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News › Soldier Has Late-Night Encounter at Quantico Marine Base, Virginia
Reports: Soldier Has Late-Night Encounter at Quantico Marine Base, Virginia

Report - Sighting Date of Incident: 1990s
Month: June (Season: Summer)


This report was submitted by a former Marine to our report line on May 16, 2007. The event occurred in the early 1990s during a summer training mission. The Quantico Marine base includes a variety of woodland and riparian habitats. It lies within the Potomac River watershed along Chopawamsic Creek in Prince William County, Virginia. The huge Marine base (covering nearly 100 square miles) also includes the FBI Academy and is adjacent to Prince William National Forest Park. Remote portions of the base also lie within Stafford County, VA. The incident occurred in a remote section of the base.

Map showing general location of sighting.

Witness Narrative:

Here is what happened. Late at night, my team set in to harbor up in a 360 and quietly we sat in. I had first watch so for the first half hour, I watched while the others slept. Near the end of my watch, some body moaned in their sleep. About 30 feet away, I heard something growl. I stood up to look because black bears are common in area and I wanted to see him. As I took three or so steps forward, the animal stood up and was silhouetted in the dark by some moonlight. It was not a bear. It had big shoulders, a pointed head and the biggest, longest arms. I stared at it (mistake) trying to get a good look at it. It was swaying side to side, then roared and grabbed a small pine tree and snapped it off like a piece of balsa wood.

At that point, everyone woke up yelling. As the animal turned to leave, it turned to its left (my right). I noticed it had a slight coconut shape to its face, not as much as gorillas, but a slight one. It then took off, moving very fast through the brush.

Everybody kept saying it sure made funny sounds for a bear. I never heard a roar like that before or since.

As for size, I would say in order for me to have touched its face, I would have had to reach up to it. I am 6'5''. I estimate its weight at 1200 lbs minimum. It was not shaped [from the side] like the Patterson subject in its butt and torso. It was much more wedged shaped [from the front] that could be due to it [possibly] being a male.

I feel that it roared and broke the tree because we made it mad by being there and me moving towards it.

Even though all I saw of it was its silhouette, I could tell it was very chest heavy and thick limbed. The head was pointed but not quite the size of a gorilla in proportion. Because its head was pointed, [the head] didn’t seem much higher than its shoulders, like it was wearing shoulder pads. It had huge shoulders. The mass struck me more than the height, and it was tall.

Follow up investigation by Kathy and Bob Strain:

We talked with the witness, Dan, on May 19 and 20, 2007 for approximately 3 hours. Dan was a “Recon” Marine from 1990 until 1999 and attained the rank of Sergeant. At the time of the event, he was a Corporal. The witness sent us his military certifications to verify that he had been in the Marines during the years he indicated.

The event happened on the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia during the 1990s. The exact date is being withheld for security reasons. Dan noted that the front of the base was fenced but does not know if the entire base was as they were not given a tour or that information. However, since they were warned of bears, it would appear that animals had a way to get onto the base.

Dan was at the base for week long training at the end of July. The terrain is rolling hills/woodland. The event happened the second night of training (they had not been to this location yet nor did they go back). Dan and five other men, including the instructor, began the night on patrol. Around 2 to 3 a.m., the men moved very quietly into the area, communicating only with hand signals. They stopped and sat in a 360 (i.e., all the men form a circle with their backs to each other, giving themselves a 360 degree view of the surroundings). Dan was the first watch. The other men dozed. The first growl occurred after a man in his patrol moaned. Because he thought it was a bear and wanted to see it, he stood up and took three or so steps toward the sound. This put him about 20 feet from the animal. Probably due to Dan’s movement towards it, the animal stood up and he could see its silhouette in the available moonlight. Dan doesn’t remember the exact moon phase, but it was a cloudless night and there was enough moonlight available to see the face of the person next to you and hand signals from the rest of the group. According to internet records, the moon phase for the date range, year, and location put the moon at full to near full. On average, the moon rose at around 11:53 p.m. and set at late as 10:00 a.m. the next morning.

Dan himself was 270 pounds and stands 6'5”. It was clear to him based on the size and shape of the animal that it was no bear. At this point, he could see that it stood up on two legs and had a very pointed head. Its arms hung down below its knees. Its hands were the size of “dinner plates.”

He continued to stare at the animal which, according to the witness, made it angry. The animal swayed back and forth on its hips a few times and then roared again. He could feel the vibrations from the sound in his chest. The animal then slapped its right hand hard against a nearby pine tree. The animal’s hand was behind the tree (so the tree was between him and the animal’s hand). Dan is unclear what happened after the slap but, after a short pause, the tree snapped and fell toward him (so he does not know if the animal broke the tree by the slap, by pushing, or by breaking it with one hand). Only one hand was used. The tree was approximately 6-8 inches in diameter and taller than the animal.

After the tree snapped and the animal roared, the other men began to wake up. This caused the animal to turn to its left in order to leave the area. As it turned, he could see more of its face. It was coconut shaped like an ape, but not as much as a gorilla nor as flat as a human. There clearly was no snout. Originally, when facing the animal, Dan’s impression was that the animal had no neck, as all he could really see was the pointed head. From the side, he could tell the head was very large, like a gorilla, but saw no other facial features. As it hurried away, he was struck by its wedge shape, like that of a body builder. It was about 8.5 feet tall. His impression was that it was male, but he didn’t see anything to verify that.

Although they were to stay in that spot until 4:30 a.m., the instructor felt that due to safety concerns they needed to move on. All the men asked the witness after they had moved on “That was a bear, right?” Dan just said, “Yeah I think so,” because he was there for specialized training and didn’t want to risk his certification.

He felt that the animal was already there when they arrived and the moaning man startled it. He also felt that the animal was angry enough to have charged him and thinks maybe the tree breaking was a display. Because they were only training, their rifles were not loaded with live ammo, but he felt that had it been, he may have shot the animal out of concern for his safety. The roar didn’t sound like anything he had heard before or since. It was almost cat-like, deep and throaty. Here is an example provided by Dan (but not exact) of the sound.

He told no one about these events until two years ago. Dan did not know the other men involved as they were from many different units only there for training. He did not keep in contact with the men afterwards. We have asked for the name of the instructor (which Dan is looking for) and will attempt to contact him for an interview.

Posted by Kathy.Strain on Friday, May 25, 2007 (00:13:40) (11666 reads)
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Report - Sighting

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