USS Trepang UFOs.

An Analysis of USS Trepang Encounter.

USS Trepang Launch

Trepang being launched at Groton, Connecticut, on 27 September 1969.


Early in 1971, following local operations out of her home port in Connecticut, the USS Trepang submarine set sail for the Arctic. From February 22 to March 22 she operated beneath the polar ice cap. Whilst conducting extensive tests for her weapons systems and scientific experiments on the Rear Admiral Dean Reynolds Sackett cap itself, it is alleged she ‘accidently’ encountered several anomalous objects somewhere between Jan Mayen Island and Iceland. During the course of the encounter several photographs were taken through her periscope, recording the unfolding events. The Commanding Officer at the time of the said sighting was Admiral Dean Reynolds Sackett Jr. He was commissioned as the Commanding Officer of the Trepang (SSN-674) on August 14 1970 to December 7 1973.



I have attempted to make some chronological sense of the sequence of  events from the images below which are said to have been taken during March 1971. The photos are taken from case files and are the original high resolution images sent to Alex Mistretta, Investigator/Researcher, at

fig 1

 Official Trepang UFO image1

[There is nothing in the file metadata that indicates this file has been edited.]
As  you can see from the above caption, I have conducted a scan of the image and looked for signs of editing.  The file metadata showed nothing untoward. A visual inspection of the photo was equally unforthcoming. The image appears genuine. The question arises as to what the huge object actually represents. Is it an extra-terrestrial “mothership”, as some have claimed, or something entirely different? 
Seeing this image reminded me of another photographic analysis case I had worked on. As it transpired, that single photo case turned out to have a rational explanation as, I believe, the above image does. 


Red circle = Jan Mayen. Red arrow = Iceland.
As you will recall from the background details of this sighting the Trepang was situated between Jan Mayen Island and Iceland at the time of the encounter. it’s my contention that the above photograph shows an inverted superior mirage of the island itself. The following flipped, cleaned up and cropped  image  shows the object in an entirely different light. In it you will note what appears very much like shoreline breakers, and sparse vegetation (possibly tree canopies?).


A comparison example of a superior mirage

superior mirage

Please note the cut off line at the top of the mirage element of the ship, and that the whole vessel isn’t visible.  Superior mirages are quite common in polar regions. A superior mirage can be right-side up or upside down, depending on the distance of the true object and the temperature gradient. Often the image appears as a distorted mixture of up and down parts.


Superior mirages can have a striking effect due to the Earth’s curvature. Were the Earth flat, light rays that bend down would soon hit the ground and only nearby objects would be affected. Since Earth is round, if their downward bending curve is about the same as the curvature of the Earth, light rays can travel large distances, even from beyond the horizon.
Moving on to the next image in my imagined sequence of events brings us to fig. 2. Here we see a cylindrical object low on the horizon. The attendant caption describes what was uncovered after a scan of the image.


offical trepang ufo 2
Pixels only match software editors, showing that it has most probably been altered.
A visual inspection of fig 2 shows disturbances in the pixilation pattern, suggesting  the image has been tampered with. The vertical crosshair ‘ghosting’ in this image is most probably due to the submarine’s analog camera creating a double exposure. Multiple exposures are photographs in which two or more images are superimposed in a single frame (see fig 6 crosshairs).

fig. 3

offical trepang ufo4 - Copy

Based on the pixels, this image could have been created with one of several software editors.
In fig. 3 we see what appears to be a triangular craft (possibly an early prototype stealth fighter). It is difficult to determine whether it is heading towards the sub or away from it in a nose dive toward the ocean. A visual inspection of the image shows no signs of it being photo shopped. The faint vertical periscope crosshair intersecting the object doesn’t show any signs of warping as it would had the object  been added to the image, as the image below demonstrates.

