U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr. (D-Ga.) was travelling on a Soviet train in 1955 during a fact-finding mission in Russia when he spotted a disc-shaped, flying saucer UFO taking off near the tracks. He and his aides reported the sighting to U.S. security agencies after they left Russia, but the U.S. government kept the UFO sightings secret for about 30 years.
Senator Russell, then chairman of the Armed Services Committee and one of the most influential senators until his death in 1971 after serving in Senate for 38 years, was travelling with two aides in the Transcaucasus region of Russia when, at about 7 p.m. on October 4, 1955, he looked out of the window and spotted two disc-shaped UFOs taking off from a spot near the tracks.
He called his military aide Lt. Col. Hathaway and interpreter Ruben Efron to the window urgently. Hathaway came to the window in time to see the first UFO, but Efron barely caught a glimpse of the first UFO as it disappeared. However, all three saw the second UFO as it took off.
They reported the sightings to the U.S. Air Force authorities immediately after they left Russia, agreeing that they saw a disc-shaped UFO.
The CIA, FBI, and Air Force documents, which give details of the sightings, were declassified in 1985 and obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) by the Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR) under its chairman Dr. Bruce Maccabee.
According to Maccabee, "These long secret documents are of major importance because they show for the first time that one of the most powerful U.S. Senators witnessed and reported a UFO."
A top secret Air Force intelligence report on the sightings, dated October 14, 1955, was written by Lieut. Col. Thomas Ryan, air attaché at the U.S. embassy in Prague, Czechoslovakia, who met the senator and his aides after they left Russia. Ryan wrote that the report was based on "an eyewitness account of the ascent and flight of an unconventional craft by three highly reliable United States observers."
Col. Hathaway reportedly told Ryan, "I doubt if you are going to believe this, but we all saw it. Senator Russell was the first to see this flying disc we've been told for years that there isn't such a thing, but all of us saw it."
"One disc ascended almost vertically, at a relatively slow speed, with its outer surface revolving slowly to the right, to an altitude of about 6000 feet, where its speed then increased sharply as it headed north. The second flying disc was seen performing the same actions about one minute later. The take-off area was about 1-2 miles south of the rail line."The CIA also interviewed the three eyewitnesses. Ruben told the CIA that visibility was excellent during the sightings and that the UFOs gave an impression of "gliding" as "no noise was heard and no exhaust was heard, and no exhaust glow or trail was seen by me."
The CIA also reportedly interviewed a fourth unidentified person who said that one of the UFOs had a "slight dome on top" and also a "white light on top."
The eyewitnesses described the disc as having a pinkish-white glow. It rose "vertically with the glow moving slowly around the perimeter in a clockwise direction, giving the appearance of a pinwheel."
According to Dr. Maccabee of the Fund for UFO Research, Senator Russell and his companions never spoke about the sightings in public "because they were no doubt advised not to talk."
But rumors about the sightings soon began spreading, and a reporter for the Los Angeles Examiner approached the senator for details.
The Senator's response, dated 17 January, 1956, to a request from the Los Angeles Examiner's Tom Towers for information about the sightings read, "I have discussed this matter with the affected agencies of the government, and they are of the opinion that it is not wise to publicize this matter at this time. I regret very much that I am unable to be of assistance to you."
The report was finally declassified in 1985.
Maccabee concluded that "these documents provide startling new evidence that UFOs exist."
[Image: via Disclose-TV]