The USS Ronald Reagan Encounters

Dave Beaty
28 min readMay 19, 2022

A UFO Sighting From a US Navy Aircraft Carrier in 2004 Off the East Coast.

by Dave C Beaty

The topic of UFOs and the term “UAPs” is very familiar to many of us after the New York Times headlines, the 60 Minutes story in 2021, and numerous other national media covered the topic as leading stories in the past few years.

“Cigar-shaped” Tic Tacs like UFOs are common in reports dating back centuries. But who remembers the glowing plasma-like UAPs from the nuclear weapons storage areas? From Malmstrom and Loring Air Force Bases in the 1960’s and 1970's? …Few. But those events are paramount in understanding the phenomena because they are little-known and yet profound. When an anomalous event may happen every 50+ years, the stories from those past events become very relevant if a pattern emerges.

Mini-Sun-Like UAP 3D Rendering based on Witness descriptions below from 2004 on the East Coast of the US — credit Dave Beaty CGI

Release The “mini-sun’ UAPs

Like many of these military UFO cases, the evidence of the event is right there in plain sight on the internet. It’s just that no one notices. But the web article by Karol Olesiak was clear on the website soldiers for the cause. And now I was reading about a sighting aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) in 2004. And what a story it was. The crew on the watch that night on the bridge and the flight deck noticed a “glowing, airplane-sized, flaming orange object” hovering over the ship. And then they went back about their jobs like it was a passing flock of birds…

As you can imagine I had to re-read that a few times to wrap my mind around what Karol was talking about. Was this real or make-believe? Was Karol weaving a tall sea-tale in the tradition of mariners of times long ago and sea monsters? The story sounded far-fetched. But if there is anything I’ve learned, sometimes the most outlandish reports centered around UAPs turn out to be the most credible. We shall see.

I immediately messaged Karol. Sent him some emails. “Saw your article about the UFO.” Sent him a link to my 2019 USS Kidd article and 2004 The Nimitz Encounters video. Then waited. Many times, it’s really difficult to contact Navy vets. They tend to be a little wary of UFO people. Not that I’m a UFO person, but it’s still tied to a little of the “nut job” type stereotype. “Sorry for the late response…I’ll check out your article”, he wrote. Thus began the USS Ronald Reagan UAP saga for me.

Karol Olesiak Aboard the USS Ronald Reagan 2003

His article mentioned the event took place sometime in 2003 or 2004 in the Atlantic. As I questioned Karol about the exact dates I learned he wasn’t sure when this happened. Sometime around 18-19 years ago. Recently, his shipmate buddies had encouraged him to write about it and it was the first time in decades he had tried to piece the events together. “I think It was during the hurricane. Irene.”, he wrote. “That was in 2011”, I said, and “In 2004 there were 4 hurricanes that hit Florida.”, Memory can be deceiving. “2003 Isabel”, he replied.

Indeed, Hurricane Isabel hit Norfolk, VA in Sept 2003. And the USS Ronald Reagan left port on Sept 16 with about 40 other Navy warships, fleeing Isabel out into the Atlantic. I’ll be damned. And there was Karol’s picture in the ship's 2004 cruise book, listed as “QM3” (Quartermaster) just like he said. I also checked his DD-214 military separation papers. He is who he says he is. And he was willing to do an interview. “Ask me anything.”, he said.

2024 FOIA Document shows the Reagan underway Sept 16–20 for the hurricane
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)

The 76'ers

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was christened by the Navy in May of 2003. Karol had been a “plank holder” as they say in the Navy, someone who is on the vessel from the shipyard to deployment. He was a Quartermaster of the Watch in the navigation department at the time, this is an enlisted rate for Petty Officers. His job involved managing navigation and the ship's logbook, and he was on the bridge at the time of the sighting just behind the captain's chair.

The officers and enlisted sailors on the ship are divided into different departments and “watches” that last 4 hours. The “island” is the tall superstructure on the side of the flight deck, it has 3 levels and commanding views of the ship. The top level is the primary flight control, next is where Karol worked on the main bridge, and below that is the flag bridge, used by the Admiral’s staff to control the entire strike group.

