- September 21
- I live 15 miles north of Prescott, so I'm familiar with that area. I was a police officer in the Los Angeles area for 29
years, and currently work in law enforcement in Arizona. On moving here, I noticed a regular flight of military
helicopters coming from the northwest that passed over the area and then turned east. I was not aware of any military
bases in the area, either from the direction the choppers were flying from, or the direction they were heading. One was a
larger single rotor craft similar to the old Hueys, and the other looked like the Apache attack chopper.
In October of 1999, I took a back country trip to an area 35 miles northwest of my home, where I observed
approximately 8 military helicopters flying in an area that I now know as the Luis Maria Baca Float #5. The choppers
disappeared into the hills.
When I returned home, I contacted a colonel who is a personal acquaintance of mine. I explained what I saw and asked
if he was aware of any military base in that area. He called back and asked how I found out about the location. He said
all he could tell me was that it was supposed to be a SEAL and DELTA training area. I trained with some of these people
in SWAT and thought this was unusual, as they have their own bases where they do this type of training. So I began to
The Baca Float #5 area is well over 150 square miles, and its completely fenced-in. It is extremely rugged and has
canyons as deep as the Grand Canyon. The Baca Float was acquired by the Luis Baca family after the defeat of Mexico
in 1846. The Baca family had a Spanish land grant in New Mexico, and the U.S. government wanted that land, so they
traded it for this area in Arizona. This area was last explored in the 1860s and has not been surveyed. In 1973, the
property was bought by wealthy and reclusive philanthropist John N. Irwin III, from Arlington, Virginia. Property tax
records show that the property is now known as the Oro ranch, and is owned by the JJJ corporation, which has an FCC
license to broadcast in the 451 mhz. range. The entrance to ranch is well marked with no trespassing signs. There are no
other primary access points.
As I began these inquiries, the helicopter flights started changing their routes and now they no longer fly over this area
at all. I also heard from people who saw unusual lights and activity in the area. When they investigated, they were
stopped by men in uniforms carrying M16s and told to leave the area. Two of these incidents took place in the mid
1990s. The most recent occurred last year when one of them climbed the fence and camped about 200 yards inside. He
awoke in the morning surrounded by men on horseback, carrying guns, who told him to leave and never return. This
area is an extremely rugged wilderness, so unless they had ground sensors, there is no way they would have known he
was there. I have been working in this area for five years, and have yet to meet anyone from the Oro ranch. In fact, most
people I meet have no knowledge of it. When anyone asks to come on the property, they are denied access. Even the
forest rangers know very little about the area, except to say that the people there are very secretive.
The air above the property has been declared a military airspace so private planes are not allowed to fly over most of it.
However, last year I flew over it with a friend in her small plane at low altitude. We passed over a hill that had what
looked like a landing pad on top. As we flew closer I was able to see that it wasn't a landing pad, but large doors, with a
red beacon light next to them. There are no roads in the area. I attempted to take photos, but they did not come out, due
to the movement of the plane. I did note a mountain in the area with a large antenna array on it.
I have attempted to get satellite photos, but so far, they are all matted out at the borders of the Prescott National
Forest. This also occurred when I tried to get satellite photos of Area 51. I have used my GPS near the Float, and when I
scan into the Float area, the screen on the GPS is matted out for the entire Baca Float and the GPS identifies it as a
So far I have only been able to find only three people who have been on the Oro ranch legally. The first was a tow
company owner who was called out to the ranch to remove some vehicles in the late 1980s. The other was an A/C
repairman who went there to fix the air conditioning in the main ranch house. He said someone stayed with him the
whole time he was there, and most of the people he saw looked too clean cut to be real ranchers. Finally, I know a man
who has permission to guide elk hunts on the ranch. He was specifically told not to go into the southwestern area but
was given no explanation as to why. He also thinks they are overly concerned about secrecy. I have talked to some of the
small ranchers in the area, and they have reported hearing strange noises and seeing lights in the Oro ranch area.