The Loring Air Force Base UFO Encounter

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
August 11, 2019
Last Updated
October 13, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
16 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Cover-Ups

An incident in late October 1975 over Loring Air Force Base in Maine in the northeast of the United States is another that forces us to ask, aside from what these UFOs are, what is their apparent fascination with military installations? And specifically, ones that house (or are claimed to house) nuclear weapons?

What’s more, knowledge of the incident, in real-time as it was happening, would go straight to the National Military Command Center in the nation’s capital. And as well as physical sightings, the objects were also captured, on consecutive nights, on military radar.

Reproduction of the UFO encounter

Reproduction of the UFO encounter

The entire incident would ultimately be put down to a “training drill”. As we might imagine, both witnesses and investigators – at least for the most part – were not in a hurry to endorse such findings. Furthermore, as we will examine shortly, the incident would take place during a rather mysterious “UFO-Helicopter” wave of 1975.

Further still, an incident that we have examined previously – the apparent abduction of David Stephens – would take place on the same day. Whether the two incidents are connected is open to debate. However, that two such incidents should take place in (practically) the same location within hours of each other, no less, is at the very least, interesting.

What happened on those consecutive evenings on October 1975? And what were the consequences in the months and years following?

A Strange Glowing Object Over The Weapons Storage

Incidents would begin shortly before 8 pm on the 27th October 1975, at Loring Air Force Base in Maine, when a strange, glowing object was observed hovering over the base. [1] And more specifically, the area of the base where weapons were stored. If reports are to be believed, these weapons were housed under fake, camouflaged huts. That the object, if indeed it was purposeful to hover over the alleged weapons area, knew these weapons were there is perhaps a point of interest in itself.

On that particular evening, Staff Sergeant Danny Lewis was on watch duty, with the weapons area being his prime point of focus. So it was that when the bizarre object came into view, he was the first to see it. He would later estimate that it hovered at an altitude around 300 feet. On the underside was a red navigation light as well as a white strobe-type light.

Aerial shot of Loring Air Force Base

Aerial shot of Loring Air Force Base

Meanwhile, in the control tower, the duty Sergeant, James Sampley would spot the aerial anomaly on the base’s radar system. When he initially saw the object, he would estimate it was around 10 miles from the base. As he watched it, however, it would move around the base on a circular route before moving in to within mere feet of the weapons storage.

Realizing the potential security breach that was afoot, and not at all sure what this strange object was, he would begin informing his supervisors of the situation.

A Breach Of The Base Perimeter

At the same time, Lewis watched as the object made its way inside the confines of the base. [2] Within seconds, the base was on security alert. In the control tower, Sergeant Grover Eggleston was now following events closely, watching the strange object on one of the radar screens.

Meanwhile, a command had gone out for a manual grounds crew search of the base. Requests were also sent out to all nearby military and civilian airports for any information they may have on the intruding object over Loring Air Force Base.

The object would ultimately remain hovering over the base, occasionally taking off to circle overhead before returning to its position over the weapons storage for around 40 minutes. Then, it would head in the direction of New Brunswick. When it got a distance of around 12 miles it would vanish from the radar screens.

The base, however, would remain on alert for the rest of the night and well into the next day. However, the following night, at around the same time, the object returned.

The Return Encounter

Once more, like the night before, at exactly the same time of 7:45 pm, the craft, or one identical to it returned. Once more, Danny Lewis was on duty and would once more witness the strange craft hovering over the base and then zero in on the base housing the nuclear weapons. As it approached, those on duty or at the base watching could clearly see flashed of “orange, red, and white” from the underside of the craft.

Lewis would report the encounter immediately. This time, particularly given the strange and bizarre events of the previous evening, the Wing Commander himself would come to the location of the nuclear weapons. He too could see the bizarre object hovering overhead. As it would the night before, the base’s radar systems would pick up the object also.

Television reproduction of the incident

Television reproduction of the incident

Furthermore, several other witnesses on the base, including Sergeant Steven Eickner claimed to see an “orange and red object, shaped like a stretched-out football”. They would watch as it hovered strangely in midair and then marveled as the brilliant glow of lights suddenly darkened. The next thing they knew, the craft was only 150 feet off the ground, hovering over the runway.

Those who witnessed this bizarre part of the evening unfold would estimate the object to be at least 80 feet in length. What’s more, there appeared to be no doors or windows in the object’s exterior. Almost as if it was made from one continuous piece of metallic-like material. Perhaps of most interest, and certainly something we have discussed before as being a key reason for UFO secrecy was the propulsion system. Or more to the point, the apparent lack of one, at least in terms of how we understand the laws that govern flight.

