Giant Triangle UFO at Twentynine Palms Explained

Dave Beaty
5 min readJul 9, 2023
Photo from Weaponized Podcast showing “Triangle Craft”

More information has come to light on the Twentynine Palms Marine Base UFO case featured on NBC News, Fox News, and The Daily Mail and many other mainstream media broadcasts last May and first released by the Weaponized Podcast, as an exclusive story about a giant black triangle-shaped UFO.

It’s since been shown that the Marines were conducting what is called its annual WTI-1, Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, a combined air/ground operation the week of the alleged UFO sighting April 20, 2021. The Black Vault first identified this training operation within hours of the first reports which do not mention the air strike training.

I submitted a request to the Marines to provide detailed logs about the air operations that night. In my FOIA response, also sent to John Greenwald of theblackvault, the Marines provided a detailed accounting of that mission. The usage of parachute retarded illuminating flares fired from Super Huey helicopters and the Hyda-70 rocket system by the Marines seems to explain the images the other group of witness Marines, from Camp Wilson, filmed. It’s possible that they were not briefed on the operation or confused by the appearance of the flares over the mountains. The speculation about seeing a structured craft around the flares remains unexplained by the witnesses. The triangle isn’t very visible in the images provided or could be related to the low light mode camera artifacts.

UFO Photo by anonymous Marine as Shown on Weaponized Podcast
Still shot of video Shane Beaubien filmed 4/20/21 (filmed in opposite direction)

In addition to Marines public affairs and FOIA, I contacted Lance Cpl. Shane T. Beaubien from the MAWTS-1 Squadron at Twentynine Palms. He was the combat cameraman who filmed the flares from within the air operation that night. We first found his footage of flares on the DVIDS website, a DoD repository of imagery. While he is no longer serving in the Marines, he said he could not comment on the mission nor offer his opinion on the news reports of a giant triangle UFO that “materialized from nowhere” or “remailed motionless” for many minutes as compared to his own footage. Blogger Mick West was able to triangulate the location of the mystery photographs, and he maintains they were indeed military flares and show motion over time as they descended. Using a Marine battle map provided in my FOIA, Mick was able to show , using a 3D animation the geo coordinates of the base, that the photos were taken in the exact direction of the air assault operation and the two notated landing objectives.

The UFO sighting occurred at exactly the same time that dozens of aircraft were inserting Marines at the objectives around 8:20 PM local time April 20, 2021.

Timeline of Marines Air Assault shows insert time as 8:20 PM Local

A detailed spreadsheet of the strike was included which shows the complex “ballet” that took place in the air and ground that evening. Minute by minute from insertion of the assault force on the ground to the fuel tanking, and Offensive Air Support. The mission kicked off at 16:00 but the action began just after 20:00 (8:00 PM) and specifically at 8:20 PM the Marine ground assault force landed. I am unable to see specific notes about launching the flares, but I assume this would be the time when they did. The grunts on the ground were operating with night vision and approaching the objective, a building complex on the ranges. During this operation, other helos conducted live fire onto ground targets in nearby ranges simulating suppression of enemy fire or close air support. It appears the ground troops were extracted at 22:00 (10:00 PM).

The USMC uses the Bell UH-1Y (Venom or Super Huey) style support helos the night of 4/20/21. In my FOIA flight logs, these helos each loaded 5 Hydra 2.75" IR Illumination rounds. This is the same number of flares seen in the UFO video. In 2021, Northrup began production of these new flares the M257 visible spectrum flare, and the M278 infrared (IR) spectrum illuminating flare which are shot out of the same launcher as the Hydra high explosive rockets.

Marine aircraft loadout record showing UH-1Y with five IR Illumination rockets each

Fired from a Hydra rocket launcher on the helos, these have a parachute to retard the flare and illuminate the ground for the assault troops at night.

These rockets can be fired at standoff distance to deploy parachute retarded flares over the battlefield. I noted that seven UH-1Y Venoms were loaded out with 5 rocket flares each. This combined air strike included Venoms, Apaches, F-35Bs Fighters, AV-8Bs Harriers, F/A-18s, KC-135U Tankers, CH-53 Sea Stallions, MV-22 Ospreys as well as external USAF aircraft. Only the Venoms had the flares according to the load-out planning sheets. The strike commenced around 1600 (4:00 PM) through 01:00 AM 4/21/21.

Rocket Fired 2.75" Parachute Flare

While the FOIA reveal details notes on exact munitions expended, the UH-1Y loadout expenditures were not included, and I was unable to calculate how many of the listed five 2.75” illumination rounds were fired per helo. The combat footage shows a grouping of 5 flares, so I assume it was these helos conducting support missions over the objective that fired the flares.

In addition to the FOIA, and Mick Wests re-creation of the scene, the DoD pubic affairs spokeswoman responded to John Greenwald’s enquiry that no UAP were reported from Twentynine Palms that evening, and the AARO office had no record of it and the Marines did not send any aircraft to investigate the sighting as claimed in the original reports about the UFO.



Dave Beaty

Emmy-award winning producer and cinematographer. UFO Researcher and TV Journalist. Documentary filmmaker.