Episode 30: The Nimitz Encounters

In November 2004, 90 miles South-West off the coast of Mexico near Baja, California, in the USA, the U.S.S. Nimitz carrier strike group was conducting two weeks of routine training and aerial defence exercises when unexplained events occurred that forever have altered the lives of the men and women on board these ships who were witness to these episodes. What began as a routine naval training exercise, ended up as one of the world’s best documented UFO sightings in the 21st century. Witnesses included very highly trained military personal, amongst them very experienced radar operators and fighter pilots. These were men who were in charge of the world’s then, most sophisticated and advanced flight and sensor technology that existed in the world at that time.

A video of part of this incident was ‘leaked’ to the world and has been the subject of intense speculation since…. Are you ready to walk with me into this part of the Shadowlands and see what we can discover about this event, or rather series of events? Good. Then let’s begin.

The Nimitz Encounters

Over a period of a week a group of unknown, tic-tac shaped objects, including one 45-foot long, that played cat and mouse with the U.S. Navy. Reportedly over this period of time, over the week, more than 100 of these objects were observed. These objects also appeared at an altitude of higher than 80,000 feet with some suddenly dropping to 20,000 feet. Eighty thousand feet is much higher than commercial or even military planes generally fly. This all began on November the tenth, two-thousand and four, in an area of sea ninety miles, south-west of San Diego, California. When the USS Princeton, began tracking strange objects on their AEGIS radar systems, which they called AAV’s short for Anomalous Aerial Vehicles.

Each ship in this exercise had specific tasks that they were commissioned for. The main role of the Princeton was to see to the air defence of the entire strike group. Senior Chief Kevin Day, was the Anti-Air Warfare Coordinator aboard the Princeton. He describes his role as this

“My job was to man the radars and ID everything that flew in the skies. And I also had a position called Anti-Air Warfare Coordinator, where if we ever had to go to war, I was the guy that was going to launch the missiles and kill shit. In addition to that I was the air intercept controller. When the super-hornet takes off from the carrier, I’m the guy who takes control and takes them to the fight and gets them home safe.”1

He also was an expert on the AEGIS radar system that the Princeton used. This was a man who was well experienced and knew precisely what he was doing and what he was observing on this system, the spy one. His attention was drawn to some anomalous readings, some “Weird tracks”2 that were appearing on the spy one radar screen, appearing in groups of five to ten at a time. He said they were closely spaced to each other at about twenty-eight-thousand feet. He quickly ruled these out as commercial airplanes, because, they weren’t on the commercial flight paths. But he wasn’t overly concerned about them at this stage. They didn’t appear hostile. But over a course of three to four days these tracks continued to appear on radar, causing Kevin Day to become concerned about the safety of his pilots in the air and of the possible air threat to the strike group. The men involved were unable to identify these objects, which was causing some frustration to them all. Due to their concern they recalibrated all their systems thinking it might be a systems malfunction, which is a fair enough supposition.  However, when the systems were finished being recalibrated, they merely showed the objects off in sharper detail. Using the most advanced systems in the world, at that time, as Kevin Day says

“We failed entirely to identify any of these objects.”3

Finally, on November the 14th, Kevin Day received the order from the Commander to intercept the objects. Two Hornet pilots received the order to stop their training mission and deploy to new co-ordinates for a “real-world” task, and Kevin sent the the BRA coordinates – BRA standing for Bearing, Range, Altitude.  He also said, “As soon as he got to the merge point, objects the object dropped from twenty-thousand feet, down to fifty feet above the water in point seven eight seconds!”4 A merge position is where two objects on the radar are in the same position and look like one object.

When the pilots first arrived at the scene. They didn’t see the objects but noticed a disturbance in the water below them.  Then they spotted one of the objects flying about fifty feet above the disturbance in the water. Commander Fravor, commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 41, who was lead pilot with more than sixteen years of flying experience,  described the object as forty-foot-long, shaped like a tic-tac candy with no obvious means of propulsion.  He also said that the movements this object made were very swift and erratic. Similar, he said: “…. to if you threw a Ping-Pong ball against the wall.”

However; the object reacted immediately to the presence of the F-18’s and took off according to one description – “Like a bullet fired from a gun.” Another pilot dispatched after Commander Fravor landed, was able to capture one of the objects on the now famous tic-tac video from his plane.While this incident was known about pretty widely in the US naval circles, it was not known so widely by the general public. But that all altered in 2017 after an article was written about it in the New York Times, along with an official Air force video of the object taken from the fighter mentioned, showing the object on their screen and then taking off at tremendous speed.

