DATE OF ARTICLE: November 4, 1988 SOURCE OF ARTICLE: Daily Quill LOCATION: West Plains, Mi

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DATE OF ARTICLE: November 4, 1988 SOURCE OF ARTICLE: Daily Quill LOCATION: West Plains, Missouri BYLINE: Julie Warner ======================================================== THOSE STRANGE LIGHTS WERE... By Julie Warner Quill Staff Writer If you were one of the several area residents who spied unidentified bright yellow lights hovering in the sky at night in the past couple of weeks, the Missouri Air National Guard has the answer to what you saw. Last Tuesday evening about a dozen West Plains, Mtn. View and Peace Valley residents reported sightings of bright yellow lights in the night sky. Some witnesses said the lights were in a straight line and others saw them in formations. The number of lights varied from two to as many as eight. The witnesses all said the lights didn't seem connected to any objects and that they would flash on and off, sometimes all at once or a few at a time, and then would just disappear. Howell County Sheriff Hubert Holman told the Quill today a report came into his office Tuesday evening that bright orange lights were spotted above Fair View Elementary School on K Highway. A deputy was dispatched to the area, but the lights had disappeared, Holman said. Among some of the witnesses who spotted these lights Tuesday were a West Plains Policeman and Mtn. View Policemen Ron Pruett. According to Capt. Ken MacNevin, a public affairs officer for the Missouri Air National Guard in Jefferson City, the lights were probably not UFOs but glows from maneuvers being undertaken by members of the 131st tactical flight wing flying out of St. Louis and practicing weapon-deceiving techniques. MacNevin explained that one of the standard defense techniques used by the military in avoiding or deceiving missiles, some of which are heat-seeking, is to spit out hot flares. He said that if a heat-seeking missile was to be shot at one of the U.S. fighter jets, the pilot would shoot off one of these flares and the missile should be deceived and veer towards the flare instead of the jet. In recent weeks this unit acquired some of these flares and has been practicing some of these flight maneuvers with Phantom F-4 fighter jets in what is called the Meramec Military Operations Region, which covers a large portion of south central Missouri. MacNevin said the practice maneuvers have been taking place on Tuesdays and some Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 8, and they will continue for the next several weeks. He said that sightings outside of this time frame can probably also be attributed to military operations. MacNevin said that this air space is dedicated to all and any military units in the United States, and units from Missouri and surrounding states have probably all used this area for practice maneuvers at some point in time.


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