I Saw a UFO Up Close While Serving in the Air Force

Wes O'Donnell
8 min readJun 6, 2024

So, what does the US intelligence community say about UFOs? (rebranded as UAPs for Unidentified Aerial Phenomena)

Licensed by the author from Envato Elements

I was too young to catch Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of a Third Kind in theaters in the 1980s, but when I finally watched it on VHS in the 1990s, I had the childlike realization that the US government may be keeping secrets from the American public.

I know… Shocking, right?

When I eventually joined the military at age 20, I discovered that the US government isn’t this massive, monolithic, omnipotent organization where every department always knows what every other department is doing.

Actually, it’s quite the opposite — hundreds of departments and agencies are siloed and closed off, secretive, and constantly fight each other for budget and recognition.

It’s very likely the largest and single most inefficient conglomeration of fiefdoms on the planet and it’s no small miracle that the United States government functions at all.

But it does function, thanks mostly to the career federal workers who toil away selflessly every day — day in and day out — for decades. These are the men and women that Trump calls the “deep state” — as if these people were an organized group of nefarious villains and not the exceedingly…



Wes O'Donnell

US Army & US Air Force Veteran | Global Security guy at War is Boring, GEN, OneZero | Intel Forecaster | Law Student | TEDx Speaker | +Democracy | +Human Rights