAGE CENTER
INCOMING CLASSIFIED MESSAGE
From: Deputy Commander, 20th Air Force, Guam
To: War Department
CG, Army Air Forces, Pacific Ocean Area
Administrative, Hickham Field, TH
SP: 2250 4 May 1945
Nbr 2250, from DEPCOMAF 20 POA to CINCPOA Adv, CINCPOA Pearl, COMAF 20, BOMCOM 21 USA COMGENAAFPOA Admin, COMGENAAF, attention A-2.
Following phenomenon observed by B 24 of 11th Bomb Group on return from snooper mission to Truk morning 3rd May [Illegible] longitude date: while still over Truk Lagoon two red circles of light approached plane from below one on right one on left. One on left turned back after one and one half hours. One on right continued to about two miles from Guam. Stayed on right side throughout sometimes ahead sometimes behind or alongside. Always about 12 to 1500 yards distant until day break when it climbed to 15,000 feet and stayed in sun.
Our plane at 0745K came down from 8,300 feet through undercast and lost contact. During trip light observed to change to orange, gradually grew bright yellow or white like electric light or phosphorous glow, then go out for second or two, then come gradually back as orange color at regular intervals. Light appeared about one foot diameter, changes in color did not follow pattern of acceleration and deceleration.
CLASSIFIED MESSAGE CENTER
INCOMING CLASSIFIED MESSAGE
From: Deputy Commander, 20th Air Force, Guam
To: 2250 4 May 1945
Light followed B 24 in dives from 11,000 to 3,000 feet sharp course changes and brief cloud covered intervals. Did not resemble exhaust plume. When turned into kept same relative position and distance. During night high cirrus clouds masked moonlight to considerable extent and no part of object except light observed until day break.
At day break light changed to steady white glow and possible wing shape and silver color observed but no details due to distance and sun glare.
Above facts based on careful interrogation of entire crew. Guam radar showed no hostile bodies at time involved. Can you suggest possible explanations.
ACTION: 20th Air Force
CM-IN-3605 (4 May 45) DTG 0406051Z da
As far as is known, no explanation was ever forthcoming.
Life Magazine spread from August 20, 1945 issue.
WITH THE DEFEAT OF JAPAN in August, 1945, the 'foo fighters' of World War II would seemingly be forgotten by everyone except the airmen who had encountered them. And it was they who first made the connections between their experiences then, and the first great wave of 'flying disk' reports in the summer of 1947.
From the July 8, 1947 edition of the Olean, New York Times Herald...
Saucers May Be "Foo Fighters," Flier Suggests
A suggestion that the "flying saucers" reported in some sections of the country may be "foo fighters" was advanced today by Captain Dewey E. Ballard, Olean Army recruiter, a flier in the European Theater during World War II.
Captain Ballard was asked to comment on reports of the flying discs. He said, "Assuming that they are not some hoax or hallucination, I think when we get done with it, they will turn out to be foo fighters."
A "foo fighter," reported by bomber pilots on combat missions, is described as a ball of fire, perhaps two or three feet in diameter, which was seen at the wing tips of planes and which followed the planes no matter how they turned. Captain Ballard did not see any such balls of fire himself, but he has known pilots who said they did see them.
The fireballs, the Captain said, might be compared with St. Elmo's Fire, a type of electrical brush discharge sometimes seen during storms on ships, or on the top of trees or steeples. St Elmos Fire glows reddish when the discharge is positive and bluish when negative.
The fireballs were used by the Germans, Captain Ballard said, as a psychological weapon, and the discs could be a similar type of weapon, designed to keep a populace stirred up or excited.
A former Olean Army officer said today he had heard of "foo fighters" when he was stationed in northern France He suggested that the discs or saucers were being developed by the Army as the American type of "foo fighter."
No saucers have been reported to Olean police as yet.
And from the July 8, 1947 edition of the Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche as part of a general article on recent UFO sightings...
Another development in Houston was a suggestion by Charles Odom, 23, Air Force captain in the last war, that the flying discs might be "crystal balls" similar to those he said were used by the Nazis.
He said those balls were electronically operated, and while in mid-air would send back to a radar screen on the ground the altitude, speed and other data of bombers it approached. He said the balls would fly up to the altitude of bombers, were apparently magnetized, and then flew along with the plane formations.