Very Strange Announcements And Actions

The entire base was put on immediate alert and would remain so for the rest of the evening, after the object moved off several moments later, once more in the direction of New Brunswick just as it had done the previous evening.

Much like the previous evening, reports were sent directly to their superiors through their relevant and usual chains of command.

The following day, reinforcements would arrive – mainly in the shape of National Guard helicopter. Even more interestingly, especially when we consider the words of Michael Wallace who we will look at in a moment, the Canadian government and, in turn, their military were given permission to cross the Canadian-American border if required (so long as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was with them.

Depiction of the UFO on the radar

Depiction of the UFO on the radar

It would seem to any interested watchers – including the local press who were in the middle of a UFO and alien abduction frenzy similar to the 1970s – that the military was taking the incidents more than seriously.

When another sighting on the evening of the 29th October occurred, prompting the Canadian RCMP to accompany a helicopter across the border in an attempt to locate the strange aerial visitor it would appear that interest on the part of the local press was well placed. However, despite yet another apparent confirmation on radar, the chase would prove unsuccessful.

The following evening came yet another incident, with confirmation on radar and visually from the ground. Once more, however, the security teams operating out of, or near to Loring Air Force Base would draw a blank when trying to locate and intercept the strange craft.

The bizarre and unnerving sightings would continue for several weeks until the end of the year, decreasing in frequency as they did so.

The Michael Wallace Account

Sometime in 2013, a former KC-135 military pilot, Michael Wallace, would claim to have first-hand knowledge of a UFO incident over Loring Air Force Base in 1975. [3] One that took place, it would appear, in the days following the sightings over the base.

Wallace would claim that he was piloting a plane back to the air force base following an air-to-air refueling mission. Furthermore, only days previously, all flight crews who belonged to his unit (the 42nd Bomb Wing) were to report to a sudden meeting. Before the meeting began, “a uniformed Major” stood in front of the group and informed them that anyone “without at least secret clearance” had the leave the room. A couple of personnel left but the vast majority stayed. Then, the meeting began proper.

Depiction of a UFO in a cloudy sky

Depiction of a UFO in a cloudy sky

The Major would state that “a UFO had been reported over the base”. Specifically, this aerial anomaly was positioned over the “nuclear-armed B-52s”. These are on constant high alert and are stationed over the “nuclear weapons storage facilities that had nuclear weapons stored at them at this time”. The major would then continue with further details of the actual sighting:

It’s hovering without making any sound. It does have a few lights. It can move very quickly, unconventionally, rapid straight-line movements with straight vertical movements… so it’s pretty incredible technology!

He would continue that staff at the base were “pretty concerned” about the affair. Furthermore, this information was not to be talked about publicly or with anyone not with the sufficient clearance. Further still, if any of the pilots were to witness any strange objects themselves, they were to report it to those in command “inside this room” but otherwise the incident should not be spoken of or acknowledged.

What he said next, however, is of paramount interest.

The Implementation Of A Cover Story

The Major went on to state there was a concern that the local press would become suspicious. Aside from the reports of civilians (which they could do little about), the increased number of personnel and ground staff at the base would likely only increase their interest.

In order to combat these potential, and likely inevitable suspicions, a cover story had already been prepared. This would be that a helicopter was coming across the Canadian border and “harassing us”. Even to anyone outside of the room, this would be the official story.

It was with this bizarre secret emergency meeting still very much in the back of their minds, Wallace and several other tanker planes conducted their nighttime refueling missions. As well as the plane that Wallace was in, two other KC-135’s were alongside them, flying in formation, heading back to Loring Air Force Base. The mission had been uneventful and routine. However, that was about to change.

Television reproduction of the UFO incident at Loring Air Force Base

Television reproduction of the UFO incident at Loring Air Force Base

Communication from Loring Air Force Base requested that the commander of the lead plane, or the cell leader, should switch to a specific frequency for an important briefing. As this frequency was not on the normal plane channels, only the cell leader would hear this. However, perhaps urged on by his sense of curiosity following the strange meeting several days earlier, Wallace recalled that he had a spare radio with him.

Against all his professional military training, he stated to his fellow pilots, “Let’s see what this guy is going to get briefed on!” And with that, he tuned the frequency into the one the cell leader had been asked to tune to.

