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The Argentinean Military's Role in UFO Research:

The interest manifested by Argentinean military men in the UFO phenomenon is well known. As far back as the 1950's, with mysterious events having taken place on Argentinean territory, witnessed by members of their own ranks, the first deliberations among the high command were set in motion. But the furtive behavior of the United States extended all the way down to this region, for which reason the formal study of the UFO phenomenon did not begin until 1962.

SOURCE:

An article by Luis Burgos, Fundación Argentina de Ufología.

THE ARTICLE:

The Argentinean Military's Role in UFO Research:

OFFICIAL AGENCIES:

According to Lt.Cmdr. Luis Sánchez Moreno, public information officer of the Puerto Belgrano naval base in Buenos Aires province, the government's official interest in UFOs began in 1952, although it wasn't until 1962 that the "First Official Committee" devoted to the subject was created. Named the "Permanent Commission for the Study of the UFO Phenomenon" (COPEFO, in Spanish), it was composed by captains Constantino Nuñez and Omar Roque Pagani, and journalists Eduardo Azcuy and Guillermo Gaínza Paz.

In October of that same year, the Argentinean Air Force created the UFO Division, headquartered at No.209 Balcarce St., and whose Technical Head of Department was Vicecommodore Miguel Angel Rent, assisted by Captain Osvaldo Leonel Masramon. In turn, senior subofficer Daniel Moyano, among others, was responsible for the interviewing of witnesses. With the passing of years, Captain Augusto Lima would become the main player in keeping alive the official interest in UFOs.

Shortly after this, the Argentinean Navy installed a special office in the Punta Indio Air/Navy Base devoted to the collection of UFO reports under the command of Lt.Cmdr. Carlos Molteni and Lt. Cmdr. Hugo Morales. It was from this location that the notorious questionnaires were mailed out to UFO witnesses, although all the information was subsequently passed on to the Central Office, UFO Sector, of the Commander in Chief of the Navy.

With this state of affairs in the 1970's, UFO research is forwarded to Buenos Aires, specifically to the National Commission for Space Research (CNIE), but with entirely relative effects, so that with the passing years, it was virtually forgotten. It was only in 1991 that CITEFA (Air Force Technical Information Commission), composed by military men and scientists, most notably among them Captain (Ret.) Daniel Perissé, a direct eyewitness to the UFO events which took place in the Antarctic in 1965, there was a rekindling of interest in the matter, but with low rates of positive response, to the extent that today, and after the famous Bariloche incident of 1995, the Argentinean Air Force, pressured indirectly by the media regarding the incident, stepped forth with the tired excuse that "no investigation of the case would take place, since there is no official agency in charge of looking into UFOs..."

The following question was left floating in the UFO community: Does the violation of international borders only apply to fishing boats and private planes, and not to unidentified objects? Or were national airspace laws and aeronautical codes suppressed in Argentina? In extra-official circles, it is believed that the best information held by the military is well concealed in the San Miguel Space Center, Buenos Aires province. But beware! Today, IT ALL DEPENDS on the Office of the President!

OFFICIAL OPINIONS:

"UFOs are real. I myself had an experience of this sort in 1951. It was a yellowish-silver disk with deep red edges, moving at high speed at an altitude of some 500 meters..."

Vicecommodore Oscar Bario.

"At this state of events, and with the evidence available to us, it is hard to deny the existence of flying saucers."

Vicecommodore Dante La Roca

In 1955, after a photographic case in Dudignac, the National Aeronautics Review printed the first reports concerning UFOs in Argentina. On July 3, 1960, Capt. Hugo Niotti, having the opportunity to capture a UFO a on film in Yacanto, Córdoba, causes a stir in the press with his version of the events, accompanied by the photograph, which was later forwarded to an American UFO group for computerized analysis, becoming one of the most important pictures in the history of ufology...

In August 1962, a squadron of UFOs is witnessed by military personnel from the mountainous regions. The reports issued by the 6th Army División at Neuquén and the 7th Army Division at Mendoza are sent to General Loza, Commander in Chief of the Army.

