Michigan resident Christopher Bilbrey said that he was with his wife and two friends when they witnessed an aerial dogfight between two fighter jets and a UFO over Bad Axe, Michigan, earlier this month.
According to a report submitted to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), on June 3rd, just after 10 a.m., the group was moving a camper at the storage units across Pigeon Road from the Meijer grocery store when they suddenly heard “ear shattering” afterburners from above.
The jets appeared to be F-16s, Bilbrey clarified during a subsequent interview with NUFORC.
A follow-up report published by NUFORC said, “[Bilbrey] has military experience and was familiar with aircraft from his time stationed at the 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion in Korea, where he was trained.”
“They would circle fast as they could looking intently for something,” he said. “Circling the sun around about two or three times and suddenly there was this white/metallic disc, hard to see because it was shining with the sun, it seemed to hide in the sun from the fighters, whom [sic] obviously couldn’t see it.”
The UFO was reportedly “extremely fast” and “was capable of overtaking and outmaneuvering the fighter jets with extreme ease.”
Bilbrey said the disc would overtake a jet before suddenly stopping and spinning in its direction while hovering.
He was unable to discern if the UFO ever fired any weapons, although the jets reacted as though they were under attack.
“The jet would shoot out anti-missile flares like it was under attack,” he said. “[…] There was clear distress.”
After three rounds of this, the fighter jets took off together in an “ear-shattering retreat.”
The UFO, Bilbrey said, “sat in the sun a moment longer and seemed to circle the area almost as in a victory lap, [and] then departed with absolutely no sound in the complete opposite direction as the fighter jets had flown.”
Unfortunately, Bilbrey was unable to record useable footage of the encounter, since “the dogfight happened almost entirely in the rays of the sun,” which meant his phone “was not able to get anything other than a blinding glare and noise.”
Over the next four days, the objects reportedly returned to the same spot at 10 a.m., firing flares again on the fourth day.
Mark Birdsall, assistant editor of the Huron Daily Tribune, contacted several airbases about the incident, but no agency admitted responsibility.
Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker of the Ohio National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office told Birdsall that, while F-16s from the 180th Fighter Wing often train in that area, no such aircraft were flying over Bad Axe on the day of the sighting.
Furthermore, representatives from both Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Mount Clemens and the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minnesota, denied any involvement.
However, a number of readers responded to the Huron Daily Tribune’s initial article on the incident by admitting they, too, had seen something that day.
“I live in Bad Axe over by Franklin Inn and was sitting outside looking north when the jets were, I thought, playing around and making noise,” Ladonna Hunt commented on the Huron Daily Tribune Facebook page. “I did watch the jets about 10 a.m. [on] June 3rd. The jets were so loud it was hard not to see where [they] were and what they were doing. I saw the jets and a shiny spot for quite a while going round in circles. I saw the jets go straight up and then come back and [then] go right from where I was towards Harbor Beach and come back, do a couple more circles with [the] shiny spot, and [then take off] towards the left/west and didn’t come back after 10:05 a.m.”
Another resident, Mary Thrushman, said, “My husband watched it from the backyard. Came in and said they were shooting flairs. Just thought they were practicing maneuvers.”
Still, many other comments were from people ridiculing the reported sighting, implying that the witnesses must have been on drugs.
Regardless of their dismissal, concern over aerial incursions by UFOs has been heightened within the U.S. government since several unidentified flying objects were shot down over North America in February of this year.
The first such object was publicly identified by authorities as a recovered Chinese spy balloon, although the remaining three are so far unidentified.
The origin and nature of the unidentified flying objects remains unknown, although a few details have emerged.
One object over Alaska was reportedly the size of a small car and “cylindrical and silver-ish gray,” while one taken down over Canada was described as a “small, metallic balloon with a tethered payload below it,” and an object over Lake Huron was said to be octagonal with strings hanging off the side and no discernible payload.
None of the objects reportedly showed any signs of propulsion or maneuverability.
So far, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have claimed not to have recovered any wreckage from the downed unidentified flying objects.
The White House was quick to deny the involvement of anything otherworldly in the events.
“I just wanted to make sure we address this from the White House. I know there have been questions and concerns about this. But there is no, again, no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns. Again, there is no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns. I wanted to make sure that the American people knew that; all of you knew that. And it was important for us to say that from here because we’ve been hearing a lot about it,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a press briefing.
Furthermore, the White House said intelligence officials were “considering as a leading explanation that these could be tied to commercial or research entities and benign.”
This was followed by President Biden saying that the objects “were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research.”
Naturally, some kind of reflective balloon being responsible for the sighting was offered as an opinion on the Huron Daily Tribune’s page, too.