Odom is now with Pan American airways.
His suggestion brought a comment from Col. J.D. Ryan of the 8th Air Force, Fort Worth Army Air Field, that he had never seen such balls, nor had he ever heard of them, although he made about 60 missions.
Col. Ryan said the U.S. now uses a balloon sent aloft to gain such information. The balloon has a reflector on the bottom which is picked up by ground radar. He said they were made of rubber, but as they expanded they became opaque.
And from the July 8, 1947 edition of the Wisconsin State Journal...
Flying Discs Remind AAF Veteran Of Pacific Area 'Fireball' Reports
By WARREN R. JOLLYMORE
(State Journal Staff Writer)
Reports from many parts of the nation of "flying discs" bring to the minds of many army air force veterans memoirs of similar reports by crew members of Super-Forts of "fireballs" which supposedly attacked the big planes on their missions over the Japanese islands in May and June of 1945.
One such veteran, Gerry Dumphy, of 25 Anzinger Ct., a journalism student at the University of Wisconsin, remembers well the many and varied reports that would be heard by interrogation officers following each mission after the first "fireball" was reported on a night raid against Tokyo on May 23, 1945.
Dumphy was a bombardier with the 52nd squadron of the 29th bomb group stationed on Guam in the Marianas. He flew 29 missions in B-29s against the then doomed empire of Japan and recalls how the "fireballs" would "approach the planes and follow them out to sea as they turned 'homeward' after dropping their bombs on the target."
Round Balls of Fire
Like the "flying discs," they were described in various ways -- as "round, speedy balls of fire, as fast as a B-29, but not as maneuverable," as "burning warheads suspended from parachutes," or as "moulten chunks of steel, filled with explosives, and launched from airplanes."
Often times, Dumphy relates, excited crew members would report tracer bullets fired from the pursuing "fireballs" or how the flying missiles would attack, miss their target, and crash into the sea."
Word of the eerie "fireballs" spread through the Marianas to every B-29 base on the islands and as more missions were flown, more "fireballs" were reported. As time wore on, Dumphy says, "they became more maneuverable and followed the returning superforts farther out to sea." None was ever reported seen during the daylight hours.
On one mission, the ex-bombardier recalls, the left gunner called in over the interphone that he had spotted a "fireball" approaching the plane from 9 o'clock (directions were called out from the points of the clock) just as the huge plane was leaving the coast of Japan. The pilot, always cautious although he had never seen a "fireball," nosed the B-29 down, pushed the throttles forward, and flew into a cloud.
Emerging later, the gunner was asked if he could still spot the pursuing missile.
"It's still following at 9 o'clock," came the answer, "I saw it as we came out of the cloud."
About 15 minutes later, according to Dumphy, the plane reached a clear spot in the sky. There were no clouds around. The gunner was asked by the pilot to report the position of the "fireball" once more.
"Still at 9 o'clock," was the quick reply.
The eyes of all crew members excitedly searched the skies at 9 o'clock and soon the navigator saw the "fireball" in the sky, at the spot reported by the gunner. It was the star, Venus, shining brightly, slightly above the horizon. The navigator was a little indignant, says Dumphy, that his old friend. Venus, who had guided the crew back safely to Guam more than once, should be mistaken for a hostile body, but the entire crew was relieved to know that they were in no danger of an explosive attack from one of the fabulous "fireballs."
Other reports had the mysterious missiles plummeting to firey death in the sea, but invariably, the interrogation would reveal that a crippled superfort was forced to salvo a load of armed bombs in about the same spot and at about the same time that the "fireball" was reported to have crashed in the sea.
"Fireballs" soon became legend throughout the islands, Dumphy went on, and as hundreds of B-29s made the nightly 8-hour trip to Japan to drop their bombs, expectant crew members had a lot of time to think of the various ways the "fireballs" might appear to plague them in their attempt to hit the target.
In numerous cases, they did appear, or reputedly so, in exactly the same way as the reporting crew members had imagined they would. More than once the dependable Venus was accused and on several occasions the salvoing of a load of bombs brought new and more fantastic reports on the ever increasing "fireballs."
Whether or not the troublesome missiles really ever existed is not known, according to Dumphy. The war department reported no proof that the Japanese had such a weapon and the remains of any that crashed were never reported found.
