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The US Air Force and the UFOs:

Captain Ruppelt's Who is who:

Captain Edward J. Ruppelt wrote some notes where he gave his impressions on several officers who were in relation with Project Blue Book in 1952-1953.

Since not every reader is necessarily updated on the context, I added some further information, and also some personal comments (on white background).

For information on Captain Ruppelt, see his book.

Ackerman, Brig. Gen. John B.

General Ackerman was Chief of the Collection Division of the D/I all during the big UFO Flap of 1952. He had no direct connection with the project but he was very much interested. I used to stop in to see him and he always had definite ideas as to what we had and what we should be doing. He would tend to get all excited about individual sightings. He got copies of the UFO reports and several times he was on the phone wanting to know what I planned to do even before I had time to digest what was in the report. Ackerman had a "direct channel" to the top, to the Secretary of the Air Force and people in the Department of Defense, and every once in a while he would quote some top dog in the government and what he thought that I should be doing.

Ackerman was chief of the Collection Division, Directorate of Air Intelligence, also referred to as the Collection Branch of the Air Intelligence Requirement Division of the USAF Directorate of Intelligence. He succeeded at this job to Major General Robert Taylor, who was well aware of Project Sign, the first study of UFOs amidst the Air Force intelligence.

Adams, Col. W.A.

Col. Adams was the chief of the Topical Intelligence Branch of the D/I and Col. (Weldon H.S.) Smith and Major Dewey Fournet worked for him. He was pretty much sold on the whole thing. I think that Dewey Fournet influenced his thinking to a great extent and he really went to bat for all of Dewey's ideas. He pushed Fournet's study of the motions of the UFO's and he is the one who used to be the most vocal in briefings and at meetings in regard to Blue Book's taking a "negative" attitude. He is the one who became irked in one briefing and asked me if it wasn't true that if we made a few positive assumptions we could prove that the UFO's were real.

Colonel William A. Adams was indeed convinced that UFOs were real and extraterrestrial. He wanted UFOs to be studied with a more opened mind and more seriously. He was Chief of the Topical Intelligence Division for the Deputy Director for Estimates at the Directorate of Intelligence, and also deputy of the Evaluation Division (AFOIN-2B3.)

The reference to the irked Colonel relates to this paragraph of Ruppelt's book, Chapter 11:

When I arrived in Washington, Major Fournet told me that the purpose of the meetings, and my briefing, was to try to find out if there was any significance to the almost alarming increase in UFO reports over the past few weeks.

By the time that everyone had finished signing into the briefing room in the restricted area of the fourth floor "B" ring of the Pentagon, it was about 9:15 A.M. I started my briefing as soon as everyone was seated.

I reviewed the last month's UFO activities; then I briefly went over the more outstanding "Unknown" UFO reports and pointed out how they were increasing in number - breaking all previous records. I also pointed out that even though the UFO subject was getting a lot of publicity, it wasn't the scare type publicity that had accompanied the earlier flaps - in fact, much of the present publicity was anti saucer.

Then I went on to say that even though the reports we were getting were detailed and contained a great deal of good data, we still had no proof the UFO's were anything real. We could, I said, prove that all UFO reports were merely the misinterpretation of known objects if we made a few assumptions.

At this point one of the colonels on General Samford's staff stopped me. "Isn't it true," he asked, "that if you make a few positive assumptions instead of negative assumptions you can just as easily prove that the UFO's are interplanetary spaceships? Why, when you have to make an assumption to get an answer to a report, do you always pick the assumption that proves the UFO's don't exist?"

You could almost hear the colonel add, "O.K., so now I've said it."

Alvarez, Louis Dr.

Dr. Louis Alvarez, a physics professor from the University of California in Berkeley, developer of MEW radar at the beginning of World War II and one of the "fathers" of the H-bomb. He sat on the panel that met in Washington in January 1953. Alvarez was only lukewarm to the idea that the UFO's might be real.

Dr. Louis Alvarez had been the heat of MIT's radiation laboratory in 1941, worked on the cyclotron in the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory at Berkeley, and on the Manhattan Project - the atom bomb - at Los Alamos National Laboratories, New Mexico. He later developed the use of ray probes to find hidden chambers in the Egyptian pyramids. He investigated a theory that comets may come for a tiny distant second star on the edge of our solar system. It is him, with his father Walter, also a physicist, that discovered the thin layer of iridium in the ancient soil and proposed that it is evidence that the Earth was hit by an asteroid which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. Interestingly Dr. Thornton Page, also a Robertson Panel member, worked with him on this theory. Alvarez was also on the National Academy of Sciences panel involved in investigating the Kennedy assassination.

He was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics.

The panel refrered to here is the 1953 Robertson panel gathered by the CIA and which is responsible for the halt of any serious UFO research in the Air Force from then on, and the CIA new objective to make ufology appear ridiculous in the eyes of the public.