The ship is 1,092 feet long and houses 6,000 sailors when fully loaded. That includes an Air Wing with F/A-18 Hornet fighter attack jets. They also had Seahawk helicopters and the E2 Hawkeye radar planes. The USS Reagan was undergoing flight deck certification for air operations through early 2004. In July 2003 the pilots from the VX-23 “Salty Dogs” Test and Evaluation Squadron were the first to catapult off the deck in test missions.

This is a 40-minute interview about the UFO event with me and Karol:

40+ Minute Interview With Karol Olesiak of the USS Ronald Reagan
Moses and the Burning Bush Story in Christianity

The Burning Bush

Whatever the exact date, Karol Olesiak told me he won’t forget what happened when he reported for his watch around 8 PM. The QM he replaced said, “I don’t know what that is, and I don’t fucking care. I’m going to my rack”, and walked away. This glowing reddish-orange oval-shaped, fighter jet-sized object was hovering over the flight deck. He saw it at eye level through the windows of the bridge. Maybe 100 yards away. It appears to have a glowing, burning uneven surface. Karol said the object’s surface reminded him of the biblical stories of the “burning bush” witnessed by Moses.

“When I say burning bush and I mean that in the Eastern Orthodox way. I’ve had a lot of time to unpack this experience, but in the Eastern Orthodox church, they explain the burning bush as unburnt energy. There’s this kind of mystical idea of negative energy…, when you see it, you are entranced by the novelty of it. You’ve never seen it before. Right? You’ve never seen negative energy. Right? But it’s there, you don’t know what it is, the experience of seeing something you haven’t seen before.” — Karol Olesiak

But the strangest thing is no one seemed to care all that much on the bridge. The officers standing in front of his navigation table are not issuing alerts, warnings, or calling the captain. No alarms were sounded. No General Quarters was sounded over the intercoms at a perceived danger to the ship and its crew.

Image from The Fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

“And I feel like it’s like this weird, emperor’s clothes kind of scenario where the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, but you have to pretend that he is, and I’m not like a fully trained QM. …. And so I’m going with the officer of the deck, you know, like whatever the officer of the deck is thinking, I’m, I’m going to agree with it because I had been through boot camp, which is kind of brainwashing in a way. But this thing is floating there. The officer of the deck and the conning officer are kind of, there seems like there’s this party going on around the captain’s chair. Like, they’re not worried about anything” — QM3 Karol Olesiak

Diagram of Aircraft Carrier Deck

One of Karol’s shipmates in his web article was SN Patrick Gokey. I asked if he could put me in touch. “Patrick doesn't use social media,” he said, “But I did give him your number.” Patrick never did call me. I was determined and found his email on my own. Eventually, he did reply on April 12, 2020.

“Hi Dave, Thank you for reaching out. I know all but one of the shipmates you’ve listed well and can attest to their character. I was hesitant to tell my story outside of family and close friends, but after checking out your YouTube channel and seeing that others are willing to come forward, I would be happy to be involved and have no need to remain anonymous.

I am someone that doesn’t believe anyone or anything without evidence, and I have absolutely nothing to gain by talking about this. I can’t say that what I saw was extra-terrestrial, but I can say with complete certainty that it changed my entire view of the world forever. I was so surprised by the first four seconds of the video you linked. The animated object you created was almost exactly what I witnessed. Any chance you can send a link to the extended clip?”

He was a lookout that night. But he told me he did not arrive on the ship until November 2003. So, the theory of the Sept. hurricane Isabel UAP date was put to rest. When I spoke with him on Zoom he thought the sighting had happened during the ship trials in the Atlantic in the months just before they cruised around South America in May of 2004.

FOIA Command History Report shows the date of underway to new Homeport San Deigo on May 27 2004.

To date, including Karol and Patrick, I have personally interviewed five primary witnesses who independently claim they saw this glowing object. Meet “Smith D” as his shipmates called him. Boatswain’s Mate Seaman (BMSN) Derek Smith was a lookout that night with his trainee or “UI” (under instruction). Today Derek is a loving single dad raising his three young kids. He was kind enough to Zoom with me from his computer-gaming man cave and apologized for the youngster's ruckus in the background, “Might be better once I put them to bed”, he said. He also apologized for his “language” and said, “I can’t help it.” I guess once a sailor always a sailor. And the term has a mouth like a “sailor” is true.

