1978: UFOs at the Brink of War
“The reason for publishing this account,” writes Carlos Iurchuk, editor of Argentina’s El Dragon Invisible, “so soon after having received it is in the hope that it may be possible to contact some of the other people who participated in this event.” We do not know if Mr. Iurchuk was ever able to get hold of any other witnesses to the event described below, which was sent to his publication in e-mail form by one of the percipients.
On September 27, 2005, a man identifying himself only as “juanperez 19” submitted the following e-mail to El Dragón Invisible. After introducing himself, and promising that he would tell his story step-by-step, he described his experiences at length:
“It was 1978, and Argentina was on the verge of going to war with Chile. Along with thousands of other soldiers, we were stationed and trained in less than eight months to face this contingency. And that’s how we learned to live – armed to the teeth, sharing our lives stoically in a hostile, unforgiving environment. In one of our forays (to Quilcha, less than three hundred meters from the border) we spent many nights on watch. Observation was our number one priority.
“I should remark that the locals, whether Chilean or Argentinean, treat seeing “lights” in the same way we deal with passing automobiles. They are unflappable in this regard. It may be that they have a very simple, cold manner of weighing matters. Useful/not useful, good/bad, aggressive/non-aggressive, and our visitors are anything but aggressive. I would say that in any event, some are more curious than others. They have the luxury of watching us in the same way we look at them: with a measure of astonishment.
"You should see my gestures, and my alarm at seeing lights floating in the darkness, and the locals (chatos) replying: “Hey, what’s all the fuss about? It’s a disk, they’re always there!”
After my initial sighting on the skirts of Cerro Otto (my company was below, CA-ING-MON-6 and the Andean Instruction School, Kilometer 10, facing [lake] Nahuel and next to the Balseiro Atomic Center, there was something floating slowly over the mountain, changing from red to yellow lights. Nothing was ever the same, by the mere fact that no-one ever thought to reply to its signals, including our superiors. What was it? Aside from its exasperating slowness, time appeared to stand still. Eight to ten minutes, and it appeared to fall down behind the other side of the mountain, from which only a flash could be seen. It blended with an extremely moonlight night, so bright that it seemed like day.
“Later on, in the open countryside, while demarkating routes, we found ourselves at Cerro Leones, fifteen hundred meters from the airport. Using your wristwatch face as an example, the airport was at 12 o’clock, the ancient train station and our bivouac at :17 minutes. It was an enchanted place, where I once saw beautiful red deer drinking from a stream, while searching for sustenance, which was scarce on more than one occasion.
“Across from us was a smal canyon, with a significant depth. It acted like a funnel at one of its ends. Average length, fifteen hundred meters; width, five hundred. These are approximations.
“On nights of full moon, this wilderness was always DARK, given its shape and depth. With my rifle beside me, I stood guard yet another night, when the canyon suddenly lit up with a glowing yellow light. The time? 0200 hours.
“I woke up my tentmate and told him I’d seen a tremendous light, but it had now gone out (may I remind you that these were the signs of an imminent war).
“XXX, which is the name of my companion and driver, told me to stop drinking so much wine and to quit fooling around. I insisted and said: “You blockhead, what if its the Chileans? Who’s going to warn the patrol? Come with me or I’m going alone.” I harbored doubts about what that thing could be, but I couldn’t take the luxury of interrupted my comrades’ well-deserved sleep due to something that I wasn’t completely certain about.
“XXX got up and grudgingly accompanied me to what was basically a ledge. We were discussing things in hushed tones, and there was no sign of the light. Suddenly everything turned bright again. We speculated that it could have been a truck or conventional vehicle, but our knowledge of the area screamed at us that this was impossible.
“These flashes had a duration of seconds, like winks of the eye, but the light was incredible. In the middle of all this, we decided to contact our superior, nurse corporal YYY, who for some reason did not refuse and got up like a firefighter. When he arrived, the moon was shining over the airport and nearly causing the Andean Pre-Cordillera to cast a shadow. We were facing the moonlight, the canyon was in shadow, and we told him that we saw lights below, and then nothing at all. Suddenly, stuck to the slopes of the facing mountain (like a refrigerator magnet), we saw the light and its source: a greysh disk with the approximate size of three large automobiles together (some ten meters long). Without making any noise, it had risen from the base, nearly at our own height. No buzzing noises, no smells, nothing. Only silence.
“When it varied its position we could see it only a few seconds in profile. It was as tall as a house (3 meters), its center was motionless, and it gave the impression of having hatches like an airplane, changing colors. These colors were not conventional for the time, as far as their luminosity was concerned. They resembled LED lights, that is to say, somewhat cotton-like (sic) and changed from yellow to red, then to green or purple, swiftly and fleetingly in a manner of seconds, extinguishing themselves just as fast.
“After it went off, it would appear in another second of the same slope, as though playing with our search. At this point, corporal YYY called the patrol leader, the entire patrol, and together they decided to summon First Lieutenant ZZZ, the base commander, along with all of the older soldiers like myself, who reported to see the strange new development with their FAL rifles in hand.
“When the big boss arrived, he asked us: “What’s going on? This had better be for real, or there’ll be hell to pay.”
“We all pointed at the darkness. And it happened. It lit up, and to our surprise, moved around illuminated, with a broken, abnormal flight pattern, like a zigzag, flying over us at about three hundred feet. It was really fast, like nothing we’d ever seen before. When it was overhead, First Lieutenant ZZZ, bellowed: “Load, damn it!” and the thing moved vertically, turning into a point.
“The worst part of this is that there’s something neither my comrades nor myself can recall about that night: what did we do later? Did we sleep, go dancing, etc.? One of them (and I seem him regularly, he lives over in Tigre) doesn’t remember the event, just fragments, like the clouds.
“Something happened that night, and I still can’t manage to recall what it was.
“My name is Carlos Letteri. I enlised as a recruit with Mountain Engineer Company 6, known today as the Juan Domingo Perón Regiment. I served as orderly, gunner and launcher. As such I took part in survival forays and “Vivac” due to the possible war with Chile over control of the Beagle Channel. This took place in the year 1978 – right in the middle of the Argentinean World Cup games. It lasted for nearly two years until Pope Wojtyla (John Paul II) mediated. We were the class of 1959 and it amalgamated with the class of 1960.
“The events involving UFO sightings occur in the Cerro Leones wilderness and the old Ferrocarriles Argentinos Train Station. At this point in time, soldiers of the class of 1960 spent nearly 50 days and nights together. It should be noted that the ones with knowledge of these sightings were members of the trained forces, who also had the most autonomy.”
(Translation (c) 2011, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Carlos Iurchuk, El Dragón Invisible)