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The story behind the "Tic Tac" UFO sighting by Navy pilots in 2004

During a Wednesday hearing before House lawmakers on unidentified anomalous phenomena, also known as UFOs, a retired  Navy fighter pilot testified about his experience seeing what he described as a "Tic Tac-looking object" while on a flight back in 2004. 

Retired Navy Cmdr. David Fravor was commander of the F/A-18F squadron on the USS Nimitz when he says he spotted the object during a flight off the coast of Southern California on Nov. 14, 2004. 

In a 2021 interview with "60 Minutes," Fravor, a graduate of the Top Gun naval flight school, also spoke about what he saw

He and Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich were training with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group about 100 miles southwest of San Diego, Favor told "60 Minutes." At the time, advanced radar on a ship that was a part of their training group, the USS Princeton, detected what operators called "multiple anomalous aerial vehicles" over the horizon, descending 80,000 feet in less than a second. Fravor and Dietrich diverted to investigate.

"I said, 'Dude, do you, do you see that thing down there?' And we saw this little white Tic Tac-looking object. And it's just kind of moving above the whitewater area," Fravor told "60 Minutes."

During the training exercise, Fravor and Dietrich each had a weapons system officer in the back seat of their F/A-18F. 

"There was four of us in the airplanes literally watching this thing for roughly about five minutes," Fravor said in his 2021 interview.

Fravor went in for a closer look. He described the "Tic Tac" object mirroring his movements, saying "it was aware we were there."

The object was about the size of Fravor's F/A-18F, with no markings, no wings and no exhaust plumes, he said. When Fravor tried to cut off the UAP, it accelerated so quickly that it seemed to disappear. He said it was detected roughly 60 miles away less than a minute later.

"I think what we experienced was, like I said, well beyond the material science and the capabilities that we had at the time, that we have currently or that we're going to have in the next 10 to 20 years," Fravor testified Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee's national security subcommittee.

Retired Navy Commander David Fravor testifies during a congressional hearing on UFOs
Retired Navy Commander David Fravor testifies at a House Oversight & Accountability Committee hearing on "Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena" in Washington, D.C., July 26, 2023. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / REUTERS

In addition to Fravor, the panel heard testimony from Ryan Graves, a former Navy pilot who has spoken out about encountering UAP on training missions, and David Grusch, who served for 14 years as an intelligence officer in the Air Force and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

A report released in January of this year revealed that the office tracking UAPs has had more than 500 sightings since 2004. Military officials have said most cases have innocuous origins, but others remain unexplained

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