The U.S. government's official line may be that unidentified flying objects (UFOs) don't pose a national security threat, but a group of former Air Force officers gathered Monday in the nation's capital to tell a different story.
During a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., seven former Air Force officers once stationed at nuclear bases around the country said that not only have UFOs visited Air Force bases, some have succeeded in disabling nuclear missiles stationed there.
"I want the government to acknowledge that this phenomenon exists," said Robert Salas, a former U.S. Air Force Nuclear Launch Officer. "I want the Air Force, the government to come forward and say this is a real phenomenon."
But Salas said it's a "falsehood" that UFOs are not a national security threat and claims he speaks from firsthand experience.
He was stationed 60 feet underground at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana in March 1967, monitoring the launch control center for 10 nuclear missiles when he received a call from a guard above ground.
"He calls down saying they've been seeing some strange lights in the sky making odd maneuvers, very silent, he knows they're not airplanes," he said.
At first Salas didn't pay much attention to the report, he said. But then he received a second phone call.
"He calls back about five minutes later and this time he's screaming into the phone. He's very frightened, I can tell by his voice," Salas said. "And he said, 'Sir, I've got all the guards out here, they've got their weapons drawn, we're all looking at an orange or reddish pulsating oval-shaped object. It's about 30 feet in diameter and just hovering above the front gate. "
Thinking they were under some kind of attack, Salas said he told the guards to keep it outside the perimeter of the gate.
As he alerted the other officer stationed with him underground, he said he noticed that the missiles started going offline.
"The missiles started going into 'no go' or unlaunchable condition. They were essentially disabled while this object was overhead," he said.
The unidentified object eventually took off ? and the missiles didn't suffer permanent damage ? but he said it took about a day to get the missiles back up and running.
"Nobody was injured and I don't consider it an attack but it certainly it was a national security incident and something the Air Force said has never happen in their official policy documents," he said.
When contacted by ABC News, an Air Force spokeswoman declined to comment and pointed to the Air Force's official position on UFOs outlined on its website.
According to that statement, after investigating UFOs from 1947 to 1969, the Air Force concluded that there was no evidence indicating that sightings considered "unidentified" were extraterrestrial in origin.
"No UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force was ever an indication of threat to our national security," the statement said. "There was no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as "unidentified" represented technological developments or principles beyond the range of modern scientific knowledge."
Salas said he doesn't think the UFOs he claims to have encountered had any offensive intent, but he believes they wanted to leave an impression.