. In September of 1975, 21-year-old Sheppard entered the Navy, and after he completed basic training, he was assigned to the White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan, where he served as a security guard. On Thanksgiving night 1976 Sheppard was guarding the Administration Building at the site when two friends, Robert Toppen and Craig Howard, showed up. Apparently, Howard was an oddball character who delighted in getting access to places where he had not business being, and he quickly got into a high-security room, to which he invited Toppen. Sheppard was watching their illegal access when he started to get real nervous about his own culpability in the breakin, whereupon he entered the room to see what Toppen and Howard were doing.
When he arrived in the room, the two men were looking through a file that contained a number of black-n-white photographs of dead extraterrestrial biological entities (EBEs). Sheppard could not tell Howe the date of the file, but he knew that it must be an old one because it consisted of sheets of onion-skin paper. He was amused that the photographs, which were stamped Top Secret/Majic, apparently demonstrated that the U.S. Government did not know how to spell the word “magic” (the Majic disclosure was a good eight years in the future!). The photographs shocked him. One was particularly startling. It showed a typical alien being sitting on a bale of hay in a truck while another alien, obviously dead, lay on its back on the ground by the truck with some rather severe damage along one of its thighs. The thing that really struck Sheppard the most about the photograph was the fact that the aliens had long and four-fingered arms with what appeared to be suction cups at the end of each finger. The trio continued to look at the file for five minutes, then carefully put it away and locked up the office, confident that they had not been overlooked.
"I didn’t know what I was looking at. One was a photograph of a truck with an alien body in front of it on the ground and the truck had slats. You could tell it was in the desert. The other alien was in the truck looking out, but you could just barely make him out because of the shadows from the slats. (To far left of photograph were a man's legs in jeans and boots.)"
On the following Monday Sheppard was summoned to the office of his boss, Chief James Seeley, where he learned that both Toppen and Howard had been summoned to the Chief of Staff’s office. He received a violent reprimand from his superior, in the course he learned that the photos that he had seen possibly could have derived from a UFO crash in Gongzui on the Dad River southwest of Leshan, China, in 1970. Once he was dismissed, Sheppard tried to find Toppen and Howard to discuss the situation with them. He could not locate Toppen, but he did manage to talk with Howard, who told him that he had seen the world “Roswell” in the course of his file browsing, a word which Sheppard could not recognize and which would not become common knowledge until two or three years later.
After their conversation, Sheppard and Howard decided to let the matter lapse, for their own safety and well-being. But the Navy was not finished with the trio yet. Two weeks later, Seeley gathered the trio together, put them in a truck, and drove them over the Kadena Air Force Base, about forty miles away, ostensibly for “dental work.” When they arrived at Kadena, all three were knocked out and some sort of dental work was done to them, work that never appeared in their military medical records. Sheppard now suspects that all three of them received some sort of implanted tracking device. This act turned out to be too much for Howard, who quickly left the Navy when his tour of duty was over.
"Photograph number two is at the hangar and you’ve got three aliens on skids that have some sort of mat on it. They are in the hangar, right near the door. You could tell it’s one of those old-styled hangars with the curved corner. You could see that. You could see the lines from the top of the hangar where the window is with those long panes. They gave off a shadow and you could see those lines going down on the ground. One alien looked pretty good."
In 1978 Sheppard was transferred from Okinawa, and shortly thereafter, he was dispatched to Naples, Italy, where he worked for the Navy’s Operations Department. One day in 1980, when he and an officer were discussing the subject of UFOs, Sheppard told him about the contents of the file that he had seen more than three years earlier in Okinawa. The officer suddenly became quite angry when he heard this information, and he warned Sheppard that he was not merely endangering his career, but also his life, through his thoughtless gossip. Sheppard got the message, loud and clear, and promised never to mention the subject again to anybody.
"You have an elongated body shot and a head shot. These two photographs are completely black except for the aliens. In Photograph 3, it was laid out on sort of a gurney or stretcher or something. The photo didn’t catch much of that. It just basically caught what is laying down on something and you could barely see it was on a gurney. It was just from head to toe, side angle, complete side. No top angle, just complete side from head to toe. And there it was."
But when he saw the Roswell Crash discussed at length in a 1989 broadcast on Unsolved Mysteries, he was shocked to realize that this subject, which was such a danger to his career, was now common knowledge. With that impression in mind, Sheppard made a mistake in 1990 of telling a Lieutenant Commander for whom he worked at Norfolk Naval Station what he had seen in Okinawa. This time, he was reported to the higher-ups and was told to see a Captain Wood about the matter. His meeting with Captain Wood turned out to be quite a surprised.
"It’s the head shot and it’s taken about 3 or 4 feet away from its head. It’s slightly at an angle and captured about most of its neck. That’s where it cuts off. When you look at that little sucker down there in the Roswell Museum, you’re pretty much looking at the same guy. Whoever gave those guys in that movie the information about what these aliens look like, they did a pretty good job. That’s basically what I saw. That’s the truth!"
Wood seemed genuinely interested in what Sheppard had seen fourteen years earlier, and he gently advised Sheppard never to mention the matter again. Wood distinctly told them that the information was a military advantage as long as it was kept secret but that it would be a cultural disaster, especially to fundamentalist Christians, if it were ever disclosed. When Sheppard asked Wood whether the American people ever would learn the truth about UFOs from the Government, Wood was blunt: “Probably not. It would just shake things up too much.” Then Captain Wood dismissed Sheppard, and shortly thereafter, Sheppard was assigned to the U.S.S. Bowen in the Caribbean, where in May of 1992, he was part of a ship-wide UFO sighting one moonlite night. Sheppard completed his 20-year-stint in November of 1995, and he promptly retired. But now, ten years after retirement, he felt that it was important to let other people know what he learned about the UFO phenomenon. Which ultimately led him to Linda Moulton Howe. .
U.S. Navy Chief Yeoman Thomas Sheppard
explains what He saw when he inadvertently
entered a vault containing top secret documents