Five US sailors speak out 15 years after the USS Nimitz UFO encounters and say videos of mysterious flying ‘Tic Tac’ objects were turned over to ‘unknown officials’ and evidence was destroyed

  • Gary Voorhis, Jason Turner, Patrick Hughes, Ryan Weigelt, and Kevin Day served in the US Navy during the USS Nimitz UFO encounters in 2004
  • The five have now come forward saying electronic data that recorded the ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ was taken by ‘unknown individuals’ 
  • Previously, the incident was only backed by a grainy, black-and-white video of the ‘Tic Tac’-shaped objects and a former Topgun fighter pilot eyewitness’ story 
  • The sailors say they too were witness to when Navy fighter jets were harassed and outperformed by the UFOs off the South California coast
  • After the data tapes were confiscated by the mysterious individuals, ship recorders also were wiped clean, say the new witnesses

Five men who served in the US Navy have come forward to say they witnessed the mysterious ‘Tic Tac’-shaped, unidentified flying objects that harassed and outperformed fighter jets off the coast of Southern California in 2004.

The witnesses also claim that two mysterious individuals confiscated videos of the incident, and that all other evidence at the time was wiped from data recording equipment. 

Gary Voorhis, Jason Turner, Patrick Hughes, Ryan Weigelt and Kevin Day say they were enlisted in the Navy when the USS Nimitz UFO encounters happened in November 2004.

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Kevin Day (pictured) as senior chief operations specialist on the USS Princeton said that on or around November 10, about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego, he noticed ‘weird’ radar tracks near the area of San Clemente Island

Ryan Weigelt (pictured left) was the leading petty officer and power plant specialist for an SH-60B ‘Seahawk’ helicopter aboard the USS Princeton says by chance he saw video footage of an F/A-18 trying to keep up with the elusive Tic Tac. Gary Voorhis (pictured right) says he caught a glimpse of the USS Princeton’s advanced tracking systems to look at the unidentified flying objects

A black and white grainy video taken from an F/A-18F Super Hornet in November 2004 shows a mysterious unidentified flying object that outmaneuvered the powerful fighter jet. An image from the video is shown

Previously, the mysterious incident was only backed by a grainy, black-and-white video taken by fighter jets when they encountered what the Navy acknowledged was an ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’, and an eyewitness account given by one of the pilots of the aircraft, reports Popular Mechanics. 

That witness, Navy Commander David Fravor, has expressed doubt over the accuracy of the stories the five have told about the incident. 

In response, the five say its disappointing to learn Fravor believes their accounts are inaccurate. However, they stand by their claims and insist the only reason they went public was to support Fravor and their fellow sailors. 

‘That’s what it’s always been about since day one,’ Turner, a former petty officer aboard the USS Princeton says. 

Voorhis, also a petty officer on the Princeton, which was a part of the USS Nimitz carrier group, said he heard radar technicians on the vessel saying they were getting ‘ghost tracks’ and ‘clutter on the radar, reports Popular Mechanics.

As the only system technician on board, Voorhis said a possible malfunction was a concern and that the high-tech hardware was recalibrated because of what was assumed were false radar returns.

‘Once we finished all the recalibration and brought it back up, the tracks were actually sharper and clearer’, Voorhis says. 

‘Sometimes they’d be at an altitude of 80,000 or 60,000 feet. Other times they’d be around 30,000 feet, going like 100 knots’, he recalls of the radar readings. 

Day, who was in the Princeton’s Combat Information Center serving as an operations specialist senior chief, was watching over the airspace, in charge of protecting the strike group. 

‘My job was to man the radars and ID everything that flew in the skies’, Day said in the documentary film The Nimitz Encounters.

Day said that on or around November 10, about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego, he noticed ‘weird’ radar tracks near the area of San Clemente Island.

‘The reason why I say they’re weird [is] because they were appearing in groups of five to 10 at a time and they were pretty closely spaced to each other. And there were 28,000 feet going a hundred knots tracking south,’ Day said in the documentary.

Weigelt, in a YouTube clip, who at the time was the former leading petty officer and power plant specialist for an SH-60B ‘Seahawk’ helicopter, remember hearing Day’s name being called over the Princeton’s communications system.

‘Senior Chief Day, his name, was being called over the comms, no bulls**t, every two minutes’, Weigelt said. ‘I recall hearing something, like a big, real-world scenario was going on, but I just didn’t really understand’.

Voorhis added that he caught a glimpse of the ships’ advanced tracking systems to look at the objects.

Patrick Hughes (pictured) while serving on the USS Nimitz says he secured the data recorders from an early warning aircraft, the E-2 Hawkeye, that was initially sent by Senior Chief Operations Specialist Kevin Day to investigate the unidentified objects 

Jason Turner (pictured) says he saw videos of the unidentified flying objects doing their impossible maneuvers that were not part of ab original grainy, black and white video of the encounter

‘When they’d show up on radar’, Voorhis says, ‘I’d get the relative bearing and then run up to the bridge and look through a pair of heavily magnified binoculars in the direction the returns were coming from’.

