The ‘Foo Fighter’ term first emerged throughout the Thirties, being initially coined by cartoonist Bill Holman who included the term ‘Foo’ into his Smokey Stover fireman comic strip. Bill Holman asserted that he discovered the word on the base of a Chinese statuette. Following it’s widespread use in these popular cartoons which were well read by service personnel it was subsequently embedded into the military service culture by WWII and is thought to have led to the term “foo fighter” which was used by radar operatives to define a false or suspicious track upon their radar systems.
Originally, the first documented sightings took place in Nov 1944, when airmen operating over Germany during the hours of darkness told how they encountered brilliant white objects travelling at immense speeds pursuing their aircraft. The entities were described by several witnesses as a fervent and pulsating red, white, or orange ball of light with some airmen depicted them as looking like Christmas tree lights. They additionally told that they appeared to mock the aircraft, undertaking extreme manoeuvres before completely disappearing. Airmen and navigators stated that the objects operated formation flying patterns with their aircraft and acted as if under intelligent control, but at no time exhibited antagonistic behaviour. Nevertheless, they could not be outmanoeuvred or intercepted. The occurrences were so prevalent that the balls of light were attributed a name within the European Operations and were often referred to as the most recognisable reference, “foo-fighters”.
Armed forces treated the encounters with significance given their initial thoughts around German secret weapons systems however, following similar reports by both German and Japanese aircrew, it quickly became apparent that these mysterious objects were not the work of advanced German technology.
The term ‘Foo Fighters’ achieved notoriety following the publication of the 1945 TIME magazine which documented an article entitled ‘Foo-Fighter’. The article reported that the ‘balls of fire’ had been pursuing United States Air force night-time fighters for around a month, and that the airmen had dubbed the UFO the “foo-fighter”.
It is interesting to note at this point that the ‘balls of fire’ phenomenon stated from within the Pacific Ocean Operations deviated to a certain extent from the foo fighters reported from Europe. In these documented events, pilots experienced the same ‘ball of fire’ phenomenon but within the Pacific these lights merely “hung in the sky” although it was reported to occasionally pursue aircraft. A further account in which a B-29 Bomber succeeded in hitting a UFO with gunshots which lead to it the destruction of the object was severed into several large pieces and was seen to to fall to the ground igniting buildings and surrounding area with fire. Despite our obvious aggression against these objects, similar to the European arena, no pilots reported their aircraft as being attacked.
In the UK, several MoD papers released in 1990 and following years, recount reported sightings of strange UFO’s by Royal Air Force sorties during 1942. The legend of the ‘Foo Fighters’ lives on to this day having achieved it’s peak status during WWII. Sightings of ‘balls of light’ in the sky continue to be reported by commercial and military pilots to this day although are today referred to as UFO’s during peace time operations.