Quoting from the New York Times article:

“…. the operator said, the Princeton had been tracking mysterious aircraft. The objects appeared suddenly at 80,000 feet, and then hurtled toward the sea, eventually stopping at 20,000 feet and hovering. Then they either dropped out of radar range or shot straight back up.”

The video of the object went viral, as you can imagine, and was spread all over the net. It was the subject of doubtless, countless conversations amongst those who follow UFO’s and the reporting of these ships. Of course, since then we’ve had the release of others and most recently in late September of the US Forces, formally acknowledging that these UFO are very real indeed. Of course, they don’t say anything other than they are real – nothing about the intelligent beings that have to operate, or indeed to have created these craft. These next few episodes are all about eyewitness accounts of these objects from men that were actually serving on board the ships at the time of the incidents occurring.

In the official report retrieved under the freedom of information act in the USA, the EXECUTIVE-SUMMARY-REPORT of these events, a copy of which is available from this episodes page on the podcast website: www.walkingtheshadowlands.com, has these key assessments:

  • The anomalous aerial vehicle was no known aircraft or air vehicle currently in the inventory of United States or any foreign nation.
  • The anomalous aerial view exhibited advanced low-observable characteristics at multiple radar bands rendering US radar-based engagement capabilities ineffective.
  • The anomalous aerial vehicle exhibited advanced aerodynamic performance with no visible control services and no visible means to generate lift.
  • The anomalous aerial vehicle exhibited advanced propulsion capabilities by demonstrating the ability to remain stationary, with little to no variation in altitude, transitioning to horizontal and or vertical velocities far greater than any known aerial vehicle, with little to no visible signature.
  • The anonymous aerial vehicle possibly demonstrated the ability to cloak or to become invisible to the human eye or human observation.
  • The anomalous aerial vehicle possibly demonstrated a highly advanced capability to operate undersea, completely undetectable by our most advanced sensors.

Gary Voorhis

I am very fortunate to have as my guests two gentlemen, one Patrick Hughes, who was on the USS Nimitz, and one Gary Voorhis who was on the USS Princeton at the time of these incidents. These are their recollections and thoughts about what happened, and their parts in them and finally, their thoughts about them now, given the hindsight of time. To begin with, I am just going to go over the actual experiences with the gentlemen themselves. Then once both have shared their experiences, we will discuss the conclusions that both of them have come up with, with the vision of hindsight and years of thinking and pondering over their experiences.

Firstly though., I would like to welcome my guest Gary Voorhis.  Gary is a former Third Class Petty Officer and Fire Control-man, Gary Voorhis. He worked on the AEGIS computer system, on a CG59, guided missile cruiser. The USS Princeton, CG-59. He was in charge of in charge of CEC [Cooperative Engagement Capability System], data recording and maintaining and operating all the mainframes that ran the system.

Gary Voorhis

Marianne: First of all, thank you very much Gary for coming and talking to us for this episode. I’m really grateful to you for your time, since I know how very busy you’ve been, especially since the video came out, with both your young family and work, and everyone’s demands on your time.

Gary: Yeah, I’m blue collar. So I mean, that’s just how it is. You have work, family, stuff like that so I just kind of have to squeeze these in where ever I can.

Yeah. I totally get that.

Back in 2004. I was a fire control man with, on an Aegis cruiser CG-59 which was the USS Princeton. We were flight guard and aircraft controller for the Nimitz battle group. We were doing a flight guard and air control for the Nimitz at the time. We were basically doing training a training mission. Testing out new systems and we had a new baseline of Aegis and so we had the latest and greatest of the Aegis systems. And we were testing all those new systems out and then we also had CC, which was a new system. 

CC was kind of an amazing breakthrough with the battle group, because, it allowed us primary…. Its primary duty was to be able to allow us…. It would allow us to basically be able to fire our salvo with other people’s sensor data. So, like say if one of the other ships in the group had a good lock on something, we couldn’t actually see it, CC would allow us to shoot our missiles at their target. So it basically shares all the sensor data, making a three dimensional picture of the entire battle group’s air space.

Oh that’s fascinating.

You don’t get like a…. It’s not like in Star Wars, where you can see the picture the data’s there and we can use the data. And it’s not…. Like a lot of people have this picture in their head, like a consul in the middle and a three dimensional picture coming up and we can see the, oh the UFO’s and stuff like that. But no, it’s a flat screen and we can just access that information as you need it.

