The Farmington, New Mexico UFO Armada Case

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
June 10, 2019
Last Updated
October 24, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
8 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

When we see the word armada most of us will imagine a fleet of warships on the open waters. However, over a three-day period in 1950 in Farmington, New Mexico, in broad daylight, no less, over a thousand residents of the area witnessed instead, a fleet of “flying saucers” – anywhere from 200 to 500 in total – hovering and maneuvering in the skies above them.

Given that the state of New Mexico, and indeed the entire United States was less than three years removed from the famous Roswell Incident, it is easy to see how this incident would have caused a mixture of panic and interest.

A depiction of UFOs over a New Mexico street

Did multiple alien crafts appear over New Mexico over several days in 1950?

What is perhaps strange, then, is the fact that today, almost 70 years later, despite the obviously bizarre nature of the affair, it remains far from adequately investigated – certainly by official government channels.

And while it occurred before the setting up of Project Blue Book, given the fact it took place over a three-day period, combined with the sheer volume of witnesses, this is still quite surprising – or perhaps even suspicious. Maybe particularly so when we factor in the declassified military and intelligence documents that have come to light since.

Just what did take place during those three days in March 1950? And what, if anything, did the United States’ government – or shadow aspects of it – know of the events?

Just South Of The Intriguing “Four Corners” Area

In fact, the location itself would appear to be of particular interest to the case. The small town of Farmington – which in 1950 had a population of no more than 5,000 people and likely less than 4,000 – sits in the upper northwest of the state of New Mexico. It is a mere 60 miles from the famous Four Corners region of the United States – where the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet.

Should you wish to do so, at the point of this meeting, one could place two feet in two states and two hands in the remaining two states, at least in theory.

Many Native American tribes going back hundreds of years consider the area to be absolutely sacred – as well as an area to be treated with the utmost respect. Indeed, we have examined the legends of Skinwalker Ranch and the skinwalkers themselves.

New Mexico has a long history of UFO sightings

New Mexico has a long history of UFO sightings

Many people from the New Age movements and spiritualists believe the crossing points create a “healing energy”, while some even suggest that these energies open portals or gateways to another world, dimension, or some other realm of existence.

This last point is perhaps most interesting, not only given the fact that UFO sightings are reasonably high in all four states that border the Four Corners region (with some claiming Colorado is even home to human-alien bases deep under the mountainous terrain).

We have written before, for example, of the alleged Aztec UFO crash which occurred less than two years before the Farmington incident of March 1950.

Might, then, the location itself have more to do with the bizarre incidents that were about to unfold than most would suspect.

Multiple Objects With “Fuzzy Outlines” Moving Across The Sky

UFO researcher, David Marler [1] has extensively investigated the Farmington Armada case. The many sightings and reports over the three-day period ran between 16th and 18th March 1952 (some sources list the dates as 17th to 19th March). It would appear that after beginning during the daytime on the Thursday (16th) before continuing overnight and into the Friday (17th) and then overnight to the Saturday (18th), by which time the sightings were slowing somewhat.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing of these sightings, and certainly one of the most detailed, is also one of the first, that of Marlo Webb. Marler would speak to Webb in 2016, relaying that despite his grand age of over 90 years, he still had a very “sharp” mind. And of interest to us here, he recalls in detail the events of that morning perfectly.

A depiction of multiple UFOs over New Mexico

Many of the witnesses described the same details

He worked in the Parts Department of the Perry Smoak Chevrolet Garage. On this particular morning at a little after 11 am he would notice several people stood outside near the gas pumps on the forecourt. Of more interest, they were seemingly looking and pointing upwards to the sky.

He made his way out of the building, knowing something unusual was taking place. When he stepped outside and turned his gaze upwards, he saw 15 to 20 “objects” moving out of the east and towards the west. Despite the abundance of these strange crafts, Webb recalls they made no noise whatsoever.

Furthermore, there was an obvious intelligence about them as they remained in a purposeful and tight formation, occasionally making extremely tight turns. Perhaps most intriguing was the fact the objects had a “fuzzy outline” to them making it hard to pinpoint any particular color. They remained in sight for around 10 minutes.

An Open Investigation Or An Ominous But Discreet Suppression?

Webb would claim to simply return to work following the sighting. Furthermore, he was visited and interviewed by military personnel in the days that followed. He would claim he was free to speak as he wished and received no threats from his interviewers and has spoken of the incident many times since.

As with many UFO sightings, though, rumors of intimidation and warnings to “stay quiet” would circulate around the area. Whether there is any truth to such rumors is perhaps up for debate. As is whether the local and state newspapers were “asked” to not print any more stories of the incident.