Still, many crewmen the nation over relate to their friends yet today how they encountered the mystery missiles during the Pacific war, and it makes interesting conversation. But the fact remains that of all the "fireballs" reported during those two months in 1945, none have ever been heard of or from since.
It may be a military secret -- or perhaps the fabulous "flying discs" of today are descendents of the wartime "fireballs" -- but Gerry Dumphy, who flew among them but never saw one, prefers to believe that the legend of the Japanese "fireballs" is a wartime fairy tale.
From that day on, the 'foo fighters' would enter legend, and be inexorably intertwined over the next decades with the post-war phenomenon of UFOs.
Leonard Stringfield's sketch of a Pacific air war sighting, recalled years later.
FROM TIME TO TIME since, airmen have come forward with their own experiences, tales perhaps diminished or embellished in memory from the passage of time, and unfortunately sometimes possibly tainted in its objectivity by an alien-hypothesis agenda.
One such was the highly respected pioneer UFO investigator Leonard H. Stringfield. Capt. Ed Ruppelt, chief of the Air Force's investigation into the UFO phenomenon, in his classic 1956 book The Report On Unidentified Flying Objects, would describe Stringfield and his involvement with the Air Force in the year 1955...
On September 9, Major Hugh McKenzie of the Columbus Filter Center contacted Leonard H. Stringfield in Cincinnati. Stringfield, besides being a very public minded citizen, was also known as a level-headed "saucer expert." Sooner or later, usually sooner, he heard about every UFO sighting in Hamilton County. He was given a code, "Foxtrot Kilo 3-0 Blue," which provided him with an open telephone line to the ADC Filter Center in Columbus. He was in business but he didn't have to build up a clientele--it was there.
For the next few months Stringfield did yeoman duty as Cincinnati's one-man UFO center by sifting out the wheat from the chaff and passing the wheat on to the Air Force. As he told me the other day, half his nights were spent in his backyard clad in shorts and binoculars. Fortunately his neighbors were broad-minded and the UFO's picked relatively warm nights to appear.
Most of the reports Stringfield received were duds. He lost track of the number. The green, red, blue, gold and white; discs, triangles, squares and footballs which hovered, streaked, zigzagged and jerked, turned out to be Venus, Jupiter, Arcturus and an occasional jet. A fiery orange satellite which hovered for hours turned out to be the North Star viewed through a cheap telescope, and the "whole formation of space ships" were the Pleiades.
Then it happened again.
On the evening of March 23rd Stringfield's telephone rang. It was Charles Deininger at the Mt. Healthy GOC post. They had a UFO in sight off to the east. Could Stringfield see it? He grabbed his extension phone and ran outdoors. There, off to the east, were two, large, low flying lights. One of the lights was a glowing green and the other yellow. They were moving north.
This was Stringfield's first reaction but during World War II he had made the long trek up the Pacific with the famous Fifth Air Force and he immediately realized that if it was an airplane it would have to be very close because of the large distance between the lights. And, as a clincher, no sound came through the still night.
He dialed the long distance operator and said the magic words, "This is Foxtrot Kilo Three Dash Zero Blue." Seconds later he was talking to the duty sergeant at the Columbus Filter Center. A few more seconds and the sergeant had his story.
Another jet was scrambled and this time Stringfield, via a radiotelephone hookup to the airplane, gave the pilot a vector. Stringfield heard the jet closing in but since it was a one-way circuit he couldn't hear the pilot's comments.
Once again the UFO took off.
This was a fitting climax for the Cincinnati flap. As suddenly as it began it quit and from the mass of data that was collected the Air Force got zero information.
In the mystery league the UFO's were still ahead.
In 1957, Stringfield would write his own book about his experiences, titled using a play on his Air Force-assigned code name, Inside Saucer Post 3-0 Blue. In its introduction Stringfield would for the first time tell in detail his own World War II experience...
To start at the beginning properly, I must go back to "sometime" 1950 when my roving half-hearted inquisitiveness about flying saucers finally brought home a rich reward - two glowing first-hand reports each occurring within a short time of the other. One told of a local family sitting outdoors, being shocked by an object zooming low over their house. According to the key witness, the object lit up the whole yards and the rooftop. The other report described a blue-colored ball swinging like a pendulum across the expanse of a ridge just north of Cincinnati.