Secret, Mysterious, And Highly Unorthodox Instructions

In no time at all, Wallace and his crew were eavesdropping on the private briefing of the cell leader. Wallace would later state his belief that the pilot in the third plane was very likely doing the same thing. What they heard, however, was alarming to them, to say the least. Over the private frequency, the command at Loring would state:

Listen, the UFO is over the base again, right now, and we want you to pass off the leadership of the formation of the cell flight to the number two aircraft. And then, we want you to turn your lights out, radios off, and head straight to the base at your own discretion!

To this, the cell leader replied, “Will do”. Wallace would describe such a command – given in “secret” to boot – was “unusual, very unusual”.

Television reproduction of the UFO incident at Loring Air Force Base

Television reproduction of the UFO incident at Loring Air Force Base

Within seconds of the orders, the cell leader was contacting Wallace. He informed him of “special orders” to “depart the formation” and that he was now the cell leader. Lastly, he should “let the navigators coordinate your positions when you’re ready”.

As Wallace prepared to lead the other plane, he could see the original first plane turn out its lights, as well as go radio silent. Several moments later, he noticed the blacked-out plane heading down toward the base.

In the meantime, Wallace would prepare for his course alterations and his own eventual approach to Loring Air Force Base. As he did so, the communications radio would burst into life with the chatter of those in the control tower. What they were saying was both intriguing and unnerving to Wallace.

A Discussion “Bordering On Frantic!”

Wallace would later clarify that he had listened to many “combat discussions” between pilots and control towers. Basically, he was aware of the stress levels and such that these conversations exhibited. The discussions he was listening to as he prepared to lead his fellow tanker plane back to base was one of that he “wouldn’t call panicked but it was bordering on frantic!”

He would recall such phrases as “Did you see it?”, “Where is it now?” Perhaps even more unnerving were such sentences that eluded to the fact it was “back over the alert bombers!” This would continue for several minutes. All the while Wallace was preparing and waiting instructions to land.

What Wallace also remembered was that he could hear a complete cacophony of voices and chatter over the airwaves. A lot more than usual. He would assume that these extra voices were coming from inside the control tower.

Then it would appear that whatever the strange anomalous object was, it vanished. Such chatter as “We lost it” and words to that effect would come over the frequency. It would appear to Wallace that the object had simply “fallen off the radar” in a matter of seconds. This, he would state, is “remarkable in itself”.

Then, as instructed, Wallace would lead the planes to runway 36 in order to bring them in to land.

An Obvious Need-To-Know Basis, Even For Those On The Inside!

He would bring his plane in to land safely, followed shortly after by the third plane. The crew would make their way to the debriefing room and await further instructions. Given the late hour, the base was relatively quiet. The pilots, however, were eager to speak about their experience. And more to the point were eager to find someone who might know what had taken place while they were in the air.

What they also noticed was the crew of the original third plane was apparently nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, Wallace wondered whether the pilot and crew might be speaking to the Major who had debriefed them only days earlier. Perhaps if they found the crew they could find out more about what had taken place.

A depiction of two military jets and a UFO

A depiction of two military jets and a UFO

It was several days before he did indeed see the pilot of the first plane. He would immediately go over to him and enquire what happened on the night of the refueling mission. However, rather than inform him of events, he simply replied:

I can’t talk about it! You wouldn’t believe me if I could talk about it!

And with that, the pilot turned and left. Wallace wouldn’t hear anything else about the night in question. However, it would appear that whatever the object over Loring Air Force Base in late October 1975, it would appear it was still loitering over the base at least as far as several weeks later.

For his part, Wallace would state that he had “never had anything as incredible as that happen”.

The “UFO-Helicopter” Wave Of 1975

Whether it is of consequence to our sighting or not is perhaps open to opinion, but during 1975 several strange UFO-Helicopter sightings were reported. The incidents [4] were, in the words of respected UFO researcher, Nick Redfern, “disturbing”.

Not only were they of alleged “phantom helicopters” – a name that has connotations of an ominous feeling to begin with – but the United States military appeared to be taking much too close an interest in the bizarre sightings when, to quote Redfern, “Project Blue Book closed its doors six years earlier”.

We have examined the bizarre phenomena of Black Helicopters previously. It is indeed a strange and chilling part of the UFO and alien question. As well as being associated with crashed UFO recoveries, these strange and ominous aerial vehicles also share apparent connections with cattle mutilations, which themselves were seemingly beginning to reach a first peak of sorts in the mid-to-late 1970s.

A depiction of a UFO

A depiction of a UFO

Official documents state that “numerous reports of suspicious objects” had been received since 28th October 1975, the day after the Loring Air Force Base sighting. Furthermore, however, the sightings were reported over other military facilities such as Malmstrom Air Force Base and Minot Air Force Base.

