Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View

Inside a viral Navy video that helped blow the government’s UFO program wide open

By Josh Weiss
Dogfight with Ufo on Mountains

And now, it's time for the big enchilada, folks. It's time to discuss those three viral Navy videos recorded between 2004 and  2017 that finally forced the government to officially acknowledge the existence of UFOs last spring. They pretty much had no choice once The New York Times eventually blew the story wide open in December of 2017 with a lengthy story entitled "Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program." 

The topic of these videos — all of which circulated the internet for years before the feds decided to take credit for them — is explored in the second episode of Showtime and J.J. Abrams' new UFO docu-series. Let's go back to where it all started: with a sighting from the Navy personnel and fighter pilots aboard the USS Nimitz off the coast of Southern California in November of 2004.

According to the eyewitnesses, the strange objects resembled Tic Tacs as they skidded just above the surface of the water with an unearthly amount of speed and precision not found in vessels built by humankind. The New York Times described it as "a whitish oval object, about the size of a commercial plane," though it had no discernible openings (i.e. windows or doors).

"These objects...based on the way they were flying, it's most certainly not Newtonian physics. It's non-classical physics," Kevin Day, a Chief Operations Specialist for the Navy who was on the aircraft carrier that day, states in Netflix's Top Secret UFO Projects: Declassified (he also appears in UFO on Showtime). "So, based on that, I'd have to say yeah, they probably are a transmedium-type craft. They can go from space to atmosphere to the water seamlessly. And I have to say, it could have been not from this Earth ... I had never seen anything like this before ... They were tracking real slow from north to south at 28,000 feet, going about 100 knots, which is really strange. Usually, things that high in the sky don't travel that slowly because they'll fall straight out of the sky."

It was Day who decided to scramble a squadron of F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets to check out the anomalous craft, which had been showing up on military-grade radar for a period of about two weeks. Chad Underwood was one of the pilots sent to investigate and ended up capturing the evidence via the camera mounted on his left wing. That video would be classified for over a decade before a screen-grab showed up as the header image for the 2017 New York Times exposé.

"The thing that stood out to me the most was how erratic it was behaving," Underwood told The Intelligencer in 2019. "And what I mean by 'erratic' is that its changes in altitude, air speed, and aspect were just unlike things that I’ve ever encountered before flying against other air targets. It was just behaving in ways that aren’t physically normal. That’s what caught my eye. Because, aircraft, whether they’re manned or unmanned, still have to obey the laws of physics. They have to have some source of lift, some source of propulsion. The Tic Tac was not doing that. It was going from like 50,000 feet to, you know, a hundred feet in like seconds, which is not possible."

UFO Flying Over New Mexico

When Day went to write up an official report, he found all of the "communications data" had mysteriously gone missing. "And the same thing with all the radar data ... I never received an explanation of where that data went," he says in the Netflix show. Posting on Facebook in June of this year, he claimed that the encounter ended up impacting his career in a negative way and demanded an apology from his former government employers.

"From 2004 until 2009 when I walked away from [Department of Defense] out of frustration. I had tried in vain to get somebody, anybody, to listen to me," he wrote. "Yet, every time I tried to describe what we had witnessed out in [Southern California] during Tic Tac, I was openly laughed at, made the butt of jokes, and once even asked by my then-boss just WTF I had been smoking ... I also hold NAVY/DOD directly responsible for what I and others went through as a result of trying to uphold our own duty and simply do the job the American people paid and expected us to do. I and others deserve a formal public apology and a redress for the costs I/we paid."

Showtime subscribers with access to the network's official app can stream all four episodes of UFO right now. If you'd prefer to pace yourself, the remaining two episodes will air on a weekly basis for the next two Sundays at 9 p.m. EST. The premiere is currently free to watch on, and