To me, these reports had the ring of genuineness, mainly, I suppose, because the sighters themselves were "genuine" people. Somehow, I thought, the press accounts had always made the sighter seem unreal! But my judgment of past events at the time was hardly a creditable one. In no one instance can I remember doing more than gloss over a story. In brief, my life between 1947 when saucers were first publicized, and 1950 was mainly one of "husbanding" and plying a career in advertising. Remotest in my mind were spacemen and spaceships.
But when the 1950 sightings reached me, all at once an incident in the past leaped into real significance. The incident, one which had been forgotten along with other distasteful events of the war years, suddenly lent tremendous support to the suggestion that saucers were interplanetary, and, accordingly, took on a new and ominous meaning. From it eventually grew CRIFO and the underlying reasons for the many pessimistic tones in its publications.
I have many times since 1950, tried to reconstruct the facts of the incident, hunting for details, trying to remember my reactions. But the terrors of the moment, plus the erasure of time, have left me little to go on, save only the starkest highpoints. A check into my army diary told me the incident occurred August 28, 1945, while flying from Ie Shima, near Okinawa, to Iwo Jima. I was being transported in a C-46, a "flying coffin" whose number was 304. I was one of nine members of 5th Air Force personnel¹ (with special equipment) assigned to occupy Atsugi Airdrome, near Tokyo, Japan, prior to the major landing forces. For the incident itself I must rely on my memory.
During the flight, about midway between Ie Shima and Iwo Jima, the C-46 suddenly developed trouble in the left engine, the prop feathering. As the plane dipped, sputtered oil and lost altitude, I remember looking out through one of the portholes and to my surprise, seeing three unidentifiable blobs of brilliant white light, each about the size of a dime held at arm's length.
The blobs were traveling in a straight line through drifts of cloud, seemingly parallel to the C-46 and equal to its speed. I vaguely recall that when my plane pulled up, the objects remained below and they disappeared into a cloud bank. All other details are hazy for I had no reason at that time to rationalize the objects or try to identify them. Also, my prime concern at the moment was the performance of the C-46 and my personal safety. I remember pointing out the objects to a companion nearby, but cannot recall any unusual concern about the lights on his part, for he too was more apprehensive of his safety. The plane, without further incident, landed safely at Iwo. I remember it undergoing extensive check-up so that it would be ready and airborne for the final hop to Atsugi. No one, during the stop-over, mentioned the objects as I recall, nor did I report them, for Iwo at that time was a bustling staging area waiting for the war officially to end.
At this writing, still relying on my memory revived in 1950, I can find no mundane explanation for the three objects flying abreast of my plane high over the Pacific. It is my opinion that the objects were propelled devices, being possibly analogous, in appearance and behavior, to the popular "foo fighter" of World War II vintage, which is still unexplained, according to Air Force statements. I also believe that the sudden erratic behavior of my plane was due to a mysterious force generated by the UFOs.
While I have often alluded to this incident in previous writings and lectures, I have never disclosed its details. In the early days of CRIFO I was tempted several times to give it top billing in the Newsletter, but then it was a matter of keeping up with all the late news. Later silence, however, was a matter of circumstance. In the March, 1955, issue of Newsletter, which spoke out against the theory suggesting saucers were secret U.S. weapons, I had planned to include a section on the foo-fighter. A perfect tie-in, I thought, for such "foo-nomena", as witnessed by myself, could not have possibly been earthmade. No nation, in defeat or in victory, in my opinion, would have been so foolhardy as to use a secret weapon during the delicate period of surrender. I had all my arguments lined up, good ones, I reasoned. In support of my contentions, I would lead off with other foo fighter reports, already published in saucer literature. Next, was the possibility of getting two more good reports from reliable sources. I promptly secured one, the sighter having been a radio operator of a B-24 during a mission over Formosa in 1945. His report described a vertical chain of luminous globes, one following the other in a spiral climb toward his aircraft. Showing no menace, they continued to climb out of view. When a reply to my inquiry about the other report finally arrived, I was told by this correspondent that the information had best not be revealed because of security. Pressed by time, I dropped the matter, thinking I would later devote an entire issue to this subject. But like other proposals, i.e., lunar findings and the little bipeds, the foo-fighters never got to print. In the late months of CRIFO I decided to keep my experience confidential until I would someday write my book.
