Last September, after seven military veterans convened a press conference in Washington to share their first-person recollections of UFOs surveilling — and, in some cases, possibly disabling — U.S. nuclear missiles during the 1960s and ‘70s, the Air Force responded the only way it knew how.
By Billy Cox
By Billy Cox
The USAF referred all queries to an ossified, weed-choked press release about how it hasn’t been in the UFO biz since it pounded the nails into Project Blue Book in 1969.
To wit, not a single UFO incident — not a one among the 12,000-plus reports studied — represented “technological developments or principles beyond the range of modern scientific knowledge.” Not a one posed a challenge to our national security. And whatever they are, they ain’t ET.
But long before that disgraced PR campaign shut down, some of its own people — like Capt. Edward Ruppelt — were warning “there is a movement afoot” to mislead the public, and that it was emanating from official channels.
In 1956, shortly after he left the Air Force, the former Blue Book investigator offered a dose of skepticism in The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects. “Good UFO reports,” he charged, “cannot be written off with such answers as fatigued pilots seeing a balloon or star; ‘green’ radar operators with only fifteen years’ experience watching temperature inversions cause blips on their radarscopes; or a ‘mild form of mass hysteria or war nerves.’ Using answers like these, or similar ones, to explain the UFO reports is an expedient method for getting the percentage of unknowns down to zero, but it is no more valid than turning the hands of a clock ahead to make time pass faster.”
More specifically, Ruppelt wrote, “UFOs were habitually reported from areas around ‘technically interesting’ places like our atomic energy installations, harbors, and critical manufacturing areas. Our studies showed that such vital military areas as Strategic Air Command and Air Defense Command bases, some A-bomb storage areas, and large military depots actually produced fewer reports than could be expected from a given area in the United States. Large population centers devoid of any major ‘technically interesting’ facilities also produced few reports.
“According to the laws of normal distribution,” he concluded, “if UFOs are not intelligently controlled vehicles, the distribution reports should have been similar to the distribution of population in the United States — it isn’t.”
Perhaps no contemporary review of Blue Book’s own data punctures the Air Force fraud with more rigor than Tom Tulien’s analysis of a 1968 incident at a Strategic Air Command base in North Dakota. As part of the Minnesota researcher’s Sign Oral History Project, this story deserves far more attention than it’s been getting since its release online last month.
De Void recently talked with several veterans who cooperated with Tulien’s investigation. For the next few installments, former USAF personnel who responded to a security breach on the front lines of America’s nuclear deterrent system at the height of the Cold War will share their reaction to the official dispensation of an embarrassment that took more than three hours to run its course.
According to the Air Force, the men it charged with maintaining and deploying weapons of mass destruction were guilty of being duped by stars and balls of plasma. These guys aren’t happy about being made to look like chumps.
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