On the night of Feb. 6, 1975, Marine Reserve Squadron Capt. Larry Jividen was piloting a T-39D Sabreliner combat trainer and utility aircraft with five officer pilots on board for a special training flight. He didn't know the evening would evolve into a game of tag with an unidentified flying object. Jividen hasn't spoken about that experience from nearly 40 years ago, until now. The 9 year Marine Corps captain, and later commercial airline pilot, had taken off at twilight for a 2 hour roundtrip that began and ended at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL.
At about 9:00 p.m., we were descending from a high altitude, around 33,000' and I looked off to the right side of the airplane where I saw a solid red light at our 1:00 o'clock position and altitude.
It was not flashing like normal anti collision lights flash on airplanes.
I thought it might be some other traffic, but I wasn't sure, so I called Pensacola Approach Control and said:
Understand we're cleared for the approach, but we have traffic off to our right, and who's first for the approach?
The traffic that Jividen, and the other five saw was mutually described as: A solid, circular object, about the relative size of a kid's marble, held at arm's length.
Jividen recalled. When they were informed that ground control had no other traffic in their vicinity, Jividen became concerned that the mysterious object hadn't shown up on radar. So he asked for clearance to deviate from their approach, and turn directly toward the bright red UFO.
Just to see what it does.
As he turned toward the object, Jividen says it turned toward his plane.
It suddenly flew from right to left, across the nose of our plane, and just stopped at our 11:00 o'clock position. At that point, I started to speed up to see if I could close on the object, and as I sped up, it was pacing me in front. In other words, as I'd speed up, he'd speed up.
So, I decided to descend to place the object against a star field to make sure that it was actually solid, and then I climbed so that I could silhouette the object against the Gulf of Mexico.
Jividen says the 5 minute encounter came to an end when the reddish UFO sped away, at a very high rate and disappeared over the horizon in the direction of New Orleans.
After the crew returned to Pensacola, Jividen filled out an incident form and that was the last he heard of the episode. And nobody else heard about it for more than three decades.