Karol had previously recorded an interview with Derek discussing the UFO. Here is the uncensored version:

2021 Phone Conversation Karol Recorded With His Shipmate Derek Smith — Permission Granted To Share By Derek and Karol
BMSN Derek Smith sends a greeting aboard the USS Ronald Reagan circa 2004

“They had me training a new girl. It is just crazy because we’re on starboard forward and .. it was like hovering and it just appeared. And then we got up on the lookout watches. We have big eyes. They’re like mounted binoculars. … I’m sitting here looking at this thing, and I couldn’t tell what it was. There was a shape to it. It was oval shaped like a sideways, a it was kind of like oval shape, but it didn’t look solid, but it had a shape to it.” -BMSN Derek Smith

“And I reported it to the TOP (Tactical Operations). I was like, “TOP.. the starboard forward” … I described it or whatever. I already knew they could see it too. Well, when you’re look out, what you’re doing is you’re calling in all air contacts and surface contacts the bearings, all the positions of the contacts, and everything. You got to give the best description you can. And I remember calling it into the TOP.. I remember looking down the flight deck. I saw the airman looking up at it. People on the flight deck were looking up at it. I want to say was there maybe a couple of hundred feet above the flight deck? I could be a little off there. But from I remember it wasn’t too high up above the flight deck.” — BMSN Derek Smith

Derek’s trainee could not believe her eyes as this all unfolded in front of her.

“Yeah, I was with Smith. We call him “Smith D”. We were on watch together and we were just kind of like watching out. We looked down for some reason because they had just done flight ops and there’s people on the flight deck and they had looked up and they…ran and we were like, what are they looking at? So we looked up and it was this orange globe ball-looking thing that was floating over the flight deck. The ship was going forward and it was keeping pace with the ship. …and I looked at Smith and I was like, what do we do? And he’s like, “Call it in”. I was like, “You can call it in”. And he’s like, “No, you gotta call in.” So I called it in and I was like, “Hey, bridge starboard forward…there’s an unidentified object floating about, you know, a couple of hundred yards above the flight deck and it’s in pace with the ship” and they all laughed at me and they’re, like, “okay…” I was told to “quit smoking crack.” — Seaman Lookout Trainee

CGI of how Lookout Trainee described the sunset scene with UAP that was “Not the Sun”.

Derek’s trainee told me on the phone that it wasn’t dark when this went down. A point that differs from the other accounts. She said it was also seen radar based on her conversation with the Tactical Action Officer (TAO). She recalled being asked by operations on the comms about the sun since this object did appear to fit a sun-like description.

“I believe that the sun was setting. Yeah. It was not completely night, but there was still light out…It wasn’t dark. Cause you could still see the clouds. I guess close to the sunset. The sun wasn’t anywhere near us. ’Cause it was getting dark… It stayed there for a while. It followed us and then it kind of did like a little loopy, like a little swoop, like a little half loop swoop thing. And then it just went into the clouds, it was a cloudy evening and it went into the clouds and it was gone. And then I called, “Hey, it went into the cloud. It’s gone. It’s not following. It’s not with us anymore. We can’t see it.” They were like, okay, they still had it on their radar. They were still tracking it on the radar from what she said.” — Seaman Lookout Trainee

CGI Re-Creation of the Starboard Forward Lookout

The Blob

Karol had helped me go through that cruise book to see if he recalled anyone else who was on the bridge that night. I then contacted one of those deck guys. The BMOW (Boatswain’s Mate of the Watch) is still in the Navy. Active duty. He wants to remain anonymous. More accurately he wants to come forward but he has to get permission from his public affairs office. I’ve been working to get this permission weekly, but to date, I have not heard back from them. Fingers crossed that I will be able to edit this in the future and introduce this sailor.

When I spoke on the phone with him he was pretty excited that someone was finally talking about this event. He confirmed all accounts of Patrick, Karol, and Derek and mentioned a bunch of other people by name. He knew them all and remembered them. He said at the time he was on the bridge, he was ordered by his chief to go find out why the lookouts were horsing around on the intercom about a UFO. When he went out onto the catwalks ready to chew out the men, they said, “Sir, look over there.” What he observed left him speechless. This thing, whatever it was, shouldn’t be there.

