The Mothership-Rendezvous Over The Gulf Of Mexico – The B-29 UFO Incident

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
June 6, 2021
Last Updated
October 20, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
16 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

In terms of UFO activity, 1952 was a busy year, with waves of UFO sightings taking place across the planet. One of those incidents played out in early December, toward the end of the 1952 wave. The incident involved an entire crew of a B-29 Bomber, who, both visually and on radar, noted six separate incidents as they flew back to base around 100 miles off the Louisiana coast.

What’s more, the incident remains unexplained as far as the United States military is concerned, at least officially. Perhaps of further interest, other sightings of very similar craft involving United States military aircraft would continue into the opening weeks of 1953, with each of them having an extraterrestrial reconnaissance feel about them.

Were alien beings monitoring the United States, and perhaps other countries’ militaries during the years following the carnage of the Second World War and the growing threats of the Cold War?

The Gulf Of Mexico incident, and the others we will examine, are perhaps especially intriguing given the recent video leaks that have been confirmed as authentic, and just might prompt researchers and investigators to examine such incidents once again almost three-quarters of a century after they took place.

Returning Back To Base Over The Gulf Of Mexico

Early on the morning of 6th December 1952, at 5:24 am, Captain John Harter was piloting his B-29 Bomber over the Gulf of Mexico back to Randolph Air Force base in Texas. Harter had radioed his radar operator, Lieutenant Sid Coleman, and asked him to get a check on the coastline on the auxiliary scope in the cockpit.

As Coleman was doing this, he suddenly noticed an unknown “blip” [1] on the radar screen. Only a moment later, the object had moved approximately 13 miles. As Coleman watched, a rising sense of concern inside him, the unknown object was seemingly headed straight for their plane. He then, however, noticed that their paths were separating.

A bomber plane with a superimposed UFO behind it

Just what did the crew of a B-29 bomber witness over the Gulf of Mexico?

At this point Coleman reached for his stopwatch and shouted for the assistant radar operator, Master Sergeant Bailey, to help him track the unknown craft. With the stopwatch, Coleman quickly calculated that the object was moving at 5,240 miles per hour – an unbelievable and blistering pace. He reached for the intercom and spoke to Captain Harter, stating:

Captain, check your scope! We just clocked an unknown at over 5,000!

Harter dismissed the reading as “impossible”, ordering Coleman to “recalibrate the set”. Coleman did as he was ordered. However, a moment later, Bailey exclaimed that another two blips had just shown up on the radar. A moment after that, another assistant radar operator, Staff Sergeant Ferris confirmed the sighting, stating that he had them on his scope also.

Coleman finished the recalibration and returned his focus to the screen. There were now four separate objects – all of which were heading straight toward them. Before he could react any further, Harter’s voice came over the intercom stating he had “four unknowns at 12 O’clock”, asking what Coleman could see on his screen. He responded that the objects were on “all three scopes”.

“Unknown at 3 O’Clock!”

As Coleman was monitoring the radar screens on the back, Harter was watching the objects through the cockpit window. Suddenly one of them approached on his right causing him to shout out over the intercom, “Unknown at 3 O’clock!”

Sergeant Bailey witnessed this approach, having left his station momentarily to peer through a side window of the plane. In the dark sky of early morning, he could clearly see a glowing blue object streak past the plane at an unbelievable speed. The object was nothing but a blur to Bailey due to the incredible speed with which it moved, eventually disappearing under the wing of their aircraft.

Almost as soon as the craft had vanished into the dark, early morning sky, another set of blips appeared on the radar screens. And once more, they were moving at the breakneck pace of over 5,000 miles per hour. Of more concern, however, was the fact that they were coming right at the plane from straight ahead.

The operators quickly calculated that the objects would indeed miss the plane. And that any deviation from their route, or the bomber’s, would almost certainly result in a collision.

Then, by 5:31 am, the objects appeared to have vanished for good. Several of the crew members let out a sigh of relief. However, the calm would be short-lived.

Merging Into A Mothership!

It was a little after 5:32 am when another group of objects appeared on the radar screens, pulling the crew back into action. Coleman once more worked out their speed as being the same as the previous objects. The next thing they knew, two objects were streaking past them on their right side. This time, Ferris took the opportunity to look out into the sky, witnessing two blue-white blurs speed by.

While this was taking place, in the cockpit, Harter was carefully monitoring the auxiliary scope. He could see a group of five objects, approximately 40 miles behind the B-29. They were clearly following them and looking to cut across their path. Then he noticed them change slightly, meaning they were now headed straight for the plane. At the current speed, they would be on them in three seconds.

