The Nellis Air Force Base UFO Sightings

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
May 5, 2019
Last Updated
October 13, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
14 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Cover-Ups

Like many United States military facilities, Nellis Air Force Base has an abundance of UFO activity to its name. Activity which dates back to the start of the modern UFO era. Furthermore, UFO activity continues in the same region today, leading even mainstream media outlets to ask just what connections these facilities might have to such activity. We have examined before, for example, the alleged and little-known crash at the military facility in 1962. Perhaps that incident is just one of many.

A blended image of Nellis Air Force Base sign and a UFO and jet midair

What happened at Nellis Air Force Base

Indeed, claims and conspiracies of underground facilities containing recovered crafts, alien technology, and even live extraterrestrial entities, have been persistent for decades, including ‘Area 51’ which until very recently was a facility denied by the US government. It doesn’t take a huge reach of common sense to ask such questions as, if they lied about that, what else have they, or would they, lie about?

Indeed, who are “they” in all of this? Might the equally, to some, outlandish notion of a “shadow government” controlling society from the shadows have more credence than we might think?

We will start with an incident over the military facility that would unfold in October 1951. This particular incident took place at Yucca Flat – a closed part of the Nevada desert for nuclear tests – just prior to such a test adding another level of intrigue to this already enticing encounter.

The witnesses wouldn’t merely see one UFO that morning, but “a formation of 18 silvery, rotating, disc-shaped objects” that would hover over the site for almost a quarter of an hour.

Just After Sunrise One October Morning In The Nevada Desert, 1951!

Indeed, one of the witnesses to the October 1951 incident had spoken to UFO investigator, Walter Webb, over a decade following the encounter in 1964. Not only had he been present at Yucca Flat on the day of the sighting, he had also witnessed strange creatures in the area.

Webb would name this witness “Mr. M” – especially when after he contacted him again 16 years later in early-1981 he refused to talk again of the encounter following ridicule from colleagues and the wider community in which he lived. However, it is from these interviews with Mr. M that much of what we know of the incident stems.

A superimposed UFO over an airfield

A superimposed UFO over an airfield

In 1951, Mr. M was a 19-year-old corporal based at Nellis Air Force Base and was one of several personnel on sentry duty around the perimeter of the nuclear testing range at Yucca Flat. One particular October morning (either 22nd, 28th, or 30th based on official nuclear test records, with the 30th being the most likely), not long after sunrise (between 6 and 7 am), he was on such duty, with an expected nuclear test detonation around 15 minutes away.

The early morning sky – approximately 6:45 am – was perfectly clear. However, when he looked in the direction of the test site he could clearly see three “silvery elliptical objects” hovering directly overhead. The three objects were identical, with a flat underside and a dome on top. They appeared to be in a purposely triangular formation with one of the crafts in front of the remaining two, which were positioned on either side and behind it.

Mr. M couldn’t hear any sound emanating from the three strange objects. Each of them, however, would shine brightly as their silver exterior reflected the steadily rising sun.

“If We’re Smart, We Won’t Say Anything!”

With Mr. M at this stage was another young guard who saw exactly what he was looking at. After witnessing the shining objects for several moments, he would retreat to inform the Corporal of the Guard leaving Mr. M alone.

By the time they returned, numerous other objects had arrived, each seemingly in their own formations, but all over the test site. What is quite bizarre is how the objects were seemingly just there all of a sudden, with none of the witnesses able to state they had seen them actually arrive. In total, the men would count and record 18 identical silver discs.

Aerial view of Nellis Air Force Base

Aerial view of Nellis Air Force Base

Mr. M and his colleagues would continue to observe the strange crafts for between “30 seconds to a minute” longer before they suddenly “vanished in seconds” moving upwards at an angle.

The Corporal of the Guard would state matter-of-factly:

If we’re smart, we won’t say anything about this!

It would appear none of them did. That was until Mr. M spoke with Webb 13 years later in 1964. Mr. M would attest that, at least in military circles, he didn’t hear any mention of the incident again.

Was their presence purely coincidence? Or were they there in a surveillance capacity? Mr. M would certainly claim his belief that not only was the sighting connected to a monitoring of human activities, but that the intelligence behind such sightings was, at least to his mind, undoubtedly extraterrestrial.