“The blob, which is what I always refer to it as, was about like 10 to 20 feet in my mind, you know? And it was moving, it was moving, it was staying above the flight deck. There were airdales at the bottom. So airdales are the, you know, all the people that work on the flight deck. And they were just acting like nothing (was going on). …I didn’t yell down. “Hey, you guys see that!?” like, none of that…they just went ahead and did their work. I don’t know what the hell it was. All I know is that it looked weird as fuck.” — BMOW

Although he said he remembered no flight ops were taking place, he said there were airmen on the flight deck moving things around. Later back on the bridge when his buddy tried to log the event into his “green book” their chief told him to “rip that shit out.” I asked about the seeming lack of alarm. He told me that everyone is just running on fumes most of the time, sleeping for 4 hours, never-ending shifts, and even something unusual, even a UFO, might just get a cursory glance. If the officers in the chain of command are not responding, the men and women under them react accordingly. Like Derek Smith and his trainee, he said the sighting was over quickly.

Three Half Circles

All of these sightings so far happened on the island of the carrier. There is a catwalk that encircles the island on three levels up providing a complete vantage point in all directions 50 feet above the deck. The lookouts are stationed on the top level on the Starboard or right side, forward-looking - towards the bow, or to the Port or left side, and also the Aft or facing the back of the ship. One lookout is also stationed on the fantail or the very rear of the carrier facing the ocean one level below the flight deck. All the lookouts on the ship would rotate positions every hour. They rotate onto the bridge to the Helm and Lee Helm controls of the steering and speed of the ship. Later that evening SN Patrick Gokey rotated to the same position on the Starboard Forward lookout post.

SN Patrick Gokey — Navy Deck Department Lookout USS Ronald Reagan circa 2004

“It almost felt like the sun was rising a little bit. I just saw this orange bright orange ball and, it was wavy, but somehow still solid like a plasma almost. And it just appeared over the flight deck. Maybe 200 feet off the flight deck. It sat there for about 30 seconds. I remember calling it in. I don’t know what my exact wording was. Everybody on the bridge would’ve been able to see it. But it was this floating orange ball and it sat there for 30 seconds. It didn’t seem to move, but we were moving during the flight ops, and it seemed to stay with us. But without any movement that you could discern. After that, it just did three half circles, just 1, 2, 3, and it was gone.“ ”— SN Patrick Gokey

“Maybe half hour, an hour later I rotated watch stations and I was on the fan tail by myself. And the same thing, it came back by us on the fan tail and it hovered, you know, maybe a hundred or 200 feet in the air in the same, you know, maybe the same distance behind it did three half circles and it took off.” — SN Patrick Gokey

This is Patrick’s Story ->

A Picture is Worth

When I first decided to dive into this case I wanted to do a mock-up of the object using my 3D graphics program. I started sharing images and renderings to Derek, Karol, and Patrick asking for their feedback. And they evolved from a football shape that Derek recalled to the more spherical ball that Patrick remembered. But the color was pretty close they said. The description of the surface of the sun helped, and using a combination of animating noise and displacement, I was able to simulate a swirling glowing plasma. They say it’s pretty close. Here are some of the renderings as they evolved.

Evolution of 3D Re-creation — Witnesses like the one on the bottom right

Former US Army Counter Intel Special Agent Luis Elizondo was also involved in DoD UAP investigations at the highest levels during his stint at the Pentagon in 2008, I reached out to him to see if he could “shine any light” on the glowing mini-sun’s hovering over the aircraft carrier? While both he and Christopher Mellon, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and pro-UAP transparency lobbyist, had never heard of the 2004 Ronald Reagan encounters, both were curious. I spoke with Lue on the phone for a recorded interview in April 2022 and asked him, about these glowing plasma-like UAPs — what he revealed was startling. It wasn’t the first time he’d heard about these objects. Here is a part of that conversation:

Former US Army Counter-Intelligence Special Agent Lue Elizondo speaks about The USS Ronald Reagan UAP Sighting

Wow. Think about that for a moment. That is pretty specific intel he is sharing. Are probes deployed from a larger UAP? I don’t know if that comes from an actual AATIP or AAWSAP case file from the DIA and DoD UAP programs he was involved with or just a story told to him during his stint on the History Channel program “Unidentifed”. Someone should ask him more about that.

The Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle

Navy Lookout Patrick Gokey told me he thought at the time they were in the Bermuda Triangle. However, he was unsure if this was a joke or the actual location of the ship since most Navy crewmen are not told the position of the ship while at sea.

“We were in the Bermuda triangle. ..I remember this because I’m on watch, I’m on one to two watches a day there and I remember because I was working with the quartermasters, I had asked one of them, what’s going on with all the equipment? Things were going in and out and they said, “you know where we’re at?” And I said, “no.” They said, “We’re in the Bermuda Triangle and this happens all the time.” And it did. We went through the Bermuda Triangle several times... and every time we’d go through there weird stuff with the electronics would happen. And I remember that we were in the Triangle when I saw this object.” — SN Patrick Gokey

“It was crazy. Yeah. I knew we were in the Bermuda Triangle at the time. I did know that. I remember previously people were talking about when we were in the Bermuda Triangle, the computers were fucking up and all types of shit.” — BMSN Derek Smith

Without even knowing when or where this sighting happened it’s tempting to think the mythical Bermuda Triangle, with its mysterious history of missing planes, ships, and magnetic anomalies, had something to do with this UFO sighting. But for now, we’ll just have to leave it at that. A few others said the famous chunk of geography had some role to play. Who knows?

Men In Black

Now before you start thinking that ol’ Beaty has finally lost it for sure and is now on that long downward spiral from UFOs to the Bermuda Triangle, to the Hombre Ala Negra, just pull that emergency brake handle right now. Not only did no MIBs show up to my knowledge, everyone just shrugged it off and went back to work the next day. No orders were issued to “Zip it”, no NDA’s were signed, and no stern “This did not happen!” admonishments. The witnesses were told not to log it if that counts as a conspiracy.

“After another rotation, I was on the bridge acting either as helmsman or lee-helmsman when one or more pages from the deck log book was ordered to be removed, though I do not remember which officer ordered it or who tore the pages out. My guess is that it was the BMOW or one of the other officers on watch”. — SN Patrick Gokey

“[person’s name omitted] actually wrote down what happened in our logbook. …You know, our logbook is like the green book. …and our chain of command, you know, everybody was talking about it. Our chain of command, of specifically the deck department, made us tear that shit out.” — BMOW Anonymous

Lue Elizondo told me it’s not uncommon for officers to simply not want to report UFOs. Everyone is on a career track and having to explain a firey sphere hovering over the ship is not something they want on their records or to even admit. In 2004 that stigma was a very real concern.

“Because it’s the same thing with the Air Force. Right? Same with private pilots. Nobody wants to be that guy or that gal that reported a UFO. We saw what happened even with the Nimitz where our pilots were, in essence, ridiculed. When they came back, they were playing silly movies, over the ship’s TV and stuff like that. And, you know, folks like (Navy fighter pilot) David Fravor will tell you, and same with Alex Dietrich, that they were pissed.” — Luis Elizondo Former Special Agent — Counter Intelligence Officer OUSD(I&S)

As of May 2022, we have made contact with about 10 individuals who were on the ship. I had some help from a senior-level retired officer who assisted as my wingman on those first initial contacts to get answered. He’s made contact with the retired Rear Admiral and former Captain of the Ronald Reagan. No word yet on if he recalls this event. When a retired USAF officer sends a DM or email, most people answer. Not so much for me — the reporter/UFO/film guy. Not everyone wants to talk about it or even admit it. Yet more and more come forward every day. I also had great support from Tim McMillan and Micah Hanks of The and cohorts Sean Munger and Craig Labadie in researching this case.