The objects were too far away for Voorhis to get a good look, but he could still tell they were moving erratically. 

‘I couldn’t make out details, but they’d just be hovering there, then all of a sudden, in an instant, they’d dart off to another direction and stop again’, Voorhis says. ‘At night, they’d give off a kind of a phosphorus glow and were a little easier to see than in the day’.

Around November 14, the objects had been tracked for about a week, Popular Mechanics reports. 

With an air defense exercise scheduled that day, Day says he convinced his commanding officer to intercept what was showing up on the radar readings, which is how Fravor was sent on to make his encounter with what an unofficial ‘executive summary’ would describe as an object with elongated egg or a ‘Tic Tac’ shape. It was approximately 46 feet in length.

An unofficial ‘executive summary’ describes unidentified objects that harassed and outperformed US Navy fighter jets in November 2004 as having an elongated egg or a ‘Tic Tac’ shape. The objects were approximately 46 feet in length 

Unable to see even with high-powered binoculars, Voorhis, Day and others on the Princeton had to listen to live communications of the incident. The objects managed to elude the fighter jets with ‘an advanced acceleration, aerodynamic, and propulsion capability’. 

Fravor and his wingman, unable to keep up with the ‘Tic Tac’, returned to the Nimitz. Lieutenant Chad Underwood, on a follow up flight, successfully took a grainy, black and white video of the objects. 

Navy Commander David Fravor was flying in an F/A-18F Super Hornets as part of the  USS Nimitz carrier group when he encountered an ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’. The Nimitz is pictured in 2001 along the coast of Chile

Turner, however, says he saw videos of the objects doing their impossible maneuvers that were not  part of Underwood’s footage.

‘This thing was going berserk, like making turns. It’s incredible the amount of g forces that it would put on a human. It made a maneuver, like they were chasing it straight on, it was going with them, then this thing stopped turning, just gone. In an instant’, he recalls. 

‘The video you see now, that’s just a small snippet in the beginning of the whole video. But this thing, it was so much more than what you see in this video’.

By chance, Weigelt inside the Princeton’s CIC says he saw video footage of an F/A-18 trying to keep up with the elusive Tic Tac, Popular Mechanics reports. He too says the footage was longer than what shows on Underwood’s video.

‘I was in there for quite a while and it was on the screen the whole time. I could not tell you how long, but it was playing when I went into combat and it was playing when I left,’ Weigelt said in a YouTube interview.

Voorhis also recalls longer video footage, he tells Popular Mechanics.

‘I definitely saw video that was roughly 8 to 10 minutes long and a lot more clear’, he says. Voorhis was convinced the objects were not conventional aircraft.

‘Umm, no!’ he says with a laugh. ‘In the video I saw, you got a good sense of how the pilot was having a difficult time trying to keep up with this thing. It kept making tight, right angle turns.’

Navy Commander David Fravor (pictured with his wife) previously had been the only person to come forward with an account how his jet encountered a mysterious flying object in November 2004 off the coast of Southern California

On board the Nimitz, Hughes, a petty officer, was unaware of the objects.

Instead, as an aviation technician, he was focused on his job of securing hard drive data recorders from early warning aircraft, the E-2 Hawkeye.

‘We call them bricks, but they contain the software to run the airplane and they also record or can record a lot of the data that the air crew sees during the flight’, said Hughes in a YouTube interview.

He was performing the routine task on November 14, he says, unaware that the drives he was securing had come from the Hawkeye Day first sent to intercept the mysterious objects.

After the data bricks were secured, Hughes said his commanding officer came to him with two unknown individuals.

‘They were not on the ship earlier, and I didn’t see them come on. I’m not sure how they got there’, said Hughes of the two men.

The commanding officer ordered Hughes to turn over the secured drives.

‘We put them in the bags, he took them, then he and the two anonymous officers left’, Hughes says, Popular Mechanics reports.

Meanwhile, Voorhis had a similar experience on board the Princeton.

The USS Princeton (pictured) was a part of the USS Nimitz carrier group, which encountered unidentified flying objects in November 2004. The objects harassed and outperformed Navy fighter jets off the coast of Southern California for at least a week

‘These two guys show up on a helicopter, which wasn’t uncommon, but shortly after they arrived, maybe 20 minutes, I was told by my chain of command to turn over all the data recordings’, says Voorhis.

He says he also was told to reload recorders for the ship’s Combat Engagement Center, because it had been wiped clean, along with optical drives that had all the radio communications.

‘They even told me to erase everything that’s in the shop—even the blank tapes’.

On the flight deck, Weigel says the two men had arrived on a helicopter wearing generic flight suits. They later boarded one of his detachment’s SH-60B choppers, flew away and returned later with ‘a bunch of bags’, he says.

Both men went into the ‘Admiral’s Quarters’ on board the Princeton and a guard was staged outside of the door.

