NORAD Veteran Lisa Oram
Bill: Lisa, in one of our many engaging conversations over the past year on Twitter, you mentioned your military career and NORAD. Given the sensitive nature of its mission and installations, I will tread lightly and appropriately through the thread of this conversation, but of course will be fascinated to hear about your experiences. Thanks for agreeing to chat about this part of your life.
You mentioned that you were a weapons controller. What does that mean?
Lisa: A weapons controller speaks with the fighter jets and AWACS and conveys the Command Center's wishes as far as deployment of a wide array of weaponry.
"Scope dopes" was an endearing term given to us, as we monitored radar scopes in a dark room (like mushrooms).
We were responsible for a great deal of airspace, including the ADIZ (international waters) for any potential threat to the US.
I was one of the first Combat Certified women, in a minority as far as the job field which had mostly men. I learned everything at tech school at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Bill: I can't help it, but every time I hear 'Biloxi', I think of Matthew Broderick in that Neil Simon movie.
Where were you stationed?
Lisa: I was stationed for permanent duty here in Syracuse at the SAGE building/NORAD Eastern Seaboard Command.
Bill: You now live in New York state; have you lived elsewhere?
Lisa: Actually, I was born and raised in San Diego, California. Once I was discharged in 1980, I fell in love with Upstate New York and decided to stay. My earlier years I lived in other cities within California.
Bill: How did you come to serve in the military? Family tradition?
Lisa: I chose to enter the military for the life experience actually; curiosity. My father was a 'lifer' in the Navy, ending his illustrious career as a Chief Petty Officer/Master Electrician. One of my cousins researched the family tree years ago, and found out that my great grandfather was a general in the Civil War. The act of service in the military has a long lineage on both sides of my family.
Bill: Did you serve your entire career at the same place?
Lisa: My USAF career was one enlistment, and was spent entirely at Hancock AFB, Syracuse, NY.
Bill: Can you give me some of your thoughts about your time in the military?
Lisa: Some of my thoughts about my time in the military...hmmm...i was fascinated about what I was learning, and the intricate patterning of what goes into the defense of our country. After a while though, the potential devastation of the weaponry weighed heavily on me. Realizing the delicate web of life could be taken away quickly by my decisions, that was enough to persuade me not to pursue a military career.
Bill: Frankly, given the type of person I think you are, I would say that possibly you were precisely the right kind of person to have in such positions, but I digress.
As a "scope dope" eyeballing a screen during your many shifts, did you ever see anomalies?
Bill: I know that anomalies are often later explained, but were there any noteworthy anomalies that were not explained?
Lisa: Yes. There were incidents of an unidentified flying object that would surpass any of our capabilities both in speed and maneuvering. After scrambling fighter jets to check them out, these 'bogies' would either disappear, or toy with us, and then bury us in their dust.
Bill: Did you ever think about those incidents, and or discuss them, however briefly and confidentially?
Lisa: I have thought a great deal, through the years, about what I witnessed.
Did I discuss them? No...with a Top Secret clearance, I would have incurred the wrath of the JAG.
General references, as I gave you, are the extent I have ever spoken about such matters.
Bill: Do you think there's anything to the notion that at least some UFO's are secret prototypes, possibly based on scientific understanding that exceeded what the popular consensus is?
Lisa: Yes, it is entirely possible, as the activities in Area 51 are extremely well guarded. I am not familiar with any of the activities in the secret locations, as that was above my pay-grade... I believe many things in our lives now are products of reverse engineering..
Bill: Now, there's a novel definition of 'trickle down', but geek culture is rich with such rumors, and I've seen an interview with a retired military vet who was responsible for transporting certain items to various now famous institutions and corporations for just such a purpose. Since the material was seeded sometimes to private hands, a lot of the 'source material' and its product implementations became proprietary, and out of government classification or knowledge systems. Fascinating world.
Are you familiar with the Disclosure Project?
Lisa: Somewhat...I remember reading some of Colin Andrew's work, and he made mention of it.
Bill: I find the detail embodied in many of the transcripts of their dozens of witnesses very compelling, but people can make of it what they want. All I can say about this and so many other subjects is: How can people say they are bored? :)
Lisa, I sincerely thank you for taking the time for such a candid and interesting conversation. See you on Twitter!
Lisa: I most definitely agree with your point about ppl being bored...i have never been bored in my life! My heartfelt thanks to you Bill, for your mastery of the interview process, and for taking the time with me.
Editor's Note: If you found this interview interesting, visit a separate interview with Lisa here, about spirituality and our place in the universe.