By Lee Speigel
n the night of Feb. 6, 1975, Marine Reserve Squadron Capt. Larry Jividen was piloting a T-39D Sabreliner (see image above) combat trainer and utility aircraft with five Naval officer pilots on board for a special training flight. He didn’t know the evening would evolve into a game of “tag” with an unidentified flying object.
Jividen hasn’t spoken about that experience from nearly 40 years ago — until now.
The nine-year Marine Corps officer — and later commercial airline pilot — had taken off at twilight for a two-hour roundtrip that began and ended at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.
“At about 9 o’clock, we were descending from a high altitude — around 33,000 feet — and I looked off to the right side of the airplane where I saw a solid red light at our 1:00 o’clock position and altitude,” Jividen told The Huffington Post.
“It was not flashing like normal anti-collision lights flash on airplanes. I thought it might be some other traffic, but I wasn’t sure, so I called Pensacola Approach Control and said, ‘Understand we’re cleared for the approach, but we have traffic off to our right, and who’s first for the approach?”
The traffic that Jividen and the other five crew members saw was mutually described as “a solid, circular object about the relative size of a kid’s marble held at arm’s length,” Jividen recalled.
When they were informed that ground control had no other traffic in their vicinity, Jividen became concerned that the mysterious object hadn’t shown up on radar. So he asked for clearance to deviate from their approach and turn directly toward the bright red UFO “just to see what it does.”
As he turned toward the object, Jividen says it turned toward his plane.
“It suddenly flew from right to left, across the nose [of our plane], and just stopped at our 11:00 o’clock position. At that point, I started to speed up to see if I could close on the object, and as I [did that], it was pacing me in front. In other words, as I’d speed up, he’d speed up.
“So, I decided to descend to place the object against a star field to make sure that it was actually solid, and then I climbed so that I could silhouette the object against the Gulf of Mexico.”
Jividen says the five-minute encounter came to an end when the reddish UFO flew away at a very high rate and disappeared over the horizon in the direction of New Orleans.
After the crew returned to Pensacola, Jividen filled out an incident form and that was the last he heard of the episode.
And nobody else heard about it for more than three decades.
Jividen’s story is now being told in a new edition of “UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies and Realities,” written by retired Army Col. John Alexander.
“I did some background checks on [Jividen] and one of the first things that came back was his distinguished flying crosses for doing really heroic things. He is who he says he is and very straightforward,” Alexander told HuffPost.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that it was something. I take him as a highly credible witness, much more so than many other ones.”
Alexander’s unique top-secret clearance granted him by the U.S. government gave him access in the 1980s to a variety of official documents and first-person UFO accounts. He also created a special group of top-level government officials and scientists who studied the UFO phenomenon.