Letter from Forrest D.
Perkins to Martin L. Shough,
18 August 1987
(transcribed from handwritten original)
Hello from Sunny California,
I have the following letters etc. Haven't looked for more but may have some in my files (2 Cardboard Boxes that I find hard to go thru right now but I will and will let you know if there is more). Since some of these are rather lengthy - rather than duplicate what you already have - just let me know what you want and I'll send them [ . . . .]
Now some of the points I have noted reading all this - I was watch supervisor in the RATCC at Lakenheath for 3 years prior to incident - We had a RAPCON near the GCA Unit using radar scopes remoted from the GCA CPN-4 prior to moving into the RATCC using CPS-5 radar. Alsi I had been watch Supervisor in the RAPCON at Westover AFB Mass from 1951 thru 1953. So the (at least) 9 months quoted is far short of reality.
I was working from 5PM to midnite - the evening shift. We were relieved by the Midnight Shift (1200-0700) at Midnite - they arrived at 1145PM but we stayed to help out till at least 1230AM then after they took over completely we still stayed to make out the report on what had happened, consolidate the maps we had made of the track of the UFO and Intercept - so it was probably 1:30 or 200 AM before we left the RATCC.
The UFO target did not leave the scope until 30 minutes or more after the 2nd Intercept returned to home station - we continued watching him and relaying this info to all concerned as long as he was on the scopes - He did not disappear to the north immediately - he stuck around for quite a while but no one seemed inclined to initiate any further action to find out what it was.
The U-2 operation was manned by civilians - civilian pilots, mechanics and guards - When we drove by their little hangar (located in the middle of the airfield next to the runway [small sketch diagram] you never saw a uniform - that's not to say they weren't military men wearing civilian clothes. They could have been - No one was allowed near them I know.
The frequency used for the intercept was probably 126.18 or later changed to 126.2 I believe - it was pretty standard VHF ATC frequency for all AF and many English or RAF planes - It was normally what we used for VHF - most traffic was on UHF, Fighters and Bombers USAF that is. Can't remember what other VHF channels we had - 137.88 and 116.1 stick in my mind as possibilities but it was probably 126.18 or 126.2. All three of these were standard VHF ATC frequencies used at the time.
If we believe Freddie Wimbledon then your surmise [note by MS: Not my surmise] that I was talking to the pilot while he was talking to the Radar Op - or vice versa - seems logical, he could have been giving the same instructions I was - there was only one way to run an intercept - he had to use the same headings etc to get the intercept to the UFO. What difference does it make? I wrote what I remembered hearing, saying and seeing. As long as the basic facts don't change I'll happily give Wimbledon all the credit he wants.
We did hear Venom#1 talking to Venom #2 on the frequency we were using with Venom #1, probably VHF 126.18 or 126.2. We called it "B" channel. Venom #1 was south of us returning to base - Venom #2 was south of us and had not called us yet. As I remember it Venom #2 called Venom #1 and asked him what had happened - after their conversation Venom #2 called us and shortly after that said he was returning to base as his engine was malfunctioning & we didn't blame him a bit for not wanting to get involved after what Venom #1 had told him.
Never heard of D---- J------, sorry.
Don't remember requesting any GCI frequency - If Wimbledon was the RAF bloke on the phone - I thought I had 7 AD 3rd AF, High Wycombe (ENGLISH ATC), Base Comm, my Sqdn Commander, but ny one of these could have patched in other people thru their switchboard and I wouldn't have known - the P>M> or even the Queen could have been patched in & listening. I was not told that others had been patched in. The Venoms were given our frequencies when they were alerted and probably 126.18 or 126.2 was given by me over the phone for the intercept a/c altho our operating frequencies were publiashed in all Nav aid Books etc. We didn't set up a specific frequency for him - we couldn't - we could only use those we had. VHF we only had 121.5 (EMERGENCY) 126.18 "B" channel 116.1 A Channel & 137.88 "C" Channel. At least this is my recollection at this time.
I never kept a copt of my original letter to the Condon Committee at the U. of Colorado so I can't tell you verbatim what I said in it. I understand others have copies of it (Thayer, Friedman etc).
The decision to send up and intercept was made by whoever was
on the line. Probably 3rd AF and RAF but I had no part in the
conversation. My function was only reporting what was occurring
at Lakenheath RATCC -
I reported The rest of the
time I shut up & listened to them talking it over -
Now my only regrets are these:
Your explanation would explain why I doubted Wimbledon's recollection and He didn't believe mine - it makes sense that both of us thought we were doing the operation - But two accounts of the same operation are probably better than one -
[Personal paragraph removed]
Gonna quit for now. Let me know what you want sent.
Forrest D. Perkins
PS: Would be glad to contribute any info I could to your forthcoming endeavour but my contribution would probably be repetitive as you and others have been chewing over and sometimes spitting out what I had to say about the incident since 1968 (almost 20 years - god am I that old?) But don't hesitate to ask if I can help in any way.