Top 10 Military Sightings of UFOs

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Top 10 Military Sightings of UFOs

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
If aliens are real, these are the incidents historians will point to as early indicators of their existence. For this list, we'll be looking at the most tantalizing cases in which military personnel reported seeing UFOs! Our countdown includes The Battle of Los Angeles, The Roswell Incident, The USS Theodore Roosevelt Sightings, and more!
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Top 10 Military Sightings of UFOs


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 military sightings of UFOs.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most tantalizing cases in which military personnel reported seeing UFOs!

Which of these stories do you find the most convincing? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Rendlesham Forest Incident

Often referred to as “Britain’s Roswell”, the Rendlesham Forest incident involved a series of sightings in Suffolk, England in late December, 1980. At 3am on December 26, United States Air Force servicemen witnessed bright lights falling from the sky. Upon further investigation, they saw a glowing, metallic object that flew through the trees and excited the animals of a nearby farm. When the sun rose, they found broken branches, burn marks, and impressions in the ground where the supposed UFO had landed. During their investigations on the 28th, the lights were seen again. Much has been written regarding the Rendlesham Forest incident, both from UFOlogists and skeptics. The latter argue that the creeped out servicemen misidentified fireballs, or the nearby Orfordness Lighthouse.

#9: The Tehran UFO Incident

In the early morning of September 19th, 1976, two Iranian Air Force jet interceptors investigated a mysterious light in the sky. While approaching the object, one of the jets experienced system failures, including loss of radio function. One of the jets also reported being fired on and attempted to fire back at its attacker. It’s a very popular story among UFOlogists, but skeptics aren’t convinced. They believe the objects were celestial in nature (as the event occurred during a meteor shower), that the pilots were tired, and that the jet in question was notorious for breaking.

#8: The Battle of Los Angeles

One of the most famous photos in UFOlogy depicts massive spotlights shining into the black night sky over L.A. and converging on a mysterious object. This occurred on the morning of February 25, 1942, just a few short months after the United States entered World War II. Beginning around 2:30 AM, Los Angeles County was blacked out and the military attacked an object in the sky, firing .50-caliber machine guns and 1,400 anti-aircraft missiles. It was officially attributed to an anxious military and a stray weather balloon that was mistaken for an invading aircraft. The UFOlogists aren’t convinced, and they believe that the Greater Los Angeles Area was visited by something a little more out-of-this-world.

#7: Wine-Jar of the Gods

It may seem like UFOs are a modern phenomena, but in fact, sightings stretch back to classical antiquity. In 74 BC, two armies experienced a UFO sighting immediately before engagement. As written by ancient historian Plutarch, “The sky burst asunder, and a huge flame-like body was seen to fall between the two armies”. It was described as having the shape of a wine jar and the color of molten silver. The event was supposedly witnessed by thousands, and while the object may have been a meteorite, there are no contemporaneous records vouching for its existence. This is odd, as the ancient kingdom of Phrygia was well known for its documentation and reverence of meteorites.

#6: Foo Fighters

Beginning in November of 1944, American, German, and Japanese militaries all witnessed mysterious balls of light in the night skies over Europe and the Pacific Theater. These were often compared to Christmas lights or balls of fire, as they were round, bright, and colorful. They eventually earned the nicknames “Kraut fireballs” and “foo fighters”. While they weren’t malicious in nature, the American military took the sightings seriously. They were actively studied and various explanations were given, although nothing has been officially confirmed. The possible explanations include light reflections, electrostatic phenomena like St. Elmo’s fire, and ball lightning. They haven’t gone away, as a foo fighter was reported by Pakistan International Airlines in January 2021.

#4: The Finnish Air Force Sighting

The so-called Seven Balloons of Pori were observed over the Finnish city on April 12, 1969. Pilot-in-training Tarmo Tukeva was ordered by flight control to investigate numerous air balloons that were observed over Pori Airport during a jet training exercise. The disc-shaped objects flew away from Tukeva at great speed once he approached. These objects were also seen and reported by a second pilot-in-training and a radar station located 125 miles away in the city of Vaasa. The Finish Air Force suspects that it was a spy plane, but we’ll probably never know for sure!

#4: The USS Nimitz Incident

One of the three “Pentagon UFO videos” leaked in 2017, the USS Nimitz incident nonetheless deserves its own entry. In November of 2004, radar indicated that an unidentified object was flying off the coast of California, and fighter pilot David Fravor was sent to investigate. The operator informed Fravor that sightings like this had been occurring for weeks and that they often involved an aircraft flying at 80,000 feet before rapidly dropping to 20,000 feet and hovering over the ocean. Four people, including Fravor, personally witnessed the UFO, which was estimated to be 40 feet long. Another pilot was sent, and he captured what is now known as the “FLIR” video.

#3: The Pyramid UFO

The last couple of years has seen remarkable UFO footage leaked to the public, and that includes these flashing pyramid-shaped objects. Recorded by Navy personnel aboard the USS Russell in 2019, the video was leaked soon after, as part of a trove that also included various photos of other UFOs. It circulated online before making headlines in April 2021. The Pentagon admitted that the footage was real, with spokeswoman Susan Gough stating, “The UAP [meaning Unidentified Aerial Phenomena] has included these incidents in their ongoing examinations”. While sceptics argue that it could just be a plane, we’re holding out hope for a loftier explanation!

#2: The Roswell Incident

Arguably the most famous UFO story of all time, the Roswell incident has become ingrained in the wider cultural consciousness and a popular part of American history. In July of 1947, an object crashed into a New Mexico farm. The Roswell Army Air Field inadvertently stoked conspiracy theories by saying they’d retrieved a “flying disc” from the location, leading to half a century’s worth of UFO claims. This statement naturally caused an uproar, forcing the Army to retract the claim and clarify that the “flying disc” was actually just a weather balloon. It has since been identified as a nuclear test surveillance balloon by the Air Force. But the truth may be out there, and UFOlogists believe that the Roswell incident was subjected to extensive government cover-up.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions.

UFOs Over Mexico
The Mexican Air Force Pursued These Mysterious Lights on March 5th, 2004

Transmedium UFO
This Leaked Video Was Taken from the USS Omaha on July 15th, 2019

#1: The USS Theodore Roosevelt Sightings

It’s safe to say that these videos are the Roswell of our time. First leaked in 2017, the videos, named GIMBAL and GOFAST, were taken just a couple of years earlier by US Navy fighter jets from the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The man behind the leak was Luis Elizondo, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s now-defunct Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, who had resigned in October to protest government secrecy. The videos were formally acknowledged by a Pentagon spokeswoman in September 2019. The aerial phenomena seen in the videos officially remain “unidentified” by the Department of Defense. Sceptics have provided alternative explanations, but for many believers, these videos constitute some of the best evidence of extraterrestrial visitors out there.
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