Pilots Dispute Military Statement on Stephenville UFOs

Sunday FEBRUARY 3, 2008--At least three pilots in Stephenville disagree with the military’s press release issued Wednesday.

Steve Allen, Don “Doc” Stewart and Todd Downs all say if Stephenville and the Selden area are in the Brownwood Military Operating Area, it’s news to them.

A press release issued by Major Karl Lewis of the 301st Fighter Wing Public Affairs at the NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, stated, “Ten F-16s from the 457th Fighter Squadron were performing training operations from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday January 8, 2008 in the Brownwood Military Operating Area (MOA), which includes the air space above Erath County.”

All three pilots say that space does not include all of Erath County. It only includes a small portion of Dublin and does not include Stephenville or the Selden area at all.

“Stephenville is 11 miles from the MOA,” Stewart said, as he pointed out the area on an aeronautical sectional map.

Downs, who is an employee at Clark Field in Stephenville, said there is a GPS fixed point located on the airport grounds that the military uses and while it’s not unusual for the jets to be in the area, he believes the press release leads people to believe that all of Erath County air space is included in the MOA and that’s incorrect. He said jets fly through on the way to the MOA.

Downs said he does not understand why the military would issue such a release two weeks after repeatedly denying the base had any planes in the area.

“I don’t understand why they would do that at all,” Downs said. “They’re not hard to know that they are there. It doesn’t make sense. I’ve seen them come by me before. They are real loud and it’s not hard to know that they are there.”

Ken Cherry, state director of Mutual UFO Network, said he thinks the military “came clean for several reasons.”

Allen and friends reported early on that F-16s were “chasing” the mysterious lights when they saw them for the second time at Selden on the evening of Jan. 8.

“We have filed freedom of information acts and that may have prompted them to make the statement,” Cherry said. “This only proves our witnesses are more reliable than the Air Force.”

Another witness, Leroy Gaitan said what he saw that night could not have been jets.

“There’s no way F-16s can maneuver like that,” Gaitan said. “I really think it’s some kind of military project or experiment. Too many people have seen things.

“I have spoken to at least one person (witness) the military has contacted,” Gaitan said.

On Thursday evening’s Larry King Live episode, James Fox, documentary filmmaker, seemed to confirm Gaitan’s information with his statement. Fox said when visiting Stephenville he spoke to one man “who, unfortunately, was not willing to go on the record,” and who claimed he was being harassed by the military.

Allen has said videos and photos are pouring in from everywhere and Cherry said his organization is analyzing many of them.

“We’ve seen a lot of pictures but they have been lens flares or odd cloud formations,” Cherry said.

When asked about the recent footage in Allen’s possession aired by Channel 11 News he said, “The video is interesting and merits further analysis. All others have been eliminated that have come to us so far.”

Steve Hudgeons, senior field investigator with MUFON, met with Allen Saturday to view the entire 14-minute video captured by a person not wishing to be identified.

Allen said a Japanese source is interested in purchasing the video.

Angelia Joiner is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-965-3124 ext. 238 or angelia.joiner@empiretribune.com.

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