In December of 1966, Captain David D. Schindele, a Minuteman I intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch crew commander at the Minot Air Force Base, claimed that he witnessed a saucer-shaped UFO flying over the air base and disabling all 10 nuclear warhead-equipped ICBMs in his charge.
Schindele, who was stationed at Minot AFB near Mohall, North Dakota, from July 1965 to May 1968, claimed that senior Air Force officials were aware of the UFO incident but warned him to never to speak about it. They urged him to erase the incident from his memory like it never happened. However, information about the UFO sighting was leaked to the local media, and on December 6, 1966, the local newspaper, the Minot Daily News, published a story on its front page about UFO sightings in the area and at the launch facility, under the headline, "Minot Launch Control Center 'Saucer' Cited As One Indication of Outer Space Visitors."
Schindele obeyed orders to keep quiet about the UFO incident, but years later, he learned that other members of his missile launch crew and other personnel at different bases across the country had similar UFO experiences.
"During that time in Minot, many of us experienced unworldly incidents at Minuteman facilities but we were all individually instructed to keep silent," Schindele told the Minot Daily News in a recent interview.
"We never realized at the time that others among us were also experiencing incidents, but now the truth is becoming known."
For instance, Schindele learned only a few years ago that Captain Robert Salas, who was a member of an ICBM launch crew at Malmstrom AFB in Montana, at about the time that Schindele was at Minot AFB, reported a similar UFO incident.
"About 35 years after my Minot (UFO) incident and learning about an identical incident experienced by another missileer (Capt. Robert Salas) connected to Malmstrom AFB in Montana, which was during the same general timeframe as my incident, I then contemplated coming forth with the 'truth,'" Schindele said.The realization that he was not the only missileer who had seen UFOs flying over Minuteman facilities and disabling ICBMs encouraged him to conduct an extensive research into the matter.
"After discovering in 2010 that other missileers with me at Minot also experienced associated incidents, I then decided to conduct extensive research on Air Force cover-up to find out exactly why the Air Force told all of us to keep our 'lips zipped,'" he said. "We all had top secret clearances, but that was not enough to allow the Air Force to provide truth to us, or to explain the incidents. We were all kept in the dark and never trained on how to manage such incidents and situations should they reoccur. It was a very disconcerting time for all of us."
He revealed that he mulled over making a decision to talk about his UFO experience and the findings of his research for five years before he began sharing the information with close friends and on his website. He also decided to write a book about the mysterious UFO incident.
"It was a six-and-a-half year effort, but I also realized that a second volume would be needed to make it complete."According to Schindele, many of his former colleagues at Minot never talked about the UFO incident but took the "secret" to their graves, and many who are still alive are refusing to talk about it. But Schindele insisted there was a reason for former Minot missileers to continue keeping the information a secret. He said he was pleased that some of his former colleagues agreed with him that 50 years after the Minot incident and 70 years after the Roswell UFO incident, there could no "ethical, moral, or critical reason" to continue keeping sealed lips about what they witnessed at Minot.
However, despite his conviction about the need to share the information and publish the "truth," Schindele felt "conflicted," mainly because he had no wish to bring attention to himself or make a financial profit from the information. Yet, he realized he had no choice in the matter and that he would have to come out with the truth. He eventually made a decision to not derive financial benefit from his book, It Never Happened, Volume 1, by arranging that all proceeds from the sale of his book go to Seattle Chapter of the Air Force Association.
Schindele, who lives with his wife, Diana, in Mukilteo, Washington, north of Seattle, said that he and other Minute missileers who served at Minot, and at other bases, still meet regularly, about once every year and a half. But he noted that their ranks were depleting very rapidly.
Schindele and his wife of 20 years have four adult children and eight grandchildren. He grew up in Seattle and attended Washington State University.
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