Kevin Sood is Today News Africa foreign policy correspondent based in Riverside, California. Kevin earned his bachelor’s in political science from the University of California and his master’s in political science from California State University. He focuses on the State Department, U.S. government and U.S.-Africa ties.
On Friday, the Pentagon is set to declassify documents on ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomena’ it has accumulated over the course of a century.
Commentators and analysts expect the report on UAPs, previously known as ‘Unidentified Flying Objects’, or UFOs, to be a bombshell, as the U.S. government may be acknowledging for the first time the existence of flying objects it cannot identify.
Florida Senator Mark Rubio pressed the government early this year to release any classified information it has on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs). Such pressure has been mounting ever since 2017, when video footage documenting sightings by US Naval pilots was leaked to the New York Times.
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Commander David Fravor of the USS Nimitz, and pilots of the USS Theodore Roosevelt have gained notoriety over the years for going public with their accounts.
In 2004, Commander and Navy Pilot David Fravor and his team were conducting naval exercises off the coast of California. His team encountered what he recalled as a “white tic tac” hovering above the water. As he approached the object with his F18, the object began mimicking his movements through aerial maneuvers. At one point, Fravor tried to lock-on to the object using his onboard weapon systems. Fravor was then prevented from doing so as the aerial phenomenon jammed his radar, which by Geneva Convention standards, is an act of war.
The commander and fighter pilot of the US Navy, David Fravor, is considered by UFO experts as the most credible witness of any UFO sighting
Off the cost of Virginia in 2015, naval fighter pilots associated with the USS Theodore Roosevelt captured the infamous GIMBAL and GOFAST videos which showed UAP’s preforming unwarranted aerial maneuvers by today’s aviation standards. Lt. Ryan Gates, Naval aviator for the USS Theodore Roosevelt gave an interview with 60 minutes where he explained such sightings were a daily occurrence for nearly two years.
Nonetheless, when one takes into account the individuals that are usually involved in UFO sightings, one begins to notice that they fit a certain demographic. UFO sightings tend to be heavily reported out of Western countries, and the individuals who report them tend to be of Caucasian extraction. Yet reports of UFOs sightings are documented from all over the world including the continent of Africa, and by those of African descent.
The Ariel School Phenomenon, Zimbabwe
On a hot day in September of 1994, children from the Ariel school in Ruwa, Zimbabwe swamped teachers and staff claiming to have encountered a UFO behind the school. Over 60 kids reported that an object resembling a disk floated down form above the clouds and landed in a small patchy area behind the school obstructed by bush. As the kids approached the aircraft, two beings stepped out, each wearing skin-tight black jumpsuits and dawning hair looking something akin to Michael Jackson. The two beings strangely looked at the kids, and then went back up into the craft and flew away. However, in that instance, lives were changed forever. Some kids reported that the beings communicated to them telepathically, warning them about human degradation of the environment. Others consistently drew the encounter on paper and chalk boards in the same manner as they remembered; with a UFO landing and two beings stepping out wearing skintight jumpsuits. All the children’s accounts corroborated with one another and there was little to no variation among their stories. Twenty years later some of the students who are now adults still claim that they were visited by something extraterrestrial.
What made this account most compelling was that the school was soon visited by the late Dr. John Mack, who took an interest in hearing the children’s stories. Harvard academic and professor of psychiatry; Dr. Mack’s interviews with the children and his research into the wider topic validated to the outside world that something extraordinary did in fact happen on that day.
Harvard Academic and Psychiatrist Dr. John Mack interviewing former student of Aerial School, Zimbabwe Circa 1994
Betty and Barney Hill: The First UFO incident
The very first UFO encounter that captivated the United States’ attention was the Betty and Barney Hill incident of 1961. On the night of September 19, leading into the morning of September 20th; Barney and Betty Hill were driving down a lonely stretch of road along the Route 3 highway. At that moment, they claimed that their car came to halt, and an unknown craft hovering above their vehicle flooded their view with a bright light. The next thing the Hill’s remember was being taken aboard a craft by eight individuals who then conducted medical experiments on them, some of them being sexually intrusive and painful in nature.
Betty and Barney Hill, holding up a copy of a newspaper detailing their UFO encounter. The Hills are considered to have been the first UFO sighting involving extraterrestrial contact
However, the real crux of the story is that Betty and Barney Hill never received the due recognition deserved for their account. Betty Hill, a middle aged Caucasian woman employed as a social worker, and Barney, a middle aged man of African descent employed by the US Postal Service; are glossed over for their contribution in being the first multiracial couple (or any couple for that matter) to report a UFO sighting. Betty and Barney Hill were prominent members of their community. Both were members of the NAACP and Barney sat on the Board for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Yet documentaries of the account usually depict the couple as being racially ambiguous, or even in some cases, white. However what is interesting to note is that for an occurrence that so often happens to individuals of a homogenous character, the Betty and Barney Hill incident was the first UFO sighting of its caliber; pioneering the way for others to come forth and share their experiences as well. The incident gained so much notoriety though documentaries, books, and movies, that the state of New Hampshire even erected a historical marker commemorating the Hill’s experience. Such accounts give testimony to the fact that extraterrestrial encounters include a vast array of diverse individuals experiencing the same occurrences. It is the true definition of a global experience.
In the coming week it should be interesting to see what the Pentagon report discloses. However with the current state of world affairs, attentions have shifted to more pressing matters such as racial injustice, emerging international fault lines, and fighting the pandemic. What we should take away from the coming week is that our experiences of being visited by beings from another world transcend skin color and boundaries, and unite us all in a truly human experience.