Go Back Report # 1143



(See the very bottom)

USS Lake Champlain, part of Task Force 77

July 18, 1953: USS Lake Champlain CVA-39 at sea off Korea.

Thanks to: http://www.maritimequest.com

E-Mail received Saturday, September 27, 2008:    

Hello Carl,       

In case you have time to get to this email, I'd like to report a suspicious, traumatic event aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lake Champlain when in the waters off of Korea in 1953, some time in June or July. It was in the evening, around 8 or 9 p.m.; general quarters was sounded, so I (an ensign or Lt.J.G. at the time) went below decks where the Special Weapons group I was in was stationed. Nobody could tell us what was going on, except that the ship's radar had picked up bogies all over the sky. I peeked into our group commander's office (X. XXXX), and was horrified to see him sitting in his chair just quivering all over in fright. By about 10 or 10:30 p.m., the all clear was sounded.           

The suspicious thing was that never was any explanation for the event given. We never heard anything more about it. Only 25 years later did I get interested in the UFO phenomenon and realized that this had the earmarks of a UFO event. The carrier had nuclear weapons (Special Weapons they were called) aboard. If you could post this, someone else who was aboard could perhaps give more information and could contact me, though it's a long shot.          


City & State

E-Mail address

Civilian Position           

Note: If anyone is aware of this event, please forward it to me under “USS Lake Champlain” in the subject line of the e-mail (on my website see “Contact me,”) or write to me at the address on the “Contact me” page. Thanks –CF-

Follow up e-mail dated September 28, 2008:         

At 05:43 a.m. 9/28/2008, you (CF) wrote:      

Hello XXXX,

This is very interesting and I will put it in the aircraft carrier section after I ask a few more questions:

1) Was there any vertical distance given to any of the UFOs?

2) Otherwise I assume they were high in the sky and did not affect the carrier in anyway?

3) Do you remember the ship's number?        

Hello Carl,

I have to call it just a possible UFO event, as all we were told was that the radar showed lots of "bogies." There was never any mention of the word UFO that I could recall. No information about the bogies or their height, number, etc.           

Lake Champlain, CV 39.




Location – Pacific Ocean somewhere off Korea    

Ship’s History for the period in question

Following a modernization that gave her a strengthened flight deck, new island and other improvements, Lake Champlain was recommissioned in September 1952 and was soon thereafter redesignated CVA-39. She transited the Suez Canal in May 1953, eastbound to join Task Force 77 for Korean War service. Arriving in the war zone in mid-June, she had six weeks of active combat duty before the Korean Armistice stopped the fighting. The carrier remained in the Far East until October 1953, when she returned to the U.S. east coast by way of the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

Thanks to: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-l/cv39.htm     

Ship’s History for the period in question

26 July

Hwangto-do Island drew anti-tank and machine gun fire from the enemy mainland, but experienced no damage.        

As Task Force 77 replenished, a small number of bogies made non-firing runs on spotting aircraft from the Force. The spotting aircraft made seven visual sightings, all unidentified. Later in the day from two to four possible jet bogies orbited at 20,000 feet 60 miles north of the Task Force, but departed before CAP could make contact. 

About 100 bogies were reported by USS Lake Champlain (CVA 39) during the night northwest and southwest of Task Force 77. The bogies, in five different groups, were never contacted by VFN aircraft and did not close the Task Force.

Thanks to: http://www.history.navy.mil/wars/korea/chron53b.htm   

Task Force’s History for the period in question

The only threat to TF 77 occurred on 26 July 1953, the night before the truce was signed. Many bogies were seen closing on the force and we all went to general quarters. Aircraft, including one of ours, were launched, but whatever was out there disappeared before our planes got close.

Reference: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0IAX/is_3_85/ai_99927801/pg_2


1) From Ship's History above: “Northwest and southwest of Task Force 77” – CF-: If it were an enemy attack, why didn’t they attack as they would have had the ships virtually surrounded?           

Response to question by the witness:

Sure, that's OK. Myself, though, I wouldn't say "virtually surrounded" if less than half surrounded. But if some foreign power, e.g., North Korea or China, sends up 100 aircraft against an enemy task force, and were practically over them, why suddenly retreat, especially if their planes could out-maneuver the Task Force aircraft?      

2) From the witness: “around 8 or 9 p.m.” and from Ship’s History above: “during the night.”

–CF-: In wartime these ships would have been running without lights to conceal themselves, and were therefore invisible visually, so an air attack would have depended on radar-guided munitions, which I’m not sure if they were available at that time and probably would have required an “on the deck” (close to the water) to guide onto – At night this would be very dangerous.     

Response by the witness:

I'd guess that radar-guided missiles weren't yet available. I'm not sure, though, that the task force could not have been detected from above by the wakes of the aircraft carriers, or whether or not some twilight was still around.          

3) From Task Force's History above: “Whatever was out there disappeared before our planes got close.” –CF-: Disappeared how quickly, in what direction, towards Korea or away?        

Response to question by the witness:

Well, I don't know any better than you! I was there, but way below decks, and never got any further information afterwards. I presume now that they were UFOs, which can disappear whenever they want (invisibility cloak? sudden acceleration away at 100 g's? sudden shift into another dimension?).

Note: Only the radar people would be able to answer this question with a satisfactory answer.-CF-

If you have any information on this, PLEASE contact me.


Princeton (CVA 37), Boxer (CVA 21), Philippine Sea (CVA 47) and Lake Champlain (CVA 39)


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