One curious corner of the UFO phenomenon is not what goes on up in our skies, but rather what seems to be going on beneath the seas of our world. Called Unidentified Submersible Objects, or USOs, these are those unidentified objects seen whizzing and zipping about beneath the waves of our oceans and lakes, and while they are rarer than traditional airborne UFOs, they are a curious subspecies of a larger phenomenon. Seeing as these strange underseas craft are supposedly roaming about our waters, it seems only reasonable to assume that Navies have at some point encountered them, and this is true. Indeed, such encounters constitute some of the more believable of reports, with various reliable witnesses with nothing to gain from lying coming forth with such stories. And so here we delve into some strange and often harrowing encounters between military forces and strange underwater forces we may never understand, and for which their training has not prepared them for.
In 1966 there was a rather strange series of events seen from the Navy submarine the USS Tiru SS-416. The sub had left Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, and was on its way to Seattle, Washington, where it was to be docked for several days before being moved to a bay in order to carry out some torpedo exercises. During the journey towards Seattle, on one afternoon the lookout reported something strange in the sky about 2 miles distant, and he called others to come check it out even as the radar station began to pick up an anomalous contact. One of the witnesses, a crew member named Jim Speiser, would tell of what happened to UFO Casebook:
The lookout refused to tell the OOD what it was that he had seen and instead insisted that the starboard lookout and the OOD both look at that area. The three men looked through their binoculars toward the area reported and were astounded to see a metal craft larger than a football field tumble from the clouds into the ocean. It actually tumbled end over end and when it hit the water and sank beneath the ocean huge geysers of water rose into the air. When the port lookout was sure that the others had seen it he then told the OOD that he had seen it tumble from the ocean up into the clouds. The OOD and the starboard lookout were speechless. Within a few minutes, however, they all became excited when it again rose from the water and tumbled up into the cloud layer.
After this the sub managed to reach its destination without further incident, and none of the multiple witnesses have any explanation for what they saw out there. Another such incident happened 1991, off the west coast of South America. The case, which I have reported on before and was reported to the files of the site UFO Casebook, comes from a witness who claims that at the time he had been an operations and intelligence petty officer serving aboard the Knox-class destroyer escort the USS Kirk FF1087, and that they had been part of a drug interdiction force, which consisted of the USS Kirk and three other Naval vessels. Their primary mission was to patrol using a network of radar to track and then intercept drug-running aircraft flying out of Columbia, Panama and Guatemala, as well as to engage any smuggling ships they were able to find. The witness says that his primary duties took place within the CIC, or the Combat Information Center, which he and 22 other specialists manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with them rotating between two 11-man shifts.
The witness claims that he was on CIC duty at 2 a.m. on the morning of December 16, and it was a quiet night with nothing going on. He says he took a break to go up to the ship’s bridge, and at the time the entire vessel was in a state called “darkened ship,” with all of the exterior lights turned off, as well as those on the bridge, meaning the area was only faintly illuminated by instrument panels. He began talking casually with the officer of the deck, and this is when things would suddenly get weird. He says:
All of a sudden and out of nowhere, like a huge flash from a camera, emanating from the starboard bow sea level upward was a huge flash of red glowing light, which lit up our entire ship. It only lit up our ship, not the surrounding ocean, just our ship. It happened so fast, that the OOD, the navigator and I were speechless for about 5 seconds, at which time I looked at the OOD and asked him if he just saw that light. He stated yes in a sullen voice. I then asked the navigator and he replied yes. I then took the navigator’s sound powered headset, and asked the forward and aft look outs, if they had just seen the same red flash, to which the forward look out stated, “YES! WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?” Aft lookout said yes as well. I then immediately contacted CIC, and asked the CIC officer if we had any aircraft or surface ships in our vicinity, to which he replied clear as a whistle. I asked if we had any submarine activity in the area, to which he replied, no.
What had just happened did not make any sense. The flash emanated from the sea, directly off of our starboard bow (like it was touching our bow), and ascended upwardly so rapidly, creating the effect of the bright red flash. The other weird aspect of this event was that only our ship was lit up within the red flash, not the surrounding sea, but our vessel only. Up until this event, I did not believe in UFOs or USOs. I have no doubt that our ship, steaming along at 12 knots, came right up on a submerged unidentifiable aircraft. I don’t think the aircraft or USO had any idea we were sailing up to them. I think whatever it was, took off in a very unplanned and fast manner, and wanted to quickly identify us, thus the flash.
