OVERLAND PARK, KS (January 4, 2016) -- Tallgrass Creek retirement community resident Jack Sladkey, Captain, U.S. Air Force (retired), saw a huge Texas oil field from his B-25 aircraft in 1958 when he was on a mission to train navigators.
This would have been insignificant had it not been for the fact that the oil field -- or what he initially thought was an oil field -- sat still off his aircraft's right wing at 10,000 feet.
"It was a UFO," Sladey told a meeting of 135 veterans who live at Tallgrass Creek. "I saw it and I remember the experience as if it were yesterday."
Sladkey, who earned his wings at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma, was flying in a loose formation with three other aircraft on a summer night along the west Texas border. He looked out the window of his cockpit, observed what he assumed to be a brightly-lit oil field and asked his navigator to look as well.
"My navigator said, 'That is not on the ground. It is off our wing.'"
Sladkey said the object had hundreds of lights. It hovered for about 15 minutes and suddenly flew out of sight, exceeding the speed of sound and disappearing from radar, he said.
"I saw it and six pilots and thee navigators flying with me that night also saw it," he said.
Sladkey immediately called Air Traffic Control to see if any other large aircraft were in the area and was informed they were not. He and his crew members then determined the object to have been a UFO.
When Sladkey landed he discussed what he had seen with his Squadron Commander who suggested the incident not be reported. "He told me I would be involved in writing a lot of reports and probably some intense interrogation, so I decided not to put anything official in writing about it. Everyone else who saw the object decided to do the same."
Sladkey, whose father was a WWI pilot from whom he gained his lifelong love of flying, remains convinced that he saw UFO. He also believes there is life on planets other than earth, perhaps in other solar systems.
"We cannot possibly be the only living creatures in existence," he said. "Space is too vast and too mysterious."
Sladkey, a former Focused Factory Manager for Western Electric Company, moved to Tallgrass Creek one year ago with his wife Lois. He taught Operations Management at University of Missouri, Kansas City.