Courage in Silhouette

Following my last article I received a flurry of compliments on Twitter and elsewhere, some using the word "courage" and its derivatives.  This is not the first time this has happened.  Usually, I gratefully thank the people who say it even though I have never thought it accurately described me or my actions.  Today, I want to push back.  

Luis Elizondo quit a government job with a pension to do what he is doing.  Chris Mellon is risking the Mellon family name and his future political career.  Stanton Friedman surely missed out on countless opportunities as a nuclear physicist in a time before the aforementioned people helped make talk of UFOs mainstream.  These are just a few folks in the UFO Community who have exhibited great courage.

Me, I have never felt like I was doing anything extraordinary by tracking down Lue Elizondo.  It was an act I had wanted to do for decades, if only I knew whom to contact.  When Lue introduced me to Jessica Philipps, a producer on the then secret TV show Unidentified, he never mentioned Jessie was a producer or that I might be featured in a documentary.  Still, at this point, no courage was required.  Things progressed slowly and I never felt like I was taking a leap.

I was (and still am) a small business owner and was also teaching some business classes on the side so I had no fear of ruining my career by going on TV.  Maybe I have been passed over for some opportunities to re-enter the workforce because I am a UFO nut, but these days my business is recovering from the Pandemic and I think I will be OK.

My wife has known of my sighting since a week or two after we first met seventeen years ago and she still married me - I am a lucky guy.  She has been supportive of this entire process.  It was her sister who first sent us the infamous New York Times Article on UFOs which kicked off this whole adventure.  No one in our family has ever expressed an issue with any of this (at least not to me).  A couple people in the family and their close friend have a UFO story of their own, a mass-sighting, of sorts.  I have started making a video about it for YouTube.

I had also told some of my closest friends.  One of them, referred to as "G-man" in other articles, told me for years that if my experience had happened to him, "I would tell everyone who would listen."  You could say he was encouraging.  Even recently, when he and I were talking about the mutual acquaintance I mentioned in my last article, who has publicly ridiculed me, G-Man asked me, "Did you really see a UFO?"  I said yes.  He said, "Then what do you care what this guy says?"  Point taken.  G-man's parents, coincidentally, had their own sighting too - both highly credible people.

You may say that it took courage to hang in there in the two year period between first speaking with Lue and when my episode aired on History.  No, that took perseverance for which I will take credit.  One friend told me it took guts to start this blog.  I would disagree with that statement too.  Once the process was in motion it was like dominoes falling.  I just went with it.

Courage in Silhouette

Courage, is what Mike, the other witness to my sighting did.  Now, wait, you may say.  Those who have followed my saga know that Mike has never been willing to reveal his identity.  He "appeared" on my episode of Unidentified over the phone, with his voice disguised.  He has given permission to use his first name but not his last.  How courageous is that?  Read on.

Alex Dietrich Silhouette
Alex Dietrich in Silhouette

Mike, you could say, is my Alex Dietrich.  When David Fravor went on Unidentified in Season 1 the whole world learned his name.  Backing up his story was another Naval airman who would not appear on TV because she was still serving in the military.  Alex Dietrich did not want to risk her career by speaking out publicly about what she saw in what is now known as The Nimitz Incident.  Today, thanks to a recent 60 Minutes Story about UFOs we now know who Dietrich is.

On the night of the Gagetown Incident, my Dietrich, Mike, got picked up by the transport truck at the end of our guard shift before I did.  By the time I got in the truck everyone was talking about the UFO we saw.  The third guard who was out on our shift was already making jokes and doubting our stories, even though Mike and I both talked about our own perspectives of the same sighting and those accounts jibed.  This was at 1:00am.  The rest of the camp was asleep.  We went to bed having only told a handful of people.

By the time we went to breakfast, the entire camp was abuzz about the two kooks (us) who "claimed" to have seen a UFO the night before.  The story had become embellished by the game of "telephone" before Mike and I even had the opportunity to tell more than a handful of people.  The jokes were harsh.  We were humiliated.  We were embarrassed and shamed.  I quickly stopped telling people about it and stopped answering questions early that next morning.  Mike went as far as completely recanting the story.  He said it never happened even though he had tried to report it the night before.

I resented Mike for that.  In the decades prior to going public, I had written and rewritten many accounts of our encounter.  Some of these were told in the first person as historical non-fiction, just the facts.  Other versions were told in third person with slightly fictionalized dialogue to make it a more interesting read in hopes I could get the story published.  In every account, Mike was my Brutus, the guy who turned on me at the end and made me look like a liar.  I made him the bad guy in all these stories.

In reality, I now know that Mike could not be a nicer guy.  I will go on a limb and say he is a kind and gentle man.  He is extremely polite and respectful.  These and other associated character traits are surely what led him to pull back the reins and deny what happened back in 1992 because he simply could not stand up to the ridicule.  I no longer blame him for that.  It is who he is.

But still, he will not reveal his identity.  There is a reason for that and I respect it.  Since becoming reacquainted with Mike he has shared with me that he has struggled over the years.  The biggest thing in his life right now, other than the love of his family, is his church.  Mike is a strong adherent to his religion and a loyal and dedicated member of his church.  He does not want to jeopardize that.  It would ruin him.

After searching for years I finally tracked Mike down in the fall of 2018.  When I asked him if he would go on Unidentified and back up my account of our sighting he initially declined.  I asked him why and his response surprised me.  I thought he would say it was because he did not want to relive the humiliation we had endured as young soldiers.  

Instead, Mike told me about his involvement with his church and said that talking about UFOs within his circle of peers would be considered, "a distraction" from their mission.  I can understand that.  I do not agree with it per se but that is the crux of his belief system.  I would not want people to tell me my religious beliefs are wrong.  They are beliefs.  They are neither right nor wrong, just beliefs.  Mike has a right to shelter his beliefs.

Now, putting all of this together, despite Mike's strong association with his religion and its mission he knows what he saw that night in August 1992.  His own eyes told him something that contradicts his belief system.  There are those in Washington whose religious beliefs have prompted them to put up roadblocks to the work that Luis Elizondo was doing while working at AATIP.  Lue had documentation of flyovers in restricted airspace from people whose technologic abilities were thousands of years ahead of our own.  These higher-ups would not set aside their religious convictions to accept the undeniable evidence of what Lue was showing them.  

Mike did.  Mike would not show his face for fear of repeating the past ridicule we both suffered and fear of losing what is currently most important to him, his affiliation with his church.  But he did come forward and support me.  He said he was there that night and he saw something too.  He even added in some details I did not see from where I was stationed.  He summoned the courage to validate something that went against his core beliefs.  That was a leap.  It took guts.  For that, Mike is now the hero of my story.  Mike defines courage.

Enjoying this blog?

If you have seen an alien spaceship or any type of unidentified flying object (UFO) contact me using the Contact form at the bottom of this page.  You may remain anonymous if you want.  I will not ridicule you or try to tell you why you are wrong.  I get it, I saw one too.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.