Fravor, in a January interview on The Fighter Pilot Podcast, confirms that his squadron’s video tapes of the Tic Tac incident had mysteriously vanished, but that he thought they were accidentally erased.

‘You know how it is when you go to and from cruise’, Fravor said. ‘Someone goes, ‘What are these? Hey, they look like blank 8mm tapes. We’ll just use them’.

While acknowledging the disappearance of data records, Fravor has taken issue with the five sailors and their stories, insisting that only he and the three other pilots were the true witnesses.

While speaking at the McMenamin’s UFO festival in May, Fravor said no one signed non-disclosure agreements and that there were no ‘men in suits’ who had shown up on the ships.

‘There’s still groups of people making stuff up, like someone came out on ours and was talking about, he’s like, I saw the whole video, the whole video is like 10 minutes long and it was doing all this. That’s bulls–t’, he said on the podcast, Joe Rogan Experience on October 5.

The pilot says that as one of the top 20 highest ranking members of the carrier group, and he would have known about any formal investigation.

‘Okay, I’ll give you credit, if they did, why wouldn’t they show up and talk to the guys who witnessed it, chased it, and one of the senior guys in the battle group’? Fravor asked.

Voorhis says he noticed the objects far off in the distance, but that he did not see Fravor’s intercept. ‘His intercept? Nope, we were too far away, plus I would not have known about it or the bearing of it. Just that it was happening’.

Hughes, in The Nimitz Encounters documentary, claims a friend and aircrew member on the E-2 Hawkeye aircraft admitted he did sign an NDA about the incident. The claim wasn’t verified by Popular Mechanics. No witnesses interviewed by the news outlet said they had signed the agreements.

Navy Commander David Fravor and Lieutenant Commander Jim Slaight had been flying about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego (pictured) in each of their F/A-18F Super Hornets (pictured) when they encountered an unidentified flying object described as a ‘Tic Tac’

Fravor’s version of the encounter has him and Lieutenant Commander Jim Slaight flying about 100 miles off the coast of San Diego in each of their F/A-18F Super Hornets carrying two CATM-9s in November of 2004. 

Fravor told the New York Times that the operations officer aboard the Princeton had been communicating with the pair during their mission and said, ‘Well, we’ve got a real-world vector for you’. 

The operator said for the past two weeks the Navy cruiser had been tracking mysterious aircraft. The objects would first appear at 80,000 feet, and then speed toward the sea before stopping at 20,000 feet and hovering. They then either shot back up into the sky or dropped off of radar.

Fravor and Slaight were instructed to investigate the objects by the radio operator on the Navy cruiser.

The two pilots followed their instructions and as they closed in, they were alerted by the operator that they could not tell which were the objects and which were the fighter jets.

At first, Fravor nor Slaight could see anything and nothing was on their radars.

But then Fravor looked down to the sea and noticed that the waves were breaking over something below the surface, causing the sea to churn. Hovering about 50 feet above the churn was an aircraft of some sort that was whitish, 40 feet long and oval in shape, Fravor recounted.

He described to the Times that it was jumping erratically but not moving in any specific direction. Fravor began a circular descent in an effort to get a closer look, but the object began ascending toward him as if it were trying to meet him halfway, he explained.

He then abandoned his slow circular descent and decided to fly straight towards the object. But then he said it quickly flew away.

‘It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen’, he told the Times before adding that he was ‘pretty weirded out’.

Fravor and Slaight then spoke with the operations officer on their Navy cruiser and were told to fly to a rendezvous point about 60 miles away, which is called the cap point in aviation parlance.

As they were flying, the Princeton radioed again saying that radar had picked up the strange aircraft. ‘Sir, you won’t believe it’, the radio operator said, ‘but that thing is at your cap point’.

‘We were at least 40 miles away, and in less than a minute this thing was already at our cap point’, Fravor said.

Once they arrived, the object had disappeared and the two fighter jets returned to the Nimitz. Fravor said that he was made fun of after people aboard the ship had learned of his encounter.

A sixth witness, who asked to remain anonymous and was unaware that five new witnesses had come forward, also confirmed what had happened regarding the objects.

‘I do remember the events of 2004 very well’, says the witness, who at the time was an Operations Specialist aboard the Princeton. ‘The decision was made to scramble two fighter jets to investigate. From what the pilots described, the movement of the UFO was defying the laws of physics’.

Popular Mechanics didn’t provide the witness with any of the previous claims.

‘What really made this incident alarming was when a Blackhawk helicopter landed on our ship and took all our information from the top secret rooms’, the witness says. 

‘We were all pretty shocked and it was an unspoken rule not to talk about it because we had secret clearances and didn’t want to jeopardize our careers’. 

An operations specialist aboard the USS Princeton (pictured), who asked to remain anonymous and was unaware that five new witnesses had come forward, also confirmed what had happened regarding the objects in the USS Nimitz UFO encounters

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