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Watcher in the Sky – Was the abandoned Brookfield Air Force Station the site of a UFO encounter?

October 2022

Down at the end of a closed road, a series of ghostly-looking empty buildings sit silently crumbling and slowly being consumed by the elements and wildly growing vegetation. This collection of buildings once played an important role in the defence of North America.

Formerly known as Brookfield Air Force Station, the U.S. Air Force established it as a General Surveillance Radar station in April 1952. Brookfield AFS was one of several radar stations across America that were established in the early 1950s by Air Defense Command, re-named Aerospace Defense Command in 1958, as an early warning detection system against an attack by Soviet bombers.

On at least one occasion in 1994, long after Brookfield AFS had closed and its radars dismantled, there was an alleged UFO sighting near the abandoned radar station.

Early Warning Radar Lines of the Cold War

In Canada, three early warning radar lines were established, the Pinetree Line, the Mid-Canada Line and the Distant Early Warning Line, some of which were manned initially by U.S. Air Force personnel before being turned over the the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Information at all stations was relayed to the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) headquarters at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado, and RCAF Station North Bay in Canada.

Initially, the station functioned as a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and warning station. Members of 662 Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (662 AC&WS) would guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit’s AN/FPS and AN/FPS-5 radars that monitored the skies.

As a radar station, Brookfield AFS had a brief life. Due to defence budget reductions, the U.S. Air Force decided to transfer 662 AC&WS to Oakdale AFS in Pennsylvania, and reduce Brookfield’s functions, including their Ground-Air Transmitter Receiver (GATR) site, to a gap-filler radar site for Oakdale. The purpose of the Gap-Filler radar sites, situated between each of the main stations, was to fill in holes in coverage areas and detect any aircraft that were flying too low for detection by the main stations. Most of them were un-manned, with technicians attending occasionally for routine maintenance.

Thus, Brookfield AFS closed on 1 Nov 1959, with a small section fenced-off for a small Gap-Filler radar tower and control building. The remainder of the property was turned over to Trumbull County, who established the Trumbull County Nursing Home Facility, using the former air force buildings.

The Gap-Filler radar remained in operation until June 1968, when it was shut down. Brookfield’s GATR site remained in operation until the early 1980s, when it too was closed and the site abandoned.

Around this time, the nursing home also closed and with no new tenants to take over the buildings, they were left vacant. The property was used occasionally for police training exercises.

The UFO sighting of 1994

On 14 December 1994, at around midnight, the Trumbull County 9-1-1 center logged several UFO reports from residents near the Sampson Road vicinity in Youngstown, south-west of Brookfield. Two weeks earlier, UFOs had also been reported in the area.

A low-flying object was seen and tracked by numerous police departments over a wide area, including Brookfield Police Department in Brookfield Township.

One Brookfield Police officer reported that he climbed atop the old Gap-Filler radar tower at the former Brookfield AFS to get a better view of the alleged UFO.

In the end, there was no official confirmation of what was actually spotted in the sky that night. It wasn’t the first time there were unconfirmed UFO sightings in this part of Ohio.

One such incident happened on 17 April 1966, when two sheriff’s deputies, Dale Spaur and Wilber L. Neff, were advised by the Portage County Dispatch Center to investigate a low-flying UFO reportedly headed in their direction. At one point, the two deputies were travelling along Route 14 at ninety miles per hour, chasing the lights in the sky.

Spaur reported to his dispatcher of the object they were chasing: “It’s about fifty feet across, and I can just make out a dome or something on the top, but that’s very dark. The bottom is real bright, it’s putting out a beam of light that makes a big spot underneath. It was overhead a minute ago, and it was as bright as day here.”

Others who reported seeing a UFO that night were Wayne Huston of East Palestine Police Department and Police Chief Gerald Buchert of Mantua Village Police Department, who also took photos of the alleged UFO, photographs Chief Buchert stated that the United States Air Force told him not to make public.

Nothing conclusive was ever found and despite photographs that were taken by various people of this alleged UFO, the official Air Force conclusion was that Spaur and the others had been chasing the planet Venus. Deputy Spaur would later advise an investigative reporter that the alleged UFO he and Deputy Neff had been chasing that night ruined his life and career. Several months after that fateful night, now former Deputy Spaur was working as a painter, divorced from his wife and living in poverty in a shabby motel. “If I could change all that I have done in my life,” he said, “I would change that night we chased that damned saucer.”

Brookfield Air Force Station today:

Today, the former Brookfield AFS is abandoned, with buildings in a severe state of decay. Most of the buildings remain, but the radar towers are long gone, leaving only the foundations of at least one of them. Roofs and floors are collapsing, the concrete is deteriorating, and the buildings are slowly being overtaken by vegetation.

In September 2012, the property was sold to a private entity. It is patrolled by the police, and is not open to the public. The owners are not friendly to trespassers. A radio transmitter for WTNX is the only thing still active on the property. No future plans for use of the property have been announced.

From: https://kenny.anomalyresponse.com/Trumbull_Q_and_A.htm

“There are 25 police departments in the Trumbull County area, all of which are serviced by the same 9-1-1 Telecommunications Center. A dispatcher on the December 14, 1994 audio tape acquired from the 9-1-1 telecommunications center stated that the UFO was observed by numerous police agencies. There are two references to this. One quote: “Everyone in the county has a visual on it that I can hear.” Another controller states: ‘We have multiple departments right now that has sightings on it.'”

“Of the 25 police departments in Trumbull County, the following are likely candidates for involvement as per reference on the audio tape plus additional inquiries made during the 1996 phase of the investigation, where other departments were mentioned:”

Niles City PD
Howland Twp. PD
Girard City PD
Warren Twp. PD
Liberty Twp. PD
Cortland City PD
Brookfield Twp. PD
Trumbull County Sheriff
Hubbard Twp. PD
Hubbard City PD


Sources: https://www.radomes.org/museum/parsehtml.php?html=BrookfieldAFSOHUFOs.html&type=doc_html, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerospace_Defense_Command, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookfield_Air_Force_Station, https://www.uer.ca/locations/show.asp?locid=25806, https://www.thestrongdelusion.com/2021/01/25/ufo-sighting-in-brookfield-ohio-by-local-police-departments-1994/, “The Trumbull County Disturbance: The Wrong Liberty.”

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/watcher-in-the-sky-was-the-abandoned-brookfield-air-force-station-the-site-of-a-ufo-encounter/

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