Go Back Report # 628


It was the night before Joe Pickens' turn as lookout aboard a 125-man Coast Guard ship on routine duty 625 miles east of Bermuda. The ship had just been outfitted with sophisticated new radar.

On this night in 1964, the lookout, whose duty it was to scan the sea for anything and everything, called down to the wheelhouse through the nearby voice-tube that he had spotted a "light on the horizon." The radar officer below reported a clear screen, no bogies.

Sometime later, the lookout once again called down that it was ship. Moments passed and he repeated his statement, adding that it was getting closer.

Still, radar wasn't tracking anything.

A short time later, officers in the wheelhouse could hear the lookout screaming, "Help! They're coming after me!"

A search for the lookout eventually located him, clinging to a 24" searchlight. He was rescued, taken to sick bay, then eventually shipped off to a hospital.

"We all thought the guy had gone crazy or was just trying to get out of watch duty," Joe recalls.

But the next night was Joe's turn as lookout.

"I told my buddies I was going to take a gun with me," he laughs.

Later that night, however, he wasn't laughing.

"I was worried. I saw a light like the other man had seen, off the starboard bow. I reported it, and the guys in the wheelhouse started kidding me. But it got closer and closer. It sort of looked like a star on the horizon. There was nothing on radar.

"The next thing I knew, it started getting real close, and it came up to within 300-400 yards of the ship!"

By that time, many men were watching, some taking pictures.

"It set there for about five minutes. I could see it move, but I couldn't tell its shape or size. At one point, a 100-foot long, illuminated tube, like a flexible fluorescent light or a rubber hose, lit up and came down out of this thing. And then, all at once, it took off quickly at two or three times its approach speed.

"Later, the CIC (Combat Information Center) guys said they tracked it at 1,800 m.p.h. as it went out. There was nothing in 1964 that could go that fast," he says, adding he heard later that the ship's captain had radioed the sighting to a base on Bermuda, and three jets had been scrambled.

This reference: West Virginia UFOs: Close Encounters in the Mountain State by Bob Teets, pp. 137-138, 1995


North Atlantic Ocean 625 miles east of Bermuda - Position unknown


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