The January 1951 Sighting

Almost ten months before the incident of October 1951 a similar incident would take place somewhere between the 27th January and 2nd February. The witness in this encounter was a control tower operative at Nellis Air Force Base. [1]

According to the witness, at a little after 5 pm, shortly after sunset and shortly before another nuclear test, a strange object appeared in the skies overhead. They would go on to state it moved calmly over Las Vegas where “people in the streets could see it”. Records show that citizens of Las Vegas did indeed make reports to Nellis Air Force Base of the strange craft.

A superimposed UFO over the Extraterrestrial Highway sign

A superimposed UFO over the Extraterrestrial Highway sign

The object, which had an orange glow to it, was approaching the military facility “on a downward slant at a slow speed” of around 100 miles per hour. As the object reached the base it would “level off” and then travel “parallel to the runways”.

The witness, using binoculars, would mentally record details of the object. He would claim it was “saucer-shaped” like two saucers, with “one inverted on top of the other”. The exterior had the look of metal and the witness could recall seeing any windows, doors, or even any seams or connections.

The object eventually came to a stop and began circling at a distance of around seven miles. After circling three times the craft then hovered for several minutes.

Then, the incident took an even more bizarre twist. The craft suddenly began to descend towards the ground. At a distance of no more than 100 feet it suddenly “entered the cone of a nearby mountain peak”. The witness could no longer see it. It had, essentially, vanished.

Incidentally, knowing what we know about mountains and alien bases, it is an interesting detail to an otherwise credible and corroborated account.

Corroborating Account Of Matching “Recovered” Alien Craft?

In his book Beyond Top Secret veteran UFO researcher, Timothy Good, relays a fascinating account – at least in relation to the above sighting. According to Good, the incident would come from an anonymous US military intelligence officer, who volunteered it to Dr. Berthold Schwarz in the early-1980s.

An aerial view of Nellis Air Field

An aerial view of Nellis Air Field

While it is always easy to dismiss anonymous sources, or at least treat them with a liberal pinch of salt, Schwarz offers that the former intelligence officer, who was decorated for active duty as well as the author of several well-received military security papers, would go on to become a very “successful private citizen”. Schwarz would publicly vouch for the intelligence officer’s credibility, stating:

The officer’s credentials seem as impeccable as his need for anonymity!

Furthermore, several mutual acquaintances would also vouch for the officer’s credibility. In short, his leaking of information was not for his personal gain – which his anonymity would prevent anyway – but more out of a sense of duty to humanity.

According to the one-time military intelligence officer, during his work in the 1970s, he was “invited” to a “secret base” in Arizona where he witnessed several retrieved alien bodies. He would also witness recovered alien crafts, some of which were in the process of being reverse engineered. However, it was a visit to a location right on the Nevada border and another secret base where he would witness a fully intact and recovered alien craft, the description of which matched that given by Mr. M.

To Schwarz the officer would describe the craft as “almost completely flat” from the bottom, with a very distinct “gradual dome” on the top half. Furthermore, the craft was a silver color made of an unknown material. According to the officer, the craft had “crashed to the desert” in Nevada.

What Makes Nevada So Important?

While there is no proof of a connection to the 1951 sighting and this recovered craft – if indeed the account is actually genuine – the description is one that matches almost perfectly. We have to ask if such minor and, to the witness, throwaway details can really be explained as coincidence.

Indeed, we have looked at several such UFO crashed in the Nevada region in the late-1940s and early-1950s. Might this apparently credible leaking of information be further proof not only of the authenticity of such accounts, but that the United States government are in possession of not just parts of an extraterrestrial vehicle, but a fully intact and working one?

The Extraterrestrial Highway sign

The Extraterrestrial Highway sign

And what makes this part of the United States apparently so attractive to these alien visitors? Is there something in the region that these space travelers require and so keep returning for? Or might, as bizarre as it might sound even to some in the UFO community, the state of Nevada be home to some kind of portal that permits travel from one part of the Universe to the other?

Might it be that the plethora of accounts in the region on record in the years since is the result of reverse-engineered alien technology? Might the many UFO sightings actually be test flights with human pilots, albeit with technology from another world?

And what part, if any, does Nellis Air Force Base play in all of this? The incident in October 1951 is certainly not the only encounter to unfold in the skies over the base.