Burgess, Brig. Gen. Woodbury

General Burgess was the D/I of the Air Defense Command under General Chidlaw. He wasn't a believer in UFOs but he was firmly convinced that we, meaning the Air Force, should make every effort to find out what they were, even if they were all explainable. He bent over backwards to give us all the cooperation that we needed. I would say that his ideas reflected those of General Chidlaw.

Born 1905, died March 9, 1981, Burgess graduated from Staunton Military Academy, Va., in 1923, and from the U.S. Military Academy, 1927, and was commissioned a second lieutenant assigned to the 14th Cavalry at Fort Sheridan, Ill., in 1930, entered the Cavalry School at Fort Riley, Kan., and graduated from the troop officers course in June 1932. Going to Fort Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands, he served with the 26th Cavalry. Appointed a mathematics instructor at the U.S. Military Academy in June 1935, four years later was assigned to the Fifth Cavalry at Fort Bliss, Texas. Transferred to Air Corps headquarters in November 1941, General Burgess was executive of the Operations Section, Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Intelligence. The following March he was appointed chief of the Informational Intelligence Division in that office, and in July 1942 he was designated deputy assistant chief of air staff for intelligence.

The following March General Burgess was named deputy chief of staff for administration of the 20th Bomber Command in the Asiatic Pacific Theater, and that July he joined the Far East Air Forces in that capacity. Transferred to the Pacific Air Command in December 1945, he was assistant chief of staff for intelligence. Joining the Far East Command in January 1947, he served as deputy chief of the Air Division, Joint Strategic Plans and Operations Group, and on April 2, 1947, he was transferred to the Air Force, where in August he became assistant director of the Intelligence Division, Armed Forces Staff College, at Norfolk, Va., and in February 1949 he was named director. Reassigned to Air Force headquarters in August 1950, he was deputy chief of the Evaluation Division in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and the following February he was named chief of the Policy Division.

He joined the Air Defense Command at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado, in November 1951, where he was deputy for intelligence, assuming additional duty as deputy chief of staff for intelligence of the Continental Air Defense Command on Sept. 1, 1954. Returning to Washington, D.C., on Aug. 15, 1955, he was named deputy director for production of the National Security Agency. He had the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal and the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He was rated as an aircraft observer.

Major General John B. Cabell

General Cabell was the Director of Intelligence for the Air Force during the 1947-1951 UFO era. He is the one who ordered Project Grudge reorganized in the summer of 1951. I didn't know him too well because he left to become number two man in the CIA shortly after I got on the project. He is the man who held the initial meeting in the Pentagon that Lt. Jerry Cummings and Col. Rosengarten attended. He raised all kinds of hell when he found out that Col. Watson and ATIC hadn't been doing anything about the UFO project in 1950. According to what Cummings said, he was pretty much a believer in the UFOs. General Samford replaced Cabell in the summer of 1951.

There seems to be a problem there. The director of the Pentagon's Office of Air Force Intelligence was not a Maj. Gen. John B. Cabell, but a Maj. Gen. Charles Pearre Cabell. FOIA documentation indicates that on several occasions in the 1948-51 period Cabell personally ordered the staff of Project Sign at Wright Field to make immediate on-site studies of particularly intriguing cases.

In November 1947, Major General Cabell becomes Chief of the Resource Division of Air Intelligence at the Directorate of Intelligence. In May 1948, he is Commander in Chief of the Air Intelligence. On November 1951, Cabell is promoted Joint Staff Director at the Headquarters.

On September 11, 1951, Cabell reads the report on the UFO observation in Fort Monmouth and is not happy at all with the poor investigation. He notifies Jerry Cummings who is the all new head of Project Grudge. Both Cumming and Cabell quickly discover that Project Grudge did not investigate UFO reports seriously anymore and did nothing more than armchair research.

When Cummings exposes this sorry situation in a Washington D.C. Pentagon meeting, saying "everyone laughs at the Grudge investigators. They systematically ridicule the reports they receive. They are only interested in promoting new or original "explanations" to please Washington," Cabell enters in a rage: "I've been lied to!" and "I do not want prejudices. I forbid prejudices. Those who have prejudices better leave this meeting right now." After that, it was decided to set up the New Project Grudge, soon named Blue Book, which responsibility was given to Ruppelt.

Chapman, ?

This man was in charge of one of the photo labs at Wright Air Development Center and he did all of our work on UFO photos. He was a firm believer. He did do a good job of making unbiased analyses of our photos, however.

I have been unable to locate any information on Chapman.

Deyarmond, Col. Albert B.

Al Deyarnond was an old hand with the UFO's, he'd been in on the first of Project Sign. From the old memo's I found, signed by him, he was once a firm believer along with Al Loeding, "Red" Honnacker and the rest of the veterans or Project Sign. But by the time I got into the picture was, at least on the surface, lined up with the scoffers. But once, when I began to knock the UFO's, he raised the devil and chewed me out for "not keeping an open mind." I would guess that he was a "scoffer" because he was a disciple of Col. Watson's. Deyarmond is now chief of structures at Ryan Aircraft Company.