As he was about to react, though, the blips suddenly slowed down to a speed that matched that of the bomber. For the next ten seconds, they remained behind them, keeping pace with the plane.

Then things turned even stranger.

Randolph Air Force Base

Randolph Air Force Base

The objects suddenly moved to the side of the plane, once more at great speed. At the same time, a monstrous blip appeared on the radar screen. As the crew watched, the five objects raced toward the larger object – still at over 5,000 miles per hour – and then seemed to “merge” with what appeared to be a mothership-type object.

Once all were seemingly attached, the larger object moved across the radar screens at an alarming speed. In an instant, it was gone. After a few moments, Coleman’s startled voice came over the intercom. He would declare that the larger object was moving at a speed of over 9,000 miles per hour.

Although there were no more appearances from the glowing disc-shaped objects, the crew remained on full alert until they landed at Randolph Air Force Base a short time later.

Intense Interrogation

By the time they arrived in Texas, following on from Hartley radioing the base of their experience, intelligence officers were already waiting for them. Each of the crew members was questioned repeatedly by these officers, both separately and together. However, their accounts remained exactly the same each time they told them.

In his report on the case, Donald Keyhoe would state that it was clear that “the discs had been launched from a huge mothership for some type of reconnaissance mission”. He would go on to speculate how the mothership and the discs could have “covered parts of the United States”. However, he would also point out that give the discs and the mothership’s “tremendous speed, they could have been operating anywhere over the globe”.

He would further state that it was likely pure coincidence that the “rendezvous point” happened to be the Gulf of Mexico where the B-29 was flying. Furthermore, it was likely that one unit or batch of discs had gone to observe or track the plane.

Keyhoe would also point to the radar readings, combined with the visual sighting, that all but confirmed the incident as genuine and credible. What is also intriguing, is that around 48 hours earlier in Texas, another near-miss with a military plane occurred. And it is there where we will turn our attention next.

Connections To The Laredo Incident Only 48 Hours Earlier?

On the evening of 4th December 1952, at just before 9 pm, another incident with a UFO involved another United States pilot operating out of nearby Laredo Air Force Base in Texas. On the night in question, [2] Lieutenant Robert Arnold (initially reported in the Blue Book files under the pseudonym, Earl Fogle) was piloting his T-28 aircraft as part of his AFR 60-2 requirements. He had been in the air for around two hours when he began his journey back to base.

While waiting for permission to land from the control tower, he circled the base below him. In fact, due to the particularly heavy traffic, he would circle the base for around 45 minutes. It was as he was asking ground control how much longer he was required to remain aloft, that Arnold noticed a strong bluish light in the distance moving with considerable speed. From his position, the glowing object appeared to be approximately two miles southeast of the airbase and around 4000 feet below Arnold’s altitude.

At first, Arnold thought the light must be an approaching jet. However, when he noticed that no details or features of a jet were present on the object he realized it was something more out of the ordinary.

1950s military jet with superimposed UFO

Did Robert Arnold witness an alien craft?

The object continued moving in a southeasterly direction as Arnold steered his plane in order to keep it in view. Suddenly, the strange craft rose in an instant to the same altitude as Arnold, before embarking on what appeared to be a circling of the airbase at “terrific speed”.  When it reached the north side of the base, the object suddenly dropped to an altitude of around 2,000 feet. It would move out over the city of Laredo before suddenly beginning climbing at unbelievable speed to approximately 15,000 feet.

An Object Within Yards Of The Wing!

The object remained at this altitude for several moments before dropping once again to the same altitude as Arnold. Then, it began in his direction. Arnold noticed that the object appeared to “waver slightly…as if determining on which side of his aircraft to pass”.

The next thing he knew, the object was passing within 50 yards of the left wing of his plane. He noted that as it passed, he could see a “blurred reddish-bluish haze” (very similar to the blue blurs reported by the crew of the B-29 only two days later). The report states that things “happened so rapidly that Lt. Arnold was unable to take any evasive action”.

Laredo Air Force Base

Laredo Air Force Base

The moment he did gather his thoughts a second later, he turned his plane once more in order to keep the craft in his sight. Once more he noticed that the object was accelerating to a high altitude of around 15,000 feet. Then, the object began to descend once more – only this time it appeared as though it was looking to approach Arnold’s plane head-on.

