Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Fish That Flew

A very intriguing Oklahoma "fish story" surfaced in early 1966, about 2 1/2 years before my Air Force assignment to medical duties at the large Sheppard AFB Regional Hospital in Wichita Falls, Texas. According to an Associated Press report, 56-year-old Eddie Laxton, an electronics instructor at Sheppard, was driving to work on a typical morning from his home in Temple, Oklahoma on U.S. 70 when his journey was suddenly interrupted by a fish-shaped object blocking the highway.

This surreal incident, engulfed in early morning darkness, became even stranger when Laxton exited his vehicle and approached the silvery object. Seeing what appeared to be a man dressed in military fatigues, Laxton returned to his auto for a camera, but as he did so the mysterious figure entered the craft and it ascended, disappearing in the darkness.

Questioned by the press (the Wichita Falls Record-News took care to assure readers that Laxton was "a calm, stable sort"), the witness insisted the object was not a helicopter because he was familiar with helicopters and the thing he witnessed had no rotors. However, he claimed that it did carry numbers, and though he couldn't see the whole series he believed they began with T141.

The electronics expert (former publisher of the Temple, OK Tribune) decided to remain silent about his encounter -- until Snyder, Oklahoma truck driver C.W. Anderson announced that he, too, had observed the craft , and that he and a fellow trucker had, indeed, seen "several" in the past few months.

Many bizarre UFO-related incidents erupted during the sixties. Was this another? Is the term, "UFO" even involved here, or was this a secret military project? In the early morning Oklahoma darkness, who knows? If a military man attired in fatigues was present, why would the military find it necessary to park the thing on a highway, inconveniencing motorists while also allowing them a gander at a secret aircraft? No rotors, yet it takes off vertically? The AP report mentions nothing of noise or flame, so one might assume the absence of jet engines or conventional propulsion systems. An Oklahoma highway, it seems, wouldn't exactly consist of prime real estate for frivolously landing, taking off and buzzing about with secret test vehicles. Then again -- the witness's account clearly described a figure in "GI fatigues" and a significant portion of a clearly discernible number on the craft.

In the Air Force, of course, I knew pilots who could and would land anywhere, if necessary, Still, if the object looked like a fish and not a bird, one might logically suspect, hmm. . .Navy involvement on an Oklahoma highway? Um. . .

And, remember, the year was 1966. Nowadays, there are so many weird government things flying around that separating legitimate UFO cases from the military what's-its is often a complicated chore, and when one adds deception, deceivers and heightened methods of assuring national security to the mix, well, good luck with that. Ah yes, how we long for the good old cut-and-dried days when a lie was the truth, food wasn't chemically altered and a UFO was a UFO. . .