So I was talking about how…. The day of…. The first hint that there was even something going on, we really didn’t take it serious and we…. I woke up that day. I was late. I had a late watch. I woke up early and wasn’t able to go back to sleep, so went up to combat to take a look at these, these…. This clutter and these ah, these ghost tracks as they were calling them, ‘cause, they didn’t believe they were real, ‘cause, of how slow they were flying. And I’d looked at the tracks, and I’d seen clutter before, and to me they looked like sharp tracks. Like they were well defined, Gary: rather where clutter instead of having just a nice, well-defined shape to it, you’ll see little splotches. Like when you see tearing on your digital TV, where you see the picture and it kind of tears across. Well, that little tear would look like radar clutter.

But now, think of that as green clutter though. That’s the kind of shape and size of clutter. The spy radar’s powerful enough to be able to track the crests of waves if it’s really choppy out. So, a lot of times, that’s the type of stuff we’ll get, that’ll make clutter, but it really wasn’t. It was pretty clear. I mean, we really didn’t have…. I mean I think it was like five foot seas if it was that. Like super calm out. So, I didn’t really think we were tracking white-caps, which is what we call the breaking of the waves. So, in order to try to clear up the clutter, the ghost tracks, we took the systems down as soon as we got Captain’s permission to take ‘em down.

And they recalibrated everything, and we brought them back up. And lo and behold, some of the clutter that was there, was gone. But, the tracks were there. Clear as day. You know, so at that point we knew that they were solid tracks. But we didn’t know what they were. There’s a lot of possibilities of what they could be. You know, we knew they weren’t any type of commercial airline, or anything like that, because, they weren’t using any type of radio communication to let us know who they were. They weren’t using a system called IFF. What we call Identification, Friend or Foe. It’s a system that commercial airlines and military airlines of most modern nations use to identify themselves. It’s basically just a signal that pulses off these aircraft, that will tell you the aircraft name, who they’re affiliated with. And, whatever their tail number is. It’s a way, so you don’t get shot down.

But all commercial airlines have IFF. All American military airplanes have IFF. Most modern countries do. So it’s something that, we’re just used to seeing it pop up, and with IFF when we’re tracking the object, once IFF kicks in it will automatically label that object. It’ll say, commercial airliner, or it’ll say com one, or com two. So commercial, it’ll just label it a commercial airline. So we’ll know exactly what it is. Now, see these things were going like a hundred knots, which is nothing. I mean most airplane have to get up to two hundred miles and hour before they even get off the ground.

So, you know, so these things were basically kind of…. Kind of just floating in a southern path. Just really kind of minding their own business, on the edge of the area where we were working our, our mission in. And they didn’t seem hostile or anything. They weren’t coming at our ships or anything like that. They weren’t, you know, interrogating us or anything like that. They were just there. We’d see ‘em. They’d float into a southernly group and sometimes they’d disappear and sometimes they’d reappear. And for most of the time, for over the week, you know, we were tracking between three and ten of them at a time.

So like when you see the episode of unidentified, that me and Kevin were on and he’s like “they’re raining from the sky!” He’s talking like…. He was talking about the whole week. All week they were just coming and going, just raining UFOs. That’s how he meant that. And they just, they loved that sound-bite man. 

They loved it so much. So it makes it sound like there were hundreds of UFOs coming from the skies, but, he was just very excited about it. You know, we had to go back in a lot of interviews we’ve done together, he’s had to explain that, so it’s one of those things that a lot of people…. I’m just trying to hit the points of the questions I commonly get going through the….

No, this is really awesome Gary, thanks.

Alright. And then…. So at this point we know the tracks are very slow. We knew that they were real, solid tracks. So we just kept tracking them. I mean this is just…. Montage…. For the next week is just, you know, me smoking, drinking coffee, standing watch, working out, checking combat. You know…. And then some point it dawned on me that I have the relative bearing of these things. And with, you know, we’re not so far away that at least they’ve got lights. I should be able to see them through the big eyes. I’m kind of hoping that like it’s a dirigible or something…. I can see like a tail light or…. You know, most commercial aircraft, most aircraft in general have some type of lighting, so….

Right. Can you please explain for us non-military people what the big eyes actually are?

Right! So, big eyes they are like a…. this is a link that I just pulled off google, just real quick, that will show you what the big eyes look like.  So I mean these are….

Oh wow they are big aren’t they?

Yeah.  When we say big eyes, we’re not kidding. They are basically a massive set of binoculars that are permanently fixed to the bridge-way.   I mean, these things are huge and you can see almost thirty miles with these things, if it’s a nice clear day, or clear night. So now, I was able to actually look. So basically what I would do, is I would go to combat and I’d look at the radar screen and if we had the tracks I would scribble the bearing – meaning what direction and elevation that I should be looking at. So when I get up to the bridge-way, I’m kind of…. I’m going to be looking at that relative area where it should be. You know, so if we’re in a good spot and I think we’re close enough, I used to go up to the bridge-way and I would look at them. Now, when I would see them…. You’ve got to remember that these were still very far away and they were, they were luminous, so I could see a white, fuzzy dot where it should be via the relative bearing. So I thought, that’s kind of weird. I wonder what the hell this thing is. And so, at night you could really see ‘em.

