In mid morning, the CAA received a report from Captain W. H. Kerr, Trans-World Airways pilot, that he and 2 other TWA pilots had a UFO in sight.
A gleaming UFO was visible, hovering at high altitude. CAA also had 20 or more reports on the UFO from the Vandalia area when WPAFB was notified and sent up 4 P-51 interceptors.
The UFO was also visible to control tower operators and personnel of the Air Technical Intelligence Center on the base.
Radar had an unidentified target in the same position.
While the F-51 was warming up, the tower operators called ATIC and told them about the UFO and where to look to see it.
The people at ATIC rushed out and there it was an extremely bright light, much brighter and larger than a star.
Whatever it was, it was high because every once in a while it would be blanked out by the thick, high, scattered clouds that were in the area.
While the group of people was standing in front of ATIC watching the light, somebody ran in and called the radar lab at Wright Field to see if they had any radar“on the air. The people in the lab said that they didn't have, but they could get operational in a hurry. They said they would search southeast of the field with their radar and suggested that ATIC send some people over. By the time the ATIC people arrived at the radar lab the radar was on the air and had a target in the same position as the light that everyone was looking at. The radar was also picking up the Air Guard F-51 and an F-51 that had been scrambled from Wright- Patterson.
The pilots of the Air Guard 51 and the Wright-Patterson 51 could both see the UFO, and they were going after it.
The master sergeant who was operating the radar called the F-51s on the radio got them together and started to vector them toward the target.
As both airplanes climbed they kept up a continual conversation with the radar operator to make sure they were all after the same thing.
For several minutes they could clearly see the UFO, but when they reached about 15,000', the clouds moved in and they lost it.
The pilots made a quick decision; since radar showed that they were getting closer to the target, they decided to spread out to keep from colliding with one another and to go up through the clouds.
They went on instruments and in a few seconds, they were in the cloud.
It was much worse than they'd expected, the cloud was thick, and the airplanes were icing up fast.
An F-51 is far from being a good instrument ship, but they stayed in their climb until radar called and said that they were close to the target, in fact, almost on it.
The pilots had another hurried radio conference and decided that since the weather was so bad they'd better come down.
If a UFO, or something, was in the clouds, they'd hit it before they could see it.
So they made a wise decision, they dropped the noses of their airplanes and dove back down into the clear.
They circled awhile but the clouds didn't break.
In a few minutes, the Master sergeant on the radar reported that the target was fading fast.
The F-51's went in and landed.