July 26th DC UFO F-16 Scramble -
USAF Rules Out Flares
By Kenny Young

This brief report may provide some closure to some questions that I have previously raised regarding the flare deployment possibility in relation to the July 26th scramble of F-16 fighter jets in pursuit of an unidentified radar target approaching the restricted flight zone around Washington D.C.
I had previously informed that military jets will sometimes deploy flares for training purposes, and these flares are frequently mistaken for UFOs. It was my suspicion that flares may have been procedurally deployed by the returning pilots on July 26, causing the UFO sightings reported around the 1:00 a.m. time frame near Waldorf, Maryland. I offered a vague recollection that pilots may be required, for safety purposes, to dump their flare load prior to landing for safety purposes.
Two E-mail questions regarding the Washington D.C./UFO Incident of July 26, 2002 were transmitted to public relations officer Lieutenant Colonel Phyllis E. Phipps-Barnes of the DC Air National Guard. The initial communication, dated August 22 and a second electronic request for information dated August 30 were left unanswered by Lt. Col. Phipps-Barnes, who offered no reply to my polite inquiry.
Lt. Col. Phipps-Barnes was asked if she could determine if 1). the 2 F-16 jets involved in the July 26th scramble were equipped with countermeasure flares and 2) did the July 26th pilots deploy flares at any time during their scramble and/or before their return to base.
After an extended period of time in which my inquiry was left unanswered by Lt. Col. Phipps-Barnes, I placed a phone call around 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 8, 2002 to the DC Air National Guard at 202-685-9862 and spoke with Public Affairs Officer Captain Smith.
I explained to Captain Smith that I sought to ascertain if the UFO sightings as claimed by the Waldorf, Maryland citizenry might be due to flares deployed by the military jets. I asked if he could verify that such a policy or procedure might be in place requiring operational flights to jettison their flare-load before landing.
"I don't know any such procedure," Captain Smith said. "I've been out there when they come back in with flares fully loaded."
I again asked Captain Smith if he is certain if there is no official or unofficial policy to jettison countermeasure flares for safety purposes and he struggled to think of a viable answer, saying: "I've always been understanding that they always have the flares, but I'll check into that and get back to you."
Captain Smith took my name and phone number after saying he would check into the possibility. I waited for his call back but no return call was made.
The following afternoon (Wednesday, October 9), I placed a follow-up phone call to Captain Smith, hoping he had some additional information to convey. The Captain again answered the call and said that he did make some inquiries.
"I went to our office next door, staffed by Air Guard personnel, and it's not necessarily true that pilots will drop flares in the manner you suggest," he said. "It's not a standard thing for them to discharge flares when returning."
When asked if he had conferred with the actual pilots involved in the July 26th scramble, Captain Smith said: "I wasn't able to get in touch with the pilots that were there, but it's not something I see them routinely doing."
Capatin Smith also said he would be unable to think of any particular reason the July 26th pilots would have deployed flares during their mission.
"Those flares are for one intended purpose," he said, "and I don't see them arbitrarily discharging flares over a populated area and at a low elevation for just any purpose."
Captain Smith was thanked for his input and I asked him if he still had my E-mail address or if I could leave it with him in the event that any additional information surfaced.
He said that he still had my website address This took me by surprise because I had not previously given Captain Smith a website address. He clarified by saying that he routinely reviews information posted online, as he often finds himself quoted.
At one point, I offered to Captain Smith that the 'flare possibility' posed a 'rational explanation' to explain what people were claiming to be a UFO being pursued by military jets. This seemed to be a probability that officialdom might find appealing. Despite my suggestive wording and perhaps somewhat leading method of inquiry, the DC ANG officials did not take the bait and jump at the possible opportunity to satisfy the mystery behind the reported UFO sightings.
Unless the official position is recanted, flare deployment should not be considered a component of the July 26th event. We are left with an official acknowledgment of an unidentified radar target approaching the restricted area around Washington D.C., official acknowledgment that the radar target evaded and eluded fighter interceptors and no official statement (of value) regarding the citizen sightings of an unidentified flying object seemingly pursued by military fighter jets near Waldorf, Maryland.
Filed, Wednesday, October 9, 2002 Kenny Youny
UFO Research


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