Arnold would turn off his running lights and drop to an altitude of around 1,500 feet. He managed to keep the object in his sights while doing so and noticed that it had seemingly given up the chase and was instead heading out of sight at an extremely rapid pace.

In total, the object remained in sight of Arnold for around seven minutes. By 9:05 pm, Arnold landed at Laredo Air Force Base. He would immediately report the incident to his superiors.

Similar Sightings In Early 1953

There were also several similar sightings that unfolded in the opening weeks of 1953, only weeks after the above incidents. All of them involved United States military aircraft and the vast majority featured remarkably similar unidentified objects. While only speculation, it doesn’t take too much of a stretch of the imagination to suspect such encounters are connected.

We start, with a sighting that featured multiple witnesses and also occurred in the state of Texas.

Multiple Witnesses See “Arrow-Shaped” Object Over Texas

On 6th January, a little after 1 am just outside of Dallas, Texas, multiple reports were received of a strange light moving in the night sky. Shortly after the initial call, at around 1:30 am, another report came from a resident of Paris, Texas, who claimed that he had “chased the object with his car for 30 minutes”.

Several of the witnesses would report an “arrow-shaped object” with a blue-green light at what appeared to be the front and a red light that changed to orange underneath., The last visual sighting took place over the city of Dallas where the object seemingly disappeared. A witness at Perrin Tower in Sherman, Texas, claimed that he witnessed the “craft fade from sight going east”.

According to the Air Intelligence Information Report [3] in the Project Blue Book files, several of the reports “conflicted with each other” in terms of the direction the object was moving and its estimated altitude.

What’s more, Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma would also report that they had an unidentified object on the radar around 30 miles southwest of Paris, Texas. They would estimate the object was moving at just short of 700 miles per hour and was flying at an altitude of 7,500 feet. The object remained on their screens for around 30 minutes before simply fading away.

Because of the different directions of the objects – one on radar one witnessed visually – it was determined that must have been at least two strange objects over Texas that night. And when we recall the claims of “motherships” sending out scouter-type vehicles, we might consider the possibility that this might have been the case here.

Investigations showed that there were no planned flights in the region that evening. Furthermore, when the local police were contacted, they revealed not only had they received multiple calls that evening of the strange, glowing object but that several of their officers on patrol duty also spotted it and reported it to the dispatcher.

The same was stated by the local fire department, who claimed that the radio dispatcher and several firemen witnessed the object overhead. One of these firemen later stated to a local newspaper that he “wished he had never seen it”, adding “it’s too fantastic and now they’ll be a lot of talk!”

Another witness claimed to have seen the object “floating” in the sky as he looked out of the window of the City Hall. A pilot with almost three decades of experience in aviation at the control tower of Love Field, who also witnessed it, claimed that he “should know a plane or a start by now, and this wasn’t either”.

Perhaps one of the best sightings, though, came from a meteorologist at the Dallas Weather Station, who would view the object through a six-power telescope. He would state that:

It looked elongated, as it was vertical – standing on end – and it had a definite impression of dimension. At first, it changed color rapidly, from white to blue, and then red and green. Later it remained white with a red spot on the underside.

Of course, this detailed description – viewed through a telescope, no less – matched many of those that had come from the general public. Interestingly, the meteorologist also stated there was a possibility, in his opinion, that “this was a mothership for smaller saucers traveling in our orbit”. Once again, the possibility of an alien mothership is mentioned.

The sighting remains unexplained. However, three days later on the evening of the 9th January, another sighting of a glowing object was observed, this time further west in California.

V-Formation Of Blue-White Lights Over Santa Ana, California

At just before 7:30 pm on the evening of 9th January, the crew of a B-29 bomber over Santa Ana in California [4] witnessed a “V-formation” of “blue-white lights” approach their plane. They matched the plane’s altitude for a few moments before fading away again into the night.

According to pilot Lieutenant Lowell D. Brandt’s statement, it was co-pilot Lieutenant Charles Loveless who had drawn his attention to the lights.

The official report states that the lights “approached the aircraft with such a rapid rate of closure that Brandt started a turn to the left”. As he did so, it appeared the lights were holding their position before they suddenly rose slightly and disappeared in what seemed to be an instant.

In total, the lights were in sight for no more than five seconds. Brandt and Loveless reported they heard no sound whatsoever from the mysterious objects. The weather at the time of the incident was clear, and each pilot was certain what they had seen was not a reflective illusion. Records show that there was no other aircraft in the area at the time of the sighting.

