151107-N-ZZ999-001 PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 7, 2015) A trident II D-5 ballistic missile is launched from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) during a missile test at the Pacific Test Range. The launch, the 156th successful test flight of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile, was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) in the Pacific Test Range to validate the readiness and effectiveness of an SSBN’s crew and weapon system. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
 A trident II D-5 ballistic missile is launched from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) during a missile test at the Pacific Test Range. The launch, the 156th successful test flight of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile, was part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) in the Pacific Test Range to validate the readiness and effectiveness of an SSBN’s crew and weapon system. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

By Andrea Swayne

In response to numerous sightings of a bright light with a blue/green tail seen streaking across the sky above Orange County just after sunset on Nov. 7, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department reported shortly before 7 p.m. that the mysterious light was due to a Naval test fire.

The tower at John Wayne Airport confirmed the sight—that left a blue glowing cloud in its wake and baffled witnesses, thinking it could be anything from an incoming bomb to a meteor or even otherworldly visitors—was the Navy’s doing.

According to a Nov. 9 press release by the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) public affairs office, Saturday’s test fire of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile was performed in order to “obtain valid reliability, accuracy and performance factors for use by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and USSTRATCOM.”

 

PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 7, 2015) Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Adm. Cecil D. Haney, left, observes the assistant weapons officer, Lt. Rick Bates, center, gives instructions during the 156th successful test flight of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile, aboard as the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky’s (SSBN 737). Adm. Haney and several congressional members boarded the Kentucky to observe the event. The missile was launched as part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) in the Pacific Test Range to validate the readiness and effectiveness of an SSBN’s crew and weapon system. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder/Released
PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 7, 2015) Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Adm. Cecil D. Haney, left, observes the assistant weapons officer, Lt. Rick Bates, center, gives instructions during the 156th successful test flight of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile, aboard as the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky’s (SSBN 737). Adm. Haney and several congressional members boarded the Kentucky to observe the event. The missile was launched as part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) in the Pacific Test Range to validate the readiness and effectiveness of an SSBN’s crew and weapon system. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder/Released

The missile test was launched in the Pacific Test Range off the Southern California coast from theUSS Kentucky, an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, or SSBN. The launch—part of a Demonstration and Shakedowns Operation, or DASO—was monitored by Admiral Cecil D. Haney, USSTRATCOM commander, who in the press release referred to such tests as necessary to show round-the-clock readiness of U.S. deterrence forces.

Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Adm. Cecil D. Haney (left) observes the assistant weapons officer, Lt. Rick Bates (center) give instructions during the 156th successful test flight of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile launched from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky on Nov. 7. Photo: U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Byron C. Linder

“A credible, effective nuclear deterrent is essential to our national security and the security of U.S. allies and friends,” Adm. Haney said. “Strategic weapons tests demonstrate the readiness of our nation’s nuclear triad and serve to assure our allies and deter our potential adversaries.”

The launch was the Navy’s Strategic Systems Program’s 156th successful test flight of its kind since 1989.

Also on board the submarine to observe the test were, from Indiana, Sen. Joe Donnelly, Rep. Pete Visclosky, Rep. Jackie Walorski and Rep. Larry Bucshon, along with Rep. Stephen Womack of Arkansas and Senate and House subcommittee staff members.

Another successful test flight was launched on Nov. 9. Haney and the congressional delegation were not on board for that launch.

Click here for reader submitted video clip: IMG_8636

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comments (1)

  • It would have been sorta nice if the Navy had given us an hour or two notice on it so the Public and Emergency Agencies could prepare a little. Instead, I believe 911 was needlessly inundated with panicked-sightings and, after asking at least 20 people myself who had checked news and web, still had no specifics for many hours after the occurrence. In this age of technology you’d think we’d have some heads up.

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