While some of these sightings would state the objects “looked like helicopters” others clearly state them to be “bright objects” which remained silent while moving at considerable speed.

So, what does this mean? Was there some kind of secret military training exercise taking place across the United States toward the end of 1975? The tone of the military documents and declassified files suggests rather than the military being “in the know” they were very much anxious about the issue. In short, it would appear they weren’t behind it.

Evidence Of Genuine Concern? Or More Credibility To The Cover Story?

It is perhaps interesting to note that, according to these official documents, the military had an apparent genuine concern about these “helicopters”. Were these helicopters genuine or were they the product of the account as per Michael Wallace?

If this is the case, it is perhaps an interesting peek inside the inner workings of the shadow government and how even high-ranking people of the military, public office, and of industry are as much walled off and unaware of its existence as the rest of us.

What is also interesting is that some of the reports, while making reference to “helicopters” goes on to clearly state they had “negative results” in terms of trying to identify the craft. Essentially, the craft was a UFO.

A depiction of a UFO over water

A depiction of a UFO over water

It certainly offers an interesting dynamic to the case. One that forces us to ask if a cover-up was indeed underway, using concerns of an invading helicopter to blanket over the incidents so they might investigate them without the prying eyes of the outside world.

Another interesting aspect of this case to examine is actually another case altogether. One we have examined previously but which took place less than 24 hours earlier. And even featured an apparent alien abduction. Before we move on to that, however, it is very much worth examining a very similar incident that occurred over Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Michigan on 30th October.

The Wurtsmith Air Force Incident

At just after 10 pm on the 30th October, on-duty personnel at Wurtsmith Air Force Base would report seeing a strange object hovering over the base. It was moving in a bizarre fashion. [5] At first, it appeared to the witnesses that the object was a helicopter. Then, according to one of the witnesses, Airman Martin Tackabury, a strange white light was visible which shined directed downward.

What made the object even stranger, however, was the fact that it appeared to be completely silent. He wasn’t sure if this was because it was drowned out by the large tanker plane that was also flying in the vicinity. When he viewed the sky above once more, the strange object appeared to be flying in front of and below them. Furthermore, now a little closer, it appeared to move differently to a helicopter.

Even stranger, and more unnerving for security personnel at the back gate of the base – where the weapons were housed – was the “strange helicopter without lights” that suddenly appeared over the storage facility. The closer the object was, the more unlike a helicopter it looked. In fact, security personnel was not at all clear what sort of craft was in front of them.

Meanwhile, at the base’s control tower, the object would suddenly appear on the radar screen.

An Impromptu Pursuit

At some time after 10:30 pm, a tanker plane returning from a refueling mission was suddenly given new coordinates so that it could look into an anomalous aircraft. They would follow the instructions from the control tower, and would soon witness the strange craft. One of the navigators, Captain Myron Taylor would recall seeing something “similar to strobe lights which were flashing irregularly”.

The plane would follow the strange object as it made its way over Lake Huron. Then, however, without any kind of warning, the object changed direction and moved toward the south. The plane would continue to follow the craft toward Saginaw Bay where they would eventually lose sight of it.

Television reproduction of UFOs in the sky

Television reproduction of UFOs in the sky

They would search the area for several minutes in an attempt to locate the strange craft once more. However, after failing to find it, they would turn and head back Wurtsmith Air Force Base. Bizarrely, though, on the return journey back, the object would appear again. And this time, it would appear that it was following the tanker plane.

When the crew turned the plane around, however, in order to pursue the strange craft again, it suddenly “took off” and vanished in the opposite direction.

The incident remains unexplained and equally intriguing. It would certainly share many details of the encounters of only the previous days to the east over Loring Air Force Base. However, much closer to home, also in the state of Maine, was the encounter of David Stephens.

The David Stephens Encounter

As we mentioned in our opening, on the same evening in the Oxford region of Maine, David Stephens would apparently be abducted by alien creatures and taken aboard a “mothership”. While we will not go over the encounter in great detail here, it is worth examining briefly and asking if there might have been a connection.

The incident occurred while Stephens was driving along a quiet country road at 3 am on the 27th October, around 16 hours before the sightings at Loring Air Force Base. Hypnotic regression would eventually reveal the abduction.

Artist's impression of the incident

Artist’s impression of the incident

Incidentally, most researchers who initially investigated the case, despite the bizarre nature of the account, would state their belief that the incident was genuine. Perhaps it is merely coincidence that the incident took place less than 24 hours before the Loring Air Force Base sighting.

