How Rockstar Tom Delonge Came to History’s Unidentified

History’s new UFO series features the guy who ran the Pentagon’s UFO program, but why does it also feature rockstar Tom DeLonge?

On May 31, 2019, History will premiere Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation, a new series that focuses on the ongoing UFO investigations of Luis Elizondo, the former head of the Pentagon’s UFO project, and the organization he now works for, To the Stars Academy (TTSA). The program also includes rockstar Tom DeLonge, best known for being the front man of Blink-182. It may seem odd to see the rocker among the former government officials conducting serious investigations into the UFO phenomenon. Without DeLonge, however, the world may have never known about the Pentagon’s secret UFO project.

Back in 2017, everyone thought Tom DeLonge was crazy…some still do. For years, his obsession with UFOs made headlines. Rarely were those headlines flattering. In 2015, DeLonge began recording music under his new company, To the Stars Inc., with his longtime side project Angels and Airwaves. To the Stars Inc. also houses DeLonge’s other projects, including book publishing and his former website devoted to paranormal topics, Strange Times. 

DeLonge’s focus on To the Stars Inc. projects kept him from being able to commit to Blink-182 at the level his bandmates expected of him, and according to DeLonge, was one of the reasons he left. He argues that his UFO interests were also much more important than he could let on.

“I couldn’t tell the band I was working with people in the government,” DeLonge told Rolling Stone in 2016. “That’s another big part of this story. People think I want to just put out a novel and make a movie. I have ten people that I’m working with that are at the highest levels of the Department of Defense and NASA and the military. Big shit, and no one knows this.”

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Like most of DeLonge’s UFO claims, this one was met with a lot of eye rolls and giggles. However, thanks to Russian hackers, we soon found out DeLonge was telling the truth.

It turned out that John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign manager, was one of Tom’s insiders. WikiLeaks famously released Podesta’s hacked emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The leaked emails included details about a Google Hangouts meeting Podesta’s office organized with DeLonge, a former Commander of Wright-Patterson U.S. Air Force Base’s research labs, a former special assistant to the Commander of U.S. Air Force Space Command, and the Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Advanced Development Programs at Lockheed Aeronautics. This group at Lockheed is often referred to as “Skunk Works,” and is the organization that constructed Area 51 at the behest of the CIA and built super secret spy planes there, including stealth aircraft. 

further reading: Aliens in America: A History of UFO Storytelling

Wright-Patterson was the headquarters for the U.S. Air Force’s official UFO investigations from 1947 to 1969. DeLonge noted in one of the leaked emails, “When Roswell crashed, they shipped it to the laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. [This Commander] was in charge of that exact laboratory up to a couple years ago.”

The fact that anyone, let alone a rockstar, could get an audience with such high-level officials regarding UFOs is shocking. DeLonge’s involvement with the meeting was enough for him to receive the International UFO Congress UFO Researcher of the Year Award in early 2017. When he accepted the award, DeLonge promised there were more incredible UFO revelations to come in a forthcoming announcement.

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“I want you all to know in the UFO community, whoever is passionate about this paradigm-shifting subject matter,” DeLonge told conference attendees in a pre-recorded address. “I need you all to look really really closely at that announcement, and I need you to be a part of it because what that announcement is about is so much more than what it will look like on the surface.”

As intriguing as DeLonge’s tease was, what he could not have known at the time is that the Pentagon’s equivalent to Fox Mulder – Luis Elizondo – was growing increasingly frustrated the military was not taking his program’s findings seriously and was planning on leaving. He would also soon be ready to expose the existence of his clandestine operation.

The big news DeLonge had been promising was that he was putting together a group of high-level individuals interested in the UFO phenomena to start To The Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences (TTSA), a company focused on UFO research and dissemination of UFO information.

“My decision to leave the US government was before I ever knew anything about TTSA,” says Elizondo. “My initial plan was to fade off into the sunset, take a job working something that I could enjoy, one that was completely unrelated to the US government.”

