Military mistake?

Military mistake?

Major admits F-16s in Erath County skies on January 8


The U.S. military knows something Erath County residents knew all along.

There were F-16s in the area the night of Jan. 8 - ten of them to be exact - when Steve Allen and friends saw an unidentified flying object appearing to be chased by two jets.

Two weeks after the sighting, Major Karl Lewis of the 301st Fighter Wing at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base issued a press release admitting an error and releasing the fact that there were ten F-16s on training missions over Erath County that night.

Lewis said the information was released on Wednesday morning after an “internal communications error” was discovered.

When asked to clarify exactly what the error was, Lewis said, “That falls into operational procedures and we can't compromise those procedures because it could have an affect on operational security.”

Lewis said he moved forward with a press release “in the interest of public awareness.”

The document said, “Ten F-16s from the 457th Fighter Squadron were performing training operations from 6 - 8 p.m., Tuesday January 8, 2008 in the Brownwood Military Operating Area (MOA), which includes the airspace above Erath County.”

When asked what, exactly, the jets were doing that evening Lewis calmly said, “I can't speculate about what they were doing. We're a nation at war.”

Steve Allen has a question for the military now.

“If those jets were supposed to be in a military operating area then why were they over Selden?” Allen asked. “Selden and Stephenville are not supposed to be in those areas and Dublin is just right on the edge.”

Allen said as a pilot he is required to get a new aeronautical sectional map every six months.

“They should be held accountable for what they were doing here,” Allen said. “We kept saying there were F-16s in the area and nobody believed us.”

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