In the end, after much consideration they decided not to wake the captain, merely logging it as an “unexplained phenomenon.” Another Naval submarine encounter supposedly occurred in October of 1989, aboard the USS Memphis. On October 24 of that year, the sub was on an assignment to secure the shuttle launch pad in Florida, patrolling about 150 miles off the coast when something very large was picked up on sonar approaching them at a fast pace. As it did, apparently the instrumentation on the submarine and operations on the ship in general went absolutely haywire, and the witness would say of this:
The ship was malfunctioning, our tanks were blowing out of control, we were losing navigation ability and the communications area was totally lost. We went to all stop and tried to access what was happening. The controls in the reactor area started to malfunction. This presented a serious danger to our safety, so the captain ordered us to shut down the reactor, surface and go to diesel motors. When the ship surfaced I went to my watch station. The ship was still experiencing electronic difficulties but the mechanical devices such as diesel engines, cook stoves, and turbines were fine.
The ordeal wasn’t over for them, because whatever had caused the disturbance then emerged from the water, an inverted V-shaped craft of some kind, and it was described as absolutely massive. The witness would say of what happened next:
This huge vessel was over a half mile across. The UFO made a half circle around our ship then passed across the stern causing our electronics systems to go crazy. We had permanent damage in communications and the sonar room. As the craft flew over the stern, I could see the rain stop under its red glow. The water seemed to rise almost a foot as the UFO passed over silently. When the UFO finished its swing across the stern it paused – the sky got brighter red and it simply moved off at tremendous speed inside 15 seconds. When the UFO left, our boat returned to normal with the exception of the radio and sonar. We did a quick system check and the captain ordered us to return to reactor power and get underway. The captain took two petty officers, the executive officer, and myself into the wardroom. He told us to not spread any rumors until we had a chance to talk to Commander Submarine Fleet – Atlantic.
We reached port in about 7 hours where I was taken into “protective custody.” Two enlisted men and myself agreed we had witnessed a real UFO. I was the one who shot it with a laser range finder, so I was the only one that had its exact sizes. I shot that vessel as it hovered and I got solid readings, not spotty like I would on debris. We were in holding for about three hours when an officer from the Air Force arrived and gave us a line of bull about an exploding weather satellite. The Navy then transferred virtually everyone on the crew to new assignments. This included the captain, the executive officer and the entire crew. They were split up which almost never happens unless one of them gets a promotion or a new command, neither of which happened.
More recently there was a report from E-4 Petty Officer John Baughman, who was stationed onboard the USS Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class supercarrier, in 2010. At the time, the ship was off the coast of Haiti delivering humanitarian aid to the region, which had just suffered a catastrophic earthquake. On this day, he was taking break and sitting on the SAM Launcher Deck, just looking out across the water, something he often did and during which time he’d see “everything from sharks, dolphins and whales to giant squids, sea turtles, and swordfish,” but on this occasion he’d see something altogether stranger. He would say of what happened and his thoughts on the matter:
I was staring into the water from above when a large, fat, white ‘Tic Tac’ object, approximately twenty feet in length, suddenly appeared in my view below me, moving right and darted into the depths as fast as it appeared. I had a pretty good reference point on how big or deep something was in the water, especially when you can see the water line on the side of the ship. I couldn’t really comprehend what I saw. It was definitely a solid object, but when it descended, its forward end rapidly collapsed in on itself and disappeared. It’s hard to come to grips with something like this, and I still feel somewhat insecure about it because it doesn’t make sense. It could have been just about anything. Rapidly moving flotsam with a keen ability to completely disappear, very large albino shark or an albino whale. Could even be an optical illusion, but it cast its own shadow and that’s how I was able to perceive it as a solid object. But at the same time, more data points, even as basic as my story, could help solve the mystery of whether they’re foreign adversaries playing mind games, non-human entities, or the myriad of other possibilities.