Col. Deyarmond, with Alfred Loeding, as Project Sign investigators, investigated the Chiles and Whitted classic sighting, one of the most significant early UFO reports, and a number of other cases. This investigation was totally thorough, leaving no stone unturned, and in the end there was no alternative explanation: the pilots saw an extraterrestrial spaceship. The conclusion was included in the famous "estimate of the situation" which General Vandenberg then destroyed, arguing that "there is no hard evidence." After that, the scoffers in Project Sign could scoff openly and most of the Sign members who were convinced that UFOs are indeed sometimes extraterrestrial devices were ridiculed. Most of them decided to join the scoffers, at least on the surface.

Erickson, Col. J.G.

Col Erickson was head of the Policy and Management Branch of the Directorate of Intelligence and in some way he got in on all of the UFO business. He was sort of power behind the throne on what the official policy would be. I gave him quite a few briefings and he seemed to be a "lone wolf" in that he wanted to get the picture for himself. He got a little hacked at Fournet quite often, because he thought that Fournet was pushing his ideas, that the UFOs were real, too hard. I think that Erickson tended to put a lot of faith in the UFO's but he was one of those who was afraid to stick his neck out.

No information found on Col. Erickson.

Fournet, Dewey J., Major, USAF

Dewey was Blue Book's liaison man in the D.I. He took over in early 1952 or late 1951 from a Lt. Col. whose name I've forgotten. The Lt. Col. was a completely worthless jerk. Dewey got hot on the subject right away and helped us a great deal in getting things straightened out in the Pentagon. His job was just supposed to be part time, but within a matter of months he was working on it full time. Fournet was the most confirmed believer that I ran into in the Pentagon. He had access to all of our reports, read them all over very carefully, and he was still absolutely convinced. He and I used to argue by the hour and I must say that he had some good arguments. All of his conclusions were based on the "face value" of the reports. If a person said that they saw something and had a good description of it, Dewey took this as the last word. He and I disagreed when I didn't buy the reports lock, stock and barrel. I didn't think that the person was using or having hallucinations, I was sure that they reported what they saw, but I wasn't convinced that what they saw was actually what happened. In other words I played it heavy on the "optical illusion" side and I backed this up with experience. I'd investigated too many reports and found that something that starts out to seem real mysterious can many times prove to be something very simple. No matter how much I talked, however, I never convinced Fournet that I had a point. Dewey is now (1955) a civilian engineer with the Ethyl Corporation in Baton Rouge, La.

A key character in USAF's UFO investigation then, but contrarily to Ruppelt's idea, his main argument was not the "face value" of the reports. Fournet was also behind the radar PPI when UFOs flew over Washington D.C in summer 1952, he knew that UFOs are not mere visual sightings. He worked on the notion that descriptions of UFO manoeuvers point at their intelligent control. (the Fukuoka case for example).

Garland, Brig. Gen., W. M.

General Garland was my boss at ATIC from the Fall of 1952 until I left. He was a moderately confirmed believer. He had seen a UFO while he was stationed in Sacramento, California. He was Gen. Samford's assistant in the Pentagon before he came to ATIC and he was the inspiration behind the Life article by Ginna. He gave Ginna his ideas and prompted Life to stick their necks out. Gen. Garland is now out of the Air Force and is a consultant to Rand.

Brig. Gen William M. Garland was the Chief of ATIC at that time and joined the meeting of the Robertson Panel and expressed his support of the Panel's efforts. He stated three personal opinions there:

Alas the CIA who acted behind the Panel did not at all act to declassify as many of the reports as possible, but on the opposite, they acted as to ridicule as many reports, reporters, and private investigators as possible.

In his book, Ruppelt states that Garland agreed with Ruppelt's idea that the Tremonton UFO footage should be made available to the Press. The Robertson Panel decided the movie was of seagulls, an opinion elaborated without much consideration of the previous analysis by the Navy and USAF. Ruppelt wrote: "When the Pentagon got the draft of the release [the Press release prepared by Ruppelt for the Press to introduce the Tremonton movie] they screamed, "No!" No movie for the press and no press release. The sea gull theory was too weak, and we had a new publicity policy as of now — don't say anything.""

On the contrary, Ruppelt quickly realized that the Panel's conclusions were used by the CIA to kill the Air Force UFO investigation and he left. Afterwards Blue Book did generally nothing more than promote "explanations" without any investigation.

Gittings, Homer

Homer Gittings was my contact in Los Alamos. He was a charter member of the group that was trying to correlate recorded radiation from an unknown source with UFO reports. He worked closely with a Ph.D. but I've forgotten the Ph.D.'s name. Gittings, the Ph.D. and several other scientists would fly down to Albuquerque and we'd meet with Col Methaney at Air Defense Headquarters. If I remember correctly, Gittings had an MS degree in Physics and was an instrumentation specialist.

