|This is not an endorsement for UFOs...just documentation of a sighting of one as related to me by several who did.
Except for one, clear, calm night while bound West in the Gulf Of Mexico in the mid-fifties on a Socony tanker did I, out of thirty-seven years at sea, ever see anything remotely connected to UFOs.
I was an Able Seaman at the time...on lookout on the ships bow, when rising from the horizon to the North, I saw what looked like a star of the First Magnitude. It rose to almost directly overhead, blending in with the stars, and proceeded directly South, setting below the horizon. It completed this transit in less than a few minutes...steady, and without any course changes. It's light was steady...no blinking, or flashing...it was very high...or appeared so, and in those days there weren't any satellites, nor commercial jets. I heard nothing.
This happened sometime mid-watch between 2000, and 2400. When I left the bow to take the helm on the bridge I mentioned it to the Mate On Watch, who hadn't seen it. Nothing was made of it, and it was forgotten.
This is a long-shot...I mean, we're talking about something that happened forty-five years ago, or so...but something I never forget, and it always comes to mind when I happen to tune into one of those UFO documentaries on the Discovery Channel, or PBS...or as it so happened, on of all places, the "O'Reilly Factor" just two nights ago.
So...I "Googled" the Internet using "usns geiger" phenomenon, and to my surprise, two matches came up.
Now...let me run this off fast as I remember it....I had just joined the Geiger after being on leave. Shortly after getting settled in, one of the crew mentioned this "UFO" they spotted one morning in the Caribbean while heading for Puerto Rico, or Panama...forget which...maybe both. I was told...as I recall, it happened on the Second Mate's watch - the 0400 to 0800 watch...Bob Broom was 2nd Mate...who later by the way went on to become Captain of many ships, and is still around, though long time retired. The fellow...forget who, went on to say he saw it himself, being on that watch at the time as lookout. What he saw, as he says: "It appeared all of a sudden, and hovered close aboard on the Starboard Bow...low, big, and silent, with portholes, and lights...it was even on the radar. Everyone on the watch...both ABs; the Ordinary, and the Second Mate; plus several early riser passengers. It stood motionless...like it was observing us...not far off...looked like maybe a tenth of a mile...certainly less maybe. It was big...like an airoplane...a big passenger airoplane, but looked like a flying saucer...like you see in the magazines. The Mate called the Captain...he came up to see it...it just stayed there, and we just kept watching it...big solid thing...no noise...frightening! Then all of a sudden it zoomed off...didn't just fly off, but zoomed off...gone in an instant...zoom...that's all I can tell you...if you never believed in such things before, you can believe it now!"
That's one story of several...all similar, that I heard that day. I wanted to question Mr. Broom about it, but he said he talked about it enough, and before anyone begins to think of him as a nut, he has said enough. He did however say he reported it, and a message did go out as a "Celestial Phenomenon", or just "Phenomenon" report for the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office publication - Notice To Mariners. Broom told me I could read the report in the Notice To Mariners that was published a week following. The Notice To Mariners was published weekly, so I went through the back copys and found it...Broom's report just like he had sent it...stating the weather, sea conditons, ship's position, time, and description (just like told to me by others).
Amazingly, below Broom's report was an identical report from another ship hundreds of miles distant from the Geiger, but posted only minutes later. To this day I remember the other ship as being a German ship for some reason or other...there's no mention of that sighting on the Internet...though there are others...as you will see. I wish today that I had kept that page out of that booklet...no one would have missed it...though we did keep each weekly edition because they contained import information on Chart, and Publication Corrections...we kept them in special binders.
Many years later...like twenty or so, the wife, and I joined Broom, and his wife for lunch, or dinner...forget which, at a nice joint here in the Cape. I brought up the "UFO" thing, and just as quickly as I brought it up, he said to "Drop it!"...he wasn't about to talk about it.
Alright...now to these two "matches" I found documenting this incident...again, amazing I found this.
