Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The RAN Hobart UFO Incident

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:

It seems to me that the data suggesting any UFO activity in this event is extremely thin to nonexistent and not worthy of further research. But, I always find that someone will disagree with any assessment and go off on irrelevant tangents to prove some obscure point. Given that the units to which the Phantoms belonged were identified, given that debris from the missiles was recovered and allowed them to be identified, and given that the reports of the lights in the night sky were not deemed relevant to the discussion, this “sighting” can be removed from our lists. It won’t be, of course, but then once something is linked to UFOs it remains there forever regardless of the evidence


John's Space said...

I thought the show claimed that the missiles were launched at a UFO the day before the Hobart was hit and just disappeared with no effect on the UFO. Then the ship was hit on a subsequent day. But, you are saying that the missile launch and the impact on the ship happened at the same time period? If so it wouldn't seem much of a mystery.

KRandle said...

I had the impression that the UFO had manipulated the missiles while in flight, which, when you think about it, is sort of the same thing you said. Either way, it is clear that the missiles were American and the case really has nothing to do with UFOs.

John's Space said...

I watched the Hangar 1 episode again to see if they made the claim that I though. The shop claims that the "Phantom F-4s" had returned to base well before the Hobart was hit my the missile. While the account in Wikipedia doesn't mention UFOs at all and attributes the incident to an inability to distinguish between low flying helicopter and surface vessels.

If there were any UFOs they could have been the enemy helicopters you mentioned. It seems that Hangar 1 is really giving MUFON a bad reputation. I don't know from where this UFO story came. Why is MUFON doing this?

Bob Koford said...

Unfortunately most of my UFO library is in boxes in thew garage, but I had thought Secretary Brown had been quoted, originally, regarding this case, and it was HE who made the connection between the friendly fire case and the UFOs.

It was in Mr. Greenwood's "Clear Intent" that I first read this UFO tale.

Terry the Censor said...

> It was in Mr. Greenwood's "Clear Intent" that I first read this UFO tale.

General Brown's statement is on pp 105-6 of the UFO Cover-Up edition of the book. (It's here at Google Books, which is searchable.)

My print copy doesn't list Brown or Hobart in the index.

Bob Koford said...

My apologies to @Terry.

I can only comment from my computer, and I get home from work late.

I appreciate the link.