The Navy isn’t saying who has seen what, so it’s unknown to the public if anyone in EA-18G Growlers or other aircraft from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island spotted anything unusual in the skies over the island.
Joe Gradisher, spokesman for Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, explained that aircrews who report UFOs may face a stigma, so the Navy is keeping the reporting of sightings “generic” in the hopes that people won’t be discouraged from sharing the information.
But it’s clear that there’s something out there, he said.
“There have been incursions into our training ranges,” he said. “Pilots are seeing things that shouldn’t be there because it’s restricted air space.”
“It’s all about safety and security,” he added.
The Navy’s information warfare community has the capability to gather and analyze a wide variety of data to try to figure out what the UFOs are, he said.
The unknown objects have been all over the news lately with at least five Navy pilots stepping forward to talk about strange objects they saw almost daily while flying on the East Coast in 2014 and 2015. Some of the incidents were videotaped and show saucer-shaped objects. A Super Hornet pilot reported a near-collision with one.
While none of these pilots flew Growlers, there have been plenty of mysterious objects reported in the skies around NAS Whidbey. Several reports were made so far this year.
Two people reported to the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, that they saw something unusual in the sky on March 1. A fisherman leaving Oak Harbor in a boat with two other people claimed to see, “a shiny metallic rectangular object sitting or hovering over the water” as they headed to the San Juan Islands. They became concerned enough to turn away from the object, which then turned towards their boat and disappeared.
“It either cloaked or sank” into the water, the reporting party said. It was very reflective and had three or four dark lines at the top, which the reporting party perceived as vents or windows.
At 7:32 p.m. that night, a witness in Freeland reported seeing a white “star-like” object hovering over the water. It slowly descended and turned green and briefly displayed a red light underneath. It returned to hovering as a bright white light.
Then, at about 1:30 a.m. May 24, a resident reported to 911 that there were flashes of light in the sky over Walmart in Oak Harbor, Rolling Hills and Coupeville. The caller reported that it may have been lightning, but there were no clouds in the sky.
One of the biggest UFO events in the state happened on July 4, 2014 in an area that included Clinton. MUFON alone received 22 reports of three or more mysterious orange objects in the sky moving erratically.
It’s difficult to know how many UFOs are reported each year across the world since many groups and many more governmental agencies collect the information. MUFON reported receiving 7,606 reports last year, of which 25 percent were closed as “unknown.”