Sunday, 12 June 2016

New Records Related To The Rendlesham / Bentwaters  UFO Incident ?


Part 1

  

With all the hoohar around the UK’s Rendlesham/Bentwaters UFO affair, some of it quite puerile, I thought it was about time that some new primary evidence took center stage for a few minutes. Is that too much to ask? Imagine a world where primary evidence is the topic all day and all night long? The skeptics would be fleeing for the hills. We could just have some peace and quiet from the worthless garbage. Is that too much to ask? So, presented here are some new documents that have either never, or seldom, been seen. You all can thank Boston-based researcher Barry Greenwood for this material; plus the collections of two researchers sadly no longer with us, namely Robert Todd and Lawrence Fawcett. 

The first request for official records that related to the Rendlesham UFO case was made under the Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) by Lawrence Fawcett of the group “Citizens Against UFO Secrecy” (CAUS) on the 8th of April , 1983. It was addressed to the 81st Combat Support Group, United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE). Back came the reply on the 28th of April, 1983. It was signed by the Bentwaters AFB Commander, Col. Henry J. Cochran, and stated:

“1. Reference your letter dated April 14, 1983 requesting information about unknown aircraft activity near RAF Bentwaters. There was allegedly some strange activity near RAF Bentwaters at the approximate time in question but not on land under U.S. Air Force jurisdiction and, therefore, no official investigation was conducted by the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing. Thus, the records you request do not exist.

2. Regarding the other statements in your letter; no photos of the alleged craft were taken by the Air Force. Also, there is no requirement under the Freedom of Information Act to create a record for the purpose of fulfilling a request. I can assure you that if there were such records we would provide them to you.”

A number of things seem odd about this response. Col. Cochran was not the Bentwaters AFB Base Commander back in December, 1980, when the UFO incident occurred. So, one must ask how did he know that unusual events had transpired if there were no records being held there? Note that he wrote, “There was allegedly some strange activity near RAF Bentwaters…”. Had he hear about the incident of others who were there in 1980? Or, did he review records that did exist on the base, but refuse to acknowledge and release them? Also of note is the statement “…therefore, no official investigation was conducted by the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing. Thus, the records you request do not exist.”. Would the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing be the necessarily be the investigating body of any UFO incident just because they were hosted at the base? Admittedly, personnel assigned to the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing were involved in the twonight UFO fiasco, but that doesn’t mean they would be part of any long term investigation. Probably the most likely investigative body would have been one of the USAF’s Office of Air Force Investigation (AFOSI) desks in Europe. But I will keep that issue for another time. Finally, Col. Cochran also stated in his letter that “…no photos of the alleged craft were taken by the Air Force.”. Again, how did he know this so matteroffactually? Again, as I highlighted above, no records, apparently, were stored at Bentwaters AFB. Col. Cochran’s FOI response to Lawrence Fawcett is imaged below.


Less than a month later, on the 7th of May, 1983, to be exact, CAUS researcher Robert Todd filed an FOIA request with the USAF’s 513th Combat Support Group for information relating to the UFO indecent. At the time, the 513th CSG provided records management for the Third Air Force (3AF), which was assigned to USAFE. A reply came, dated the 14th of June, 1983, from Col. Peter Bent, who was the Commander of the 513th CSG. It stated:

“I am pleased to be able to respond to your request for information dated 7th May 1983. As you may now know, the 513th Combat Support Group provides document management services for Headquarters, Third Air Force. After extensive effort, we are able to successfully answer your four separately directed requests for information concerning unexplained lights on 27th December 1980.

It might interest you to know that the US Air Force had no longer retained a copy of the 13 January 1981 letter written by Lt. Col. Charles I. Halt. The Air Force file copy had been properly disposed of in accordance with Air Force Regulations. Fortunately, through diligent inquiry and the gracious consent of Her Majesty’s government, the British Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force, the US Air Force was provided a copy for you. We trust this adequately explains the initial inability to provide a favourable response.”

It was with this letter that the absolutely infamous “Halt Memo” was attached. For the purposes of this report, I don’t need to discuss that document, except for to say that it was a January 13th, 1980 letter, of sorts, typed on letterheaded stationary held by the 81st Combat Support Group at Bentwaters AFB and signed by Lt. Col. Charles I. Halt, who was the Deputy Base Commander at the time. It chronologically laid out the extraordinary UFO event, which personally involved Col. Halt himself. A copy was sent to the British Minitry of Defence (MOD), as Col. Halt believed they should be appraised of the incident. As for the above FOI response from Col. Bent, it is noteworthy that he stated:

“…the US Air Force had no longer retained a copy of the 13 January 1981 letter written by Lt. Col. Charles I. Halt. The Air Force file copy had been properly disposed of in accordance with Air Force Regulations.”

Does this mean that copies of the “Halt Memo” were held somewhere within the USAF? That’s how it reads. It is important here to note that Col. Halt kept a personal copy of the document for himself. And there was obviously the copy he furnished to the MOD. But Col. Bent specifically states “…the US Air Force had no longer retained a copy…” and “The Air Force file copy had been properly disposed of…”. Where, within the USAF, were more copies “Halt Memo” held before they were “disposed of”? And, far more importantly, can we be satisfied that the memo was the only relevant record filed? All on its own? What about other records? Even a routing slip? This is very important. The USAF has always managed to stonewall UFO researchers by stating that there was no records created regarding the event, or, as we see here, whatever records were created were very slim pickings and seemed to be “disposed of” within a couple of years after the alarming incident. Below I have imaged the above mentioned reply letter to Todd.


Another set of documents of interest are from the USAF Manpower Personnel Center (AFMPC) stationed at Randolph Air Force base, Texas. Researcher John Kyniston had the Search Office (AFMPC/D003) furnish him with a number of Form 113’s for a number of alleged witnesses to the UFO incident. A Form 113 is used by the USAF to trace the locations of serving personnel. MUFON Director Walter H. Andrus Andrus sent these to researcher Ray Boeche, with a two page cover letter dated August 21st, 1985. Below is Page 1 of the cover letter, listing the current (at the time) whereabouts of six personnel, including Col. Charles I. Halt, Maj. Gen. Gordon E. Williams, Sgt. John F. Burroughs, Lt. Col. Malcom S. Zickler, Col. Theodore J. Conrad and Col. Sam P. Morgan Jr.


The actual Form 113’s – where the six above mentioned witnesses were still serving – are imaged here below.



























Furthermore, Robert Kyniston was also furnished with four more Form 113’s for servicemen who had moved on from the USAF, or who could not be identified at that time as being with the USAF or not. Those men were Maj. Drury, Col. Jack Cochran, Airman Steve La Plume (though there is a question mark as to exact rank here) and Lt. Englund. These Form 133’s are imaged  below.







            Finally, a July 32, 1985 form, with the subject line reading “Locator Information”, was released to John Kyniston for one Sgt. Adrian Bustinza. The AFMPC were not able to provide him with a standard Form 113 for reasons unknown. A box is ticked next to the pre-printed “Remarks” statement:

“Our research reveals that this individual has separated from the USAF, therefore his current address is unavailable, and we are unable to forward mail.”

This page is imaged below.


In my Part 2 of this series, I will continue extract new records that probably need to be seen. One of the first things veteran Australian researcher Keith Basterfield imparted to me, upon working together for the first time some years ago, was that primary source material was usually the most reliable. That rings true on a case like the Rendlesham incident. 

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