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Y’know how Independence Day is a fully preposterous and actively ridiculous excessive display of ’90s blockbuster extremes? It’s got everything: catch phrases, a UFO cult, Brent Spiner as a meat puppet, Judd Hirsch, apocalyptic property damage, patriotic speeches, an indestructible dog, a courageous stripper, President Floppy Hair, Randy Quaid’s most dignified performance, and—of course—Will Smith dragging an alien’s corpse across the desert, screaming, “I could’ve been at a barbecue!

But there’s at least one major thing that the 1996 box office giant has in common with J. J. Abrams’ Showtime docuseries U.F.O.: an alien vs. jet dogfight.

For real—as in for real for real. According to an article published in the New York Times and the eyewitness accounts of at least three different Naval officers who were present, a United States fighter jet was engaged in an aerial altercation with a literal unidentified flying object. As far as we know, everyone on the aircraft carrier was too shocked to make a “Welcome to Earth” joke.

This tale is told in the first half of U.F.O.’s second episode, and it’s a tale that still haunts Kevin Day, former chief of radar operation on the USS Princeton. Day speaks out about this incident, along with Princeton radar operator Gary Voorhis and, via a podcast appearance, former U.S. Navy pilot David Fravor. Their stories all line up, and it is wild.

And it should be noted up top that U.F.O. created footage of the dogfight based on the eyewitness accounts. The only real video footage can be seen in the video towards the bottom of this article.

The facts are this: in November 2004, while training 100 miles off the coast of San Diego, Day’s radar started to pick up a group of objects near Catalina Island. He noted that they were flying way too high and way too slow to, uh, be doing that. Anything moving like that would fall out of the sky, but this flock of unidentified dots were just cruising.

After watching this anomaly buzz around on radar for three days, Voorhis noticed that they were getting close enough to see via binoculars. What did he see? He saw a Tic Tac shaped thing on the horizon, zipping left to right and disappearing and reappearing.

The captain of the USS Princeton was done waiting around. He contacted two Navy pilots from the USS Nimitz to go check this object out—and one of them was David Fravor. What those pilots saw was, according to Fravor’s account, otherworldly. They saw a 40-foot long Tic Tac skimming the surface of the Pacific, darting in every direction. Fravor got too close.

The Tic Tac started skimming around his jet! It chased him, darted around in front of him, and caused him to shout back to the ship, “I’m engaged! I’m engaged!” And then, in a blip, it’s gone. When Day went to get the recordings of the incident, they were already gone. As Voorhis remembers, some mystery dudes in casual clothes came and took all the tapes and discs. The captain who ordered the alien encounter acted like he forgot about the whole thing. No one talked about it until that NY Times report and last year when the Pentagon declassified the videos.

So… uh, what the hell? What this segment of U.F.O. makes very clear is that Naval officers are by and large reliable witnesses because they kinda have to be in order to do what they do. These are people who undergo rigorous mental examination and have to have keen senses in order to, y’know, fly a fighter jet. They also have to be dependable, because the government invests millions of dollars into not only those vehicles and weapons, but into the officers themselves. So if three officers go on the record saying that this happened and there’s video to back it up? Then what the hell happened?

A later episode of U.F.O. (which you can now stream on Showtime if you don’t want to wait a week) offers a theory about the Tic Tac Incident that’s more Earthly but more troubling. What if that Unidentified Aerial Phenomena was actually a highly-advanced aircraft from our own military? And what if they unleashed it on the Navy just to test it out? And what if the footage of it was released so that everyone would assume this incredibly agile and fast mystery craft was extraterrestrial instead of made in the USA? Both scenarios are not good!

Either way, pilot Fravor was possibly the first human in history to be able to say, “Now that’s what call a close encounter” and really mean it.

This content was originally published here.