In both of these matches, there's alot to read. To get to the Geiger part...the part we're interested in here...the part that at least corroborates the sighting, but in no way provides the original "Merint" report as sent by the ship, but gives enough to let you decide for yourself as to what to think, using the menus at the top of your brower, Click on Edit, then Click on Find ( on This Page ). A dialogue box will appear...enter geiger...keep hitting the Find Next button, or the Enter Key on the keyboard until you get to parts relative to "geiger" that you want to read.
Here's the first match:
Blue Book UFO Reports at Sea by Ships
Documentation relevant to the USNS Geiger:
"The USS Geiger reported a single large object, disk shaped, brightly illuminated, and traveling east at about 200 MPH. The object appeared to hover at times and change direction. This sighting lasted 30 minutes."
Note "USS" vice "USNS"...a common error.
That's all the Air Force's Blue Book has to say about the Geiger's experience. Now for the second match found:
WATER UFO - A RESEARCH ENDEAVOR
Documentation relevant to the USNS Geiger:
- 16-Sep-60 10:00 GMT; Nearest Island/Country Location
- Close to Puerto Rico 19°20'N 75°3'W;
Ship Type of Vessel
- USS Geiger USN;
Number of Objects Object Shape Object Size Object Lights/Color
- 1 Disk Shape Large Brightly illuminated;
- 200 mph/ appeared hovering at times and changing direction;
- 30 min; No. of Witnesses
- 1; Who Reported
- Ship; Elev Direction
- Medium Altitude E;
- From Ship to COMASDEFORLANT MERINT;
Latitude Degrees Latitude Minutes
- 19 20 N;
Longitude Degrees Longitude Minutes
- 75 3 W;
- This report is buried in the Sep.15,1960 report from Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico.
So...what do we have here...corroboration that indeed something was seen by someone aboard the Geiger...the documentation above says only one ( 1 ) observer...and doesn't say who saw it, nor who reported it...just that the Ship reported it. So far we have the Geiger reporting what one (1) mystery observer observed...and that was that the object - one object, was "Disk Shaped"; "Large", and "Brightly illuminated". It appeared to be doing "200 mph" otherwise "hovering at times, and
changing direction". It was observed for "30 min" at "Medium Altitude in the direction of "E". The Geiger's position is given, which if a chart is consulted, shows it not far from the Windward Passage between Cuba, and Haiti.
First thing to do is mention that the Air Force's Blue Book explains all of the above away with: "Blue Book Conclusion: 1960 Epsilon reentry"...meaning re-entry of a space capsule at that time. Without taking sides, you have to know that unless the capsule was heading directly at you, it wouldn't appear to hover. Also, vehicles on re-entry don't change course, or direction, and their speed wouldn't be ascertainable to the ordinary observer...certainly not as slow as 200 mph.
We must note here that it was Mr. Broom who witnessed the object...along with others, and that it was Mr. Broom who wrote up the report, and had it sent...the above documentations neglected to mention that.
Also we must mention that Mr. Broom was a professional Mariner - Ship's Officer...an expert in Celestial Navigation, and surely able to discern a star from anything other than a star...this in the case if someone wants to say it was a star he observed.
The reports above are not a complete documentation of the report Mr. Broom compiled. His report would include the ship's course, as well as weather, visibility, and sea coditions.
However, if the Blue Book people didn't have time to explore anything further than "1960 Epsilon re-entry, we will try. The ship not being far from Quantanamo Naval Base in Cuba, we could assume that what was observed was a large helicopter...but then helicopters are famous for the noise they make...that's a given. Another thing is that helicopters, when they depart do "zoom" off...almost disappearing instantly.
It appears that we are stuck with what I remember from what was told me on December 19, 1960 when I joined the Geiger in the Brooklyn Army Terminal...three months after the incident - October 16, 1960.
Is it possible that whatever witnessed by them grew into something their minds invented, and embellished over three-months...yes...it is! However, the facts as preserved, and documented in the two sites linked to above do picture something "Disk Shaped"; "Large", and "Brightly illuminated"...as Mr. Broom put in the report?
So...there you have it...just another story...another Sea Story. Please Page Down some...never leave a page without viewing it all...you might miss something.