¹ According to a note in my diary, the passengers were Harry Berning, Stouch, W. J. Smith, Ramsey, Greenwell, Vucetich, Caverly, Briggs, myself, and three unknown crew members, pilot, co-pilot and navigator. In my search for possible verification, I have located only one passenger, Harry Berning of Cincinnati. Without putting words into his mouth, I asked Berning what he recalled about the incident at Iwo. Said Berning, "I'll remember the flight as long as I live. I was plenty scared ... I remember our plane getting off course. We were lost. I first knew something was wrong when the co-pilot came back and told us, 'We're in trouble.' I remember our plane flying in heavy clouds and the co-pilot handed me a pair of binoculars so I could help them look for a clearing." When I asked Berning about seeing the three objects, he said he didn't. When I told him I had seen them from the left side of the plane, he said he was on the right side and again emphasized, "I was plenty scared." In spite of my belief that the objects were responsible for my plane's behavior, I hope that I haven't over-dramatized the incident.
Twenty-two years later, in his 1979 book To Rule the Sky, pilot William Leet would describe his November, 1944 experience flying his plane, the "Old Crow", on a "lone wolf" mission from his base in Italy to bomb the railway yards at Klangenfurt. That same year he would also pen the article The Flying Fortress and the Foo Fighter for the MUFON UFO Journal...
The night was so dark that I was piloting Old Crow by instruments, but soon after turning on the bomb run and opening the bomb bay doors, we were in a blinding light. I felt the heat from it, and thought the Krauts had caught us in their searchlights, but it lasted only two or three seconds. We kept flying the bomb run, approaching the instant for bombs away, but I was relieved to see and feel no more of the light. I thought no more about it as this was the crucial moment of our mission, and I concentrated on maintaining a constant airspeed and keeping Old Crow flying straight and level, so the bombardier could put the bombs precisely on target.
Upon bombs away Old Crow leaped upward, freed of her ten 500 pound bombs, and I whipped her off the target, scurrying for safety. It was then I realized that we had gotten no flak on the bomb run; and where were the Messerschmitt night fighters? As much as we had disrupted their oil production, surely they had enough gas to fly fighters up to attack one lone B-17. Well, no need to tempt Fate, I knew. No flak and no fighters was peculiar, nevertheless -- unprecedented.
Heading back toward Trieste, all at once there appeared just off our left wing a round amber light. None of us saw it approach or had any sight of it until it was right beside the B-17, flying along in formation with us. The object's outline was a perfect circle -- too perfect; its color was a luminous orange-yellow -- too luminous. We could only guestimate its distance and size. To me, it looked to be about 50 yards out from the wingtip, 10 yards to the rear and 10 feet in diameter. Was it 100 yards distant and 20 feet in diameter? I was aware of a fascination while observing it.
The gunners wanted to shoot whatever-it-was with their fifty calibers but I ordered them not to -- if the thing was hostile we would have been shot down without ever having seen it. As we coursed on through the black night, winging homeward to our field in the south of Italy, the weird craft kept us company. Its position relative to Old Crow's did not vary, its shape did not change, and its brilliance never wavered. I was unable to ascertain the form of the bogey; it could have been a sphere, or a disk at 90 degrees to the earth's surface, but it definitely was not the exhaust of lights from another aircraft. It positively was neither manmade nor a natural occurrence. After 45 to 50 minutes, our companion from another world simply turned off. Precisely the way that an electric light goes out when turned off by flipping a switch, that is how the Foo Fighter disappeared -- it turned off.
Other veteran accounts emerged from time to time over the decades, but none so detailed, and with some misstating the facts. One of interest, however, is the most recent -- a March 2010 interview with Frederic Sargent -- a member of the ground crew for the 415th at the time of the 'foo fighter' sightings -- now in his nineties. Sargent was an academic over his long career and was the author of two books, Rural Environmental Planning for Sustainable Communities and The Civil Rights Revolution: Events and Leaders 1955-1968. But Sargent also penned an unofficial history titled Four Fifteenth Night Fighter Squadron in 1946. From the 2010 article...
Operating out of French airstrips in Dijon and Ochey, the 415th flew heavy twin-engine Bristol Beaufighters assigned to obliterate whatever moved behind German lines after sundown — convoys, trains, ships, aircraft, you name it. Among Sargent's duties were keeping the generator and field lights running when the pilots returned from their missions. He was constantly chatting with the pilots.