For the complete story of the "radiations affair" read Chapter 15 of Ruppelt's book. Ruppelt gives no names in the book.

Goudsmidt, Samuel

This man, from AEC's Brookhaven Lab on Long Island, sat on the Panel that met in Washington in January 1953. Goudsmidt was probably the most violent anti-saucer man at the panel meeting. Everything was a big joke to him which brought down the wrath of the other panel members on numerous occasions.

Young physics student at Leiden in the Netherlands, Goudsmidt with Pr. George Uhlenbeck discovers the spin of the electron. They both enter Michigan University soon afterward where they start a physics class, which became crucial for atomic research in the US. As a specialist of atom weaponry he also contributed Project Alsos who was to investigate if the Nazis had an atom bomb already. After the war he enters AEC and is laboratory head at Brookhaven National Laboratories, and becomes close to A. Einstein. Although he knew nothing on the subject, he was violently "anti-UFO."

Hardin, Capt. Charles

Chuck Hardin is running Project Blue Book at the present time. Since the operation of the project has changed and the 4602nd has taken over the leg work, he doesn't have much to do. By his own admission, he has a good deal at ATIC and is playing it for all it is worth. General Watson doesn't like UFO's so Hardin is keeping things just as quiet as possible and staying out from under everyone's feet. In other words, being a regular Air Force, he is just doing as little as possible because he knows how controversial the subject is and his philosophy is that if you don't do anything you won't get hurt. He definitely doesn't believe in UFO's, in fact he thinks that anyone who is even interested is crazy. They bore him. He has been the one big bottleneck in my getting anything from the Air Force because he is afraid that my book will stir things up too much.

Indeed after Ruppelt understood that the Robertson Panel promises of more means to study UFO who never materialize and that CIA decided to put down the whole subject, Ruppelt left the USAF. The project survived for years without doing any real work.

The 4602th was a group which in wartime dealt with picking up debris of downed ennemy planes for intelligence purpose. In peace time they were well indicated to assist Blue Book in field investigation. But Blue Book did nothing anymore so that help was without effect.

Hayden, Father

Father Hayden was head of the astronomy department at Georgetown University. I never met him but Dr. Steve Possony was always going to him with our UFO problems. Father Hayden seemed to be very much interested in our problems and couldn't at all be classed as a scoffer.

Ruppelt has misspelled the name, which is Father Francis J. Heyden. Father Heyden (1907-1991) came to Georgetown in 1945 from the Manila Observatory in the Philippines and was awarded for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the popularization or advancement of the science of astronomy there. In 1948 he assumed directorship of the Georgetown Observatory. He was awarded as a Regular Member of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology for outstanding achievement in imaging science or engineering in 1967.

Besides is keen interest in UFOs, he also studied the famous Piri Reis ancient maps. He knew astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh and his famous UFO observation.

Hynek, Dr. J. Allen

Dr. Hynek has been the consultant astronomer to Projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book. I won't say that he's a "believer" but he's darn interested. He has devoted a great deal of his valuable time to the project. He has read almost every UFO report in the Air Force files. In the summer of 1952 he debated with Menzel at the American Optical Society meeting in Boston and blasted Menzel right out of the hall. He sat on the panel in Washington in January 1952 and was very much pro-UFO. Dr. Hynek is Head of the Ohio State Univ. Astronomy Department, Director of the Perkins Observatory and Assistant Dean of the USU Graduate School. He is still working for Blue Book.

Hynek told about his involvement with the Robertson Panel:

"I can remember that day very well....I had very mixed feelings, being among such a group of highly respected and high-power scientists: Dr. Robertson, Chairman of the panel; Samuel Goudsmit, an associate of Einstein; Louis Alvarez, later to win the Nobel Prize; Thornton Page, astrophysicist; and the distinguished Lloyd Berkner."

"At that time, I was somewhat a newcomer and a junior - an associate member of the Robertson Panel. I guess I was somewhat nervous and apprehensive - but also quite interested in UFOs, having spent some four years, at that time, working with Air Force officials investigating sightings."

"I was called in Thursday to that room. The members were seated around a table, a conference table like this one. I sat in the back until it was my turn to speak. During the meeting there were two films of UFO sightings that were of great interest to everyone at the time. One was shot by a Navy officer in Utah and another shot in Great Falls, Montana. The Utah film was to result in over a thousand man-hours of analyzing the phenomena captured on the film. Oddly enough, there wasn't any movie screen, so these films were projected right on the wall."

"After one-thousand hours of analysis on the Utah film....the Navy photograph interpretation labs....concluded that what we saw was not birds, balloons, aircraft, or reflections, but that these were 'self-luminous' unidentified objects. In spite of this conclusion, the panel rejected the Navy's findings and decided that it must have been birds."

Hynek was a key player in UFO report studies, and much material and writings of his is available on this site in the science section.

Kalizewski, J.J.