The 1952 Multi-Witness, Multi-Craft Sighting

The following year on the 17th April 1952 – a year when the United States like the rest of the world was seemingly awash with UFO activity [2] – an extremely similar incident took place over Nellis Air Force Base. And what’s more, five separate individuals would witness the events in question.

Once more during “atomic tests” at the military facility, Orville Lawson, Rudy Toncer, R.K. Van Houlten, Edward Gregory, and Charles Ruliffson would witness “18 circular dull-white objects streaking across the sky” just to the north of Nellis Air Force Base. What’s more, the course the objects were on would take them directly over the test site.

UFO superimposed over 1950s Nellis Air Force Base

UFO superimposed over 1950s Nellis Air Force Base

All five men were positive about what they had witnessed. And, each being familiar with conventional aircraft of the area would state what they had seen was “neither planes nor observation balloons”. The objects, while remaining together as they moved, were in an “irregular formation” with one of the objects even moving in a “zig-zag” manner.

The witnesses would estimate the objects were moving at well over 1,000 miles per hour and were at an altitude of 40,000 feet. In all, the objects were in sight for around 30 seconds before vanishing into the distance.

Even more intriguing, a sighting that took place on the afternoon of the 3rd April was reported as a result of the newspaper and radio coverage of the sighting of the five men. Afraid to report the incident which took place exactly two weeks previously, the men finally came forward with the details, which were remarkably similar.

On that afternoon at around 2:45 pm, at the same estimated altitude, and in the same location, around 12 to 15 “saucers” were witnessed hovering for around three minutes.

That they were the same crafts as surely almost certain.

Part Of The Early 50s Wave?

The fact is there was an absolute abundance of sightings right across America [3] in the early-1950s. Many of which occurred over such military installations with connections to nuclear storage or testing. This was certainly the case with Nellis Air Force Base and the state of Nevada.

In fact, sightings of hovering formations of strange craft in Nevada date back to before the Roswell incident. On the afternoon of 28th June 1947 near Lake Mead in Nevada, the pilot of a USAF F-51 plane would make a report of “5 or 6 circular objects” hovering over the water.

Around six months later, on the evening of 8th December, a “reddish UFO” would suddenly emit a bright flash before zipping upwards and out of sight. On the evening of 26th March 1950, this time in Reno, a control tower operator, Marie Matthews, witnessed moving lights in the night sky.

Superimposed fleet of UFOs over Las Vegas

Superimposed fleet of UFOs over Las Vegas

What’s more, other employees would also witness a “brilliant light” in the sky overhead. In fact, the light was “so bright it was impossible to determine the shape”. It would move around for several moments before shooting up and disappearing into the clouds.

On the 24th July 1952 in Carson Sink, two Air Force colonels would report a “formation of three delta wing silver objects”. They would estimate the crafts reached a speed of around 1,000 miles per hour.

Around a month later, just after midnight on the 26th August 1952, a United States Air Force captain witnessed a “large spherical bright object”.  Captain Woods would estimate the object was traveling at a speed at least around 1,000 miles per hour. It would hover for several moments before accelerating into the distance. All the while, the object remained perfectly silent.

The Boulder City Formation Incident

One evening in mid-August 1956, at a little after 10:15 pm, a North American Aviation research technician, Edison Carpenter would report a formation of “five disc-shaped UFOs” hovering in the night sky.

Carpenter would tell how he and his wife were sitting on the back step of their home when they suddenly noticed the five crafts “which had come from over the house, from the north” heading to the south in a “rough formation”.

Interestingly, and recalling the descriptions of the craft from the October 1951 sighting over Nellis Air Force Base, Carpenter would state that it was obvious, at least to him, that the shape of the craft was elliptical as opposed to circular. And what’s more, it was clear that the underside – which had a soft glow to them – were completely flat.

A picture claiming to show a UFO

Does this picture show a UFO

In total, the crafts were only visible for around 5 or 6 seconds before they vanished out of sight into the night sky to the south of their property.

Three years later, in the town of Flenderson at around 7:45 pm on 11th June 1959, two security officers, Ed Arnold, and Berdell Flaycock would report “a formation of four elliptical UFOs”. They were “silvery-white” in color and appeared to move relatively slowly towards the north east.