But then, they’d disappear and they’d come back and you’d…. And so, it was pretty…. Pretty amazing, you know? And you know, there wasn’t anything crazy weird going on yet. Just basically these lights in the sky at this point. So. I was still getting a little excited about it. I actually made sure that the data recording was just like…. ‘Cause, normally on these, like, little training mission’s data recording’s not really that important, so you’re just flipping the tapes, you’re not even changing them. So when this started to happen I started making sure it was a fresh tape, every single time. Like you can record front and back of these tapes. Record the front. Record the back and then, fresh tape. Record the front and you do, you can do up to four at a time, and it just goes from one tape to the next. So I always made sure there was a fresh tape in that loop. And so those tapes were always going for the entire seven days.

That’s smart thinking.

Now that records, that records all the spy stuff. That records all the combat information center, your any…. It records ah, anything that goes through the Aegis system, period. And then CC has it’s own, it’s own kind of like system. It’s an enclosed system and it records all its own system stuff. ‘Cause, it’s almost like… ah well, it….  It’s, we…. I could just say that it, it doesn’t need tapes. And that’s it. Everything else about that aspect of it is, I am pretty sure, still classified so….

But, it doesn’t need tapes. I’m not recording on that stuff, but there is data being recorded – somewhere. And that’s my roundabout way of saying that there is data from it. So it’s not a loss. So a lot of this data, a lot of the talk back, chats and stuff like that are being recorded on other machinery in the computer room. We have data recording going on, in pretty much every system on this ship. So everything is being recorded at all times. And so it’s just kind of like a hunch, just like that little scratch in the back of your head. Like, maybe I should be recording this?  Just in case.

And well, who knows what they were. For all I know, could have been friggin enemy aircraft chillin’ on the edge of our battle-group?  ‘Cause, generally you can’t see past the horizon which is two hundred and fifty-six nautical miles. So, Gary: that’s kind of the limit of your, your…. Where you can see. I mean, sometimes you get radar returns over it, ‘cause, it bounces off the atmosphere, but generally you don’t. Kind of like skip when you’re doing ham radios.

Yep, so it’s similar to that. And then ah…. So all of a sudden like I said montage. It’s the same thing for days and days and days. And then one point at the fifth or sixth day I’m like why haven’t we gone and take a look at what these things are? Why are we not interrogating this stuff? What is going on?

And I was getting frustrated, you know, because I’m nobody really. I mean, I’m taking care of important systems, you know? However, many million-dollar weapon system, or billion-dollar weapon system, but other than that I’m not that important. I don’t make any decisions or anything. I’m like, just wondering what these…. ‘Cause, all the upper-chain command, we haven’t heard anything from them. No explanations. No meetings. No briefings about it, it’s almost like they were just kind of like trying to pretend that it like, wasn’t happening.  Like I think that there was stuff going on in the background.

Personally, I think. I mean I have no proof of what happened. As I said, I was low rank I don’t… you know? I’m just giving the general feeling of what like, the junior enlisted were feeling at the time. Even Kevin being, you know he was a Senior Chief, which was…. I mean, there’s only one enlisted rank, oh two higher. And there’s only one Command Master Chief, so…. So there’s really not much higher than a Senior Chief, enlisted wise. So he still didn’t…. They really weren’t talking to him very much either, so….

You know, I remember getting dragged down to one of our secure spaces, and I started watching the video of the intercept. I’m like finally! Oh my god, I said. So, I’m watching this thing and you know? At first they’re just floating there, then all of a sudden, they’re just matching moves. They’re moving right angles. They’re moving from point to point. At constant speeds rather than ramping up. And ‘cause, like any type of vehicle that you use, airplane, car, boat, truck. You know? Planes, trains, automobiles. They all have a certain ramp-up to get to a speed. You know, you can’t from one to one-hundred in the same instant.

You know you have to…. Every vehicle we have on this earth, goes one, two, three, all the way up to one-hundred. I mean, we can get there fast in some vehicles, but not like this. This was so fast that it could move from one point to another. It would register in your brain that moved, but you wouldn’t realize how fast it was. Or, that it actually even moved. It would take you a second to realize it had moved.