There were also, however, no other witnesses (from the ground) who might have observed the mysterious objects, and there were no reports of the strange objects from the many control towers (military and civilian) in the region.

Around three weeks later, another intriguing sighting occurred on the other side of the United States.

Gray, Oval-Shaped Object Witnessed Over Maine

Just before 10 am on the morning of 29th January, the pilots of an F-94 jet witnessed a “gray oval UFO” over Presque Isle in Maine. According to the report, the pilot, Lieutenant Fred Goetting, would witness the object first, and would quickly alert his Radar Observer, Lieutenant Howard Kelly. The F-94 was flying at an altitude of around 23,000 feet, with the bizarre object slightly above them.

In his statement, [5] Kelly would offer that Goetting had to “point it out repeatedly” before he finally saw the object (he had turned off his set due to “generator difficulties”). He would describe the object as being “thin and oval” and gray in color, elaborating further that it was “well defined and dull-colored” and that it was “not shiny or luminous”.  He would continue that there were “no visible means of propulsion”, nor any “smoke of contrails”.

Goetting would echo these descriptions in his own statement, describing the objects as clearly “oval and thin-shaped” and a “very definitive and clearly defined shape”. He would also, like his co-pilot, claim that the object “did not shine, or give off light”.

Goetting began to give chase to the oval-shaped craft in an attempt to intercept it. However, after several minutes of doing so (covering a distance of around 40 miles), low fuel levels would force him to break off from the chase and return to base. According to the Air Intelligence Information Report, two other, unnamed pilots also witnessed the strange aircraft.

Perhaps questionably, the Blue Book investigators would state that the object was most likely “Venus”, this, despite the time of the sighting and the detailed description from Goetting and Kelly. It was a conclusion that many rejected.

Other Similar Sightings Throughout February 1953

There were several further similar incidents in the opening weeks of February 1953.

For example, on the 1st February at around 9:30 pm over Terre Haute, Indiana, The pilot of a T-33 military [6] plane witnessed a strange moving light that was “changing color from red to blue, to green to yellow”. The pilot would estimate that the light’s altitude varied from 15,000 feet to 30,000 feet and appeared to fly “in a manner similar to conventional aircraft”. What’s more, searchlights from the St. Louis region appeared to pick up the moving lights several times.

Later investigations would reveal that there were several aircraft in the Terre Haute airspace at the time of the incident, both commercial and military. Whether these terrestrial aircraft might have been the “moving lights” or not is not certain, meaning that the sightings are essentially, still unexplained.

Five days later at just after 1:30 pm on the 6th February, a B-36 military plane [7] was traveling over the state of Washington when they sighted a “round, white omnidirectional light”. The light, which was at an altitude of around 7,000 feet, appeared to be rising evenly while also circling the plane. The witness – Major Leo Noffatt – would estimate that the object was moving at approximately 200 miles per hour. The object remained in sight for between three to five minutes.

Noffatt would also report that the light would “blink at two-second intervals”. However, before he had a chance to respond with his own light, the object was out of sight.

Although there were no other aircraft in the area that afternoon, a weather balloon released around 12 hours earlier from Fairchild Air Force Base was thought to have drifted to the region. Although the sighting remains unexplained, it was the determination of the air force that the object was “probably” a balloon.

Even More Similar Sightings Further Afield

Around the same time as these incidents around the United States, other similar sightings of strange objects and lights were taking place in destinations further afield around the globe. For example, at around 11 am on the morning of 6th February, a United States Air Force Officer in charge of the Weather Bureau Station on Truk Island [8] reported seeing a shiny “bullet-shaped” object moving at a speed of around 150 miles per hour and at an altitude of around 500 feet.

He would further estimate that the object was approximately three to four miles from his location and was “slightly larger than a C-47 aircraft”. However, the object had “no noticeable wings or tail section” and appeared to be made of “highly polished metal” as it shined brilliantly in the morning sky.

Despite the witness clearly stating he could not make out any wings or tail section, not to mention how fantastically it shone, the military investigation claimed that Guam flight records show that a C-47 was in the region at approximately the same time as the sighting, elaborating that the “bright sun” could very well have “distorting the normal features” of the plane. What the object might have been remains open to discussion.

The following day at a little after 9:20 pm in Okinawa the crew of an F-94 witnessed a “bright orange object” that changed color from “red to green” several times, sometimes both at the same time, until changing color to white with occasional red and green flashes, before finally glowing a steady, uninterrupted white.

