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Pulaski County, Missouri
Fort Leonard Wood Army Base 1982

Here are the details of my Bigfoot sighting. I was in the army basic training course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri around late May 1982. The eight-week course was almost complete, and 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.

Fort Leonard Wood's nickname is "Fort Lost in the Woods," and I can understand why due to the remoteness, isolation and density of the woods in the region. Anyway, our post was the furthest one out so they decided to drop us off first.

I not sure how far or what direction they took us from our basic training billets on post, but we must have rode on the truck for at least 30 minutes when my sighting occurred. Everyone in the truck were either dozing off or inattentive to where we were going except me since they were facing each other and could not see past the canvas cover of the truck. 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.

We came to a T-intersection on the dirt road. As we turned left at the intersection, I looked down the other direction on the road, which we did not turn. Approximately 25 yards down the road I saw Bigfoot. It is funny how this realization dawned on me because the immediate moment that I viewed him (her?), 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.

What I saw was a creature that had to be at least six and one half to seven feet tall, walking across the road that we did not take. It looked in our direction as it crossed the road before it continued to walk into the woods on the other side of the road. What really surprised me was its coloration, which was a light brown color, almost like the color of cork on a bulletin board.

My observation lasted not more than ten seconds before the creature disappeared into the woods. During that short span, my mind went through the following thought process. "What's that??!!!, - it's gotta be bigfoot, but look at its color, unbelievable, but its not an animal, and 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.

So we continued to drive to our guard site while my mind was going over all sorts of possibilities. We arrived about 10 minutes after the sighting. It was so remote, and despite the fact that we did have a total of ten live rounds for our M-16s, I sort of felt like the creature knew I saw it and might come to get me when it got dark. As Unabia and I loafed around the bridge laying engineer vehicles, 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.

We were picked up at 0400 the next morning without any incidents. I did not retell my sighting to any of the others for fear of ridicule. But that is my story. I reiterate that there was no doubt that what I saw was Bigfoot. I've seen wild bears, moose wolverines, and other creatures of the north woods. I've been to boundary waters canoe area three times and I am totally familiar and comfortable in the wilderness. I once chased a black bear out of madness and stupidity because he stole our food. I was not sleepy at the time nor subject to wild imaginations due to our training, which was not rigorous. I think what surprised me most was the region of the country we were in, which as far as I knew at the time is not famous for bigfoot sightings, and its color, which I also would not expect.

I've told others this story and some scoff and some believe, but I myself would not believe it unless I saw it myself, which I did. *If* my story resembles others that have occurred in that region, I would be interested to hear a reply. I am curious if others have sighted Bigfoot in that region on others that have matched my description.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at There is not much more to relate to you such as the way it turned towards me or any other details. It happened very fast and it was a few years ago. Hope this information helps you and your organization in its endeavors.

Erik Youngdahl

Posted to the IVBC, August 1, 1996 by Christopher Murphy