But then you would understand that yes it did move and it was at this type of speed. But then, you’re just like wow! ‘Cause, there was no ramp up in the speed, there’s just from point A to point B, one speed and that’s it! Sometimes super-fast. Sometimes super-slow. It didn’t really matter. It just seemed like inertia really wasn’t a thing for it. ’Cause like, some of the maneuvers it was doing at right angles and stuff like that. Yeah, oh the way that it moved it was just miraculous. I mean, the level of technology…. I got very excited, because, a lot of…. You had all kinds of various reactions. But there was only so many people who could see the video. I mean, you just had to be in the right place at the right time or already knew it was going to happen. Or then of course, you had to have a top-secret clearance, so I mean…. But, it was kind of like, everyone with a top secret clearance was on a computer somewhere watching it.

So was this live? While it was actually happening?

I was under the impression at the time, that it was live. But now coming back and talking with other people, I have a feeling that it had happened previously that day, but it was within hours of it happening.

There you were, watching the video with all the crew.  What sort of impressions were you hearing from the, from the people standing around you?

All the people that got to see the video were either really, really quiet or…. And anyway you’ve got to remember, that this was a lot of information to process and anyone who doesn’t have a physics or engineering background, they’re, they’re just looking at this like how is this even possible? You know? They don’t understand that it’s technically not breaking the laws of physics, but it is building upon a new set.

Basically…. You know, ‘cause, there’s a lot of wild theories and especially in quantum mechanics and in theoretical science, there’s a lot of – you know, stuff I won’t even touch. But people are like, yeah it’s mathematically possible, look. And I go yeah it’s mathematically possible to go back in time, but you don’t see too many people doing that yet.

So, like I said before, I’m a sceptical believer, I think that I keep it to the nuts and bolts of things….The one thing that kind of concerned me about these objects, even though we couldn’t identify them. And, to this day they remain unidentified. As a matter of fact, the US Navy, just came out this last week and basically made us the most credible witnesses in history, because they basically said yes. These are real unidentified aircraft from the US Navy. So you know, that was pretty amazing and vindicating. It’s not just a drunken sea story any more.

Yeah, yeah exactly. And it must have felt very vindicating for you guys. To know that…. Because, you knew the reality of what you saw. But, having it officially acknowledged is another thing entirely.

Now see, the thing is…. I kind of feel like I felt the gravity of it a lot faster, because, I understood the physics behind what they were trying – what they were doing.  And I didn’t…. I mean, I’m not saying I understand how it worked. I’m just saying, I’m looking at this. I know physics. I know engineering. I know we don’t have anything that can do that. I know the theories of gravitational propulsion and when ion drives and you know, all these…. At that time, you gotta remember, this was back in two thousand and four. We hadn’t even developed an ion drive then it was still just a concept. And you know, even that is like child’s play compared to the level of engineering and physics it would take to build these crafts.

But, in the same respect, anything that had that kind of level of tech, I don’t believe they would be seen unless they wanted us to see them. Which kind of lends me to want to figure out why was this so sloppy. You know? Why was it? Why were they…. You know, why were they so, in our face? You know? I mean, ‘cause, they had to have known we were tracking ‘em.  I mean, they demonstrated later on during the intercept – This is information I got from Kevin Day. During the intercept, at one point, one of the Tic-tac’s disappeared and actually arrived at what’s called the CAP point. Now the CAP point is basically where all the planes would converge back. Like say, return to the CAP.

So this would be where they would all go back to wait to be assigned another target, or to wait to regroup. It’s like a regroup spot. Right now, it’s top secret. Only the people that are doing the flight control and the pilots are going to know this. And it’s only going to be…. It’s going to be over through encrypted communications that they get these things, so…. And that the level of secrecy about the CAP point is very, very…. It’s a very high level of secrecy. So for these objects to know exactly that position in a three dimensional space, exactly where the CAP point was, is demonstrating the fact that either A: they already knew the entire game plan. Or B: They have the ability to actually, you know, monitor our communications without having to worry about encryption.

Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And that’s where we’ll end today’s episode. Be sure and join us next week for the conclusion of Gary’s Voorhis’ experiences and thoughts, and my conversation with Patrick Hughes. Also don’t miss the interesting conclusion that both men have come to about their experiences with the hindsight of years and much thought about the subject.

And that’s where we’ll end todays episode. Be sure and join us next week for the conclusion of Gary’s Voorhis’ experiences and thoughts, and my conversation with Patrick Hughes. Also don’t miss the interesting conclusion that both men have come to about their experiences with the hindsight of years and much thought about the subject.

Our musical score today is called Private Reflection by Kevin McLeod Licensed under Creative Commons, for more information check out this episodes page on the podcast website at: www.walkingtheshadowlands.com.

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