In December of 2017, the New York Times released a groundbreaking story about the Pentagon’s secret efforts to study and explain reports from within the military apparatus of unidentified aircraft and other other strange phenomena. According to their investigation, the program, which was called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, was defunded in 2012, but continued without direct budgeting under the authority of a man named Luis Elizondo.
Elizondo, it turned out, had actually submitted his resignation in protest just prior to the story breaking, claiming that the Pentagon was failing to properly address what he saw as a real phenomena that could potentially pose a threat to the security of the United States. Almost immediately after leaving the Pentagon, Elizondo took a new job with an organization called “To the Stars Academy,” sometimes referenced simply as TTSA.
TTSA’s stated goals are all about collecting and documenting technology and materials gathered through the study of “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.” That phrase, shortened to its initials, “UAP,” has become to common title for what were once known as “UFOs,” or unidentified flying objects. Some may contend that the shift in title was meant to better capture the reports of strange aircraft, but it seems likely that the decision was also informed by the popular dismissal of “UFOs” by many in the media and the public.
TTSA, which was founded by former Blink 182 front man Tom Delong, quickly gathered a number of defense and intelligence officials into its stable, prompting many to lend credence to Delong’s claims of alien spacecraft visiting earth. Delong himself continues to promote videos and images of UFO sightings on his social media, while speaking cryptically about discoveries his firm has made and when they will be revealed to the public.
Of course, even a stack of impressive resumes isn’t enough to garner the sort of attention Delong’s TTSA has enjoyed… but that’s because they didn’t come onto the scene empty handed. Aside from The NY Times report substantiating Elizondo’s claims of a UAP-studying program at the Pentagon, TTSA also released three videos recorded on board U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets that seem to show pilots trying to track strange craft in the airspace around a carrier strike group.
These videos garnered a great deal of attention, and criticism, propelling TTSA into the media’s spotlight and making the enigmatic organization a household name among those with an interest in the mysterious and unexplained. Those videos, which were not officially released by the U.S. Navy at the time, made their way around the internet, defying explanation and even prompting the Navy to acknowledge that they genuinely have no idea what was captured in them.
This week, the U.S. Navy formally released the footage with little more information than we already had, but the videos quickly caught the world’s attention once again.
Warning: The pilots in these videos use strong language when discussing what they see.
“GOFAST” recorded in November of 2015
This video, called “GOFAST,” shows pilots tracking a small object as it seems to almost skip across the surface of the ocean.
“GIMBAL” Recorded in November, 2015
In “GIMBAL,” which was also captured from the nose of an F/A-18 Super Hornet, you can watch as the infrared camera tracks the movement of a very unusual object, while pilots discuss just what on earth (or elsewhere) they seem to be seeing.
“My gosh, they’re going against the wind — the wind’s 120 knots to west,” one of the pilots can be heard saying.
It was later revealed that the “GIMBAL” footage came from the same incident as the “GOFAST” footage.
“FLIR” Recorded November of 2004
The video called “FLIR” was recorded by Navy Hornet pilots off the coast of San Diego on November 14, 2004. This video includes no pilot commentary like the others, but the images have befuddled experts since its original release. This incident is often referred to as “the Nimitz incident” by researchers, because the aircraft came from the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier.
These videos have already been on the internet for a long time, but the U.S. Navy had never officially released them until this week. According to the Pentagon, it was determined that these videos do not “reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems.” They went on to say that releasing them “does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena.”
“DOD is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos,” a press release added.
“The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified.'”
Are these videos proof of alien visitors? Some think so, but others aren’t so sure. Many contend that these videos could show advanced drone technology or could even be natural phenomena misidentified by the fighter pilots. The second of those explanations, however, may be the weaker of the two, as multiple service members corroborated the pilot’s stories and, it’s important to note, these films were all taken during a time of war for America’s military.
America’s fighter pilots are among the most highly trained in the world, and thanks to nearly two decades of continued combat operations, they are also among the most experienced. It seems unlikely that these aviators would be easily confused by natural phenomena.
But then… just what is it that these pilots saw? As the Navy itself agrees… that remains a mystery.