Rendlesham Forest

Date: 1980/12/25 - 1980/12/27
Location: Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England
Appearance: Metallic; triangular, 2-3 m across the base; black
Classification: CE 2
Sources: Colonel Halt; Jim Penniston; Nick Pope
Summary: Sightings of lights and landing of a UFO. Dozens of USAF personnel witnessed UFO activity over a 3 day period. Ground traces and radioactive anomalies were reported.

Penniston sketch On December 25, 1980, Jim Penniston, the on-duty flight chief for the Woodbridge base, and John Burroughs, had to investigate some strange lights over Rendlesham Forest (next to USAF air base Bentwaters). When Penniston got to a distance of 50 meters he saw a metallic shiny black, triangular shaped craft, three meters in width and two high. The surface was smooth, almost glass like. White light was emitting from both the top and bottom of the craft. Red and blue lights flashed alternatively on either side.

Penniston placed his hands on the craft, which he said felt warm despite the freezing night. He discovered a series of raised symbols etched onto its left hand side, about three inches high. The craft then lifted off, ascended to tree top level and quickly disappeared. The men found three indentations in the ground where the UFO had been resting. The following day, Penniston returned to the site and made plaster casts of the indentations. Right: sketch made by Penniston

An analysis of the landing site showed indentations in the ground forming the shape of a triangle, scorch marks on the sides of the trees, and radiation levels which scientific staff at the UKís Ministry of Defense (MoD) assessed as being "significantly higher than the average background".

Two nights later the UFO returned. Deputy Base Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Halt assembled a patrol to investigate the incident. He spotted a glowing red object moving through the forest. Halt had activated a mini tape recorder. The tape was later released to the public. On it you can hear Halt and his men getting closer to the UFO.

"There is no doubt about it, there is some type of strange flashing red light ahead" he states on the tape.
"It's coming this way, it's definitely coming this way. Pieces of it are shooting off. There is no doubt about it. This is weird."

Halt described the object as circular, like a large eye winking at him. Later in the tape he says:
"At about ten degrees, horizon, directly north, we've got two strange objects, er, half moon shape, dancing about, with coloured lights on 'em. At, er, guess to be about five to ten miles out, maybe less. The half moons have now turned into full circles as though there was an eclipse or something there for a minute or two."
"Now we've got an object about 10 degrees directly south, 10 degrees off the horizon."
"Hey, here he comes from the south, he's coming toward us now. Now we're observing what appears to be a beam coming down to the ground."
"At 04:00 hours. One object still hovering over Woodbridge base at about five to ten degrees off the horizon, still moving erratic and similar lights and beaming down as earlier."

"I've gone on record saying Rendlesham might be the turning point in history that leads to the explanation of the UFO phenomenon"
- Nick Pope, when working at Min. of Defence
The group saw an object coming in and then hovering over them and send a laser like beam down to the ground, only a few feet from their location. The UFO then moved over the weapons storage area and continued firing beams of light into the storage bunkers.

Colonel Halt wrote a memorandum in January 1981 to the Ministry of Defence. It describes not only Penniston's UFO encounter, but also his own. As a result of the Halt memorandum, the British Ministry of Defense began their own investigation into the incident. This was confirmed when some of their secret files were released to Admiral Lord Hill Norton in 2001. The files also show that Lt. General Charles A. Gabriel, who was then the supreme commander of USAF in Europe, was handed "taped evidence".

In 2007, two former military radar technicians named Jim Carey and Ike Barker, have come forward to say a UFO was caught on radar and seen visually from the control tower. Traveling at an extremely high rate of speed, the UFO passed over the control tower and then it stopped. The men described it as a sphere, "orangish" in color, with lights around the center of it.

In June 2010, retired Colonel Charles Halt signed a notarized affidavit Written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation, for use as evidence in court., in which he summarized what had happened, then stated he believed the event to be extraterrestrial and it had been covered up by both the US and UK:

"I believe the objects that I saw at close quarter were extraterrestrial in origin and that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted - both then and now - to subvert the significance of what occurred at Rendlesham Forest and RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practiced methods of disinformation."

Lord Hill-Norton was a retired 5-Star Admiral who was a former Chief of the Defense Staff and a former Chairman of NATOís Military Committee. Commenting on the MoDís "no defense significance" line on the Rendlesham Forest incident, he said:

"It seems to me that something physical took place; I have no doubt that something landed (...) either large numbers of people (...) were hallucinating, and for an American Air Force nuclear base this is extremely dangerous, or what they say happened did happen, and in either of those circumstances there can only be one answer, and that is that it was of extreme defence interest."

Atomic weapons were held at RAF Bentwaters in the "Hot Row" of concrete bunkers within the secure weapons storage area. The nuclear arsenal included missiles or bombs with tactical payloads.

In an interview in november 2019, Charles Halt talked about the events of December 1980. Halt said that there were more sightings than just the three nights that everyone talks about. He provided some examples, including some of the following years.

Halt also stated that there were radar tracks of the UFO, but that someone had removed the radar tapes and also took various log books. In other words, he was saying there was a cover up.