What is perhaps interesting about this last charge is that this request is said to have been issued at some time during 18th March. And while a story had appeared that day in the Farmington newspapers, no follow-ups of the incident seemed to appear.

A newspaper clipping of the incident

A newspaper clipping of the incident

Perhaps even more bizarre were the claims of discreet warnings from equally discreet government agencies. Using “national security” as a way of encouraging silence, as was the citizen’s duty. Maybe equally bizarre are the claims of all copies of the aforementioned newspapers “going missing” from the stands and stalls around Farmington.

While this is purely speculation, there have been several other cases where “damage control” is put into operation. Including the limiting of what stories appear concerning the incidents. Especially at such sightings where smaller, local newspapers are the target.

Whether these conspiracies of intimidation and information control have any truth to them remains unknown. There were, however, many, many more witnesses with encounters to tell. Many of whom would witness the events of almost 24 hours later.

The Second Day – “Hundreds Of Objects” Over Farmington

At just after 10 am on 17th March, the first reports of a group of “flying saucers” came into police switchboard. Reports ranged from five to nine objects seemingly heading in a northeast direction. By 10:30 am, “hundreds of objects” were visible west from the center of town. As the reports streamed in, several would make reference to some of the objects being involved in a “tussle” or “dogfight” overhead.

Many of the reports featured the objects called “silvery discs”. With several more specifically stating that a larger, red disc was an obvious leader of these apparent battle-ready cosmic squadron.

A depiction of multiple UFOs over Farrmington

A depiction of multiple UFOs over Farrmington

One witness, 32-year-old, Clayton Boddy, who worked for the Farmington Times and had experience in the Army Engineers was just one who noticed these strange objects. After witnessing several of these strange crafts travel overhead, he was suddenly in awe as the sky filled with these bizarre aerial anomalies. He would state:

Moments later there appeared what seemed to be about 500 of them!

He would estimate the objects were at an altitude of 15,000 feet, although he couldn’t estimate their speed or size. Incidentally, four other witnesses would corroborate the sighting of Boddy.

Later that same afternoon, at a little after 3 pm, came further reports of strange objects flying in tight formations. One such witness, Edward Brooks – a former B-29-tail-gunner – was adamant that the objects were “not airplanes”. He would state:

The very maneuvering of the things couldn’t be that of modern aircraft!

This was something another witness would notice. John Bloomfield would estimate the objects were traveling around “10 times faster” than modern jet planes. He would elaborate on how they “came at each other head-on” only to avoid each other at the last moment.

Virgil Riggs – Objects “From Horizon To Horizon Like A Quilt Of Double-Six Dominos!”

Although he was only 8 years old at the time, Virgil Riggs would witness the objects from outside the Aztec Elementary School – at least on the first two days. He would state over 60 years later at a MUFON presentation in New Mexico that:

All these square-looking formations (appeared) in the sky. They were made up of dots, and the dots would shift from one formation to another. The first day there were a few. The second day there were too many to count, and the third day there were maybe 30 or 40! [2]

Riggs would elaborate that on the second day the objects were across the sky “from horizon to horizon”. He would further describe this scene as looking like a “quilt pattern of double-six dominos”.

You can see a visual representation of how the sky looked to Riggs below.

How Riggs claimed the sky looked - full of bright UFOs

How Riggs claimed the sky looked – full of bright UFOs

He would speak also of witnessing objects moving from one formation into another. So forcing one of the existing objects to move as a consequence. This was replicated across the sky as objects forced their way into formations. Almost giving the impression that the sky was alive. Riggs would remember he and his friends “thought it was pretty cool”.

Riggs would further recall, certainly from his perspective, of the children essentially taking the sightings very much in their stride. Even feeling “disappointed when they went away”. He claimed that neither he nor his friends felt threatened at any time during the sightings.

2,000 Feet High And Moving 1,000 Miles Per Hour!

One of the most intriguing witness statements would come from local resident, Harold Thatcher. Not least as he claimed to have successfully worked out the “triangulation” of the crafts. He would claim that if the anomalous objects were a B-29 plane, it would’ve been “2,000 feet in the air. And traveling more than 1,000 miles per hour”. He would further state:

I’m not a professional engineer. But I have engineers working under me and I know how to work out rough triangulation on an object!

Indeed, those speeds and the maneuvers that were made at them were unthinkable for conventional aircraft.

