UFOs in OIB?
After strange lights over the ocean excited August stargazers on Ocean Isle Beach, writer Ed Beckley tracked down an explanation.
Those looking to the stars for the peak of the Perseid meteor shower in early August 2021 received a bonus gift from the heavens. Dozens of beautiful colored “orbs” and unexplained “blinking lights” also appeared night after night the week of August 8 over the waters at Ocean Isle Beach, leaving viewers ooh-ing, ah-ing and wondering.
Even current jet pilots and military veterans were left scratching their heads, not able to positively put their collective finger on the source of the unusual lights. So, what were those beautiful apparitions? Heavenly visitors? Or something else? There were many folks on the beach anticipating shooting stars and there was plenty of time to pull out cell-phone cameras and catch the action en masse. Many people got footage, including yours truly.
What did we see? From my viewpoint, at around 9:45 pm on Wednesday, August 11 four flying objects donning what looked like blinking July 4 sparklers passed overhead in a rectangular formation headed west to east far over the ocean to the south. After moving as far away as where I estimated Southport to be, the formation turned back east and split up. Then we viewed these magnificent orbs that did not seem connected to the sparkling lights. Some were small and some large, white to orange in color. A couple seemed to travel together east to west then just vanished. That was followed a couple seconds later by a huge burst of circular light which proceeded a bit west, circled into a clockwise corkscrew, then shot into the center of the screw and evaporated into space. Another few seconds later an orb lit up and wiped out in less than a second. Truly a wonderful WOW to watch!
Ocean Isle Beach Bums Facebook page frequenters also shared their photos, videos and experiences. (Thank you to Jennifer Ziccardi, Rebecca Floyd and Jennifer Shrum Pociask for providing theirs for this article.)
Pociask was on Goldsboro Street when she captured her video. She said she and others with her spotted a dozen or more “blinking lights” scattered from northeast to southwest moving erratically. Her group kept watch for more than an hour.
“At first, they looked just like stars,” Pociask said. “Then with no set time frame or frequency, a few of them would start blinking, then more would join in, then they would move and disperse in several different directions, quite quickly.” She described the lights as clusters of three, four and five, moving in different directions. “The pattern in which they moved went in all directions, not just falling from the sky.”
The eyewitnesses commented that none of the lights were characteristic of traditional smoking flares, drones or Chinese lanterns. And there were no aircraft noises. The lights were completely silent.
“It was fun to watch, kind of exciting,” Pociask added. “Maybe it’s something military or space related. Maybe it’s from another universe.”
I contacted all the armed services (except the Army but including the U.S. Space Force) to discern if there were any military exercises going on at the time. The U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon suggested that the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base (AFB) in Cherryvale, South Carolina (only two hours from here) was flying routine night training in the region during that period. However, the public affairs officer at Shaw AFB wrote back, “We ran this footage by our pilots and based on the video/photo it does not look like us. It looks like it could be an aircraft that has two afterburners . . . but not positive. Sorry we couldn’t be more help!”
With nobody raising their hand, leaving this all as a mystery, I received an email from the U.S. Navy in San Diego. The Navy offered a viable and very interesting explanation.
LCDR Madisyn Hansen of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs wrote, “Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2021 was happening off the East Coast of the U.S. during the time you mentioned in August, so while I can’t say the lights were definitively from that exercise, they might have been. There were U.S. Navy ships operating off the coast as well as U.S. Marines operating both at sea and ashore.” LCDR Hansen also provided several public documents explaining the exercise.
What I learned was very exciting. According to the United States Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, “This exercise is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my 26-year naval career … LSE 2021 is the biggest exercise we’ve done in a generation, and it will no doubt inform our efforts going forward as we deter our adversaries worldwide.”
The massive exercise involved 25,000 U.S. Sailors and Marines across 17 time zones. The Navy said it provided a training and experimentation environment that leveraged the integrated fighting power of multiple naval forces, which shared sensors, weapons and platforms across all domains in a globally contested environment. Admiral Samuel Paparo, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said the exercise helped advance the art and science of naval warfare “to be ready to fight tonight; the stakes could not be higher.” Included in the exercise were evaluations of experimental technology from a variety of warfare areas including unmanned technologies. Supporting the operation were U.S. Airmen from the 505th Combat Training Squadron out of Hurlburt Field, Florida.
In the end, the United States Navy has given us good information to consider it was “something military.”