Go Back Report # 1615

Three Ocean Sightings
[This is # 1, others are 04-17-1978, and UNDATED 3]       

Three reports of UFO encounters by ocean-going vessels have come into headquarters which are presented here. The first was forwarded by Attorney Donald L. Merriman of the law firm, Merriman, Crawther and Merriman of Baltimore, Maryland. We present his report in his own words:           

"I was the Officer of the Deck aboard the U.S.S. Gainard, DD 707, a naval destroyer, sometime in either late 1952 or early 1953. I had reported to the bridge to take over the 2000-2400 watch and, as I recall, there were several other officers on the bridge with me keeping me company and we had just passed the word with regard to the movie being shown on the fantail. As you may or may not know, the gun mount is simply rotated and a movie screen is attached to the side of the mount and all personnel at the movie sit facing the bow of the vessel. I only point this out because undoubtedly other people on the vessel probably saw what we saw.            
   "In any case, it was not quite dark but it would be dark in five to 15 minutes and we were heading north toward Newport, Rhode Island, so that we would have been cruising on a heading of 350° or thereabouts. I recall also that we were approximately due east of Key West, Florida, and, as it turned out, this was significant.           
   "The officers keeping me company were mature, sophisticated and educated. We all saw far out ahead of the ship a bright light which came from the right-hand side and from "nowhere" and it streaked across the entire expanse of the horizon
from right to left in a perfectly horizontal plane and it disappeared across the horizon to the left. In recap, I suppose you could say that it was heading in the direction of the U.S. mainland (Key West?) because it was going from east to west. The object was obviously far away and far out in front of us and it was disturbing. It made no noise and, despite the distance away, it appeared to look like a lighted 100-watt light bulb that someone might throw across in a straight line in total darkness.
     "All of the officers saw it and all of them discussed it with some knowledgeable background. We all concluded that it was not a falling star or a comet because it did not descend or fall or go out and it certainly had no tail.
I thought it was so significant that I told the C.O. about it later, and I actually logged it into the Ship's Log, as I recall. There is always some embarrassment connected with these things and these sightings and, therefore, I don't believe I talked to anyone else about the matter.        
   "Finally, however, I must tell you of something else which was somewhat startling, We had been in Cuba but one of the officers lived in Key West, Florida, and, when we got to Newport and
we received our mail, that officer received a copy of a newspaper local to Key West. There was an article in the paper concerning people at an outdoor movie witnessing a very similar phenomena [sic – phenomenon] at about the same time and on the same date as the sighting I had witnessed. The distance between Key West and our ship would probably have been 300-400 miles and I would suppose that the actual speed of the object could have been worked out very easily."          

Reference for the above text is: The APRO Bulletin, December 1978, pp. 5-6.          

UFOCAT PRN – 110315        
UFOCAT URN – 110315 The APRO Bulletin, December 1978, pp. 5-6     

North America – United States, Rhode Island, Newport          
Newport   Latitude 41-29-24 N, Longitude 071-18-46 W (D-M-S) [populated place]  
Reference: http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=154:1:1765846258792399         

North America – United States, Florida, Monroe         
Key West   Latitude 24-33-21 N, Longitude 081-46-57 W (D-M-S) [populated place]
Reference: http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=154:1:1765846258792399         

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