Page 3 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - May/June 2022 Edition
P. 3

Mystery Planes Landed At Air Bases                                                                                         3

             When Secret Mystery

         Planes Landed At The Air

               Bases Where I Was


         It may sound like fiction, but on

        rare occasions, ordinary air bases
            have extraordinary mystery
        visitors. It happened to me, twice.

                    by Stephen Walker

        In the 2004 and 2005 time frame, the Global
        War On Terrorism was in full swing with a high
        ops tempo.  The United States Air Force’s Air
        Combat Command made a routine out of
        keeping a bomber rotation at Diego Garcia in the
                                                         hesitation.                                      otherwise detect any sign of an arrival or
        Indian Ocean and that’s how the author found
                                                                                                          departure. It must be noted that in nearly a
        his way there. B-1s, B-52s, and the occasional
                                                         There’s no quiet like the silence of a shutdown  decade at Dyess and to the best of my
        B-2 regularly made deployments there to stage
                                                         airfield on an atoll more than 2,000 miles away  knowledge and memory, there was never a
        for combat missions over Afghanistan.
                                                         from the nearest sign of civilization. In the    single hangar, ops building or section of the
                                                         absence of takeoffs, landings, and idling F-101-  flightline deemed off-limits for a sensitive, let
         Actually a United States Naval Support Facility
                                                         GE-102 turbofans and auxiliary power units       alone classified project.
        with a deep water port and runway capable of
                                                         (APUs) on B-1 bombers, you begin to hear
        receiving the Space Shuttle, Diego Garcia is a
                                                         waves on the beach and wind in the trees         The Dyess flightline is like that of many Cold
        part of the British Indian Ocean  Territories
                                                         through open windows.                            War B-52 bases. Long and straight, sitting
        comprising the greater Chagos Archipelago. Its
                                                                                                          parallel to a long runway suitable for
        extreme isolation has made it a hotbed for
                                                         We anticipated hearing some sign of an arrival.  heavyweight bomber takeoffs on their way to
        unsubstantiated accusations of classified and
                                                         The bark of high-pressure tires touching         training, or potentially the Soviet Union.
        even nefarious activity. I never observed
                                                         pavement, the clattering of segmented disc
        anything nefarious, but it was entertaining
                                                         brake rotors, or the throb of those brakes being  Nothing unusual was to be seen for miles in each
        reading about how the tent I lived in was
                                                         applied heavily as a large jet slowed itself after  direction upon our return to the flightline.
        supposedly part of a CIA “black site” for
                                                         touching down. Maybe even an idling jet engine
        terrorist detainees. If the  Air Force’s rowdy
                                                         or humming turboprop propeller could have        What were these mystery aircraft?
        flightline maintainers and their tent city could be
                                                         been harbingers of us soon being allowed back
        considered detainees in the Global  War On
                                                         outside.                                         What’s    hiding    behind    the    military’s
        Terror, then an ounce of truth could be credited
                                                                                                          technological curtain is certainly fascinating to
        towards the metric ton of false information that
                                                         Around a half-hour came and went and we were     ponder.  The  War Zone has extensively
        could be found on the internet about the remote
                                                         cleared to get back to our wartime operations    documented what is publicly known about the
        Indian Ocean outpost.
                                                         tempo.  We never heard or saw a sign that        United States Air Force and Navy’s pursuit of
                                                         anything happened at all. No sleek black spy     secretive unmanned aerial systems and other
        If nothing else, the 2004-2005 deployment was
                                                         plane parked by the Navy ramp and no activity    projects, such as the long-running goal of
        eventful. From the outset, we experienced a
                                                         by the mysterious hangar. As a lifelong fan of all  retaining a low observable special forces
        tsunami that spared the flightline and tent city,
                                                         things aviation and defense, a side of me        transport and the operations of the shadowy RQ-
        but caused damage to the eastern side of the
                                                         positively hoped to catch a glimpse of some rare,  170 Sentinel. Still, I have no idea what aircraft
        atoll. Just like in Forrest Gump, we discovered
                                                         glamorous jet. As with most things for active-   paid me and my squadron mates a visit on those
        that tropical storms can actually cause rain that
                                                         duty military, all hope of glamour was swiftly   two occasions.
        seemingly comes sideways from every angle
                                                         replaced with the mundane and routine.
        and even straight up from the ground.
                                                                                                          By the time the SR-71 made it out of Area 51,
                                                         Years later at my home station of Dyess  Air     it was a glittering jewel in our nation’s
        Mysterious Visitors                              Force Base, an operational readiness exercise    aerospace crown. That is just the type of
                                                         was interrupted by a similar call from the       aircraft a lifelong aviation fanatic hopes
        During one week in 2005, we were advised that    command post. Evacuate the flightline and        they’ve been privy to in any mysterious aircraft
        the Navy was conducting sensitive operations     evacuate it now. An aircraft no one can lay eyes  encounter. Though I remain hopeful for a
        out of a large, red, dilapidated hangar at the   on was diverting to Dyess Air Force Base. Why?   public release one day that fits my timeframe
        Northern end of the airfield near the passenger  Because it is. Go inside and stay away from the  and locations, as time passes it becomes
        terminal and base operations building. Air Force  windows.                                        exceedingly unlikely I will be so lucky.
        personnel were advised to stay away. For the
                                                                                                          (Continued on Page 10)
        entirety of the week, the hangar appeared        It may not be as isolated as Diego Garcia, but
        unused and empty.                                Dyess is to the  West of  Abilene,  Texas. It’s       Two Great Shows, One Great Host

                                                         situated just outside of town and the flightline
        One night during that week, the flightline was   lies in the country. On the rare occasions that the       MISSION: EVOLUTION
        evacuated. The base was locked down and Air      flightline has no running engines or  APUs, it     
        Force personnel were advised to stay inside and  gets very quiet.
        away from windows to protect an incoming                                                                   STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
        classified aircraft.                             My curiosity was piqued, but it unfolded much  
                                                         in the way the Diego Garcia incident did and
        Everyone complied without protest or             without incident. I personally didn’t hear or           Your Host: Ms. Gwilda Wiyaka
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