In July 1965, following the events in the Antarctic, Rear Admiral Jorge A. Boffi states "These incidents are real, although the possibility of explaining them escapes me." This was soon followed by the statements of the president at the time, Gen. Juan C. Onganía, who deduced: "The statements made about the Antarctic were made by ideal and qualified personnel, and must be taken to the letter. Personally, it is my belief that flying saucers might exist..."

In 1968, a lengthy report from a Gendarmerie Detachment in Chos-Malal, north of Nequén, is received in Buenos Aires. The town was buzzed repeatedly for a number of weeks by circular objects resembling "igneous spheres..."

In the late 1960s, the presence of UFOs over Argentine skies was also admitted by the former commander of the High Seas Fleet, Rear Admiral Eladio Vazquez and former chancellor Diógenes Taborda.

"I believe in the so-called flying saucer, and it is my understanding that the Air Force will pursue studies on this subject."

Commander Adolfo Alvarez, 1968.

UFO phenomena which transpired in subsequent years featured countless official testimonies, whether from gendarmes, soldiers, policement or prefects. Thus, the furtive opinions of qualified witnesses continued to nourish national ufology.

THE SEVEN OFFICIAL DECLARATIONS:

While Argentinean agencies played a role in a number of UFO incidents, and some of them having exceptional characteristics, such as the D'Annunzio case in Coronel Dorrego (1971); the Orán Case in Salta (1978) or the Bosque Alegre case in Mar del Plata (1985), only seven official communiqués exist to date in which the incursions of unknown objects is tacitly recognized. These are:

  • 1962: At 19:20 hrs on May 22, a squadron of fighters in the vicinity of Bahía Blanca's Comandante Espora Naval Base, reports the presence of UFOs along its flight path. The interception lasted 35 minutes. Direct eyewitnesses to this incident were Lt. Rodolfo César Galdós and his student, Roberto Wilkinson. Report No. 02779 causes the first official acknowledgment by an Argentinean government.
  • 1965: Between the months of June and July, a succession of UFO incidents occur in the Antarctic region, some of them producing electromagnetic disturbances, and witnessed by personnel from the British, Chilean and Argentine bases. A phenomenon on July 3rd at the Deception Island Naval Station generates the second official acknowledgment.
  • 1973: On November 2nd, six members of the Comandante Espora Naval Air Base, close to Bahía Blanca, witness the maneuvers of a UFO, immediately producing the third official acknowledgment.
  • 1978: On the evening of February 4 at the La Florida dam in San Luis, six persons report the presence of a UFO and the descent of an occupant from within, leaving ground marks. The Police Precinct of San Luis, through its chief, Lt.Col. Raul Benjamín López, issues a document which constitutes the fourth official acknowledgment.
  • 1978: Toward midnight on July 12, a low-level UFO sighting causes a commotion in the Estación Ramblón region, located between the limits of San Juan and Mendoza. It was witnessed by police officers among many others. The San Juan chief of police, Col. Guillermo Voguel, prepares the fifth official acknowledgment.
  • 1982: In the evening of August 13, a UFO causes a disturbance in the town of Londres, Catamarca, and its flyover produces strong winds and starts a conflagration. A police patrolman attests to the intruder's presence. The provincial police emits the sixth official acknowledgment.
  • 1986: The appearance of a nocturnal UFO and the subsequent discovery of a gigantic indentation on El Pajarillo hill, Córdoba, on January 9th, prompt this city's municipal authorities to issue the seventh and final official acknowledgment.

EPILOGUE:

It is worth noting that almost all these communiqués took place when military governments were in power. Researchers are still expecting an official military communiqué, but issued by the current democratically-elected government. Who are we afraid of? What pressures exist? At this late stage, what is being concealed? In all truth, no one in Argentina expects an official recognition of "extraterrestrials", only of UFO phenomena. Even the 1960s-vintage questionnaire is clearer than ever, since its first paragraph reads: "A UFO is understood to be any object in flight whose operating and aerodynamic qualities or unusual features do not match known projectiles, airplanes, objects or known atmospheric phenomena."

A simple "saucer" will serve as an example: in the recent and spectacular Bariloche case, the director of the airport in question, Major Jorge Oviedo, was handed an official reprimand for having provided information to the media!


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This page was last updated on May 10, 2001