Some additional Rendlesham documentation from the US Air Force
ON OTHER PAGES
In the summer of 1984, the year after the Rendlesham Forest UFO incident first hit the headlines, the celebrated American broadcaster Chuck de Caro produced a documentary on the Rendlesham case for the US Cable News Network (CNN). At that time, Captain Victor Warzinski was the Public Affairs Officer for the twin bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge and as such was responsible for answering de Caro’s research inquiries. Warzinski’s written responses, obtained by researcher Peter Robbins and released publicly in 2014, add interesting insight into official knowledge of the Rendlesham case on the twin bases.
Telexes from the Public Affairs Office at Bentwaters
Warzinski’s replies to de Caro’s inquiries consist of three telexes: one three pages long dated 21 August 1984 and headed ‘Interim feedback, CNN queries’; the second of five pages, dated three days later and headed ‘CNN queries’; and a third consisting of two pages dated 6 November 1984 and headed ‘CNN queries, RAF Bentwaters UFO incident’.
The questions were forwarded to Warzinski by the headquarters of the US Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Warzinski replied to Ramstein, with copies to the USAF’s UK headquarters at Mildenhall, Suffolk. Hence these telexes amount to internal USAF correspondence between Bentwaters and Ramstein. Copies were kept in a file at the Public Affairs Office at Bentwaters along with other correspondence concerning the case. Copies of de Caro’s original questions were sent to the MoD by the British base commander, Squadron Leader Donald Moreland, and form part of the MoD Rendlesham file (DEFE 24/1948/1), but the MoD left the USAF to provide answers.
Even back in 1984, less than four years after the events in the forest, Warzinski was hard-pressed to find any documentation about the incident, but he did report as follows.
1. In Telex 2, pages 2 and 4, Warzinski says that the disaster preparedness branch, which deals with nuclear and biochemical incidents, had no reports or records of the event. [My comment: Sergeant Nevels, the geiger counter operator with Halt’s party, was a member of the disaster preparedness department but evidently never wrote up his findings for the record and the whole episode remained unofficial.]
2. In Telex 1, page 2, Warzinski tells us that a letter on file from the (unnamed) OSI commander at the time of the incident says that ‘OSI did not do any investigation’. In Telex 2, page 4, Warzinski further states ‘OSI informs they were not informed of the incident. Did not investigate or compile a report.’ In Telex 3, page 1, Warzinski emphasizes the same point: ‘No one was later interviewed by OSI as they did not conduct any investigation.’ [My comment: OSI is the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations. This denial of any official investigation, of course, does not preclude some unofficial inquiries being made out of personal interest but there is certainly no evidence for the massive OSI interrogation of witnesses that some have claimed.]
3. In Telex 1, page 2, Warzinski quotes a letter from Col Cochran, the commander-in-chief of the base at the time of the incident, saying ‘no audiovisual documentation was done, nor was any report or investigation initiated by the USAF’. Elsewhere Warzinski acknowledges that he knows of Col Halt’s tape recording but says he regarded this as Halt’s personal property and did not ask for a copy of it.
4. The files also contain a letter dated 9 November 1984 to an inquirer addressed as Mr Bateman in which Warzinski explains: ‘Colonel Halt’s report makes specific mention of the type and strength of the radiation readings. However, it should be understood that these reported readings fall within the range of normal background radiation counts.’ Hence it is clear that no one on the base at the time regarded the radiation readings obtained by Col Halt’s team as anything out of the ordinary.
5. In a letter to British UFO researcher Mark Birdsall dated 30 July 1985, Warzinski tartly noted: ‘We do not have any unknown vehicles stored underground at Bentwaters. Indeed, there are NO underground storage areas on either of the twinbases.’
Warzinski sums up the Rendlesham Forest UFO incident
Throughout the files, Captain Warzinski’s bemusement at the public interest in what to him was evidently a non-event comes through clearly. Warzinski summarized the situation better than he knew when he wrote to Mark Birdsall in August 1984 wondering: ‘Was it simply an unexplained incident blown completely out of proportion, like the fisherman’s tale of the “one that got away” that keeps getting bigger and bigger with each retelling?’ He could scarcely have realized how big this tale would eventually get.
Source of these files
Warzinski’s telexes and other correspondence from the Public Affairs file at Bentwaters are contained in Part 2 of Peter Robbins’s Special Report for Phenomena magazine. They can be seen on pages 109–116 and 121–122. The letters to Mark Birdsall are on pages 117 and 128. Congratulations and thanks to Peter Robbins and Stephen Mera of Phenomena magazine for making these valuable and little-known USAF documents publicly available, which helps us to form a more complete picture of the official response to the incident.
Content last revised: 2021 March
© Ian Ridpath. All rights reserved