Farmington “Armada” Incident 1950 – German IFOs over New Mexico

…Riggs said they were high in the sky and people had to look hard to see them. He said one of the teachers cried, but that the children were not afraid as the objects in the sky did not present any threat…

IFOS = Identified Flying Objects; namely German flying objects!


Hundreds of people observed objects in the sky

17 March 1950

It’s known as the Farmington “Armada” Incident. Sixty-five years later, a researcher explains what he found out about that day.

Dec. 13, 2015

The Farmington Armada incident got a lot of local press at the time, but it took 65 years before there was in-depth research into the northwest New Mexico phenomenon.

David Marler said his presentation Saturday for the New Mexico Chapter of the Mutual UFO Network is the first public lecture about a detailed investigation of the incident.

“I wasn’t there in March 1950, so I’ll be honest. I’m like most other people, I don’t know what these witnesses saw,” Marler said. “I usually go in as a process of elimination: Did they see aircraft? Did they see some kind of atmospheric phenomenon? When you can systematically rule all of the conventional explanations out, and you’re left with this genuine unknown, it’s a mystery.”

Marler went in search of witnesses but discovered most of them are no longer living. However, he found a few, including 73-year-old Virgil Jerry Riggs.

Riggs lives in Wyoming now and made the trip to Rio Rancho to be a part of Marler’s presentation. He said it means a lot to him that the researcher is preserving the history of what happened in 1950.

“I’m sure there are skeptics out there. I’m sorry about the skeptics. All I can tell you is what I saw, what I observed,” Riggs said.

He was 8 years old and a student at Aztec Elementary School in 1950. Riggs said he went outside for recess and thought there were stars in the sky, but middle and high school students pointed out the objects way up above.

“All these square-looking formations in the sky. They were made up of dots, and the dots would shift from one formation to another,” he said. “The first day there were a few, the second day there were too many to count and the third day, there were maybe 30 or 40 of them left.”

Riggs said they were high in the sky and people had to look hard to see them. He said one of the teachers cried, but that the children were not afraid as the objects in the sky did not present any threat.

“I was really disappointed when they went away. A bunch of kids (thought), ‘Now what do we have to do? Go play on the slide?'” he said.

Marler is not new to UFO research. He said people should be skeptical about the subject. However, he said taking time to look at the data and documentation from the 1950s show there is something there.

Marler said the official government explanation was that a high-altitude naval research balloon exploded, and people saw floating pieces of plastic in the sky. But he said that simply just doesn’t match up with what happened.

“They make it sound in their explanation like this incident only happened over one day in Farmington, when the balloon supposedly ruptured, but the two previous days we had numerous witnesses to hundreds of objects being seen, not only in Farmington, but in Tucumcari, Las Vegas, New Mexico, Albuquerque,” Marler said. “Eyewitnesses at Kirland Air Force Base in the government’s own documents talk about this. I could appreciate or accept the balloon theory if it was only one day, but how does it explain two to three different days worth of sightings?”

Riggs is a retired commercial pilot who served in Vietnam and was a free fall parachutist. In all his time in the sky, he said he never saw unusual objects like he observed over Farmington when he was a child.

He said a man walked up to him and several friends on the playground during one of the three days of sightings and told them to never forget.

“You take a good hard look at it and you remember it, because you may not ever see anything like this in your life again,” Riggs said. “And he was right.”




Date: March 17, 1950

Sighting Time: between 11 and noon.

Day/Night: Day

Location: Farmington, New Mexico

Urban or Rural: -Urban

Hynek Classification: DD


No. of Object(s):  Multiple 500+

Size of Object(s):

Distance to Object(s):

Shape of Object(s): Disc

Color of Object(s):

Number of Witnesses: Multiple

Special Features/Characteristics: Multiple UFOs, Group Sighting, Mass Sighting

Source: Farmington Daily Times, March 18, 1950

Summary/Description: “Fully half of this town’s population still is certain today that it saw space ships or some strange aircraft — hundreds of them zooming through the skies yesterday. Estimates of the number ranged from & quotes several to more that 500. The objects appeared to play tag high in the air. At times they streaked away at almost unbelievable speeds.”

Full Report

Saucer+Armada+Jolts+Farmington+3-18-1950+Res (1)

Crafts Seen By Hundreds – Speed Estimated at 1000 MPH, Altitude 20,000 feet

For the third consecutive day flying saucers have been reported over Farmington. And on each of the three days their arrival here was reported between 11 and noon.