This was one of the people that I talked to at General Mills. He was one of the members of the original Skyhook balloon launching crew. He had a BS degree in aeronautical engineering and was considered to be a sharp lad. All of the people at General Mills were convinced that the UFO's were real, as they said, they had all seen the UFOs. The boss, Chas. Moore, whom I talked to for only a few minutes, was very put out at the way the Air Force had handled many of the UFO reports and was very indignant. In the summer of 1952, Kalezewski was quoted in the Minneapolis paper as saying that the Air Force should put forth more effort because he was convinced that the UFO's were real.

On January 16, 1951, in the North of Artesia, 30 miles south of Roswell, New Mexico, General Mills personnel among them Kalizewski, while they were tracking a Skyhook balloon, saw two disc-shaped objects approach rapidly, tip on edge, circle the balloon, and speed off over the North-Western horizon. The crew was able to time the discs manoeuvers because they were using a theodolite to track the Skyhook balloon. This is why Kalizewski not just believed that UFOs are real, but knew that they are.

Scientist Paul R. Hill wrote about this sighting:

D. Bank-To-Turn Manoeuvers

It is evident that UFOs' bank-to-turn-when-circling manoeuvers suit their purpose, as we can see in the following sightings.


The first is a sighting by the scientists of the Aeronautical Division of the General Mills Corporation, as reported by Major Edward Ruppelt. One reason for selecting this example is that I had a working relationship with the same people when the Applied Materials and Physics Division of the Langley Research Center contracted with General Mills to build the world's largest balloon, which we used as a rocket-launch platform at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. They related this and other sightings to me at that time (1965). I also liked the way the General Mills scientists stood up to Ruppelt, head of Project Bluebook, when he visited them in Minneapolis on January 14, 1952, in the middle of a cold wave and blizzard. Having directed the launching and tracking of all the Skyhook balloons prior to Ruppelt's visit, they were familiar with the appearance of their balloons in all weather conditions, altitudes, and lighting. They knew meteorology, aerodynamics, and astronomy, and they also were very familiar with UFOs. As Ruppelt put it, the thing that made the General Mills scientists so sure that UFOs existed was that they had seen so many of them. Ruppelt said, "Every time I suggested some natural explanation for UFOs I just about found myself in a fresh snowdrift."

In a daylight sighting on January 16, 1951, two people from General Mills and four from Artesia, New Mexico, were watching a Skyhook balloon from the Artesia airport. After watching the balloon for about an hour, one of them spotted two tiny specks on the northwest horizon. The group watched the specks move in quickly, and in a few seconds they could see that they were two round, dull-white objects flying in close formation. The two objects headed almost straight toward the balloon and then circled it. To circle the balloon, the UFOs tipped on edge in a steep banking manoeuver, and the observers saw that the objects were disk-shaped. This excellent opportunity to determine the size of the saucers by comparison with the known balloon size resulted an estimate of 60 feet in diameter.


Moreover, Blue Book unidentified sightings contain:

Oct. 11, 1951; Minneapolis, Minnesota. 6:30 a.m. Witnesses: General Mills balloon researchers, including aeronautical engineer J.J. Kaliszewski, aerologist C.B. Moore [of future Mogul balloon fame], pilot Dick Reilly in the air, and Doug Smith on the ground. The flight crew saw the first object, a brightly glowing one with a dark underside and a halo around it. The object arrived high and fast, then slowed and made slow climbing circles for about two minutes, and finally sped away to the east. Soon they saw another one, confirmed by ground observers using a theodolite, which sped across the sky. Total time first object was seen was 5 minutes, second was a few seconds.

Kaplan, Dr. Joseph

"Joe" Kaplan is a physics professor at UCLA. His main UFO interest was the Green Fireballs. He put a lot of stock in Dr. La Paz's theory that the GFB's were man-made, although at one time he thought that they were auroral patches. Dr. Kaplan originated the grid camera idea. Dr. Kaplan is presently "ram rodding" the satellite program for the International Geophysical Year.

You can read much information on the "green fireballs" affair here.

Lipp, Dr. James

"Jimmy" Lipp was the Rand Corporations guided missile expert and he was violently anti-saucer. He wrote an analysis of the possibility that other planets were inhabited for the Grudge report. Early in 1953 Col. Don Bower and I tried to enlist Rand's aid, on a contract basis, to try to develop some way of getting more positive answers but, at the recommendation of Lipp, Rand refused to touch it. "Too hot," was their reason. I think controversial would have been a better word than "hot."

James Lipp was RAND's Missile Division director. As soon as May 2, 1946, James Lipp's RAND group published their Report No. SM-11827, "Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship," which was an advanced engineering study of a satellite spacecraft. Lipp was violently anti-UFOs but in the same time he was one of the most aware person concerning daring possibilities of space-flight.

