In the spring of 1982, a soldier training at Fort Leonard Wood Army Base in Missouri encountered an unidentified beast.
Their training consisted of an intensive eight week program, and Erik Youngdahl remembers it well.
“We had a few breaks and were fully rested for our one stint of overnight guard duty at some location on the post. The sites we were supposed to guard did not actually require a guard. The cadre wanted us to experience what guard duty was like, however trainee. My partner was a Samoan named Unabia,”
“As we prepared to file on to the army deuce and a half (two and one half ton truck), they called off our names. Since “Youngdahl” is perpetually at, or almost at the end of the alphabetical list, I was the last one to get on the back of the truck. The lateral seat benches on each side of the truck face each other, and by the time I filed on, all the seats were taken and I had to sit on the bed of the truck while resting my arms on the tailgate. I decided to face out of the back of the canvas-covered bed of the truck to see the sights of the army post. The post Unabia and I were supposed to guard was an engineer bridge crossing training site deep in the woods of the post,” he continued.
“I was still looking directly out the rear of the vehicle. The time was approximately 1830 hours and it was still very much light during that time of year for early evening.
The weather was clear and warm,” the soldier recalls.
After coming to an intersection, and at about 25 yards away from the turn, Youngdahl said , the animal showed up.
“It is funny how this realization dawned on me because the immediate moment that I viewed him, there was not a doubt in my mind that the creature I observed was Bigfoot. I wasn’t looking for it, nor did I think that there have ever been sightings in that region of the country. It was automatic, boom, no doubt.”
He described the creature as being 7-ft tall with hair of a light, brown color.
“What really surprised me was its coloration, which was a light brown color, almost like the color of cork on a bulletin board,” he meticulously explained.
The sighting allegedly lasted ten seconds before the animal disappeared into the woods. The young man’s mind rushed trying to find a logical explanation to what he had just witnessed.
“That definitely is not a person, someone in a suit? No way. It did occur to me to alert the other trainees in the truck, but I immediately thought that by the time I did, they would awaken, crane their necks to look out the back, and by that time, not see anything. This all occurred to me in milliseconds,” he said. ” I felt compelled to tell Unabia what I saw. Apparently Samoans are very superstitious, and Unabia became frightened. I was scared he might shoot me by mistaking me for Bigfoot. I felt obliged to stay close to him to preclude any mistaken identities once it became dark.”
There were not any incidents that night, and the following morning a truck came by to pick them up. Fearing being ridiculed, the man did not want to share his story with the other soldiers. He also clarified that he had extensive experience with wild animals and that what he saw was definitely Bigfoot.
” I was not sleepy at the time nor subject to wild imaginations due to our training, which was not rigorous,” Youngdahl said.
Fort Leonard Wood Army Base is in Pulaski County, located in central Missouri.
This territory is known for other purported Bigfoot encounters.
In 1975, a man reported seeing a Bigfoot through his bedroom window one mile north of Dixon.
In 1989, a family witnessed a similar 7-8 foot tall creature while on their way to Walmart in Waynesville.