Arnold would also state that the crafts were at first in a circular formation before changing to a line, and then back to a circle once again. The strange crafts were visible for around five minutes before disappearing.

Several years later in Carson City, in the early hours of 14th November 1963 at around 4:45 am, Blanche Pritchett noticed a sudden glow pushed in through her window. When she looked outside, a large “green glowing disc” hovered over a nearby hill before vanishing.

The 1995 “Video Footage” Incident

If there was a quietening off regarding sightings during the seventies and eighties, as the 1990s progressed and ushered in the twenty-first century it would appear that activity was beginning to intensify again.

In 2009, for example, and then again in 2017, footage claimed to have been filmed on the evening of 30th May 1995 began to circulate on social media platforms. Needless to say, the footage, which appeared to show a UFO leaving Nellis Air Force Base would spark conversations in UFO chat rooms and forums across the Internet.

To say opinion was divided regarding the footage would be an understatement.

To some, the video was a “hidden gem” and further proof of the extraterrestrial technology being reverse-engineered and developed in secret bases in the Nevada region. Others, however, believed it was a standard military operation, misunderstood by some and exploited by others.

You can check out the video footage in question below and see what you think.

Recent Activity Over Nellis Air Force Base

As we mentioned in the opening, UFO activity in the skies over Nellis Air Force Base remains consistent right into our present era. And it would appear they show no signs of letting up.

The 2017 Daylight Picture Over Nellis Air Force Base

One of the most recent of these sightings over Nellis Air Force Base would come to light in 2017, when John Greenewald Jr. of The Black Vault received several pictures from “Bruceb777”.

According to the information in the e-mail, the pictures were taken on the afternoon of the 15th May 2017 by Bruce, who was a retired 63-year-old ex-United States Navy and Military Police officer of a combined 15 years.

He had recently moved to Las Vegas, admittedly with the purpose of photographing both the picturesque mountains and UFOs. He was far from a novice photographer with almost 50 years of experience behind him.

According to Bruce, the circular object appeared from “behind the clouds” at around 2:30 pm. It “jetted down at a 45-degree decent” before once more disappearing from view. He would estimate it was in sight for no longer than ten seconds.

You can see one of those pictures [4] below.

A picture showing an apparent UFO in 2017

Does this picture show a UFO in 2017 over Nellis AFB?

Greenewald would investigate the picture, stating it looked clearly disc-shaped in one photograph, while in others it was the shape was rather more ambiguous. He would also contact Nellis Air Force Base in the hopes that they would make their flight logs and other such details available. At the time of writing, they had yet to respond to the UFO researcher.

Another incident took place almost exactly a year earlier.

Intriguing 2016 Footage Over Nellis Air Force Base Shows UFOs “Arriving And Departing!”

On the evening of 22nd May 2016, video footage was captured that appears to show several UFOs “arriving and departing” from Nellis Air Force Base. The footage was shot late in the evening and appears to show multiple strange craft coming and going from the mysterious and conspiracy-soaked facility.

The footage was taken at a distance of 22 miles away and clearly shows both the perspective of the crafts against the base, as well as just how fast they were traveling (remember many of the above sightings mentioned that crafts would travel at speeds of over 1,000 miles per hour).

In fact, the crafts descended at such rate that a conventional aircraft would have crashed into the ground. And as the footage taker stresses, there is no evidence of such a crash. It is also his belief that the United States government “knows far more about UFOs and aliens” than their recent “declaration” to the public.

While many skeptics suggest that the footage likely shows secret military craft, if indeed it is genuine, even if that was the case it begs the question of just what kind of technology are they testing? And how far advanced are they behind the closed doors of such black budget projects.

The 2011 Fatal Crash Incident – Reasons For Suspicion?

Perhaps one of the most bizarre and in this case tragic UFO encounters with a connection to Nellis Air Force Base took place in September 2011 and would result in the death of an active member of the United States’ military.

44-year-old Eric Schultz – a pilot with extensive experience with over 50 combat missions to his credit – crashed in what some view in suspicious circumstances at around 6 pm at the Nevada Test and Training Range near to Nellis Air Force Base.