Warping effect

In figure 4 we see the object in what appears to be a manoeuvre that would suggest it is vectoring away from the sub. Note the lack of periscope crosshairs in the image. This may be due to it having been cropped.

offical trepang 5 - Copy

Cleaned up image
Original image/ fig 4

offical trepang 5

Pixels only match software editors
fig 5

official trepang ufo 10

There is nothing in the file metadata that indicates this file has been edited.
You will note in fig. 5 that the object appears to have a tail fin unlike that of fig 2, which suggests they are not the same object.
fig 6

official trepang uof7

There is nothing in the file metadata that indicates this file has been edited.
The above image (fig 6) shows the stricken object crashing into the ocean. To it’s left is a smaller object. It’s triangular configuration would suggest it is the aircraft seen in figures 3 and 4. Note the angle and orientation of the cylindrical object as it strikes the water.
fig. 7

official trepang ufo6

There is nothing in the file metadata that indicates this file has been edited.
The change in the viewing perspective of figures 6 and 7 has changed dramatically. The tiny triangular object seen above the cylinder in fig 7 may be the aircraft mentioned earlier. If so, this image was taken from an entirely different view point, probably another submarine.

official trepang ufo8

There is nothing in the file metadata that indicates this file has been edited.
In images 7 and 8 you will note the dark, small funnel-like cloud that appears on the left of the photos. This would imply that both images belong to the same batch. In image 6 it is not visible. Nor is the heavy cloud cover from which it is projecting. This could be due to the possibility that the image was taken from a different angle in which the overcast is not visible i.e. from a different submarine.
fig 9

trepang ufo 10

Photo edited with GD graphics.
Of all the above images this one is highly suspect. The image quality is far superior to the others and the pixilation pattern is not consistent throughout the image, particularly around the object. Note also there are no indications of the periscope crosshairs or range finder lines. Also, just above the ocean’s surface on the left is what appears to be an island landscape. It is unlikely to be Jan Mayen Island because as we learnt in image 2 the island was below the horizon and was only visible as a superior mirage.
We have seen from the foregoing that the Trepang was conducting not only a survey of the polar icecap but was also engaged in a weapons testing exercise. Research shows that it was common practice at the time for the military to use decommissioned balloons/Zeppelins as targets after stripping them of any external superstructures such as gondolas, etc. It is quite probable that the cylindrical object(s) seen in these images are of decommissioned balloons.
Triangular stealth aircraftGiven that they were testing “new weapons systems” at the time may account for what appears to be a stealth fighter. It is conceivable that images 3 and 4  could be that of an early prototype  fighter being tested. Its design certainly fits in with many modern triangular-like stealth aircraft we know of today.


There are 9 images in total. Of those 9, five show signs of digital manipulation to one degree or another. They are figures 2, 3, 4, and 9, the remaining showing no signs of manipulation whatsoever. Of those, figures 6, 7and 8 appear to have been taken from a different vantage point, possibly another submarine. Approximately one month earlier the submarine USS Skate was in the same region. Might images 6, 7 and 8 have been taken at that time by the USS Skate and subsequently added to the mix by some hoaxer? My recent research into the Skates whereabouts at the time would suggest it wasn’t in the Arctic at the time as the deployment list link above shows.
The so-called Trepang images themselves are contentious. When Admiral Sacket was approached by Steve Murillo, head of the UFO and Paranormal Research Society, he steered away from the UFO question saying, “I only saw ice” It could be argued, however, that he said that so as not to fall foul of his security oath.

David v Goliath.

How often have we heard or read about the superior technology employed by our extra-terrestrial visitors. Our fastest Jets can’t outrun them, and when and if they do manage to lock on to them with their weapons systems they are immediately shut down or the UFO becomes invisible, both on radar and to the naked eye. To suggest that these images show a bona fide extra-terrestrial craft being shot down using inferior terrestrial weaponry is about as believable as David killing Goliath with a stone. For this author, given the inconsistencies pointed out in this analysis, I find it more credible that an elaborate hoax was perpetrated by person or persons unknown.
 © David Calvert 2016

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4 thoughts on “USS Trepang UFOs.

  1. Haven’t had time to read this fully Dave, but will as soon as I can. Just one thing to consider with regard to the images, and that is that you can make them so when a reader clicks on them they can see the full size version of it. I know I would love to see some of them larger. Thanks.


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