West Coast Air Raid
The UFO Sightings

UFO Sightings - West Coast Air Raid

This image of the UFO sightings was on the front of the Los Angeles Times in February 1942. The searchlights are targeting the object with the artillery shells exploding showing up as the smaller spots of light.

On the evening of 24th February and the early hours of 25th February 1942, several UFO sightings were made over Los Angeles.

Known as the West coast air raid, Los Angeles air raid and sometimes as The battle of Los Angeles a total blackout was ordered. Air raid sirens sounded out across the County at 2.25 a.m. as a warning of an impending raid.

At 3.16 a.m. the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade started firing 12.8 pound antiaircraft shells at the UFOs, which were sometimes illuminated by bright searchlights.

After the air raid warning sounded, pilots from the 4th Interceptor Command prepared their aircraft to intercept the UFOs, but no order to intercept was given. The aircraft remained on the ground.

Artillery fire continued occasionally for nearly an hour, and stopped at 4.14 a.m. The objects took about 20 minutes to move between Santa Monica and Long Beach. The all-clear was sounded and the blackout order lifted at 7.21 a.m.

Several buildings were damaged by friendly fire and three civilians killed by the antiaircraft fire. Another three died of heart attacks attributed to the stress of the hour-long bombardment.

The UFO sightings made front-page news along the U.S. Pacific coast, and earned some mass media coverage throughout the United States. One Herald Express writer who observed some of the incident insisted that several antiaircraft shells had struck one of the objects, and he was stunned that the object had not been brought down.

Secretary of the Navy Knox announced that the entire incident was a false alarm due to anxiety and "war nerves". The press was outraged, some suspected a cover up: the Long Beach Independent wrote, "There is a mysterious reticence about the whole affair and it appears that some form of censorship is trying to halt discussion on the matter." Others speculated that the incident was a ruse designed to give coastal defense industries an excuse to move further inland. And if there truly was nothing to the incident, the possibility that Navy personnel had fired heavy artillery shells for nearly an hour at nothing at all, killing three civilians in the process seemed to suggest that the men of the U.S. Navy were dangerously incompetent.

A Freedom of Information Act request was made in 1974 to gain access to a memorandum regarding the incident, access was granted and documentation released. Written by General George C. Marshall for President Franklin Roosevelt, and dated February 26, 1942, the memo contradicts Knox's assertion that the incident was due only to "war nerves," and proves that officials took the event seriously.

Some documents, perhaps of dubious authenticity, have suggested that the Los Angeles Air Raid inspired the formation of the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit (IPU). While the IPU undoubtedly existed (official U.S. Military sources have confirmed its reality), little is known of the unit, and any connection to the Los Angeles Air Raid must be regarded as unproved.

Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit

The Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit (IPU) was a military unit established by 1947 and disbanded by the late 1950s.

U S officials have confirmed that the IPU existed, but little else is known about it. It seems to have been an unidentified flying object-related project as a result of recent UFO sightings. Some ufologists have suggested that the name "Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit" is an indication that the IPU was convinced that the **extraterrestrial hypothesis was a viable explanation for UFOs.

There has been speculation that the IPU was another name for the Majestic 12 or MJ-12, an unconfirmed U.S. UFO research group said to have been founded in 1947. However, another MJ-12 related document of questionable authenticity indicates the unit was established early in 1942 by General George Marshall following a well-publicized UFO incident, the "West coast air raid."

Some people believe General Douglas McArthur was involved in the formation of the IPU, during or towards the end of World War II, because of the many UFO sightings reported while he was Commander in the Pacific. Allegedly McArthur reported directly to General Marshall. Maybe supporting McArthur's involvement is the fact that he did make public statements on at least two occasions that Earth might have to unite to fight a future war against an alien menace. (One such quote was in the New York Times, October 8, 1955)
Did he know something about UFO sightings that he wanted to share with the world?

In May 1984 researcher William Steinman wrote to Army Directorate of Counterintelligence, since, according to Steinman's information, the IPU was run out of the Scientific and Technical Branch of the Directorate. Steinman received the following somewhat evasive reply from a Lieutenant Colonel Lance R. Cornine. Cornine claimed that the IPU had only an unofficial existence and refused to definitely acknowledge the existence of any unit records:
"As you note in your letter, the so-called Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit (IPU) was disestablished and, as far as we are aware, all records, if any, were transferred to the Air Force in the late 1950's. The 'unit' was formed as an in-house project purely as an interest item for the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence. It was never a 'unit' in the military sense, nor was it ever formally organized or reportable, it had no investigative function, mission or authority, and may not even have had any formal records at all. It is only through institutional memory that any recollection exists of this unit. We are therefore unable to answer your questions as to the exact purpose of the unit, exactly when it was disestablished, or who was in command. This last would not apply in any case, as no one was in 'command'. We have no records or documentation of any kind on this unit."

In 1987, UFO researcher Timothy Good, who has investigated many UFO sightings, wrote the Army Directorate of Counterintelligence and received a letter confirming the existence of the IPU from a Colonel William Guild. Guild was more definitive about the existence of IPU records and that they had been turned over to the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), the USAF counterintelligence unit, and the Air Force's Project Blue Book:
"...the aforementioned Army unit was disestablished during the late 1950's and never reactivated. All records pertaining to this unit were surrendered to the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations in conjunction with operation BLUEBOOK." (letter in Good, Above Top Secret, p. 484).

**The Extraterrestrial hypothesis (sometimes shortened to ETH) is the hypothesis that UFO reports and UFO sightings are best explained as creatures from other planets, occupying physical extraterrestrial spacecraft visiting Earth. This hypothesis has found very little support among mainstream scientists, some of whom argue it is pseudoscience. Nonetheless, there are also a substantial number of individuals and organizations that actively study UFO sightings and support the ETH. The ETH is vital to most versions of UFO Abduction reports.

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