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ACUFO:

ACUFO is my comprehensive catalog of cases of encounters between aircraft and UFOs, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ACUFO catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file.

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Near Chichi Jima, Japan, on February 22, 1945:

Case number:

ACUFO-1945-02-22-CHICHIJIMA-1

Summary:

In the 1990's, US ufologist Jan Aldrich published on his historical ufology Website Project 1947 a letter from a former Army Air Force Staff Sergeant radar operator in the 96th Bomber Squadron (Heavy), 11th Bomb Group, to the Air Force Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC), dated April 5, 1952; which related an interesting war time experience:

"....Below is a report I made in diary form which I did not enter in (the) combat report when I made (sic) of the mission, in the extent that I make it here:

"Feb. 22, 1945; B-24, #501, 98th Bomb group; Night mission with Lt Togner over CHI CHI JIMA. Bomb Load 4x500 M29 Butterfly Bombs. Target: SUSAKI AIRFIELD. 35 bombs observed to hit target area. Radar Approach: 152 degrees form NISHI JIMA. 20 bursts of accurate flack [sic]. No Searchlights. A night fighter apparently on our tail. O'Hara saw 2 exhausts. Picked up an indication on our own radar, (SCR 717C). Landed at 0930: no damage to us. Mission at 9300'. Marines having hard time at IWO (JIMA),. We could see flashes coming back.'

"That was my full report. The other reports of that mission you undoubtedly have access to for your own analysis. There are two things that I do not like about this report:

(1) The Iwo Airfields at the time were closed to all Jap flying, because the Marines were on hand.

(2) Susaki was not large enough to [?] anything more than pea-shooters.

(3) BETTY'S (Japanese Mitsubishi G4M bomber) were the only enemy aircraft, to my knowledge, that were ever sighted in that area, that would fit the discription of our own sighting -- and these had not been sighted for a good month and a half before we made this contact. We did have 'pacers' in daytime over Iwo, but never at night, and they never followed us after a mission was over as this one was supposed to have done.

(4) I first saw this 'pip' just outside of our altitude circle, the direct radar return from the ground, after O'Hara spotted it. It never came inside this altitude circle, but followed us for maybe 20 miles after bombs away, then disappeared from the screen as suddenly as it had come. That is why I want to finish out the report that I.... (illegible)"

Aldrich noted that the report is interesting because 1) it is an early radar-visual report although details are lacking; 2) it is a pre-1947 which was in the Air Force files with a reference that could be used to establish it occurred before 1947; 3) the term "foo-fighter" is not used.

Aldrich explained thatthis letter was contained in a Project Blue Book file entitled "Public Response to the April 1952 LIFE magazine article", a catchall file which contained letters received from the public from 1952 to 1953.

Aldrich explained that Dr. Herbert Strentz received this file from ATIC when he was working on his PhD dissertation; but since these letters were not investigated or treated as official reports, Project Blue Book at the time did not indicate any such pre-1947 reports in any statistics.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: February 22, 1945
Time: Night.
Duration: On 20 miles flight.
First known report date: April 5, 1952
Reporting delay: 7 years.

Geographical data:

Country: Japan
State/Department: Ogasawara archipelago.
City: Near Chichi Jima

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1 or more.
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Witness letter to the ATIC, US Air Force.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes.
UFO action: Follows, disappears from radar screen.
Witnesses action:
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: UFO

Classifications:

Sensors: [X] Visual: 1 or more.
[X] Airborne radar: Yes.
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: ?
Armed / unarmed: Armed, 10 Browning M2 12.7 mm machine guns per 2 in 4 turrets, nose, tail, top, bottom, and 2 on the sides.
Reliability 1-3: 2
Strangeness 1-3: 2
ACUFO: Possible extraterrestrial craft.

Sources:

[Ref. prt1:] JAN ALDRICH - "PROJECT 1947":

A letter from a former Army Air Force Staff Sargeant radar operator in the 96th Bomber Squadron (H), 11th Bomb Group, to the Air Force Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) dated 5 April 1952 related an interesting war time experience. (There are some parts of the microfilm which are blurred and difficult to read.)

