WASHINGTON-A former U.S. Air Force officer described in detail a spaceship he saw while investigating an incident near a U.S. airbase in the United Kingdom in 1980.
Sgt. James Penniston was speaking at a “Citizen Hearing On Disclosure,” a mock Congressional hearing on extra terrestrial encounters which runs for five days from April 29 to May 3, at the National Press Club.
On the night of December 26th 1980, Penniston, then a security police supervisor at the Royal Air Force Base at Bentwaters in England, was asked to investigate a “craft-of-unknown-origin.”
The craft had landed and subsequently taken off after an on-ground investigation which lasted more than 45 minutes.
Penniston described how radar on the base picked up the aircraft as it entered military air space. The Bentwaters base, coupled with nearby twin base Woodbridge, represented the largest tactical fighter wing in the U.S. Air Force.
Penniston said he and another officer, Sgt. John Burroughs, followed a strange glow coming from the Rendlesham Forest beside the base where the craft seemed to have descended.
When they approached the site, he and Burroughs were shot with a beam of light which caused them to “hit the ground.”
“I thought we were going to explode,” Penniston said. When the beam stopped, they got up and saw a triangular craft around 9 feet long and 6 feet 5 inches high, glowing with a yellow and blue light rotating around the skin of the craft.
The air surrounding the craft was charged. Penniston told the committee, “There was static energy, you could feel it in your hair and on your body.”
Penniston thought it might have been a U.S. craft or even Russian, and did what he was supposed to do, which was note the details.
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The skin of the craft was warm, at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, he said. The surface was smooth to his hand, and it seemed to be floating slightly above the ground. When Penniston tried to push the craft it was “solid as a rock.” It was small, he said, too small to carry people, and he remembers thinking it is “not hostile.”
At that stage, he said he still thought it might have been man-made, and as he walked around the front he saw some writing which he expected would say NASA or United States Air Force. What he saw however were hieroglyphs etched into the skin of the craft and were about 2 feet 6 inches in length. The largest, he said, was triangle shaped.
As he inspected further, he knew “it was nothing we or Russians had, it was beyond our technology.”
After a time, the craft began to rise, became airborne with no sound or air disturbance. It turned, then moved at “an impossible speed,” Penniston said.
Penniston was the only one to have touched the craft. He revealed to the public for the first time that while he was inspecting the craft, Burroughs had been zapped by a huge beam of light from above.
“John never really talked about it,” he said, noting that Burroughs had revealed that information only recently.
Sightings of lights and aircrafts around the Brentwood continued over the next two days, reported by servicemen working on the two bases and some civilians.
Later, Penniston was asked to write down what he saw and did so in detail in a four page report. He has never seen that report again. Soon after, he was handed a piece of paper with half a page of writing on it and told that was his new report. The report gave very little detail, although it did acknowledge that there had been a craft, and that it had been metallic.
No one asked questions about his experience. “They were not even interested in the glyphs,” Penniston said. The half page paper became his official report, and the event became classified, making it impossible to discuss with anyone.
Penniston and Burroughs said at the time they were relieved. They just wanted to forget the event.
But some time later, they began to feel medical effects. Burroughs, still in his twenties at the time, developed a heart condition and his gums went white, symptoms similar to the effects of radiation. Penniston also developed heart problems and started to experience balance difficulties and an inability to sleep.
They found out later that radiation levels at the site were seven times higher than normal.
Both officers spoke at the hearing but were also represented by their lawyer. After so many years, neither serviceman has been able to obtain medical support from veterans services. Both have been denied their medical records and benefits for illnesses related to the classified event.
“We have been stonewalled,” Burroughs said in a statement, “We’ve tried A, we’ve tried B, we’ve tried C, and none of the avenues have lead to proper support of our post-incident medical issues, nor any viable explanation of why information .. is being withheld.”