On the other side of the coin, given the vast amount of landmass in the United States alone, what are the chances of two bizarre incidents happening on (relatively speaking) the same spot of land? Or perhaps we should ask ourselves if UFO activity and “strange objects” in the sky is astronomically more commonplace than even the most enthusiastic UFO researcher might imagine.

Concentrated Encounters, Or UFO Activity Everywhere?

Perhaps before moving on we should dwell on this point a little further. Not so much the alleged abduction of Stephens. Or whether or not it might have a connection to the Loring Air Force Base incidents. But whether UFO activity was much more commonplace than we perhaps suspect. If only for a limited period.

Let’s return, for example, to the alleged UFO-Helicopter wave of late 1975. Several other air force bases would report similar sightings as those that took place of Loring. And what’s more, they would extend deep into November much like the alleged activity over the military facility in northern Maine.

For example, on the morning of the 7th November at Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls, Montana, at a little after 10:35 am, the 341st Strategic Air Command Post would contact command. They would state that a “large red to orange to yellow object” was hovering over locations that housed missiles.

By just before 1:30 pm, the object was seemingly moving and heading to the southeast. The object appeared had several lights that were visible. Even in the daytime, although there was “no distinct pattern” to them. On this particular day, a civilian would also make a report of the same object to the base. The incident remains unexplained.

Several days later on the morning of the 11th November at the Canadian Forces Station Falconbridge in Ontario, another sighting of a strange object was reported. The report would state that the strange object was “like a bright star” that was visible in the daytime sky. Perhaps of more interest, however, was that when it was viewed using “binoculars the object appeared as a 100-foot diameter sphere and appeared to have craters around the outside!”

Something Of True Consequence That Would Stop Seemingly Overnight!

This last point is one really worth pinning down and keeping on the mental notice board. At the time of the incidents, many UFO researchers began noticing the frequency that these sightings were being reported. And what’s more, their intentional removal from the public arena. Only persistent Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests would eventually begin uncovering the sheer number of similar incidents. All over the United States’ air force bases.

Let’s demonstrate how many of these incidents were forced from the military. The aforementioned FOI requests would result in literally thousands of pages of reports. All reports that the United States Air Force had attempted to keep from American people. And the rest of the world.

Then, just like that, the sightings genuinely did appear to stop. As 1975 gave way to 1976, UFO sightings themselves didn’t stop. The strange encounters of the helicopter-like UFOs appearing over air force bases, for the most part, did.

Reports of black helicopters would surface sporadically during the twentieth century. And as we approach the end of the second decade of the 2000s, sightings appear to be on the rise. What the connections the incidents of Loring Air Force Base and the subsequent sightings that followed may or may not have to these twenty-first-century helicopter incidents remains open to debate.

As Always, There Is A Mountain Of Possibilities And Undiscovered Revelations!

There are many sightings that take place over military facilities. And there is an air of absolute mystery and conspiracy around the sightings over Loring Air Force Base. Perhaps that is because of the nuclear weapons involved. And the apparent attention to them of the UFOs. Or might it be more to do with the strange phantom helicopters? And if so, just what are these apparently ominous vehicles all about? And where do they fit into the UFO and alien question?

The case, despite it not enjoying the prestige of other similar incidents is another that fits very nicely into the overall UFO picture. Both in terms of its timing and location, as well as the details of the incidents themselves.

Was there a cover-up of these incidents and is there still information on these and other incidents awaiting discovery? Are these alleged covering over of such cases a genuine, if misguided depending on your viewpoint, attempts to protect the wider public of a potential threat to the United States, and possibly even the entire world? Or are the reasons much more insidious and self-serving?

Like almost all UFO cases, but specifically, where the militaries of the world are concerned, there are multiple fragments of the kaleidoscope of possibilities to consider. And what’s more, these fragments are ever-changing in themselves and are in constant flux in terms of their sympathy to other similar incidents, themselves in the same perpetual state of flux, and the numerous connections to the wider world around them.


1 The Loring UFO episode revisited, Kent Ward, Bangor Daily News, October 2nd, 2009
2 UFO Files, The Untold Story, Patrick Huyghe, New York Times, October 14th 1979 (page 29)
3 UFO Incident Over Loring AFB, Phantoms and Monsters, June 27th, 2017
4 The Mysterious UFO-Helicopter Wave of 1975, Nick Redfern
5 1975 Wurtsmith AFB UFO, NICAP

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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