2019 was a year alive with UFO news, with a plethora of information—including acknowledgement of the phenomenon—flowing from official sources. These stories ran the gamut from new witnesses to the infamous Nimitz and Roosevelt incidents coming forward, members of Congress finally taking notice of the issue, and the US Navy admitting that their pilots witnessed and recorded genuine UFOs.
New witness to the UFO encounters involving the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in 2004 came forward in 2019. Five of these witnesses were interviewed by Popular Mechanics, outlining their experiences during the two-week series of encounters, including what they saw on radar, FLIR video playback, and even visual sightings. One aviation technician stationed aboard the USS Nimitz, Petty Officer Patrick “PJ” Hughes, reported having the hard drive data recorders from his E-2 Hawkeye early-warning aircraft confiscated by his commanding officer and “two anonymous officers.”
Witnesses to a similar series of Navy/UFO encounters that took place 10 years later on the other side of the country also came forward: Naval pilots assigned to the USS Roosevelt in 2014-2015 described their own sightings of unconventional objects while participating in training maneuvers along the east coast of the United States between Virginia and Florida, including an incident involving a too-close-for-comfort near-miss between an F/A-18 and one of the anomalous objects.
For their own part, the US Navy admitted in September that the “Gimbal”, “Go Fast” and “FLIR1” (also known as “Tic-Tac”) gun camera videos were recordings of legitimately unknown objects, but that the videos had not been cleared for public release. Military encounters such as those depicted in the recordings—and these stories are presumably the tip of the iceberg—prompted the US Navy to address the elephant in the room and draft formal UFO reporting guidelines for their personnel.
2019 is also the year the US Congress took notice of the UFO issue, particularly in respect to the potential risks to national security and aviation safety that unidentified and unregistered aircraft flying through US airspace might pose. Earlier calls to investigate, such as those from former Nevada Senator Harry Reid, warned that foreign powers like Russia and China stood to gain potential advantages from their own research into the UFO phenomenon.
After the three gun camera videos released by the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science were brought to public attention, members of Congress requested high-level briefings from the Pentagon, including the involvement of members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee. Indeed, according to the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism subcommittee, Congressman Mark Walker, the Department of Defense wasn’t supplying the requested information fast enough, with Walker accusing the Navy of withholding UFO information.
2019 also saw a setback in the UFO community, when it lost one of its most legendary investigators: Stanton Friedman passed away on May 13, bringing to a close a 64-year career investigating the UFO phenomenon that included being the original civilian investigator of the Roswell Incident, and a thorough investigation of the Majestic 12 documents.
On the civilian front, the To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science announced that they had signed a five-year contract with the U.S. Army in October, to exploit exotic materials allegedly recovered from UFOs, in a bid to develop improved weapons systems. Conversely, a witness to the 2004 Nimitz Encounters, retired US Navy Chief Petty Officer and radar operator Kevin Day, has co-launched a new UFO research group called “UAP eXpeditions”, involving individuals from NASA, Silicon Valley and former military personnel, in a bid to track and record first-hand documentation of UFO activity off of the California coast.