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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 8/10/2001 11:30 (Entered as : 08/10/2001 11:30)
Reported: 1/29/2005 11:46:14 PM 23:46
Posted: 2/8/2005
Location: Salida (near), CO
Shape: Sphere
Duration:2-3 Seconds
2 Silver Orbs passed under our C-130 Aircraft

This report was originally sent to a UFO investigator concerning a well documnted UFO sighting in Illinois on Jan. 5, 2000.

Dear Sir, I've decided to write regarding your investigation of the UFO incident over O'Fallon and Shiloh etc. I grew up in O'Fallon from 1976-1981 and graduated from ((deleted)). I am intimately familiar with the area that the O'Fallon police officer sighted the UFO as I used to ride my dirt bike as a small boy behind the Jack Schmitt Dealership before it was built. Years ago there used to be an abandoned train track that ran from the O'Fallon Lumber yard over to the old coalmine (as I knew it) towards Hartman Lane. This was before Interstate 64 was open and during it's construction.( 1977 I believe) My parents still live in O'Fallon and I visit about every 3 or 4 years. I found your investigative report amazing and would like to thank you for such an informative and detailed article regarding the sightings.

I currently work for the Federal Government as a ((deleted)) and have recently retired (June 2004) from the US Air Force in Colorado Springs. I spent 23 years as an aircraft mechanic on C-141, C-5 and C-130 cargo planes and the last 14 of those years as a C-130 Instructor Flight Engineer with almost 3,500 total flight hours. I would like to recount an experience I had in the summer of 2001 (estimate) while flying a Tactical Training Mission over the Colorado Mountains near Salida, Colorado. The reason why I mention Salida, Colorado is because of the somewhat famous video taken in 1999 by a restaurant owner who lives in Salida. I have not related this incident to any UFO organizations as of yet and only mention it occasionally to close friends and relatives. I'll try to be short and hope you find this account as interesting and perplexing as I do.

As you may well know the C-130 aircraft is used for intra-theater operations at forward operating bases. We continuously practice low level routes simulating ingress into a drop zone in order to airdrop personnel or cargo. The C-130 unit located at Peterson AFB CO is currently the largest Air Force Reserve unit in the United States with 16 aircraft assigned.

We were flying a low level mountain route in a three ship formation west of Salida and north-west of Monarch Ski Area. When accomplishing tactical maneuvers we would typically fly no lower than 500 feet and use the terrain and mountains in order to enhance our survivability. During these low level mountain routes the other aircraft in the formation would normally fly what is called fluid trail. This means that they are able to maneuver as they see fit and it is not until we approach the drop zone within 5 miles do we form back up into an airdrop configuration with each aircraft behind each other approximately 2000 feet. The reason I mention this is because I do not believe any other aircrew members on the other aircraft witnessed what I did.

As we were approaching a ridge line crossing at approximately 500 feet above ground level I glanced out of the co-pilots lower right side window near his right leg. If you are familiar with the C-130 you know that it has 23 windows surrounding the flight deck area and has an excellent view not only in front of the aircraft but also down and below the front of the aircraft. I witnessed 2 Silver Orbs or Balls, side by side, moving in the opposite direction approximately 100-200 feet below and to the right of our aircraft. I have since recounted these Orbs as being in formation.(C-130 Talk) My view of these orbs was only for 2 or 3 seconds as we were traveling between 230-250 knots indicated airspeed. My first thought was that of the orange balls located on power lines for aircraft identification. But these were not orange and there were no power lines in our vicinity given the altitude and mountainous terrain involved. As I look back on it now I can still see these 2 Silver Objects as they moved below and past our aircraft.

I do not recall if I mentioned this to the Co-pilot or not. He would most likely have been the only other person to have seen these 2 silver objects unless the Loadmaster in the back was standing in the right rear troop door and looking out. And since this was a mountain route with the possibility of severe turbulence he would have been sitting down and strapped in since we have had injuries in the past. I could not tell the size of the 2 objects but I would estimate them to be 10-15 feet in circumference maybe bigger. Again I only witnessed them for 2 or 3 seconds and then they were gone. I could not exactly determine their size.

The funny thing is I know what I saw. And will never forget. I'm sorry if I rambled on but I wanted to thank you again for the article about the Illinois UFO. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I do plan on reporting this to a UFO organization soon. Do you recommend one over the other?? I was thinking MUFON although it probably really doesn't matter.

If you have time I would be interested in any thoughts you have about this incident. Thank You Msgt. USAFRet C-130 Instuctor Flight Engineer

((NUFORC Note: Witness indicates that date is approximate. PD))