The case that has reached some level of fame is #1313 from June 20, 1952 in Korea reported by Marine Corps pilots. I received a couple of emails about it but there wasn’t much information in those emails and frankly, I was busy with various projects including finishing my last tour with the National Guard. But the last couple of emails intrigued me, so I thought that I would look it up.
According to the information I found, case #1313 was a report from two operations NCOs who saw a glowing object about four feet in diameter. It was from Korea and was labeled as "unidentified." Not too impressive and it didn’t involve any Marine pilots as those emails had suggested.
I was confused by that. I checked the cases on either side but found nothing. I did find a comprehensive database that listed all the Project Blue Book unidentified sightings and on it, case #1313 said, "June 20, 1952. Central Korea. 3:03 P.M. 4 USMC Capts. and pilots of F4U-4B Corsair fighters with 7302nd Sqd saw a 10 –20 ft. white or silver oval object make a left-hand orbit at terrific speed."
That is not what I had found. So, I searched a little deeper and found case #1323, also unidentified and also from Korea. This was the one that was the subject of the emails. Sometime right after the Project Blue Book files were declassified, someone confused the two Korea entries and labeled the second as #1313 rather than #1323.
Here then, is the story, as told by Captain Bob Foster, who, tragically was killed in action the next day. In his statement, he said:
At 1415/I I took off from K–6 [airfield designation], Korea with five F4U-4B’s on a prebriefed flight to work a Close Air Support flight with the First Marine Division. We reported in to Shirley, Bromide, Dentist, Anaconda, Devastate Baker and Childhood 14, our TAC(A) [which would be the control for the Close Air Support mission]. We were directed to our target by our TAC(A) and we were in a left orbit over the target at CT091129 [grid coordinates]. At 1503/I I observed a white or silver object below me on a north course. At the time I was on an east heading observing the object down at 2 o’clock passing below and in front of me. The object was coming from friendly area. I thought at first it was a shell but observed that it was in a left turn and not in the shape of an artillery shell. This object made a 630 degree turn and was in sight at all time. It made a approximately a 4 mile circle and retired to the east toward friendly lines. At 1504/I I notified my flight when the object was over the target and 4 of 5 saw it over the target. I estimate object was 10' to 20' in diameter. Bomb craters on the ground were about 3 or 4 times as large as the object and I later estimated the bomb craters to be 40' to 50' in diameter. It circled our target area and retired east. I started a dive on the object and at an indicated speed of 250 knots at 4000 feet the object went out of sight still low on the ground (below 1000') estimated speed 1000 MPH or 4 times mine. I pulled back into flight and we continued our Close Air Support flight. This is my first sighting of such an object.
The other pilots who saw the object gave statements, but none were as detailed as that of Foster. These included Captain Richard Francisco, Captain T. L. Pittman, and Captain Ronnie A. McDonald.
That evening, Foster wrote home and told his family about the UFO sighting. He wrote the same thing he did in the report that went to Blue Book, adding that his other pilot, who hadn’t seen the object right away, saw it later. He didn’t know if there were any ground sightings. He also mentioned that there had been a lot of flying saucer sightings in the area, which is interesting.
If nothing else, I have been able to correct a minor mistake in this case. It really matters little if it was #1313 or #1323. Both are unidentified, both took place in Korea, both out of the same field and both by military personnel. There are no other important details in the cases. Just a little bit of history that needed to be told.