FIRE BALL OVER GREAT LAKES NAVAL STATION
In early May of 1969, I was on active duty at Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. I had been “lucky” enough to be assigned sentry duty at my barracks from 24:00 to 04:00 (12:00 am to 4:00 am).
My post was the 3rd floor balcony on the end of one of the many identical barracks buildings in that sector. All of the buildings were exactly the same: 3 stories tall, about 30 feet wide, and 150 feet in length.
The long sides of these buildings faced each other, and between them were “alleys” about 30 to 35 feet wide, for facilitation of vehicle traffic, if need be.
The night was very clear and cool, and I was grateful there was no wind. I was anxious for my duty to be over, and kept glancing at my watch to hurry the passage of time. This is what I was doing at exactly 03:11, when the silence of the night was shattered by the cry of “INCOMING!” from the sentry on the building to my left.
I swear I jumped about a foot! I took my eyes from the watch face, and saw him pointing frantically up at the sky at an angle of about 45 degrees above the horizon directly away from our position on the end of the buildings.
Then I saw what he meant. There, falling from the sky, making a noise that sounded like a loose sail flapping in a high wind, was a flaming orange ball of fire! And worst of all, it was headed directly at US!
My first thought was “Meteor!” and my second was “We’re going to die!”
At least it was going to be a quick death, because it was upon us in less than 3 seconds. I just stood there with my jaw dropped, and waited for the impact that was certain to come.
But it never did! At the height of about 10 feet above the ground, exactly half-way between the other sentry and I, it JUST STOPPED DEAD!
I thought “This must be what they mean when they say your whole life passes before your eyes just before you die.” But my life didn’t pass before my eyes. I was standing there looking down at the molten, boiling surface of a totally silent sphere approximately 18 to 20 feet in diameter, and it was beginning to move.
It is important to note that I felt no heat from the object at any time, and I could ascertain no “hot” smell whatsoever.
It didn’t start with a jerk, but smoothly picked up speed from a standstill until it was moving at the rate of about 5 feet per second on a perfectly horizontal flight- path between the barracks I was on, and the one on my left where the other sentry stood guard. It didn’t spin or rotate as it passed by me.
The top of the sphere was about waist-high and at a distance of less than 25 feet at its closest point.
It continued on this path until I could no longer see it, as the balcony wasn’t as wide as the building I was standing on. I did, however, continue to watch the glow from it reflect between the buildings for several more seconds, until it slowly dimmed into nothingness.
I never saw it ascend, but, as I explained, the building blocked my view.
When it was gone I checked the time: 03:11 and 40 seconds.
After a few seconds, I looked over at the other sentry and said “What should we do now?”
He looked back, shook his head as if he were trying to clear his thoughts, and said “Well, we sure as (expletive) aren’t going to report THAT!”
Being only 17 at the time, I went along with his advise. I think it’s time I told someone, so here it is.
I can still see the fireball when I close my eyes. I thought I would never see anything like it again in my life, but I was wrong!
Over 30 years later, just by chance, my brother asked me to give him my opinion on something strange that was on a video tape one of his customers had mailed him.
My brother is a master gunsmith, and the customer had sent him scenes shot at a “machine gun shoot” in Alabama.
There, about 2 minutes into the footage, the cameraman had turned his attention skyward as people around him were asking what that was “up there.”
My blood ran cold as the image came into focus. It still runs cold as I remember it, now.
There, hovering about 75 feet over the crowd, was the TWIN TO MY FIREBALL!
I am still trying to obtain the footage from him, but to no avail as yet.
U.S. Navy Vet
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