As an Airman in the US Air Force Security Police, and being somewhat low in the rank structure at the time, it was my unlucky duty to guard the site of a recent aircraft crash through the night. It was on that night that I might have had an encounter with ghosts.
Two days earlier, a KC-135 refueling aircraft crashed on a remote part of the Air Force Base, killing all aboard and creating a fireball seen for miles. Until the official investigation into the cause of the crash was completed, the crash site was to be protected by the Security Police. Like many duties of the Security Police, this meant that one lone person would be relegated to sitting in a cold jeep, in the middle of nowhere, watching unmoving wreckage. Not the most exciting job in the Air Force!
So, midway through my shift, and with nothing at all happening, I find myself fighting off sleep. I get out and walk around, read some professional training material, talk to myself?anything to keep myself awake. As I am sitting in my jeep, I can feel that I'm in that place between sleep and wakefulness, and someone places his hand on my arm and says to me, "Hey buddy, you better wake up before your friends get here."
I looked up to see two Air Force Officers, walking from the crash area. There were also deer and rabbits wandering through the wreckage. As I exited the vehicle, I couldn't find the two Officers. The deer and rabbits had vanished as well. I wondered how they had gotten way out there without a vehicle, and without me seeing them?. I wondered why they would want to see a crash site in the middle of the night?. I wondered if I should call in an alarm?. Shortly thereafter, another patrol came over the hill to bring me some coffee and ask if everything was secure.
I got a good look at the Officer who saved me from being caught dozing at my post (a possible courts martial offense)?he was about 5'11", with blond hair and a blond mustache. He was wearing his regular flight jumpsuit, but he had a bright bandanna tied around his neck?definitely not regulation. He also had a gold bracelet on his left wrist. Much later, while on a temporary duty away from the base (and after a few well meant drinks!) I confided in some of the others present my "ghost" story. Several of the maintenance crew were shocked, as they said I described one of the Officers who had died in the crash with amazing detail.
In an effort to debunk my own experience, it is quite possible that I had seen this particular Officer, with his unique style of dress, prior to his death in my regular duties on the base flightline. Someone could have mentioned that he was one of the Officers who died. My subconscious, as I drifted in that twilight between alertness and the dream world, may have connected these facts and created a visual warning for me. Or perhaps, an Officer who died serving his country had extended a kindness to me before moving on.