UFOs in Iceland: Cmdr. Graham Bethune Tells His Story

Graham Bethune is a retired commander and pilot for the United States Navy. He has provided testimony about his encounter with a 300-ft UFO in 1951. The UFO was emitting a “monstrous circle of white light on water” that traveled 10,000 feet straight up in a fraction of a second.

The story of Cmdr. Graham Bethune is one of the most intriguing UFO encounters in history. It happened in 1951, when he was a young pilot stationed at Keflavik Air Base in Iceland. The base was used by NATO as a staging area for aircraft and crews headed to Europe during the Cold War.

Bethune was flying his Navy R5D Transport and was transferred to Air Transport Squadron One in 1950. He was sent to Keflavik, Iceland, with two other officers after a government meeting in Washington, D.C., during which Iceland’s encounters with unidentified flying objects were discussed.

At that time, he asked about UFO sightings in more detail and was told about circular objects with lighted undersides that resembled no craft known to have been tested at the Naval Air Test Center in Maryland and Virginia where he worked.

Bethune asked the men if they were told anything by the U.S. government about the aircraft they had found. “Your government said they were experimental, probably experimental Russian bombers,” one man said. The flight was normally about ten hours—but this particular night, a wind of 16 knots blew against them.

At 1:00 a.m., Captain Bethune noticed something in the water below the horizon that looked like a city at night. He watched it for a while, but because he could see no definition, he called flight engineer Kinden’s attention to it.

Kinden looked but did not know what it was because there were no ships plotted in that area and the guard ship said that there was no Northern Light activity or bad weather reported in that region.

“I saw something below the horizon, on the water, that looked like approaching a city at night. It was just kind of ambient light, with no definition whatsoever. But it looked like we were approaching a large city at night. So I watched it for a while about 1:00 am,” said Graham Bethune.

“Finally I called Kindens attention to it, who was sitting in the right seat. He was route checking me. He took a look at it but didn’t know what it was. We couldn’t figure out, there is an ocean out there. We had passed over the guard ship already. The guard ship had told us the weather was clear and no Northern Light activity, and there were no ships plotted in that area,” Graham Bethune continued.

In addition to being an experienced pilot, Bethune, as all Navy pilots are trained navigators, knew how to navigate by the stars — making him uniquely qualified to judge what he saw that day.

The fact that Bethune was both an experienced pilot and graduated in 1943 from Pensacola Academy Air adds credibility to his story. His account is one of the most detailed and convincing UFO sightings on record.

“All Navy pilots are trained navigators, which is very important because we had to know all of the star systems. I navigated maybe 13 years around the planet with the stars. And when I first graduated from Pensacola in 1943 I went to the South Atlantic and we were hunting German submarines. This was all night flying. Everything we did was at night in patrol planes,” said Graham Bethune.

The pilots were on course and hundreds of miles from shore, according to control. They stood there for a bit, drifting to the right of it. At 10,000 feet, their heading was 222 degrees, and they were originally 40 miles away.

They could see definite lights and a pattern on the lake when they were approximately 25 or 30 miles away. So they couldn’t figure out what was going on with that pattern.

The base at Argentia was the target destination, so they sent the crew chief back to get Al Jones, the other plane commander.

31 passengers and two VIP crews were on board, each including a pilot. A VIP crew member made a report at that time that crew members of an aircraft also come forward.


In the cockpit, three crewmen stood behind the radio operator: the navigator, the plane captain, and the radioman. Suddenly they saw on the water below a yellow haze that appeared to be 15 miles away. The haze rose up to 10,000 feet as measured by their instruments.

He pulled the plane’s nose up at a near vertical angle in an attempt to go below a UFO in imminent danger of colliding with his plane. Unable to see anything outside of the cockpit due to the craft’s proximity to his plane, he didn’t know which way to turn next. Until suddenly, amidst the confusion and fear of everyone on board, he heard a loud racket.

Then all of sudden he heard a racket. He did not know what it was, so he asked Fred what it was. Fred said, “Everybody has ducked down and they have collided with each other and they are all laying on the back, crawling on the floor.”

After Graham Bethune looked back at the craft, he reported that the object was no longer visible. The object then appeared to drift forward, stopping about five miles away from its original position. By that point, Bethune could see the object’s shape, including a compressed dome and an outlining color around its perimeter.

They knew it was a friendly encounter. They knew it knew they were there and had come out to see us. But they didn’t think it flew up to show them what the Icelanders they were talking about.

After a while, Al says, “Let him get in the seat. So I let him get in the seat and he disengaged the autopilot and was going to chase it”. They had a 60-knot headwind, so their ground speed was only about 125 knots. So he wasn’t going to go too far after this thing. But he did turn to pursue it.

The UFO’s color varied depending on its power settings and proximity to observers. When it approached at full speed, its exterior was yellow. As it slowed down, it changed to orange. Further slowing down, it changed to a fiery red and then almost purplish red before returning to yellow as it passed over the horizon. It was foggy or misty around the UFO.

After having seen a strange object flying above the aircraft, Bethune asked the doctor if he had also seen it. The doctor instantly replied, “Yes, it was a flying saucer”. He then told Bethune that as a psychiatrist he did not believe in such things. Bethune told Al not to mention anything to anyone, because he would be immediately dismissed by his colleagues and maybe even end up in prison. However, they knew that the story was already released because Al had just told Gander control what he saw.

Cmdr. Bethune flew military transport planes for 12 years, was a “VIP Transport Plane Commander,” and held a “Top Secret” clearance. He was a test pilot and served six years with the Naval Bureau of Aeronautics. He accumulated over 10,000 Navy and civilian flying hours. He has flown the Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Army, Chief of Naval Operations, Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Supreme Allied Commander, the NATO Commander Admiral Lynde McCormick, and numerous admirals.

If a UFO crashed or an important meeting concerning UFOs occurred, he would be chosen to pilot the VIPs to their destination. The other event was in the American Southwest. Commander Bethune had mentioned somewhere in Utah—this craft was also about 100 ft in diameter and slightly oval. Both events had high-ranking US Army and Navy officers as well as scientists and academics from various stateside universities. Both discs were retrieved and brought back to Wright Patterson AFB.

Commander Bethune sent this image to Frank Chili, who forwarded it to Teymur Kasamanli of the blog UNO-UFO. While Frank Chili was adamant that the public should focus on UFOs identified by the US Air Force, behind the scenes it was the United States Navy.

Commander Bethune gave Frank Chili a photograph of suspected UFOs. Chili passed this photograph on to Graham and insisted that the U.S. Air Force was getting all of the public’s UFO attention, but the U.S. Navy was really behind many UFO sightings. Graham felt that a ploy had been created in order to deflect attention away from the Navy. He also claimed that they had a base on the moon and that they had a Navy space shuttle fleet. He felt that truth is often stranger than science fiction, and he felt that ET movies were supported by the government in order to create cultural acceptance of extraterrestrial life.


It is important to remember that Chili’s story is only one person’s account. However, his testimony provides a unique perspective on the government’s possible involvement in UFO cover-ups. If the government is indeed involved in hiding information about UFOs, it raises many questions about why they would do so and what they are trying to keep hidden from the public.

As an example, one might ask whether or not these UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin and if so, what the consequences of such a revelation would mean for human civilization. What does this say about our place in the universe? How would it affect human religion? Do we have to worry about being invaded by a super-intelligent alien race like on Independence Day? There are many more questions that could be asked.

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