So, I’m making a search of the various cable channels looking for something interesting and stumble onto another of those UFO mockumentaries. This was one had a segment about a UFO attack on the Royal Australian Navy destroyer, Hobart, during the Vietnam War. The ship was hit by three missiles killing two, wounding several and scattering debris throughout the ship. The cleanup uncovered bits of an American made missile that was traced to a couple of Air Force units flying F-4 Phantoms that for some unknown reason were referred to as Phantoms, F-4, in the program.
Investigation of the incident conducted by various levels of command in Vietnam, the United States and Australia, concluded that this was an incident of “friendly fire,” and was a horrible mistake made by the American pilots. I mean, they had fragments of the missiles with serial numbers and markings that led to the specific Air Force units that were flying that night. No UFOs were involved and nothing to suggest any hostile intent by the alien beings riding in those flying saucers, at least on June 17, 1968.
But wait, there’s more…
Seems that in the nights preceding the incident, lights of an unknown origin were seen in the vicinity of Tiger Island that was at the extreme end of northern South Vietnam. It was suggested in various intelligence documents that these lights were helicopters operating near the UMZ (ultra-militarized zone), I mean the DMZ, attempting to resupply elements of the North Vietnamese Army in the area.
But unidentified lights in the skies over Vietnam could have been dozens of things from high flying bombers whose lights could be seen but whose engines were lost in the altitude, helicopters of unknown origin flying at nearly treetop level to avoid enemy ground fire, parachute flares, star-clusters, tracers of red, white or green (almost nothing looks bigger than a tracer coming, more or less, at you) misidentifications of various natural phenomena, deception by the enemy, mistakes by the observers, or just flat out delusions. Or, in other words, there were a lot of lights bouncing around the night skies in Vietnam, many of which aren’t normally seen in a more peaceful environment.
UFO proponents including the late Bill Cooper decided that these lights were alien spacecraft and they were the cause of the missiles that hit the Hobart. Oh, the UFOs didn’t fire them, they caused the missiles to bend around or interfered with the targeting of the missiles that forced them to change course. The US missiles then struck the Hobart, and other ships in the area. Cooper said that he knew the lights were not enemy helicopters because the enemy would have never. They didn’t fly helicopters into that area.
Except, of course, the enemy sometimes did fly helicopters into South Vietnam. One of our gun teams (meaning one of the gun teams assigned to the company I served with) chased a French made helicopter into Cambodia that was operating on the South Vietnamese border near an area known as the Angel Wing. At the time that invisible line of the ground was stronger than any wall ever built and our guys broke off the chase. The point is that sometimes you saw some strange stuff that had nothing to do with UFOs.
There is documentation available on this event, and the Project 1947 web site has a pdf file containing some of it that can be found here:
For an Australian Naval Officer’s take on the incident (as well as some fairly nasty remarks about Americans which given the circumstances is understandable) see:
For a look at this from the other side of the coin, see: