Military Flares Blamed for 'UFO' Sighting over San Diego

The lights that appeared over San Diego.  (Image credit: Ryan Hase/YouTube)

The lights that appeared over San Diego. (Image credit: Ryan Hase/YouTube)

The United States Marine Corps is taking credit for a series of unusual aerial lights that appeared south of downtown San Diego sometime after 10 p.m. on August 29th.

The lights, which appeared as glowing orange balls, caused a furor among residents, and videos and photographs of the event quickly appeared online.

Many took to social media to ask exactly what it was they were seeing.

Speculation of UFOs followed soon after. 

But on August 30th, Channel 8, San Diego's local CBS affiliate, reported that the lights were part of a military flare training exercise that took place 30 miles off the coast of San Diego.

The flares were dropped from "The Raiders," or Squadron VMGR-325, according to Sandy Demunk, a public information officer for Naval Station Coronado.

Known officially as Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-325), "The Raiders" belong to the United States Marine Corps KC-130J squadron. They are a part of Marine Aircraft Group 11 (MAG-11), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW) and provide both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerial refueling capabilities to support Fleet Marine Force (FMF) air operations in addition to assault air transport of personnel, equipment, and supplies.

The squadron is stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, in California.

In the video below, an aircraft can be seen flying over the flares at :33, and at :57 a second set of lights appear.

But not everyone takes the military at their word, and some are already suspicious of a cover-up.

Many have been suspicious of military flares as an explanation for UFOs since the famous Phoenix Lights incident.

The Phoenix Lights were a mass UFO sighting that occurred on Thursday, March 13th, 1997, and stretched from Phoenix, Arizona to Sonora, Mexico. Witnesses reported a triangular formation of lights that passed over the state, and a series of stationary lights in the Phoenix area. The events were witnessed by thousands of people between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. that evening.

The event was explained away as a military training exercise, but eyewitnesses argued that what they saw was inconsistent with the appearance and behavior of flares.

Then-governor of Arizona Fife Symington III was among those eyewitnesses.

"I'm a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies. It was bigger than anything that I've ever seen. It remains a great mystery," Symington said in 2007. "Other people saw it, responsible people. I don't know why people would ridicule it"

"It was enormous and inexplicable. Who knows where it came from? A lot of people saw it, and I saw it too. It was dramatic. And it couldn't have been flares because it was too symmetrical. It had a geometric outline, a constant shape."

Tobias Wayland