Fort Hood Sightings, 1949

For four months in 1949, Fort Hood (then known as “Camp Hood”) in Killeen, Texas, one of America’s most secure military facilities, at which nuclear weapons were stored, was plagued by an amazing series of UFO sightings witnessed by approximately 100 servicemen and confirmed by radar data. The section of Camp Hood called “Killeen Base” was one of the Air Force’s storage-and-assembly bases for nuclear weapons. Gray Air Force Base near the AEC’s Killeen Base (Site Baker), was one of three National Stockpile Sites where nuclear weapons were stored at the time. This entire area was buzzed by strange, illuminated, flying objects in different shapes and configurations, from March 6 through June 6, 1949. The sightings were investigated thoroughly by Project Blue Book and by the National Investigations Center for Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). The rash of sightings, which resemble in some measure the sightings during the Rendlesham Forest Incident in 1980, have never been explained.

Camp Hood

Camp Hood in the 1940s

Below is a synopsis of the sightings. “BBU” means Blue Book Unknown.

March 6, 1949; Killeen Base, Camp Hood, Texas (BBU)
8:20 p.m. (AFOSI 29 & 30) Army Sgt. Hubert Vickery and PFC John Ransom on patrol at the AFSWP (Armed Forces Special Weapons Project) nuclear weapons storage site saw a blue-white oblong object about 2 ft x 1 ft in size travel S from 286° to 279° azimuth elevation 5°45′. Other sightings by Army patrols from 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. (FOIA)

March 6

Project Blue Book Data Sheet on March 6 Incident

March 7, 1949; Camp Hood, Texas (AFOSI-32-34)
PFC. Max Eugene Manlove, 1st Provost Squadron, Camp Hood, Texas, observed a teardrop-shaped object, orange in color, drop vertically in front of him. Observation time: 2 seconds. (AFOSI 34). 1:30 a.m. Two other sets of military witnesses. Very brief (2 secs?). (AFOSI 32, 33).

March 8, 1949; Killeen Base, Camp Hood, Texas (BBU) (AFOSI Case 39)
2 a.m. Army infantrymen in separate locations 1/2 mile apart sight different lights, one white seen by Payne, the other, by Cpl. Luke Sims, was of a yellowish red light in level flight crossing 60° of sky. (FOIA; FUFOR Index) 5 secs ?


Project Blue Book Sketch of Camp Hood Sightings in Early March

March 17, 1949; Killeen Base, Camp Hood, Texas (BBU 319)
7:52 p.m. Capt. Horace McCulloch, Asst. G-2 of the 2nd Armored Division at the nuclear weapons storage site, was preparing the test firing of flares in order to prove recent sightings were mistakes when he and his men themselves saw aerial phenomena, 7 separate sightings by trained artillery observers in different locations enabled rapid triangulation of large, green, red and white flare-like objects flying in generally straight lines. (FOIA) 1 hr ?

March 17

Project Blue Book File on March 17 Sightings

March 31, 1949. E of Killeen Base, Camp Hood, Texas (BBU)
11:50 p.m. (AFOSI Case 46) Army Lt. Frederick Davis on patrol saw a reddish white ball of fire pass horizontally over the base airstrip, and noted interference on the field telephone afterward when he reported it. (FOIA) 10-15 secs

April 27, 1949. SE of Killeen Base, Camp Hood, Texas (BBU)
9:20 p.m. 2 Army soldiers [Pvt Frank Pillett and PFC Belislandro Stearns] on patrol saw a blinking violet object 1-secs 1/2 inches in diameter 10-12 ft away and about 6-7 ft above ground in motion, passing through branches of a tree before disappearing. At 9:25 p.m., 2 miles away 4 Army men sighted a 4-inch bright light, with a 2-4-inch metallic cone trailing in the back, 600 ft away 6-7 ft above ground silently approaching from the NE in level flight at 60-70 mph, disappearing suddenly in the SW at 150 ft away. At 9:37 p.m. the same witnesses saw a 2-inch white light appear 100 ft away to the NNE flying in a zigzag in level flight about 6 ft above ground, disappearing suddenly. At 9:39 p.m. the same witnesses saw a 3rd light in the WSW. (FOIA; FUFOR Index; Jan Aldrich) 1 min+

Apr. 28

Blue Book Summary of April 27 Sightings

April 28, 1949. SE of Killeen Base, Camp Hood, Texas (BBU)
8:30-10 p.m. Several Army security patrols sighted a variety of strange lights, mostly slow­ moving changing color from white to red to green, one with a red blinking light, one with a “cone ­shaped affair” trailing in the rear similar to one seen the day before. (FOIA)

March and April

OSI / Blue Book Report Summarizing March & April Sightings.

