The Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident: The Testimony of Sgt. James Penniston and Col. Charles Halt (USAF)

The Rendlesham Forest UFO sighting occured just after Christmas in England in 1980, and is often called “Britain’s Roswell.” James Penniston and Charles Halt gave their testimonies about their experiences of the UFO in November 2007 before a National Press Club convention in Washington D.C. Both men strike me as credible in their manner of telling their stories. Here’s Penniston:

And here’s Halt:

And here’s the famous “Halt memo” written just a few weeks after the incident occurred:

Below is a transcript of the “Halt memo” shown above. It seems to me consistent with Penniston’s account. The noise from animals (probably deer and not farm animals) suggests something that was nearby, and thus the source for the sightings was perhaps not (as some have speculated) distant lights: 

1.  Early in the morning of 27 Dec 80 (approximately 0300L) two USAF security police patrolmen saw unusual lights outside the back gate at RAF Woodbridge. Thinking an aircraft might have crashed or been forced down, they called for permission to go outside the gate to investigate. The on-duty flight chief responded and allowed three patrolmen to proceed on foot. The individuals reported seeing a strange glowing object in the forest. The object was described as being metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, approximately two to three meters across the base and approximately two meters high. It illuminated the entire forest with a white light. The object itself had a pulsing red light on top and a bank(s) of blue lights underneath. The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen approached the object, it maneuvered through the trees and disappeared. At this time the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy. The object was briefly sighted approximately an hour later near the back gate.

2.  The next day, three depressions 1.5 inches deep and 7 inches in diameter were found where the object had been sighted on the ground. The following night (29 Dec 80) the area was checked for radiation. Beta/gamma readings of 0.1 milliroentgens were recorded with peak readings in the three depressions and near the center of the triangle formed by the depressions. A nearby tree had moderate (0.05–0.07) readings on the side of the tree toward the depressions.

3.  Later in the night a red sun-like light was seen through the trees. It moved about and pulsed. At one point it appeared to throw off glowing particles and then broke into five separate white objects and then disappeared. Immediately thereafter, three star-like objects were noticed in the sky, two objects to the north and one to the south, all of which were about 10 degrees off the horizon. The objects moved rapidly in sharp, angular movements and displayed red, green and blue lights. The objects to the north appeared to be elliptical through an 8-12 power lens. They then turned to full circles. The objects to the north remained in the sky for an hour or more. The object to the south was visible for two or three hours and beamed down a stream of light from time to time. Numerous individuals, including the undersigned, witnessed the activities in paragraphs 2 and 3.

Charles I. Halt, Lt Col, USAF
Deputy Base Commander

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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7 Responses to The Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident: The Testimony of Sgt. James Penniston and Col. Charles Halt (USAF)

  1. Patrick says:

    The governments of this world, and shown us all, that this subject is real, and that this subject is probably THE; most classified secret in the world. They have shown their hand by how they have treated this subject, and how they have treated the witnesses, pictured above. Their silence, intimidations, threats, actions, and in-actions have PROVED that all of this is indeed real.
    Both Colonel Charles Halt and Sgt Jim Penniston are men who have come forward and told the TRUTH about what they experienced. They are not liars, they are stand up guys, who have had absolutely nothing to gain, by all of this, and who have faced off, against the ignorant, and the idiotic alike, and everything they claim happened, did indeed happen, exactly as they say so! If these men were witnesses to a criminal event and not a U.F.O event, their testimony would stand as gospel in a court of law. Yet why is it, that this incident, that they were involved in, has been treated as a non-event by the powers that be?? Why were these men threatened, intimidated etc, if none of this was real, if none of this happened?? This incident changed these mens lives. In good ways, but more so in bad ways. Some of the witnesses suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as a direct result of this event, and yet, even so, their government refuses to give them any insight into what exactly they were exposed too, during the event. I ask you, is all of this the result of something which never happened??

  2. Michael says:

    The question is not “if” UFO’s & USO’s are real. The question is not whether we have been visited. The real question is “who” are the pilots, what do they want & what is their objective here on earth? The answers I believe can be found in antiquity…

  3. santitafarella says:


    I can’t share your confidence at all. UFOs may not be real. The “who” question is fun, but it’s not obvious that there are UFOs in the way that it is obvious that there are cars on the road.


  4. Patrick says:

    My confidence comes from the fact, that I have read everything there is to read on the subject, for the last eighteen years of my life and based on all the available evidence, and evidence in the subject of scince, i.e, physics, I have come to believe, that there is indeed, another intelligence, other than man, operating on our planet. I have been skeptical, and applied reason, and common sense, throughout all my investigations and study, and I have come to my own conclusions after all this time. If some people find it off-putting, thats your own business, go do your homework, but at the end of the day, each of us comes to their own conclusions, and I have stated mine, and I am confident about my assertions. I am also sick to death of seeing people persecuted for coming forward and telling their stories, not to mention the continuous trivialisation, of the subject, in the mainstream media. The witnesses involved with Rendlesham, are some of the very best witnesses you could hope for. I mean, watch these men, while they are being interviewed. Study how they come across, use your instinct and reason, provided you have good reason and instinct of course. Read, and listen, to what they say, and, how they say it. These are men of good character. There is no question of that, despite what some people have tried to say. They are also men of reason and skepticism, despite the sensational claims. These men are not men who jump to the conclusion of u.f.os and aliens at the drop of a hat, to explain, just about anything that happens out of the ordinary. Surely people can see and judge their characters when they hear them speak and see them. These guys are not the type to make this stuff up, whats more important they are not the type that would jump to the conclusions they have, unless something truly extraordinary happened to them.
    There are two sides to the coin of course. There are many charlatans, halfwits and idiots involved in the field of ufology, i.e “Dr” Johnathan Reed and his ilk. However, the other side of the coin involves those who are honest, and whose work is impeccable,i.e, Stanton Friedman. In point of fact there is some really compelling work out there, both in the u.f.o community and in mainstream science. There are some great scientists out there, who have spoken out in support of the phenomenon and illustrated their arguments for existence, with theories which are on the cutting edge of science, such as the Holographic universe theory. Theories are needed in order to shed light on and understand the potential of this phenomenon. No where in science, does it say this is impossible. Look where cutting edge science is going today. Its going in a direction, especially in quantum mechanics, that is literally mind-blowing. The whole Impossibility argument, is a non starter, if indeed, we are talking about something which may be higher up the evolutionary ladder, or merely just more advanced technologically speaking. And no skeptic can argue differently if they are honest. Even Michio Kaku says the same, and Ill bet he knows better than either James McGaha would, or Michael Shermer!!

  5. Matt says:

    Patrick wrote:

    “They are not liars, they are stand up guys, who have had absolutely nothing to gain”…

    What about personal fame, recognition or even just attention?

  6. I can’t say that what they are saying is real or I can’t judge that it is fake but I can say that Earth have not these type of flying objects in 1980 that can stop in air for 2-3 hours. SO,they can be so far from our exceptions.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wake up folks ! We are not alone.

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