To date this is the Ronald Reagan assembly:

List of Witnesses:

1 Karol Olesiak Quartermaster of the Watch — Primary Witness — Saw the Object —Zoom recorded interview completed.

2 Derek Smith BMSN Bosunsmate Lookout — Primary Witness — Saw the Object — Zoom recorded interview completed.

3 Patrick Gokey- SN Boatswain’s Lookout — Primary Witness- Saw the Object — Zoom recorded interview completed.

4 SN Seaman Under Instruction — Primary Witness — Saw the Object with Derek — phone call interview completed. Anonymous

5 BMOW Boatswain’s Mate Of The Watch — Primary Witness — Saw the object -Confirms all accounts, was present on starboard forward lookout and observed the object - phone call interview completed. Anonymous

6 BM3 Trainee 2 — Primary Witness — direct messages exchanged. Anonymous

7 QM2 Quartermaster of the Watch -Secondary Witness — heard about the sighting the next day, but did not see it herself. — direct messages exchanged. Anonymous

8 Bull Ensign Asst. Conning Officer — Primary Witness — Does not want to talk about it. — direct messages exchanged. Anonymous

9 BM Boatswain’s Mate -Secondary Witness — heard about the sighting on the next day, but did not see it himself as he was not on watch. — emails exchanged. Anonymous

10 Airwing Mini-Boss — did not see a UFO and does not want his name used — direct messages exchanged.

11. Captain of the USS Ronald Reagan at the time of the encounter. We did communicate directly with the CO (now retired Naval officer) at the time of this multiple-witness event and he has no recollection of any UFO.

The Plasma Balls and Conspiracy Theory

You might be thinking as I was, why these differing memories of the event? Why can’t they remember the date? Was it night or daytime? Did the object make movements or was it stationary? Did it hover for over an hour or a minute? It’s tempting to point to these inconsistencies of evidence as false memories or daydreams or outright lies, but it’s been proven in court and research that witnesses often report vastly differing details when recalling crimes or accidents that they witnessed. It’s important to note that the consistent details are what matters. I challenge you to remember the month of December 2004. Think of Christmas or New Year’s Eve and recall what happened. It’s not easy. But we know those events did happen.

Let’s assume for a moment that the sighting was indeed real and was exactly like what Patrick, Karol, Derek, The trainee, and the BMOW told me, that an orangish-reddish, glowing oval-shaped object that looked like the surface of the sun and was about the size of a fighter jet and was hovering maybe 200 feet in the air out between catapults 1 and 2 off the bow. We’d assume that dozens of people would have seen this during the 8 PM -12 AM watch from the various bridges, catwalks, and flight deck. No general quarters were called and the activities around the ship went on like nothing unusual was happening. What could account for that lack of response? Perhaps the officers knew something the crew did not?

The men and women reporting this have no explanation for what they saw. They do say it was something they can not explain and have never seen before or since. What could explain it? A misidentification of an atmospheric event? So-called Earth Lights? Let's look at these one by one.

Lab-created “Ball Lightning” according to a photo from Researchers at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Ball Lightning

The phenomena of ball lightning are poorly understood and less documented. Reports over the years have described a ball of fuzzy orange light a few inches or larger. There are many unproven hypotheses about the cause of ball lightning in the literature. Indeed the description of the USS Ronald Reagan object could be similar to those of ball lightning. But it’s hard to imagine that could account for an object the size of a fighter jet, 20 feet or more, hovering and moving in half circles before shooting off into the sky. That would seem to indicate some type of control of the object’s movement versus a random gas-like plasma of charged particles. Take a look at my brother Bill Beaty’s reporting website for ball lightning sightings. (link) Keep it on the table.

St. Elmo’s Fire

Sailors have reported St. Elmo's fire for centuries. The bluish flickering glow is seen coming from the rigging of ships, masts, and antennas when storms approach. Like ball lightning, it's surmised that charged particles may be the cause of these luminous discharges surrounding ship rigging and wires. But this does not match the description of the RR sailors at all. Take it off the Table.

The Moon, A Celestial Object or Planet

Often witnesses mistake the bright glow of Venus or the moon in the sky against or behind the clouds which are moving as a UFO. The clouds give the appearance of motion. Venus or stars may scintillate or flicker through the Earth's atmosphere giving the false impression of motion. In this case, many witnesses saw the object from various vantage points around the ship both forward and aft. They witnessed movements and the rapid departure of the object. Derek said it was the size of an orange and held an arm's length. Patrick says a baseball or softball. Gokey said he was on the fantail and saw the object perform three half circles also makes it seem unlikely this was all related to a misidentification of the moon or a planet. Take it off the Table.


