Paco Chierici - 2015
On 14 March 2015, aviator Paco Chierici, wrote an article, "There I was: The X-files edition," about the November 2004, USS Nimitz encounters, on the Fighter Sweep website. In that piece, there is a mention of an individual named Lieutenant-Colonel Kurth (callsign "Cheeks.") In writing about Kurth he said:
"At the same time FASTEAGLE flight was wrapping up its scheduled training, the CO of Marine Hornet squadron VMFA-232 Lieutenant-Colonel "Cheeks" Kurth, was completing a post maintenance check flight not too far away. He was the first fast mover contacted by Princeton. The communication was strange and intriguing. He was asked to investigate an unidentified airborne contact. This wasn't a terribly unusual request while a Strike Group was in transit or deployed far away from home waters, but it was more than a little strange practically in sight of the San Diego homeport. To add to the unusual communication, he was queried as to what ordinance he had on board.
While Princeton was communicating with Cheeks, they were also attempting to hand off the AAV [Anomalous Aerial Vehicle - KB] contact to the Air Wing's E-2C Hawkeye.
As Cheeks approached the spot he was being vectored to, Princeton advised him to stay above 10K as the section of Super Hornets were approaching the target. His radar picked up the FASTEAGLE set-up but no other contacts. A moment later Princeton directed him to "skip it" and return to the ship. Since he was so close, he decided to fly over the action , and sneak a peek.
The sea was calm, almost glassy smooth and it was late morning on a beautiful Socal day. Perfect conditions. As Cheeks flew over the spot he saw a disturbance on the surface of the ocean. A round section of turbulent water about 50-100 metres in diameter. It was the only area and type of what he called "white water" describing that it looked as if there was something below the surface like a shoal or what he'd heard a ship sinking rapidly would look like.
He overflew the disturbance and circled back in the direction of the Nimitz without ever seeing what caused the water to froth. As he turned away, which happened to be the moment the Super Hornets converged on the location, the white water cleared and the ocean surface returned to its smooth state. The spot of the previous disturbance was completely indiscernible.
George Knapp - 2018
On 18 May 2018, Las Vegas journalist George Knapp released a copy of a 13 page document, which summarised the November 2004 USS Nimitz encounters. The author(s) of the document have, to date, not been named. Although Kurth's name has been redacted in the document, the details set out in it, clearly refer to the same Kurth incident which Chierici wrote about in 2015. From other information contained in the document, it appears to have been written in 2009. In part, the document read:
"Lt Col [redacted] Commanding Officer VFMA-232, was flying a single seat F/A-18C that launched from the USS Nimitz at approximately 1030L to conduct a Functional Check Flight of an aircraft that had recently completed a significant maintenance. He noted the weather that day was blue skies, no clouds and unlimited visibility. After 30 minutes into his flight he received a radio call from his air controller asking him to investigate an unidentified airborne contact. This was not a standard request. Additionally the controller asked if he had ordinance on-board, which was odd since no controller had ever asked that question during a situation of identifying an unknown object over US or international territory. He responded that he had no ordinance on-board.
The controller provided vectors to the vicinity of figure 1. The object was reported to be as "slow speed and low altitude."
While enroute at approximately 250 knots indicated/400 knots ground speed at medium altitude [15-25,000 feet] he gained radar contact of what he believed to be two F/A-18F's that were approaching the AAV from the West at low altitude [500-1,000 feet.] There was no other traffic on the radar. The controller informed him to remain above 10,000 feet, as there was other fighter traffic at low altitude investigating the AAV.
As he approached approximately 15nm from the AAV descending through approximately 15,000 feet he could see a water disturbance in the ocean surface. He recalled that the sea state was low [calm.] At approximately 5-10nm away from the AAV, the controller told him to "skip it" and return to his operating area. Since he was close he elected to fly over the water disturbance to try and see what was causing it. The disturbance appeared to be 50-100 metres in diameter and close to round. It was the only area and type of white water activity that could be seen and reminded him of images of something rapidly submerging from the surface like a submarine or ship sinking. It also looked like a possible area of shoal water where the swell was breaking over a barely submerged reef or island. He overflew the disturbance and turned back to the north-west. As he was flying away he could see the disturbance clearing and could no longer identify the place where it occurred. He did not see any object or vessel associated with the disturbance either above the surface, on the surface or below the surface. He also never made visual contact with the other fighter aircraft that was vectored to the location of the AAV. It is possible that the disturbance was being caused by an AAV but that the AAV was "cloaked" or invisible to the human eye.
Lt Col [redacted] recovered aboard the Nimitz at approximately 1200L. He reported to the Carrier Intelligence Center [CVIC] and was asked by his Intelligence Officer 1st Lt [redacted] if he saw the "supersonic "Tic-Tac?" We questioned now Capt [redacted] to determine if he had any further information but based on his position in CVIC at the time he was not involved in any further discussions concerning the AAV."