A depiction of UFOs over a New Mexico road

Why were so many UFOs witnessed over that three day period

Perhaps also of interest, if only as another example of how the mind of Dr. Donald Menzel worked – in that he would seemingly grasp at anything at all that would have even the tiniest chance of explaining such sightings and then run with it against all common sense – is his “explanation” that the hundreds of flying saucers were actually “fragments” from an exploded high-altitude Skyhook balloon.

He would claim that this had launched from nearby Holloman Air Force Base on the morning of 17th March. And subsequently “ruptured” shortly after.

Of course, this wouldn’t explain the sightings of the previous day. Nor would they explain the sightings the day after. In short, the explanation doesn’t hold water. Not least when it came to light years later there was no launch of a Skyhook Balloon at the time.

Why Such A Prominent, Repeated, Purposeful Display?

The case appears to be one so bizarre that it is hard to believe it doesn’t occupy a larger place in the collective memory of the American people. As well the UFO community as a whole. Especially as we know for certain that “something” happened during that three-day period in New Mexico in March 1950.

Might this 3-day spectacle be the same as the apparent UFO battles witnessed over Nuremberg and Basel in the mid-1560s? Should we take the reports of “tussles” and “dogfights” at face value? Or were they merely a “display” from these strange crafts?

Should we perhaps return our attention to the claims of Native tribes? Or perhaps modern mystics and spiritualists? Those who believe that a special energy vortex resides in the area? Might such a vortex have been active, for some unknown reason, during that 3-day period? And so allowing these strange crafts access into our plain of existence from a realm equally unknown?

Given the sheer volume of crafts witnessed – especially on the second day of the sighting – it is unlikely the incident is some kind of government-sponsored secret military project. Might it be, then, that the glowing “saucers” witnessed by multiple residents of Farmington were indeed extraterrestrial visitors from elsewhere in the universe?

If that’s the case, then we need to ask what was the purpose of such a public display? Was the intention for us to see the display? Or were the spectators merely a byproduct of some unknown (to us) operation?

Check out the video below. It looks at this most fascinating case in a little more detail.


1 The Flying Saucer Invasion of 1950 – Farmington, New Mexico and Beyond, David Marler, UFO Researcher
2 ‘Half of this town’s population still is certain today that it saw space ships’: Recalling the Farmington Armada UFO incident, Amanda Push, DGO Mag, November 15th, 2018

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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  • Ann says:

    I saw one day of the Farmington fly over. It was real. It wasn’t cotton flying, it wasn’t weather baloons. We were out on the play groune for recess & someone looked up & saw the dancing circular sparkling in the sun objects. Soon all of us were looking up, fascinatred by the display. It was a mesmerizing display of objects moving around one another high in the air. Our teachers thought they were unknown aircraft (including my teacher who had just exited the Air Forse.) The teachers husled usinto th4 building & I heard one of them say, in case the crafts dropped bombs. I don’t know why photos haven’t shown up but I know it was “quickly” rumored around town: it’s not safe to talk about it, keep quiet.) Of course we did talk… but only to trusted friends & family. It was a different time, when government was still trusted & people were patriotic & loyal to our countries interests. People were struggling to make a living & had little interest in anything else. People didn’t “refuse to comply” very much, back there & back then. People who didn’t comply didn’t stay in ’50’s Farminton very long back then, (But that is another tight knit small town story.) Be assured it happened & I’m sure some people are still alive who saw it.

  • Marilyn Ann Hudson says:

    Given the fact so much of this case was concealed, it leads one to believe it was another hushed up event. Lack of photos means nothing, as the AF had several very good photos that they either ignored, labeled lens flares, bad processing, or hoaxes (even when their own attempts to reproduce them failed miserably). Numerous files in Project Blue Book list photos that not included in the files, have letters from people wanting their photos or negatives back, and repeated claims they USAF did not have them only to later find them. Then rushing through a hurried “analysis” of a photo of a phot and label it a hoax or a error in development. In that time and place, with the FBI and AF “interrogating” people and ridiculing them and threatening people, it was easier to destroy the evidence.

  • Philip Dawes says:

    What completely discredits the validity of the claimed Farmington UFO Armada in March 1950 is the lack of photographs of the UFOs from witnesses. It was said that the town of Farmington had between 4,000 to 5,000 residents at that time, and the UFO Armada happened over a three day period. The town had a daily newspaper titled Farmington Daily Times. They would have had at least one resident photographer, but they did not print any photos of any of the UFOs over the three days. What’s more is that none of the residents of the town photographed the UFOs. Even if there was a government cover-up to quash information of the UFO Armada, there would have been at least one resident refusing to comply. But nothing! Only claims and speculation.

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