"....Below is a report I made in diary form which I did not enter in (the) combat report when I made (sic) of the mission, in the extent that I make it here:

"Feb. 22, 1945; B-24, #501, 98th Bomb group; Night mission with Lt Togner over CHI CHI JIMA. Bomb Load 4x500 M29 Butterfly Bombs. Target: SUSAKI AIRFIELD. 35 bombs observed to hit target area. Radar Approach: 152 degrees form NISHI JIMA. 20 bursts of accurate flack [sic]. No Searchlights. A night fighter apparently on our tail. O'Hara saw 2 exhausts. Picked up an indication on our own radar, (SCR 717C). Landed at 0930: no damage to us. Mission at 9300'. Marines having hard time at IWO (JIMA),. We could see flashes coming back.'

"That was my full report. The other reports of that mission you undoubtedly have access to for your own analysis. There are two things that I do not like about this report:

(1) The Iwo Airfields at the time were closed to all Jap flying, because the Marines were on hand.

(2) Susaki was not large enough to [?] anything more than pea-shooters.

(3) BETTY'S (Japanese Mitsubishi G4M bomber) were the only enemy aircraft, to my knowledge, that were ever sighted in that area, that would fit the discription of our own sighting -- and these had not been sighted for a good month and a half before we made this contact. We did have 'pacers' in daytime over Iwo, but never at night, and they never followed us after a mission was over as this one was supposed to have done.

(4) I first saw this 'pip' just outside of our altitude circle, the direct radar return from the ground, after O'Hara spotted it. It never came inside this altitude circle, but followed us for maybe 20 miles after bombs away, then disappeared from the screen as suddenly as it had come. That is why I want to finish out the report that I.... (illegible)"

This report is interesting for three reasons. First, it is an early radar-visual report although details are lacking. Second, it is a pre-1947 which was in the Air Force files with a reference that could be used to establish it occurred before 1947. Third, the term "foo-fighter" is not used.

This letter was contained in a Project Blue Book file entitled "Public Response to the April 1952 LIFE magazine article", a catchall file which contained letters received from the public from 1952 to '53. Generally no action was taken on these letters. Dr. Herbert Strentz received this file from ATIC when he was working on his PhD dissertation. Several of the letters report sightings before 1947; they stated that the sightings were also reported or recorded when they were made. The records like the diary cited above included a ship's log, newspapers, observatories, and guard records. Since these letters were not investigated or treated as official reports, Blue Book at the time (1952-3) did not indicate pre-1947 reports in any statistics.

The LIFE magazine file was apparently not made available to the scientists at Battelle Memorial Institute. The Institute's study report of UFOs from 1947 to 1952 in Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 states the following on page 4:

Sightings alleged to have occurred prior to 1947 were not considered, since they were not reported to official sources until after public interest in 'flying saucers' had been stimulated by the popular press.

However, had the Battelle scientists had access to the letters in this file, the investigators would have recognized that these people were trying to "establish their priority" in the same way that scientists establish their priority when making a new discovery. Scientists often use notebooks, diaries, letters, and reports to other organizations to establish the time of a discovery.

This brings up another problem with previous scientific evaluations of the UFO problem. The Battelle study, the Robertson panel, and the Condon committee, all contractors of the Air Force, were presented data by the Air Force which the Air Force thought was significant. A study of UFOs requires access to all data not just material that some records custodian feels is relevant.

Finally, a number of researchers have written to archives in the United States, Canada, and Britain requesting information on "foo-fighters." The archives' answers almost always state that no information can be found under the foo-fighters heading. Researchers would get the same answer if they requested information on "Charlie" when referring to the Viet Cong. As Jeff Lindell, a long-time investigator of war time night lights found, some operations and intelligence reports might refer to foo-fighters, robombs (robot bombs), baka bombers and balls of light. Most reporters and higher headquarters believed the sightings were the result of enemy secret devices, jets, rockets, or flares. Reports of German or Japan secret weapons sightings are probably what should be investigated. - J.L.A.