His negative attitude towards UFOs was probably only a disguize. Major General Cabell, Director of Intelligence wrote Letter 80-10 on July 21, 1948 within the framework of Project Sign, to requested RAND to "present information that would serve to evaluate the remote possibility that some of the observed objects may be space ships or satellite vehicles." In answer, James Lipp began to consider propulsion technology for UFOs based on extrapolations of the work done on their "World-Circling Spaceship" study.

RAND corporation was a US Government sponsored think tank of scientists supposed to provide scientific solutions to problems the US was confronted with. They did investigate UFOs somehow, but systematically refused to acknowledge it. In a famous attempt to get their documents released under the FOIA, they first said that they have not written anything about UFOs, and that what they wrote was not to be declassified.

Col. Methaney

Col. Methaney was the CO of the 34th Air Defense Division in Albuquerque. He is now a Brigadier General. He was firmly convinced that the UFO's were real and that they were interplanetary space ships. He wrote up a plan that called for a special squadron of stripped down F-94C's to chase the UFO's. The plan went through Western Air Defense Headquarters and to Air Defense Command Headquarters but it was rejected because of the non-availability of the aircraft. It was in the 34th that the F-86 pilot claimed that he shot at the UFO.

Colonel Methany (Ruppelt misspells in these notes but not in his book) was indeed head of the 34th Air Defense Division at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His plan, dubbed Project Pounce, to use F-94C fighters to go after UFOs with gun-cameras was discarded under the motive that due to the Korean war, there were not enough planes available.

The UFO shooting incident Ruppelt refers to is detailed in the beginning of Chapter 1 of his book.

Paige, Thornton

Thornton Paige of John Hopkin's Operations Research Office, editor of the Operations Research Journal, and an astronomer, sat on the panel in Washington D.C. in January 1952. He tended to line up with Hynek against Louis Alvarez and Goudsmidt to stick up for the UFO's. He actually didn't know too much about the subject but, like Hynek, he didn't go along with the idea of being so definite about the UFO's not existing.

Again, Ruppelt misspells the name, which is Thornton Page. Exactly as Ruppelt states, he did not investigate on UFOs by himself and only heard of it. Over time, his beliefs on UFO swung.

Some information on his role in the Robertson Panel is here.

Page was at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory during the war and dealt with submarine weaponry. He was actually an astrophysicist specialized in the study of planetary nebulae.

In 1958 he joined the Wesleyan University, MiddleTown, Connecticut. In 1968 he becomes the co-chairman for Astronomy of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science.)

He wrote:

Parrish, Lt. Glenn

This officer fits into the UFO picture because he was the Intelligence Officer at the 34th Air Defense Division at Albuquerque where Col. Methany was the CO. Parrish sent in some of the best reports that we had and he is the man who showed me the report on the pilot who shot at the UFO. With all of the good reports that Parrish sent in, he wasn't a confirmed believer. But he did think that the reports were important enough to warrant careful investigations. In addition to the above, Parrish was the middle man for the reports from the people who were doing the radiation work in Los Alamos. We had most of our meetings in Parrish's, or Col Methaney's office at Kirtland AFB. Parrish didn't have much to do with Dr. Lincoln La Paz in Albuquerque. Again he was the middle man, so to speak. A special agent in the CSI office at Kirtland was the man who did most of our contact work with La Paz. This agent, whose name I've forgotten, was convinced that the Green Fireballs were the real thing and he and La Paz were always out investigating something. Since the Air Force didn't recognize the fireballs as any threat, he did all of this on his own time, but he was tapping Air Force contacts and equipment.

The UFO shooting incident Ruppelt refers to is detailed in the beginning of Chapter 1 of his book.

You can read much information on the "green fireballs" affair here.

Porter, Col J.J.

Col. Porter was the Deputy Director for Estimate of the D/I. He was violently anti-UFO. He was Fournet's boss. At every briefing or meeting he always got his two cents worth in and he minced no words. But he never had a decent argument; he didn't know what was being reported nor did he care, he just didn't believe that there was anything to it. General Cabell is reported to have climbed all over him and Col Hal Watson for conspiring to get rid of the UFO project in 1950.

Again a non-believer is described as not having any decent argument and wanting to stop the investigation. It is almost a constant that "anti-UFO" military and scientists are those who do not know much on the topic.

Ruppelt also wrote elsewhere about J.J. Porter: "whom I considered to be one of the most totally incompetent men in the Air Force for reasons other than the UFO Project."

Possony, Dr. Stephen T.

Steve Possony was the acting chief of the Directorate of Intelligence Special Study Group and he had a direct channel to Samford. Steve was pretty much sold on the whole thing. He did a lot of investigating on his own book and he had Father Hayden [Heyden], the astronomer, as his special consultant. Steve and his crew used to cruise all over the U.S. and Europe and during these travels they picked up a lot of UFO data. Steve was behind Fournet 100% and tended to push him. He was smart enough to know that the UFO situation was hot so he used Fournet, who was a reserve and didn't plan to stay in the Air Force any longer than he had to, to try out his ideas. Possony didn't much care what he said, however, and he used to go to battle with any or all of the more vocal skeptics. He really got teed off at Menzel and went to all ends to find out everything about the man. It turned out to be very interesting. Possony had a good reputation in the Air Force. Besides being a fairly sharp intelligence man, he is a professor at Georgetown University and he has written quite a bit on the strategy and concepts of airpower. He is considered one the of the world's experts on this subject.