What was this thing? When he reported it to his superior, it was apparently just brushed off and not taken very seriously. What did Baughman really see out there? Who knows? Some interesting cases of USOs have been reported by personnel within the US Navy as well, from which there has been footage released showing UFOs entering the water. Chief among the proposed evidence for this is a video taken off the coast of San Diego in July of 2019 by crew aboard the USS Omaha. The video, which was released by UFO researcher and investigative filmmaker Jeremy Corbell, shows a spherical object fly over the vessel before coming down to make a controlled descent into the water, with a crewmember heard to exclaim “Wow, it splashed!” You can see a report with the footage here. The video caused quite a stir online, but it would become even more interesting when Corbell claimed that a Navy sub had been sent to find the object but came up empty-handed, and information would come out that at around the same time that US submarines had also been picking up other mysterious and anomalous objects underwater in the area that seemed to defy physics as we know them. The Navy confirmed that the footage was authentic and unexplained, and the Washington Examiner’s Tom Rogan has said of this in connection with the USS Omaha footage:
Relevant to this video, an area we will learn more about is the interaction between US Navy submarines – nuclear ballistic submarines and attack submarines – picking up sonar contact of things moving at hundreds of knots under the water. There is an undersea dimension to this, on top of what the pilots are seeing above water. Hundreds of knots under water? I don’t think people can even digest that. That is what I have heard from very good sources and that the US Navy has the data.
This was only one sighting among many UFOs also being seen in the area in a flurry strange activity, including fast-moving “tic-tac” UFO that was also filmed, a “flying pyramid” that was also caught on film, and others. Indeed, videos and photos of these events leaked and began doing heavy rounds online, to the point that the military had no choice but to address it all. One Pentagon spokesperson would say of it all:
I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel. The UAPTF has included these incidents in their ongoing examinations. As we have said before, to maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to potential adversaries, DOD does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examinations of reported incursions into our training ranges or designated airspace, including those incursions initially designated as UAP.
Still from the USS Omaha footage
It seems that it is not only the Americans who have to deal with these underwater objects, as the Russian Navy also have several cases of this sort of thing going on. One case comes from a Vladimir Nikolayevich Chernavin, who is an alleged ex- Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Navy. Among his many strange claims, such as that USOs had been harassing Russian subs since as far back as 1947 and that the objects were exploring underwater caves in Antarctica, he also claims that he had his own experience with one of these objects. Of which he says:
I saw this phenomenon, including when I was captain of the submarine during our time in the Atlantic and the Caribbean, I clearly saw a flying object over one of our Soviet positions appearing in various forms, but mainly in the form of a round hat. It was especially glowing, this light was changing, but the dish was moving at a tremendous speed, then it would stay hovering in one place and disappear immediately to appear in another place, and then dive into the water and disappear from view, and after a while it came out of the water but in another way, we were watching like this phenomenon, as I saw it, the extraordinary phenomena cannot be ignored.
British UFO investigator Philip Mantle has mentioned several such cases involving Soviet submarines in his book Russia’s USO Secrets, which is based on information coming from declassified documents and testimony from Russian military veterans. One such account comes from former nuclear submarine commander Yury Beketov, who says his submarine was doing maneuvers somewhere near the Bermuda Triangle when they had a strange encounter, of which he says:
We repeatedly observed that the instruments detected the movements of material objects at unimaginable speed, around 230 knots (400 km per hour). It’s hard to reach that speed on the surface – only in the air is it possible. The beings that created those material objects significantly exceed us in development.
A particular harrowing report mentioned in the book allegedly happened in 1951, when a Soviet submarine encountered a massive underwater object, which measured 200-250 meters long and was supposedly rising from the depths as it headed towards shore. According to the account, the captain actually ordered depth charges to be dropped on the object, which seemed to have no effect, but which nevertheless caused it to stop its ascent, change course, and head out to deeper water at great speed. What are we dealing with in cases like these, with such inscrutable objects that even the military is unable to deal with? How can we even begin to fathom the forces behind such encounters, or possibly understand the technology that must be involved to allow for what is being seen? In some cases these mysterious craft seem to defy the very laws of physics as we know them, with Lue Elizondo, former director of the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, saying of this:
Imagine a technology that can do 6-700 g-forces, which can fly at 13,000 miles per hour, which can evade radar and which can fly through air and water and eventually. in the space. And oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet can still defy the natural effects of Earth’s gravity. This is precisely what we are seeing.
The veracity of these reports seems to be sound, as we are dealing with seasoned Naval personnel who know the sea and what can be expected to be found out there. What are we dealing with here? What are these mysterious craft that seem to be taunting even heavily armed military vessels? Where are they from and what do they want? It remains unknown, but with the increasing admittance by the Navy that these things are really out there it really raises cause for wonder, and perhaps even cause for concern. As most people blissfully go about their everyday lives, this stuff is happening out there, unexplained and evading understanding. Perhaps time will tell what it all means.