Douglas Kurth - December 2007
On the LinkedIn website [as at February 2019] Douglas Kurth has an entry. Part of it states that between December 2007 and June 2013, he was employed by Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS), based in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The entry identifies him as a former Marine Corps Senior Officer, Commander and Naval aviator, which precisely matched the Douglas Kurth who reported being involved in the 2004 USS Nimitz encounters. Kurth on the LinkedIn website describes his role at BAASS as including:
"Program lead - novel and emerging space technologies targeting operational deployment in 2040.
Directed and managed a team of 40 scientists, engineers, analysts and researchers.
Business Development - initiated, developed and directed critical collaborative contracts."
Note, that this BAASS role of Kurth's, matches a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) August 2008 solicitation for bids from companies to carry out work on the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program (AAWSAP). In 2019, the DIA confirmed that BAASS won this AAWSAP contract. From September 2008, BAASS then advertised for employees to work on this program. No one I am aware of, has any knowledge of why or how, Kurth came to be working at BAASS from December 2007. In fact BAASS LLC was only registered with the State of Nevada in January 2008.
BAASS/Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) relationship
I would now like to move away from talking about Douglas Kurth, and document what is known about the BAASS/MUFON relationship.
February 2009 - January 2010
Robert Bigelow, the head of BAASS entered into a contract with MUFON to work together. In return for money from BAASS, BAASS was given access to the MUFON case management system, and MUFON formed their STAR group. An individual named Richard Lang acted as the STAR Team Manager between February 2009 and January 2010. In a 6 March 2011 blog post, Lang provided detailed information about the relationship between BAASS and MUFON.
"The STAR Team Impact Project (SIP) was a MUFON project funded in part by Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) where MUFON was subcontracted to provide information from the CMS database (website) and witness reports related to Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) directly to BAASS."
"MUFON provided data to BAASS about significant events that were reported in CMS."
From information I found on LinkedIn, there was at least a Team Leader/Senior Investigator, and a field investigator in place at BAASS by January 2009. The arrangement with MUFON commenced from February 2009.
Richard Lang - 2019
Recently, I have been in touch with Richard Lang. I posed a series of questions as follows:
1. Would you mind telling me the name of the individual who was your main liaison at BAASS for the MUFON STAR Team work?
2. How frequently, did you interact with this individual?
3. Were the interactions by telephone, skype (or equivalent in those days) or in person?
4. Did you ever meet the individual in person?
5. Did you ever receive any feedback from BAASS about the STAR Team reports being sent to them? If so, what was the nature of the feedback, e.g. general, specific to individual cases?
6. Did you establish a rapport with the BAASS liasin individual? If so, did they ever discuss their role at BAASS in any detail? If so, are you able to communicate your understanding of their role?
7. Did that individual ever share with you their personal thoughts on the nature of the UFO phenomenon? If so, can you recall any specifics?
8. Through your BAASS liaison, did you ever receive details of any cases which BAASS investigated outside of the 69 listed in my spreadsheet? If so, can you recall anything of these?
9. At what stage did you learn that BAASS was partially funded by the DIA?
Lang responded as follow, by email:
"I learned about the DIA funding when the articles broke in the New York Times and Washington Post this past year.
As indicated in my blog posts, the BAASS/MUFON SIP project was essentially a contract by BAASS where BAASS purchased information from MUFON (sighting reports and investigation reports.)
As you know, I supervised the STAR Team dispatchers and investigators during this SIP project.
The dispatch team reviewed the daily MUFON UFO sighting reports looking for the more interesting and credible cases, which were provided to me. (Out of approximately 800 monthly sighting reports, which were submitted to MUFON, approximately 35 to 45 of them would be selected.)
I reviewed the cases and assigned investigators to travel to the locations, evaluate information, interview witnesses and write reports. I edited the final case investigation reports and forwarded them to BAASS.
BAASS was a proprietary organization and they did not share any of their research with me during that time.
I had complete discretion as to what to investigate, which investigators were to be deployed, where and when resources were allocated for cases. An operation person arranged for airline flights, travel reservations, hotel accommodation and pay for investigators.
I was the only person at MUFOn who had direct access, and daily contact with the individuals working at BAASS. I say so only because after the project ended there were a number of individuals (that had no part in the project) who came out on radio shows claiming to have sinister inside information about the project, which was completely false.
For the record (on the record) I can tell you that those individuals I worked with at BAASS were honourable, highly credible and always treated me with respect. We had a very good working relationship.
I sincerely believe that BAASS fulfilled the obligations and elements of the contract arrangements with MUFON to the letter.
Out of respect for those individuals that I worked with at BAASS, I am not comfortable talking about them, and will not share any personal information that I know about any of them."