Stephen Thomas Possony alias Stefan T. Possony was at the Robertson Panel with Ruppelt, Hynek and others; he presented the Tremonton movie and other photographic evidence. He was the Acting Chief, Special Study Group, Directorate of Air Force Intelligence at the time.

Stephen Thomas Possony alias Stefan T. Possony (he was of Austrian origin) was at the Robertson Panel with Ruppelt, Hynek and others; he presented the Tremonton movie and other photographic evidence. He was the Acting Chief, Special Study Group, Directorate of Air Force Intelligence at the time.

But there is more to it.

Stefan Thomas Possony

Austrian-born U.S. military theorist who conceived the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative, known as "Star Wars" (b. March 15, 1913--d. April 26, 1995).


See also

Possony was actually a brilliant mind and the brain behind the Strategic Defense Initiative od Ronald Reagan fame. SDI was supposed to be a network of satellites and spaced based ray runs to protect the US against Soviet missiles. The Soviet could not compete against it economically, and many analysts have considered that this ended the cold war. So, the man behind SDI was convinced that UFOs were real and extraterrestrial. Furthermore, remember the repeated public statements by President Reagan such as:

"In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think, how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask is not an alien force ALREADY among us?" "There are only a handful of people who know the truth about this."

A strange connection indeed... (It is the same S. Possony, I asked someone who knew him very well.)

Robertson, Bob

Bob Robertson is now chief scientific advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of NATO. He first came out to ATIC in November 1952, with a group of other scientists, to review our UFO material. He and his party stayed two days and then went back to Washington and suggested to the National Security Council that a group of top scientists get together to look over the reports. At that time, at least, he... [missing part]

Howard Percy "Bob" Robertson (1903-1961) is one of the most original workers in relativity and cosmology. He worked using mathematical physics, quantum physics, differential geometry, on relativistic cosmology, relativity theory, eccentric planetary orbits, nonzero cosmological constant and many other themes. He was a scientific intelligence advisor in many defense science boards.

At the time of the Panel bearing his name Dr. H.P. Robertson was on leave from his job as professor of Mathematical Physics at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), director of the Weapons System Evaluation Group in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and a CIA classified employee. He became a full time member of CIA's OSI, the Office of Scientific Intelligence. He was a friend of Von Neumann, Wigner, Vannevar Bush from MIT, Theodor von Karman and also Dr. E.U. Condon of future anti-saucer fame.

His defense and CIA ties explain why although he was obviously insistent in 1952 that scientist should look at Blue Book's UFO evidence, he had no problem endorsing the CIA set up "Robertson Panel" conclusions that there are no evidence and that public UFO interest must fade.

Rosenzweig, Leslie

Les Rosenzweig worked for Possony. He was sort of a dull tool and whenever Possony said or did anything Les took it as the gospel. When it came to UFO's there was no difference. Les made quite a few studies on how the UFO's could be powered, how they could be contacted, etc. He pushed the idea of using a huge horizontal movie screen to flash messages to the UFO's. He, or possibly it was Possony himself, made a lot of contacts with Willy Ley. They dropped him fast however, when good old commercial Willy began to try to push himself into the act a little too fast. It is interesting to note that those people in the U.S. who are actually considered to be tops in the fields of interplanetary travel have no use for Willy Ley or Von Braun.

Nothing more seems to be circulating about Rosenzweig.

Willy Ley (1906-1969) was German engineer who was a founder of the German Rocket Society and a friend of Werner Von Braun. As early as 1937, he wrote hundreds of essays, articles and illustrations on space travel, rocketry, planetary exploration as well as science fiction short novels such as "A Martian Adventure" (in "Astounding") under the pseudonym of Robert Willey. This is the reason Ruppelt refers to him as "commercial Willy."

Samford, Major General John

General Samford never committed himself one way or the other on the subject of UFOs. He was always very much interested and gave me the utmost in cooperation, but he never said much. He used to ask many of the other people at meetings what they thought and there were a lot of "pro" answers but he never agreed or disagreed with anyone. The only time that I ever heard him say anything was when Colonel Porter got real nasty about the whole thing one day and began to knock ATIC, UFO's, me and everything associated with the project. Then the General said something to the effect that as far as he could see, I was the first person in the history of the Air Force's investigation that had taken a serious approach to the investigation and that he didn't see how anyone could decide until I'd collected more data. At the present time the General is the one who is so rabid on the fact that nothing will be released. He got "burned" real bad on the press conference in July 1952. His statements were twisted around and newsreel shots of him were "cut and pieced" to get him saying things that he didn't. He wanted to play along with the writers but they misquoted him so badly that now he is saying absolutely nothing. Donald Keyhoe keeps writing about the "silence group" in the Air Force, those who want to clamp down on UFO news. Gen Sanford is the silence group and friend Keyhoe can take all of the credit for making him that way.