In the Air Intelligence Information Report, the radar at a control tower over 160 miles away also registered an unidentified object, but only very briefly. After one sweep, the object had disappeared from the monitor. The pilot continued to view the object, both with the naked eye and with binoculars.

The crew, however – all of whom witnessed the strange object – were undecided on certain details of the sighting. Some, for example, claimed the object was “whirring” while hovering, while others thought it was motionless. Although the sighting is unexplained, the investigation would suggest it could have been a weather balloon as many had been released from multiple global weather stations at the time.

Four nights later, the crew of an Air Force C-119 [9] aircraft traveling between Tunis to Tripoli on the 11th of February witnessed a strange object that began following their aircraft at just before 9 pm. According to the since unclassified report, the “object appeared very bright with a halo of diffused light surrounding it”.

The crew noticed the strange glowing object off their right wing and appeared to follow them for just short of an hour before it began to descend. Although two of the crew members were not certain what the object was, the remaining four believed it was something out of the ordinary and “definitely not a star”. According to the Blue Book investigation, however, the sighting was likely, Venus.

Crew Of B-36 Witness Three Strange Lights Carswell Air Force Base, Fort Worth, Texas

Two days later at 2:35 am on the 13th of February, back in the United States, the pilots and crew [10] of a B-36 aircraft over Carswell Air Force Base at Fort Worth in Texas witnessed three strange lights approaching their aircraft.

With “clear and calm” weather at the time of the sighting, the details of the objects were very clear to the witnesses. Each glowed white with the same intensity, and each had a blue-green light in the middle.

When they first appeared, they were “stacked in vertical echelon” approximately 500 feet apart. As the crew watched them, they noticed how one of the lights suddenly accelerated toward them before coming to a complete stop. The remaining two lights did the same moments later. The lights continued to move around in a controlled manner, before moving away at great speed, climbing vertically.

In total, the glowing objects remained in sight for around 15 minutes before disappearing. Much like the other sightings during this period between the end of 1952 and the start of 1953, the incident remains without explanation.

These Repeated Sightings Must Mean Something!

As we asked in the opening paragraphs, was there an effort by an extraterrestrial presence to monitor the military activities of the United States, and possibly those of other countries during this time? If that is the case, what might the reasons be for such an alien mission?

Might these potential alien races, as many UFO researchers have suggested over the years, have been alerted to the sudden destructive capabilities of humanity following the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945? Is this the reason for the sudden surge in UFO sightings in the late 1940s that continued into the fifties and beyond? And might this be why there is an apparent specific interest in military and nuclear facilities by these apparent cosmic visitors?

Or might it be that such an interest in military hardware was a chance for these possible aliens to “size-up” the military weight of the human race, perhaps to assess how we might respond if they should attack? Given that we would suspect these extraterrestrial visitors would have technology – including weapons – light years ahead of our own, the fact no such attack has happened might suggest they are not aggressive and warlike.

Or might these speculative alien assessments have led to the claimed secret meetings between world leaders, specifically those of the United States, which led to an equally secret deal between humanity and this alien race?

Of course, all of the above is speculation. What we know for certain, though, is that multiple trained pilots witnessed something very strange that, for the most part, they couldn’t explain. Nor could, despite “probable” explanations put forward by them, Blue Book investigators. We should perhaps remind ourselves of the desire of those at the top of Project Blue Book to undermine the sightings they were investigating.

The short video below looks at some of the best UFO sightings from history.


1 B-29 Bomber UFO Sighting, NICAP Report
2 Laredo Air Force Base UFO, Texas, NICAP
3 Dallas UFO Report 1953, Project Bluebook
4 Santa Ana UFO Report 1953, NICAP
5 Presque Isle UFO Report, NICAP
6 Terre Haute UFO Report 1953, NICAP
7 Rosalia UFO 1953, NICAP
8 Truk Island UFO Report 1953, NICAP
9 Air Force C-119 UFO Sighting 1953, NICAP
10 Carswell AFB UFO Sighting, 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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1 Comment

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  • Doc says:

    Recently on a Thursday night coming back from Xenia, OH on a backroad known as Sabina Road which abuts to Rte 72 South of Bloomingburg I saw a strange oval or disk shaped craft emitting brilliant red circular array of luminesence emitting from a strange object of undetermined height traveling North over farmland, I slowed down to observe it for several seconds. A back road in rural OH is unlit and dangerous to navigate in the dark. Wished I had been able to more directly observe it, but it in a matter of seconds vanished. WTF it was is perplexing and left me

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