Weather balloons are the joke of UFO study. Along with swamp gas. Let's just say the movement, shape, size, and surface characteristics of what the witness described do not match a balloon at all. While it is true that Navy ships do launch weather balloons and stratospheric balloons for tests using instrumentation, they are often cone-shaped, clear, and launched during daylight hours. Take off the Table

It was weird. I remember getting off watch there and telling people about it and they were trying to say or they didn’t believe us . They were trying to say it must have been a weather balloon or whatever. It wasn’t a weather balloon…I don’t think it was a projection or anything. There was no light being fired up to the object it was just an object just sitting there like it’s not normal. — Derek Smith

Secret Military Tech

The usual catch-all explanation for UAP cases that seem to have credible evidence and witnesses of extraordinary aerial phenomena is that it must be our own military technology at work. The officers ignored it so they “must be in the know.” Special access projects do exist. We do have advanced aircraft and weapons systems. But does such a technology exist that could account for the RR sightings? Laser-Induced Plasma devices for projecting ghost images into the air most likely do exist. But would they be deployed in 2004? Would they look like the orange blob with a boiling surface? Keep it on the Table.

Proton Beam Spoofing Countermeasures System

I recently asked Derek Smith about maybe it was a projection and the “Bat Signal”? I was only half-joking. But the various descriptions of glowing, gaseous balls of translucent orange light made me think of some type of projection. Could the Navy have in its possession a portable, crew-served, radar spoofing projector? And just what tech might create anything like what was described? Directed and focused proton beams and ionized air plasma? Turns out I wasn’t the first to think about this as related to UFO sightings and the military. Physicist Tom Mahood theorized about this in the mid-90s on his Bluefire website. He proposed Bob Lazar knew about these devices and when they were in operation and would lead tours out to Groomlake to see “UFOs”. Keep it on the Table.

Could the reason the officers were not paying attention or reacting be because they knew about a classified deployment of some type of technology like this? Need to know basis? While it could explain the non-reaction of the officers, Karol says “We didn’t have anything like that” based on his knowledge and clearance at the time. Spoofing holograms and balloons is an interesting hypothesis, but the witnesses all say it’s unlikely. That said, I can see the attorneys reading this with a gleam in their eye at the thought of the mental scarring and psychological trauma caused by the “device” on the poor innocent Navy vet victims.

It’s not ours…I’m working on, you know, navigation systems that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. I’m seeing the most advanced aircraft, you know, the Navy has the most advanced cryogenics program, the most advanced everything, you know …I think there’s people that have never been in the military and never had clearance that claim that they know. But I mean, I never had categorically clearance that kind of clearance. I just don’t, I don’t buy it. — QM2 Karol Olesiak

What other records can be located to check the date, time, and location? The USS Ronald Reagan’s deck logs are stored in the National Archives records center in Washington, D.C. Nuclear-powered ship's logs are controlled by one of the most secretive naval offices in the United States. Requests to the Naval Reactor command disappear — sometimes forever. Most likely there is no mention of the sighting. Karol was the person who would have entered the reports into the logbook on the bridge. He said he was told not to log it by the Officer of the Deck.

Reply to my request for a 2003–2004 Yearly Command Summary Report From USS Ronald Reagan. I am Appealing this.

*Update for May 2024, I did receive the Command History Reports for USS Ronald Reagan for 2003–2004 inexplicably. I had previously appealed the denial of the FOIA of these records and was denied in 2021. Yet they just sent me the records. These documents reveal the location of the carrier during 2003 and 2004 and could be used to confirm or eliminate various dates after Karol and Patrick Goey arrived.

Command History Report previously denied suddenly released in 2024

When records are denied, another tactic is to find the Cruiser or other ships that would be escorting Ronald Reagan. Normally a cruiser is always traveling with a carrier at sea as “Air Defense Commander”. Then go after those logs. In this case, since the USS Ronald Reagan had not been assigned an Air Wing, nor a carrier strike group, or even had a permanent home base, it's very challenging to track down those records. I would hope other researchers pick up this ball. Perhaps another ship was present. Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier logs are almost impossible to get via FOIA. Destroyers, on the other hand, are easy.