May 6, 1949; Killeen Base, Camp Hood, Texas (BBU)
UFO observation network using Army artillery observers (Ward?), established 2 days earlier, tracks its first object. (FOIA; Jan Aldrich) real-time triangulation?

Note: On May 7, a high level conference was held at Camp Hood with a number of top military officials, including the commanding officer of Killeen Base, Lt. Col. H. L Gandy, as well as representatives of the OSI , ONI, and FBI. The report on the conference stated, “During the day, all representatives of the Fourth Army expressed great concern about the unknown phenomena as they believed some of the sightings to be valid, and even after all questionable sightings were discounted, that there remained a sufficient number of unknown manifestations to cause grave concern. This view was shared by the ONI representative.” The report concluded with: “At the joint weekly conference between representatives of Fourth Army, FBI, ONI, and OSI, held on 19 May 1949, representatives of the other agencies were unanimous in agreeing that the new [UFO] observation system instituted by Fourth Army provided precise results and definitely indicated that the unknown phenomena in the Camp Hood area could not be attributed to natural causes.”

May 7, 1949; Killeen Base, Camp Hood, Texas (BBU)
7:40 p.m. Lt. Mardell Ward, at the Army’s UFO observation post, and another observation site, spotted a brilliant white diamond-shaped object at triangulated location 15,000 ft away at 1,000 ft 57 secs 2+ real-time triangulation altitude headed NW. Object was tracked for 57 seconds as it traveled 20 miles (at 1,300 mph) while changing color from white to reddish to greenish as it dropped altitude and dimmed then disappeared. No sound. (FOIA; Jan Aldrich; Loren Gross Jan-Jun 1949 Supp p. 79, erroneously put at Los Alamos)

May 8, 1949; Killeen Base, Camp Hood, Texas (BBU)
10:08-10:17 p.m. Lt. Mardell Ward, at the Army’s UFO observation post, and 2 other posts sighted brilliant diamond-shaped object to the W moving NW or NE at 1,600 ft altitude slowly dropping. Severe radio intereference during sighting, none afterward. (FOIA; Jan Aldrich; Loren Gross Jan-Jun 1949 Supp p. 80, erroneously put at Los Alamos) 9 mins realtime triangulation

June 6, 1949; Killeen Base, Camp Hood, Texas (BBU)
9:05-9:08 p.m. Williams, Jones and others in UFO observation and triangulation network tracked a hovering orange object about 30-70 ft in diameter, 2 mils angular size, 1 mile above ground, 3 miles S of the observation post, 4-1/2 miles S of the Plotting Center, which suddenly started moving in level flight then exploded in a shower of particles. (FOIA; FUFOR Index)


Below is a Google Map of the Fort Hood area (shaded gray), as it is today:

View Larger Map

A Brief History of Killeen Base

In 1948 a mysterious military post became a quiet part of the Killeen-Copperas Cove area economy that was known as Site Baker or Killeen Base .This project originally named “project 76” by the War Department used Black & Veatch Consulting engineers to do the initial plans and drawings. After 3 revisions to the plans, approval by the War Department was granted.

The actual construction of Killeen base began in the spring of 1947. Miners were employed to dig tunnels in to the mountainside. These workers from coal mining parts of the country, neither knew what the tunnels were to be used for, and did not know where they were doing the construction.

The 7,000 acre base surrounded on three sides by then Camp Hood had the tunnels carved out of solid rock, heavily reinforced with concrete, and sealed off with heavy steel doors.The first concrete was poured in the fall of 1947. The construction of the tunnels, for ultra secret reasons, was not without its problems.

According to a retired construction contractor that worked on the project. The major problem encountered during construction was water gushing from underground.

The tunnel corridors are each 20 feet wide with 30 foot ceilings that penetrate to a depth of 80 plus feet below the mountain top. Interspersed throughout the complex are rooms of various sizes that are still equipped with steel rails for overhead cranes.

Killeen Base was one of seven atomic weapons storage facilities located in five states, and the only one operated by the U.S. Army. Officially, Killeen Base was a Department of Defense Classified Ordinance Storage Facility, manned by Army personnel under the direction of the Defense Atomic Support Agency with Headquarters in Washington D.C.

Security was extremely tight at the base producing many stories and rumors about what went on inside. Reportedly a couple of deer hunters who accidentally strayed onto the reservation were picked up by guards, whisked away to headquarters, and held incommunicado until an investigation showed they were not communist spies.

The Santa-Fe railroad switched cars on a mile long spur only under the cover of darkness. Heavily armed guards took over the train from switchmen at the railhead.

There were reports from people in the surrounding communities of planes disappearing with there mysterious cargo, inside an underground cavern.

The base was so ringed with security forces that any hour of the day or night that guards might pop up from the ground — like hidden targets to challenge man or beast. The concrete watch towers are still intact along the original inner parameter.