That's why the Jan. 15, 1945, issue of Time magazine took him by surprise. In introducing the world to the "Foo Fighter" phenomenon, Time reported American pilots were encountering and being shadowed by "strange balls of fire." The weekly offered "St. Elmo's fire, a reddish brushlike discharge of atmospheric electricity" as a possible explanation. Sargent counters with a derisive laugh.
"Well, if you're a reporter, you've got to come up with some kind of answer, don't you?" he asks. "You've gotta explain it somehow, right?"
The pilots weren't describing balls of fire. From November 1944 to April 1945, they were reporting incandescent spherical lights of various colors — reds and greens and oranges — playing cat-and-mouse games from the deck all the way into the clouds at 13,000 feet. They moved in tandem and erratically, in groups of half a dozen and in isolation, hovering in fixed positions or blazing along at speeds and angles that made Allied war machinery look stupid.
How much of the above is Sargent's phrasing of events, and how much the reporter's paraphrasing, is unknowable. Unfortunately, Mr. Sargent's unalloyed accounting of events may never be known...
Sargent has had less success in finding somebody to publish his 17-page, double-spaced retrospective "Foo Fighters of the 415th," which he wrote in 2006.
Equally unfortunate, the time for gathering first-hand accounts of the events of nearly 70 years ago rapidly passes, and is nearly gone.
A piloted V-1 discovered after Germany's defeat, from the September 10, 1945 issue of Life Magazine.
SO WERE THE 'foo fighters' secret Axis weapons? Claims have been made but next to no documentable evidence has ever been presented. Further confusion has been sowed by a document titled An Evaluation of German Capabilities in 1945, prepared by 'Headquarters, United States Strategic Air Forces In Europe, Office of the Director of Intelligence'. Inside the report, under the heading 'PART SIX - OTHER WEAPONS' was this item:
4. "PHOO BOMBS": Occasionally reports by pilots and the testimony of prisoners of war and escapees describe this weapon as a radio-controlled, jet-propelled, still-nosed, short range, high performance ramming weapon, for use against bombing formations. Its speed is estimated at 525 mph and it is estimated to have an endurance of 25 minutes. These bombs are launched from local airfields, and are radio controlled, either from the ground, or possibly by aircraft. The few incidents reported by pilots indicate no success. They have passed over formations, and performed various antics in the vicinity of formations. It is believed that in order to be effective some 100/200 would have to be launched against a formation, and it is also believed that they will not be produced in sufficient quantities to prove a real menace in 1945.
But the 'phoo bombs' as described obviously had no relation to the description or behaviors of the 'foo fighters', and instead closely mirrored the description found in an Allied Air Intelligence Summary for the week ending December 30, 1944, under the heading Pilotless Flying Wing...
This aircraft is reported to be a small radio-controlled jet-propelled plane, somewhat resembling the Me-163, fitted with an explosive which can be detonated in the midst of a bomber formation or can be exploded by ramming another air craft.
And though an intriguing hint was given by Captain Edward Ruppelt, chief of the Air Force's Project Blue Book -- headquartered at the Air Technical Intelligence Center -- in his 1956 book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects...
When World War II ended, the Germans had several types of aircraft and guided missiles under development. The majority of these were in the most preliminary stages, but they were the only known craft that could even approach the performances of the objects reported by UFO observers.
...nonetheless, no claims of being an Axis weapon have ever addressed this simple and straight-forward fact:
Not once did the 'foo fighters' cause any damage of any kind whatsoever to Allied planes or their air crews as they rained destruction and devastation over Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, with tens of thousands of civilians dying below.
An Avro Lancaster bomber and air crew, May 1945.
A FINAL NOTE TO THE MYSTERY. Though the 'foo fighters' had mostly been described as smallish balls of light, there were larger and more solid-appearing objects as well. And purposely left unmentioned until this closing is the oddest report of all, of a different kind of sighting by an RAF crew that took place on November 28, 1942. The report was sent to Bomber Command with a cover letter from the Air Vice Marshal of No. 5 Group, RAF:
Herewith a copy of a report received from a crew of a Lancaster after a raid on Turin. The crew refuses to be shaken in their story in the face of the usual banter and ridicule.