Post Effects

I have no doubt dozens of witnesses saw this unidentified object. One Navy pilot and officer we contacted said he was on the carrier and the “mini-Boss”, but wanted nothing to do with our report and said he never saw a UFO and not to use his name. The stigma of reporting or even admitting to seeing one hinders many military personnel from coming forward.

The witnesses I spoke with believe there was never any Navy coverup and the witnesses all said everyone just forgot about it and moved on, and no one ever told them to not speak about it. When asked about the logbooks, it was thought the officers did not want to log the UFO and then have to explain to anyone later what was seen or risk future promotions and careers. 18-19 years have passed. Careers change, along with lives, families, and responsibilities. Karol Olisiak is now back in college getting his Master's degree in fine arts. Derek is raising his three children. After all these years what is their final thought on this odd and peculiar observation?

“I’ve never seen any technology like it. I mean, who knows what kind of technology the military has hidden up their sleeve? I just know that it changed everything about how I view things in the world and how much there is that we don’t know. Whether it’s extraterrestrial or not I couldn’t tell you, but this is something that to me was like magic, you just, you never see that kind of stuff. And, so it definitely made an impression.” SN Patrick Gokey

“I think the way the Navy’s looking at it, just my personal opinion is like, Hey man, if it’s not hurting us right now, we don’t give a fuck. If we don’t think it’s China, we don’t think it’s Russia. We don’t think it’s Iran. It’s not any of the mf’ers that we’re actually worried about...I get where they’re coming from in the end, but you know, also like, hey man, I’d like to know what the fuck it was, you know? And if it’s some natural phenomena, cool, man. Let’s add it to the science books, you know” — BMOW

“What I’ve learned, you know, people, when they open up their minds, they also open up their hearts. And it’s a journey, I’m still not the person that I want to be even at the age of 43. But I’m getting there and, yeah, I mean, this definitely had something to do with it. I have talked to Patrick about it as well. You know, would we, had we not seen lights in the sky, would we have reacted so strongly to political injustice. And I mean, we still do a lot of work with veterans for peace. I mean, it’s a lifestyle, you know, like feeling better about yourself is a lifestyle.” — QM3 Karol Olesiak

Air Force One and Other Conjectures

Karol Olesiak is an aspiring poet and philosophical writer when not protesting full-time as a peace activist. He shared some of his coffee shop spoken-word live poetry performances ala the 60’s beatniks, and I asked him to share one here. He says it speaks to his “edification” related to the encounter and I think his sense of humor. He also set it to a musical composition below. I almost can hear the bongo drums now.

“UAP” — By Karol Olesiak


burning bushhh

gaseous orbish bushhh

tree of life burning bushhh

I negative energy blob of bushhh

Moses please this is a sacred space

take off your air force ones

Venus below a low lunar new year moon

Venus is so bright Venus is so bright

metaphors that extend to us

if it’s not a sentence but a story

when I was a boy I saw a UFO

I ran quickly to tell my mother

she frowned: don’t you to tell nobody

I bet you didn’t expect that. I’m sure not everyone will get it. Art is an expression, be it paint on canvas or ink on parchment, or performance. And perhaps finding meaning or change from experiences is what it’s about. It’s in the conversation, Karol says, not the photos and videos. I hope more witnesses come forward and share those conversations about the USS Ronald Reagan. Something tells me this is the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

We may not all agree that pigeonholing this topic into the comfortable and the easy is the right choice, or stovepiping it into a classified annex. Nor is it best to let those in positions of authority decide what we should and should not know and what is best for all of us. If it’s unimaginable, and it requires us to work hard at it, it may just be too uncomfortable an answer to ever know. But if we do work hard, and accept for a moment that something we know that is true is wrong, if we can get over that pain and mourning, maybe something more profound will fill that empty space with new enlightenment.

FOIA’ed Command History of 2004 for USS Ronald Reagan shows May underway before Homeport change

If you have experienced UAP from military ships or planes, contact me at Or you can just use or encrypted email

Karol’s video interview can be viewed here on my Youtube channel.

The Debrief Article on the USS Ronald Reagan 2004 encounters:

Karol Olesiak’s original Ronald Reagan encounter article on his website



Dave Beaty

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