Elizondo is no starry-eyed fantasy-prone paper pusher. Besides the DoD, his career in intelligence has included working with the U.S. Army, the National Counterintelligence Executive, and the Director of National Intelligence. He has run clandestine operations in Latin America and the Middle East. His academic background includes Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, with research experience in tropical diseases.

And he believes in UFOs. Elizondo is quick to point out this does not mean he can prove aliens are visiting us. The “U” in UFO does stand for unidentified, after all. Elizondo instead claims that the military has observed unidentified aerial technology beyond what he believes humans are capable of producing.

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Elizondo won’t speculate on who the technology belongs to. “I don’t know,” he admits. “I have my own personal opinions on it, but it would be very misleading to give you those opinions because, in the end, we don’t have enough data. It would be great if we could point our finger and say it was the Russians, or the Chinese or someone else.”

According to Elizondo, it was about the time he was ready to retire when TTSA found him. He says he heard through colleagues TTSA wanted to talk to him. At the time, there were only a handful of people who knew the Pentagon had a UFO project. However, some of those DeLonge recruited to work for TTSA had also worked for the company contracted to work on the Pentagon UFO project. 

In October 2017, the same month Elizondo retired, DeLonge held a press conference announcing the launch of TTSA, a “Public Benefit Corporation.” In the press conference, the organization was described as a sort of crowdfunded effort to create a company that could investigate UFOs, develop high-tech aircraft based on the observation of UFO technology and to develop related entertainment content that “aims to educate and inspire curiosity in scientific possibilities through various media formats like film, television, books, music and art.”

Were it not for the high-level of credibility of the other members of the TTSA; it would be easy to dismiss DeLonge’s efforts. Among those participating in the press conference were: Chris Mellon, former Deputy Assistant of Defense Intelligence during the Clinton and Bush administrations; Steve Justice, former Program Director for Advanced Systems for Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works); and Elizondo. The TTSA website lists many other participants with similarly credible credentials.

further reading: Project Blue Book Easter Egg and Reference Guide

During the press conference, Elizondo revealed the existence of the Pentagon UFO program. 

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“For nearly the last decade, I ran a sensitive aerospace threat identification program focusing on unidentified aerial technologies [UFOs],” says career intelligence officer Luis Elizondo. “It was in this position I learned that the phenomena is indeed real.”

The launch of TTSA garnered some media attention, but the importance of Elizondo’s claims seemed to go unnoticed.

Then, in December 2017, The New York Times published a story, titled “Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program,” revealing the Department of Defense spent $22 million on a Pentagon project called the “Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP)” which Elizondo ran before his retirement.

According to The New York Times, in his resignation letter, Elizondo wrote there was a need for more “serious attention” to “the many accounts from the Navy and other services of unusual aerial systems interfering with military weapon platforms and displaying beyond-next-generation capabilities.” Elizondo continued, “There remains a vital need to ascertain capability and intent of these phenomena for the benefit of the armed forces and the nation.”

Most of the work and funding for AATIP was contracted out to Bigelow Aerospace, a private space company that is testing an inflatable habitat module on the International Space Station. Robert Bigelow, a Las Vegas-based businessman and owner and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, has had a lifelong interest in the paranormal and UFOs. He is “absolutely convinced” there is an “ET presence,” he recently told CBS 60 Minutes. When asked if he felt it was risky to make such claims, he replied, “I don’t give a damn.”

What did the program discover that could make a man like Elizondo believe in UFOs? Much of that information is still locked up in files the DoD is not willing to share. However, one of their cases has become public. According to a leaked report, the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group encountered UFOs over several days between Nov. 10 to 16, 2004 off the coast of San Diego. Jets were scrambled and met a 46-foot long white object that looked like a giant Tic Tac, but they could not keep with it.

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Despite several other cases like this, Elizondo says the DoD was not taking the UFO issue seriously. This led him to the tough decision to retire from his career in intelligence and resulted in his meeting and working with DeLonge.

Now, beginning May 31, the History channel’s Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation is prepared to reveal some of what TTSA has discovered since its inception, and, according to Elizondo, some of the military UFO cases AATIP collected that have yet to be released to the public.