[Ref. prt4:] JAN ALDRICH - "PROJECT 1947":

N - 1945.02.22 - Night, Near Chichi Jima

B-24 #501, 98th Bomb Group, "2 exhausts" seen, indication on SCR 717C radar. Followed for 20 miles and disappeared. (Letter to Project Blue Book (Life magazine file, from diary entry.)

[Ref. dwn1:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

February 22, 1945

Near Chichi Jima, Japan

At night, the pilot ofB-24 (#501) from the USAAF 98th Bomb Group reported the sighting of "2 exhausts". They were tracked on radar (SCR 717C radar). They followed the plane for 20 miles and disappeared.

Sources: Project 1947, Jan Aldrich / Letter to USAF Project Blue Book / Life Magazine File

[Ref. dwn2:] DOMINIQUE WEINSTEIN:

Case 98

February 22, 1945

Near Chichi Jima, Japan

At night, the pilot of B-24 (#501) from the USAAF 98th Bomb Group reported the sighting of "2 exhausts". They were tracked on radar (SCR 7 l 7C radar). They followed the plane for 20 miles and disappeared. Target of this bombing raid was SUSA KI Airfield

Sources: Project 1947, Jan Aldrich / Letter to USAF Project Blue Book / Life Magazine File

[Ref. get1:] GEORGE M. EBERHART:

February 22 - Night. A B-24 bomber flying near Chichijima in the Ogasawara (Bonin) Archipelago, Japan, sees an object trailing exhaust. It is also picked up on radar and follows the plane for about 20 miles before disappearing off the screen. (Project 1947, "UFO Reports, 1945" [link to https://www.project1947.com/fig/1945a.htm])

Aircraft information:

The Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" (photo below) was an American heavy bomber used during World War II by the Allied air and naval forces.

By April 1944, some B-24s had been equipped with H2X radars. Its long range of action had allowed it roles as maritime patrols, anti-submarine patrols, and reconnaissance, in the Atlantic and the Pacific.

B-24.

Discussion:

Map.

To summarize the information in the witness letter:

On February 22, 1945, the witness was in B-24 No. 501, of the 98th Bomb Group, with Lieutenant Togner, on a night mission above the island of Chichi Jima. After the successful bomb run guided by their airborne radar on the Susaki airfield they suffered 20 bursts of precise DCA, without searchlight aids.

There was then a night fighter plane apparently behind them, and crewman O'Hara saw two exhausts coming out of it. The crew had a radar echo on their SCR 717C radar. They landed without damage.

The craft fhad ollowed them for perhaps 20 miles after the bombs were dropped, then disappeared from the screen "as suddenly as it came."

Subsequently, the witness believes that it was not a fighter plane, because the Japanese airfield at Iwo Jima had been taken by the Americans, because the Susaki airfield on Chichi Jima was too small for such planes, because the only Japanese plane they had ever seen in this area was the Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" bomber which had not been seen there for a good month and a half, because there had never been had Japanese planes operating at night in this area, that those they had been able to see during the day never followed them once the mission was completed.

One strange feature I find in this report is the mention of two exhausts. The Japanese did try to build copies of the German jet plane Messerschmitt Me-262, but they did not succeed in doing so quickly enough for it to be operational before the end of the war.

In any case, as the UFO was following the plane, the exhausts would not have been visible.

Another strangeness, which is a constant in the "Foo-Fighters" reports: if it was an enemy plane, why didn't it fire? Why follow for 20 miles without opening fire?

Evaluation:

Possible extraterrestrial craft.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:

Authoring:

Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross December 18, 2023 Creation, [prt1], [prt4], [dwn1], [dwn2], [get1].
1.0 Patrick Gross December 18, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on December 18, 2023.