On March 24, 1967, Robert Salas experienced an event that would shape 25 years of his life. As a missile launch officer, Salas, stationed in an underground bunker near Roy, Montana, was alerted to an object hovering near the front gate of a base equipped with 10 nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles. What happened next will be the subject of his talk on Saturday, June 16, in Port Hueneme dubbed “UFOs & Nukes.”

Salas, an Ojai resident, is the author of two books (Faded Giants and Unidentified: The UFO Phenomenon), a former aircraft engineer and has worked on missile propulsion technology. Salas has been a frequent guest of Coast to Coast AM, a nationally broadcast program on topics ranging from the paranormal to the conspiratorial.

VCReporter: Tell me about the experience that led you to writing these books

Robert Salas

Robert Salas: I was on duty, two of us in this capsule underground about 60 feet. We were attached to Malmstrom Air Force Base about 100 miles to the west of us where we were. We had about six guards upstairs used for responding to any kind of potential incursion into the facility. Sometime in the middle of the night, I got a call from one of my guards upstairs telling me that they had been seeing some strange lights in the sky flying very fast, stopping on a dime, reversing course and making 90-degree turns without making any sound. I said, “Like UFOs?” because we had had reports in the area written up by local newspapers that people had seen lights in the sky. I wasn’t a great believer at the time; I was just kind of surprised by the call. Five minutes later he called back. He said, there’s a reddish orange, oval shaped object hovering right above the front gate. I went over to talk to my commander and I was about to tell him about the phone call when we got missiles going ‘no-go.’ They were disabled, all reading guidance control system failure. Within seconds we lost all 10 missiles while this glowing red pulsating object was just over head.

We were relieved the next day and went back to the base. They had a guy from the Air Force Office of Special Investigation, the FBI of the Air Force, who shoved a piece of paper in our faces saying we’re never to speak about this ever again under penalty of a lot of jail time and fines. In 1994 I was in a book store, picked up a book called Above Top Secret, and happened to turn to page 301. A short paragraph there stated, missiles had been shut down by UFOs were reported. I contacted a mutual UFO network investigator, James Klotz, co-author on the first book I wrote, and asked him to send a Freedom of Information Act request to the Air Force but not to say anything about UFOs. They wrote back saying it was classified but said they were going to declassify the incident and send documents. That’s when I thought I’d go public.

What did the Air Force say was the cause?

One of the documents is from Strategic Air Command headquarters to the base and to other bases stating the fact that echo flight went down for no apparent reason and that this is of grave concern to their command. The Air Force did their own classified investigation but in the interim, Air Force was sending reports back to SAC headquarters; in one it states the improbability of this event happening.

What this object had to have done was to send a signal through 60 feet of earth and concrete, penetrate the cabling systems separately, and send a particular signal to shut down a particular piece of hardware within seconds. We didn’t have anything that could do that and we still don’t.

What do you mean by UFO?

An object that has not been identified as an aircraft, per se, as we know them. We’re talking about the ability to perform g-forces in the hundreds because the acceleration, making 90-degree turns, no engine noise — at least we in the public don’t know what kind of propulsion system they can operate with, there is no exhaust. That’s what I mean by UFO. I’m telling you there are no aircraft that can do what I describe these things being capable of doing. My conclusion is that they are not from Planet Earth, they’re from elsewhere.

Are we in danger?

No, I don’t think so. In my case, the missiles were not damaged. There have been many other cases where UFOs have flown over nuclear weapons, nuclear storage facilities and nuclear energy facilities. I think all they’re doing is sending a message, and that message is that you guys ought to get rid of the nuclear weapons or you’ll destroy yourselves.

The Port Hueneme Historical Society Museum Distinguished Speakers Series presents author Robert Salas on Saturday, June 16, at 11 a.m. at 220 Market St., Port Hueneme. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/PortHuenemeHistoricalSocietyMuseum.