Go Back Report # 1081

07-26-1956 The U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt

In April 1991, Leon Treadwll (sic?), who served on the FDR from 1956 to 1958, wrote to Mr. Grusinski about his experiences. "I was part of the crew that put the FDR back into commission on April 6, 1956, at Bremerton, Washington. She had the best radar in the fleet... [The] FDR was to report to Mayport, Florida. We took her around the 'Horn,' since she was too large to fit the Panama Locks. Our last stop before Mayport was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"At this time I was RD3 and on the night of July 26, 1956, I was duty P.O. in the radar 'shack' - C.I.C., on anchor detail. One other 3rd class was with me. Four lookouts were topside. While at anchor only surface radar was on line. Our VL radar was down (height radar). One lookout and then another called in that two strange objects were in the air but did not know what. I put a VL into operation - went topside to see for myself. What you see in the sketch is what I saw that night 35 years ago. [The sketch is too dark to reproduce, but it shows two disk shaped objects, one above the other, with a bright light in-between.] I called in the duty officer and he in turn called others.

"These objects...finally vanished with tremendous speed...When first sighted, the objects were suspended in mid-air over one another with several hundred feet between them. A radar fix placed them several miles from the FDRs position at a height of 2000 ft. Two rows of bright, counter-rotating lights could be seen through the middle of each object that made them appear to be round in shape. For several minutes they never moved. Then the upper one released a fireball object that dropped into the top of the lower one. Within seconds they both vanished with tremendous speed. Radar contact was almost impossible. It was estimated the objects could have been between 75 and 100 feet in length.

"All involved were told to keep a tight lip on what we saw. A report was filed, signed and sent to the Defense Department, along with a color sketch by me of what was watched that night by many.

"These things were watched by many for about 5-7 minutes...My original sketch went to the Defense Department...The following names may help you if they are alive today: FDR Commanding Officer, Captain John T. Hayward, 6 April 1965 - 1 October 1956; Operations Officer Whitney Wright; Navigator Commander James R. Thomson."

Mr. Grusinski had this sighting confirmed by another witness, CWO4 John C. Hau, who wrote of the event in August 1983, as follows: "At about 2130P/25 or 26 July 1956 (0030Z/26 or 27 July 1956), I was standing a signal watch in (sic on) USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA 42), then anchored in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The sky was clear.

"As I recall, the signal bridge was called by Combat Information Center asking for visual verification of an air search radar contact in our vicinity, holding stationary. Inspection revealed a cigar-shaped object estimated to be at 5,000 feet, close by the zenith. It was displaying at least one row of white lights--I do not remember if any were flashing.

"After about 10 or 15 minutes, it suddenly started moving in a northerly direction, accelerating smoothly and rapidly, until it disappeared from view in one or two minutes. It may have disappeared more quickly than that, as C.I.C. later said it went off their radar scope 'in two or three sweeps.' Unfortunately, I did not think to ask what range scale they were using at the time."

Mr. Hau wrote that the sighting was reported to the officer of the deck and, he is sure, to the Commanding Officer, Captain John T. Hayward, as well.

A letter was received from Captain Hayward dated December 7, 1992, which reads, "Yes, I was the skipper of the FDR in Rio but have no knowledge of any UFO sightings."

This reference: MUFON of Ohio:



Note: There is a book which has been published which lends credence to the above sailor's history of the trip. Titled ...THE SEAS AGAIN: USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CVA-42, April-October 1956, this book is a pictorial chronicle of the voyage of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt between April 1956 and October 1956 from the Puget Sound area to Mayport, Florida, following reconstruction and recommissioning. For more description, including bookseller and payment information, go to: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/ListingDetails?bi=921533611

North America United States, The states are listed below.

Bremerton, Washington Latitude 47-34-02 N, Longitude 122-37-58 W (D-M-S)

Mayport, Florida Latitude 30-23-36 N, Longitude 081-25-50 W

Reference: http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic.

South America Brazil, State of Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro Latitude 22-54-00 S, Longitude 043-14-00 W (D-M-S) [City]

Reference: http://geonames.nga.mil/ggmaviewer/


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