Eric Schultz

Eric Schultz

What made the events come under scrutiny – aside from the location and the nature of the death – was the fact the military would wait three days until the 8th September to report it. And even then the overall detail was ambiguous at best, with the actual aircraft remaining a mystery as far as the general public was aware. The official response to this was that:

…information about the type of aircraft involved is classified and not releasable! [5]

There are several claims as to the truth behind the tragedy. Some commentators claim that the pilot was test-flying foreign planes – possibly a Chinese or Russian one – in order to see exactly what cutting edge technology their potential enemies had at their disposal. Of course, how they would have gotten hold of such an aircraft – if indeed there is any truth to the claims – would be embarrassing at best for the United States and could prove to spark an international incidence at worst.

Or might the aircraft have had a more otherworldly origin? One perhaps recovered in the deserts of Nevada decades ago. While that is pure speculation by some in the UFO community, it is easy to see why such speculation has arisen.

Increasing Leaked Information And Whistleblowers

While the sightings, then, continue right into our contemporary era, so do the conspiracies, which themselves are fueled by leaked documents and whistleblowers coming forward under the promise of anonymity (which perhaps suggest credibility, as we discussed earlier).

We have examined several such whistleblowers. And what’s more, much of the information – given separately and from different locations – begins to tally up somewhat. For example, many of the claims of Bob Lazar, viewed with suspicion by some in the UFO community, have proven to be, at times, extremely accurate.

Boyd Bushman is another who has made several intriguing claims of his involvement not only with extraterrestrial technology, but with extraterrestrials themselves, who “worked alongside” humans at discreet and top-secret bases.

We have also highlighted on several occasions the views of such high-ranking people as Paul Hellyer, the former Canadian Defense Minister, who has claimed publicly on several occasions of an extraterrestrial presence on Earth and of such shared projects and programs at facilities deep underground.

Perhaps then, as we will examine in a moment, such claims as these, as bizarre as they sound should be investigated and followed up with more seriousness. Maybe the truth of our reality, and the many clues of it, are right in front if us.

Before we move on, check out the video below. It is a short news segment from Australian television. It features an apparent whistleblower and their claims of working with extraterrestrial technology at Nellis Air Force Base. Make of it what you will, but it is intriguing in the extreme.

An Alien Presence Or Highly Advanced Military Technology?

When we look at some of the papers relating to UFO activity that have been declassified, even in the last two decades, as well as what little detail we now officially know of such facilities as Area 51, we have to wonder, even for those of us in our younger years, if any kind of disclosure of these encounters and enclosures will be forthcoming in our lifetimes.

Such information is either cleverly skirted around, outright dismissed, or simply unacknowledged altogether.

It would certainly appear, though, that something out of the ordinary is taking place over the skies of Nellis Air Force Base, and the larger Nevada area, as well as several of the neighboring states such as Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Is this simply secret United States’ military testing? Or is that a convenient guise to mask activity that is a little more otherworldly?

And what should we make of the descriptions of these crafts and the fact that they match each other almost entirely? Most are described with a flat bottom, a metallic exterior and a domed top. What does this suggest? Might it be supportive evidence that a secret United States shadow government program is indeed building highly advanced aerial craft? And testing them over the skies of Nellis Air Force Base and the surrounding Nevada area?

Or even more bizarre, at least to some, might it be proof that the claims of an extraterrestrial presence deep beneath the mountains and deserts of Nevada are accurate? And these regular sightings of the same type of craft are proof of that presence?

These questions, sightings, and claims will continue to be debated for some time to come.

Check out the video below. It looks at this part of the United States in a little more detail.


1 The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, UFOS, A History 1951, Loren E. Gross
2 UFO Reports – 1952, Project 1947
3 The UFO Chronology, NICAP
4 UFO Appears Over Las Vegas, Nevada, May 15, 2017, John Greenewald, The Black Vault, December 22nd, 2017
5 Mystery Aircraft Involved in Fatal Air Force Crash, Brett Tingley, Mysterious Universe, September 13th, 2017

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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  • jody adams says:

    my name is jody adams. i lived in west palm beach. i am 100% disabled. i took a pill that almost blinded me. for weeks i was blind when walking from apartment when looked in bushes and 3 aliens looking out from behind bush. they look like grasshoppers are they using black people for cover? please let me know

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