Three persons called the Daily Times office to report seeing strange objects in the air just before noon.

Persons along Main Street once again could be seen looking skyward and pointing.

High winds and a dust storm prevented clear vision.

Fully half of this town’s population still is certain today that it saw space ships or some strange aircraft — hundreds of them zooming through the skies yesterday. Estimates of the number ranged from & quotes several to more that 500. Whatever they were, they caused a major sensation in this community, which lies only 110 air miles northwest of the huge Los Alamos Atomic installation.

The objects appeared to play tag high in the air. At times they streaked away at almost unbelievable speeds. One witness did a triangulation sighting on one of the objects and estimated its speed at about 1,000 miles an hour, and estimated its size as approximately twice that of a B-29.

Farmington citizens stood in the streets yesterday watching the first reported mass “flying saucer” flight ever sighted. Traffic was slowed to avoid hitting sky gazers. The office of the Farmington Daily Times was deluged with calls from persons who saw the objects.

A Red Leader

Scores described the objects as silvery discs. A number agreed they saw one that was red in color — bigger and faster, and apparently the leader.

Clayton J. Boddy, 32, business manager of Farmington Times and a former Army Engineers captain in Italy, was one of those who saw the startling objects.

Boddy was on roadway when all of a sudden I noticed a few moving objects high in the sky.

“Moments later there appeared what seemed to be about 500 of them,” Boddy continued. He could not estimate their size or speed, but said they appeared to be about 15,000 feet high.

Boddy’s account was confirmed by Joseph C. and Francis C. Kelloff, retail grocers from Antonito, Colo., who were in Farmington to inspect the site of a proposed new store, and by Bob Foutz and John Burrell of Farmington. The Kelloffs said the objects appeared to be flying in formation.

One of the most impressive accounts came from Harold F. Thatcher, head of the Farmington unit of the Soil Conservation service. Thatcher made a triangulation on one of a number of flying craft, He said if it had been a B-29 it would have been 2,000 feet high and traveling more than 1000 miles per hour.

Knows Engineering

“I’m not a professional engineer,” Thatcher said, “but I have engineers working under me and I know how to work out rough triangulation on an object.”

Thatcher emphatically denied an earlier report that the objects could have been small pieces of cotton fuzz floating in the atmosphere.

“It was not cotton,” he said, “I saw several pieces of cotton fuzz floating around in the air at the time, but I was not sighting on any cotton.”

The “cotton” report was started by State Patrolman Andy Andrews, who quoted several Farmington Residents as asserting it was cotton they saw. The residents denied Andrew’s report.

The first reports of flying saucers were noted a few minutes before 11 a.m. yesterday. For a full hour thereafter people deluged the Times with reports of the objects.

A second large scale sighting occurred at 3 p.m. At that time, Mrs. Wilson Jones, 27, and Mr. Roy Hicks, 33, housewives reported seeing objects to the north of Farmington, flying in perfect formation. Others reported the same sight.

Johnny Eaton, 29, a real estate and insurance salesman, and Edward Brooks, 24, an employee of the Perry Smoak garage, were the first to report the red-colored sky object.

Not Airplanes

Brooks, a B-29 tail gunner during the war, said he was positive the objects sighted were not airplanes. “The very maneuvering of the things couldn’t be that of modern aircraft,” he said.

John Bloomfield, another employee of Smoak’s garage, said the objects he saw traveled at a speed that appeared to him to be about 10 times faster than that of jet planes. In addition, he said the objects frequently made right-angle turns.

“They appeared to be coming at each other head-on,” he related. “At the last second, one would veer at right angles upward, the other at right angles downward. One saucer would pass another and immediately the one to the rear would zoom into the lead.”

Marlow Webb, another garage employee, said the objects to the naked eye appeared to be about eight inches in diameter as seen from the ground. He described them as about the size of a dinner plate.” “They flew sideways, on edge and at every conceivable angle,” he said. “This is what made it easy to determine that they were saucer-shaped.” None of the scores of reports told of any vapor trail or engine noise. Nor did anyone report any windows or other markings on the craft.

In general Farmington accepted the phenomenon calmly, although it was reported some women employees of a laundry became somewhat panicky.



The Most Amazing UFO Incident over New Mexico

57th Anniversary of the Spectacular Farmington Sightings

The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects 1956 by Edward Ruppelt

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