Ruppelt was of course very pleased with General Samford's compliment, and very angry at Keyhoe. However, when one studies the Press of the time and the infamous press conference on the National Airport sighting in Washington D.C., it becomes obvious that Samford did lie on many occasions, eluded questions from the Press, and generally did downplay UFOs in public.

It is also true that he did not specifically state that UFOs do not exist or are not interplanetary, but his sometimes confusing statements made the Press believe that it was the gist of the conference, and newspaper headlines went "USAF debunks flying saucers."

A lot more about Samford and the infamous Press conference is to appear soon on this site.

Smith, Col. Weldon H.S.

This man was Dewey Fournet's boss. He wasn't quite as sold on the UFO's as Colonel Bill Adams but he was pretty well sold. He also "brought" Fournet's ideas and studies. I remember specifically the case of the Burned Scoutmaster: Col Smith was "sold" that this was the real thing. He was following the whole show from the Pentagon, through my calls to Fournet and from the wires that I was sending back. Just as soon as I got back from the first trip to Florida I went in to see him and he got quite irked when I said that something about this scoutmaster just didn't ring true. He said that I was biased and wasn't giving the man a chance. According to Keyhoe, he is the person from the D/I that wrote the anonymous letter that Keyhoe quotes in his book. I don't believe it, however, I think that Fournet wrote it.

Col. Weldon Smith investigated with Fournet and Ruppelt on UFO manoeuvers, such as in the Haneda case, and agreed that the nature of the manoeuvers indicated intelligent control.

Thompson, James

When I knew Jim Thompson he was an astronomer working for RAND in Santa Monica. He used to stop in at ATIC quite frequently and spend a day or two reading reports. Whenever I got out to California he used to arrange an unofficial bull session with a dozen or so of the "believers" AND we'd talk UFOs.

Again an indication that despite denials, there was interest for UFOs among RAND people.

A 1968 internal report ("For RAND Use Only") ends with this conclusion:

Certainly the conclusions drawn by NICAP from reports in their file are startling and, if valid worthy of considerable scientific effort. It would be much more convincing if data could be collected worldwide and if the most interesting reports could be most interesting reports could be intensively and completely investigated. I believe current reports justify the expanded data collection and analysis effort.


Watson, Col. H.E.

Col. Watson, now a Brig Gen and once again Chief of ATIC, was chief of ATIC when I arrived. (He later went to Europe for three years.) He was violently anti-saucer but he crossed himself up too many times trying to constantly grab publicity. He was the one who made the famous remark about all UFO observers being nuts or "fatigued airline pilots". He continually hauled in writers who would plug him and debunk the UFO's. I've overheard him tell how he completely snowed Bob Considine.

Reporter Bob Considine wanted to see the Tremonton UFO movie at Wright Patterson AFB, and was shown to the door instead. And yet Considine had previously written an anti saucer article in Cosmopolitan titled "The Disgraceful Flying Saucer Hoax" where he accused without any proof or the least reason another UFO filmer, Nick Mariana, of having hoaxed his footage.

Watson and Grudge project leader James Rodgers were the main responsible for the failure of Project Grudge, about which Cabell went into a rage and had to start the New Project Grudge which became Project Blue Book so that no reference to the shamely previous project can be tainting the new Project. Watson was in charge at the ATIC since 1949 but did nothing more than ridicule UFO reports publicly without actually doing any investigation. He often didn't even forward the reports has he was supposed too. Watson had actually noticed that the members of the press adored him when he dismissed this or that UFO report by dropping words such as "balloon", "meteor", "Venus", "nuts", "fatigued pilots", in confidence. He simply enjoyed this.

White, Major General

I think that this man's name was White. He was from some branch of research and development in the Pentagon. He and his staff religiously attended every one of my briefings and were sold that the UFO's were real. He had Gen Samford's ear but I don't think he quite convinced Samford that the UFO's were real.

There were too many officers named Maj. Gen. White, I cannot be sure which one he was.

Zimmerman, Charles

Charley Zimmerman was the technical advisor to the chief of the Analysis Branch at ATIC. I never could figure out exactly where he stood on the subject of UFO's but I think he was a bit of a believer. Several times I tried to put through an explanation that a UFO was a balloon or other known object and he'd argue like mad against it. Many times he'd come running into my office to show me "a new, red hot report".

This man is none other that the Charles Zimmerman who built the unique prototype of the Vought V-162 disc-winged plane for the US Navy, better known as the "Flapjack" or "Zimmer Skimmer." It is quite ironic that the builder of a plane, which has been constantly and erroneously proposed as "the explanation" for UFOs was so much interested in UFOs and obviously a "believer."

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This page was last updated on August 21, 2003.