2015-03-27 ,Maple Falls ,WA, US
(MUFON) — In the summer of 1977, I was part of a hot-shot forest fire crew (the elite and only hot shot group for Western Washington region). Our days off were Tuesday and Wednesday and this event happened on a Tuesday, after 4th of July and before our end of contract in August.
There was not much to do in Bellingham after dark in those days, so after cashing our paychecks and having dinner in Bellingham, we would go to the top of a mountain (South of Highway 542 between Deming and Glacier, WA) and have satellite races.
Since we were so high up we had to wait until way after sunset when it was dark enough to see the satellites for the races.
This consisted of staring at the sky and yelling out to ‘claim’ a satellite, as it passed over the apex of the tree. We had recently turned in our analog watches for indigo backlit digital, with stop watch features. So, we were doing the one thing that we could do at night – time the aircraft in the night sky. Some of our group were former military and paratrooper trained smoke jumpers, and were pretty familiar with craft in the sky, at that time.
On the night in question, we saw a red orb streaking across the sky coming at the same path as the satellites. As it passed over the tree, everyone began clamoring that it was ‘theirs’ and it looked like a sure winner. We had been timing all the satellites from the tree on the eastern side (about 25-30 degrees from the eastern horizon) to the edge of the western horizon (at 180 degrees), clocking about 27 to 32 seconds to do the route. They would be abreast of us in about 15 seconds from leaving the tree to being right in front of us. This red orb made it in about 6 seconds. As it came abreast of us, it stopped dead and hovered. We didn’t know if it was reacting to our presence, as we were at the top of the hill with a couple large pickups / crew cabs, in a clearing with a clean line of site in 220 degrees sweep around us. It was a completely clear sky, with no cloud cover at all.
As our timing took this object past the 30 second mark, (since it was standing still), it was the clear loser of the race.
Those who had claimed it were moaning about losing, and being ribbed by the others. Then, Doug noticed that fighter jets were scrambling from Whidbey Navel Air Station. If we were located in the middle of an invisible sphere around us, and 90 degrees was above us, we were looking due north at the object (Which could have been over Canada.) as it was approximately 110 degrees (relative to our position) due north. The fighter jets appeared to be below us and to the left. (If level with us was 180 degrees (relative), the fighter jets were 200 to 200 degrees downwards, and to the left, or westward of us. Mostly around the Navel Air Station.)
The jets came up one right after the other, as fast as they could (probably about 5-7 seconds apart.)
We don’t know how many actually made it up before we noticed them, as we were transfixed, staring at the orb.
We counted 6 fighters coming up, and they fanned out from Sumas, WA to over the ocean. At this time the orb waited, fighters came towards us but did not make it (to be under the orb). Once the jets were in the sky, we noticed that the orb had slightly moved east, (reversed course, slightly backward), and was moving rapidly into outer space, for it appeared dimmer. The fighter jets were moving really slowly in comparison. The jets did not at all gain the altitude of the other orb, which appeared to be under intelligent control, and was not a ball of gas or electrical phenomenon or extrusion from a cloud/lightening (no clouds).
After a while, the jets started doing a grid pattern, going up to the Canadian border, which was less than 10 miles directly in front of us, and then turning around to continue a grid pattern. We were up so high on the mountain, our heads were looking nearly straight up at the orb, and downward towards the fighter jets. It seemed like the jets were flying below us, and mostly staying around the base.
At about a half hour after coming up, the jets started landing back at base. We counted around 7 going down, with the final one landing about 45 minutes to an hour, after it had come up.
Until the jets scrambled, we thought we were looking at experimental military craft. It was obviously not a satellite, since it was faster, different color, and stopped absolutely from high speed to total stillness, without moving.
There was no wobbliness, as would be expected from a helicopter, with which the smoke jumpers were familiar. Also, the red light was stationary at a magnitude higher than the fighter jets, since it was so small in comparison to the jets, which were appearing as moving in a straight line and whitish in color.
In 1977 the animal mutilations were much in the news, and a few abductions were starting to be discussed in the media, so some of the questions we were asking ourselves were “Why were the jets apparently looking for this craft? Why did it stop in front of us? Did we have any missing time?”
Since we were home before midnight, we did not have any missing time. The next day, our squad leader said, “Are we going to talk about this?” And we replied, “Well, we thought it was a satellite until it stopped. And then US military experimental craft, until the jets came. Then it went out to outer space. So, I guess it is Unidentified Flying Object. What’s more to say?” We didn’t go out to do satellite races any more, and a few weeks later our contracts as firefighters came to an end.
I haven’t stated this publically until now, but I thought it was time to get it down, before I die or forget. I have not seen this recorded anywhere else, so I wanted to put another piece of the puzzle down, in case this all ties together with other sightings somehow.
The 8 of us were stationed at Mount Baker ranger district, US Forest Service, and lived in Glacier, WA.