The attached report told of the testimony of the crew members of a Lancaster bomber from 61 Squadron, based at Syerston, Lincolnshire...
It would be the first known military report of such a type of aerial 'object', combining high speed and immense size (both equal to that of an Airbus A380 'superjumbo' which has been rated to carry 873 passengers and crew).
And unknowable to anyone at the time, it was an event which also harbored deeper intimations of things to come.
1. The Operations Reports entries for the February sightings by the 414th and 416th Night Fighter Squadrons comes from an article by Jeffery A. Lindell as found at Project 1947, with the exception of the February 16/17 report of the 414th, which is found in Keith Chester's book Strange Company. The Lindell piece also offers a slightly different entry for the War Diary of the 415th as recounted in Part One of this series, which was taken from the collection of researcher Barry Greenwood, and which can be found at CUFON. Curiously, researcher Lindell has the entry therein for December 23 being listed as December 22, with slightly different wording: Lt. Thomas and F/O Painter were in the air last night. The Ops. report says: in the vicinity of Hagenau saw two lights coming towards the aircraft from ground. After reaching the altitude of the A/C (aircraft) they leveled off and flew on tail of beau for 2 minutes and they peeled up and turned away. 8th mission--sighted 2 orange lights. One light sighted at 10,000 the other climbed until it disappeared. The incident had occurred on the night of Dec. 22/23, and so the entry for the War Diary would have been the 23rd. But the discrepancy between "more foo fighters were in the air last night" and "Lt. Thomas and F/O Painter were in the air last night" is baffling, and illustrates the problems of researching where the primary source documents are not made generally available for review.
2. The March sightings of the 414th, the 415th and the 416th are found in Keith Chester's book Strange Company.
3. The December, 1945 American Legion magazine story, "The Foo Fighter Mystery", is reprinted in full at Project 1947.
4. The January, 10, 1945 mission over Iwo Jima is found in Keith Chester's book Strange Company.
5. The March 24 through 30, 1945 experience of the 549th Night Fighter Squadron is found at Project 1947.
6. The Group Commander's Reminiscences in History of the 9th Bomb Group is available as a PDF.
7. The wording for the July 4, 1945 experience by Charles Chauncey as found in The Global Twentieth: An Anthology of the 20th AF in WWII, Volume II was an original Saturday Night Uforia discovery back in August, 2008. It has since been repeated on several mainstream websites but originally it was found at a time when Google Books was more liberal in sharing its contents, and is no longer available via that avenue. However, for those wishing to verify, it has been recreated using Google Books' snippet view here.
8. Leonard H. Stringfield's Inside Saucer Post 3-0 Blue is available in full at NICAP, as well as his original sketch. His mention of CFIRO refers to the organization he started in 1954, called Civilian Research, Interplanetary Flying Objects. His reference to the objects being "about the size of a dime held at arm's length" was a commonly-used kind of measurement by civilian aircraft spotters during the war, and afterwards as instructions from the Air Force for civilian reports of aerial objects, so that the perceived size from a distance of an object might be a dime or a quarter held at arm's length.
9. William Leet's 1979 article for the MUFON UFO Journal is reproduced in full at Scribd.
10. The story on Frederic Sargent can be found in full here. An earlier piece (2007) can be found here. Unfortunately, Four Fifteenth Night Fighter Squadron is extremely hard to locate except for a picture of its cover.
11. The May, 1945 photo of the Lancaster bomber and crew courtesy of manintheorangeshirt through the Creative Commons license posted for the image at Flickr, and does not imply endorsement of Saturday Night Uforia.
12. Similar incidents were reported seven years later during the Korean War. From the February 20, 1952 edition of the New York Times...
'Disks' Seen in Korea
Air Force Studies Fliers' Reports of Hurtling Orange Globes
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 (AP) - The latest version of the five-year-old flying saucers - strange-looking orange globes over Korea - is being looked into by the Air Force.
Bomber crewmen have reported seeing globe-shaped objects of an orange color on flights over Korea on the nights of Jan. 29 and 30. An Air Force spokesman said today that the incidents were being investigated.
Bomber crewmen, who reported seeing the globes over the Wonsan area in Eastern Korea and the Sunchon area in west central Korea, said the objects were about three feet in diameter and had remained with a B-29 bomber over Wonsan for about five minutes and with a B-29 over Sunchon for about one minute.
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