Monday, October 17, 2005

"UFOs Are Just What The Name Implies"

UFO Fleet Question Mark
By Donna Hunt
The Herald Democrat

     ”UFOs are just what the name implies n Unidentified Flying Objects,“ Chandler Yergin of Tucson, Ariz., said this week when contacted after last Sunday's column included parts of an earlier interview with Yergin found on the Internet.

     Yergin came to Perrin Air Force Base as an Airman Second Class in 1951 to help install radar equipment. He was a radar mechanic at the time and the crew had just completed the early warning radar system at Perrin in March or April 1953, when the incident in the column occurred.

     The Internet piece told how Yergin was on duty performing routine maintenance on a Plan Position Indicator when he saw a huge blip in the New York sky. Yergin said that statement wasn't true and he tried to correct the error with the reporter, but it failed to be done. He learned about the huge blip through the network of radar systems across the Southeast as it was picked up on radar screens along the way.

     Dick D. Williams of Denison pointed out last week that radar will only reach about 300 miles and New York is way beyond that boundary. Williams was at Perrin too in 1953 as a member of the radar squadron, but the two didn't know each other.

     Williams called the sighting ”a bunch of bull.“ He said he came to Perrin in 1953 before the radar site was completed and he and the crew spent several months with nothing to do waiting for the completion of the equipment. He worked with Carl Hagan, commanding officer of the Radar Squadron, and Tony Cupp also was among the first radar technicians who arrived here before the equipment installation was completed.

     The equipment, being brand new, was the most modern available and could reach only about as far as Oklahoma City primarily because of the curvature of the earth. Maximum distance for radar is about 300 miles, Williams said.

     Williams was one of the first members of the Radar Squadron, coming here from Alaska with four or five others. He had 22 years in the service, six of those years between January 1952 until 1959. He was sent back for another tour of duty and when Perrin closed, he retired as a Major and stayed in Denison.

     Yergin agreed that the radar equipment would only reach about as far as Oklahoma City, but said emphatically that when he picked it up in that area he watched it split into nine smaller blips, flying in formation.

     At that time, Yergin said, the government was paranoid about UFOs because there were so many reported sightings between 1950 and 1954. These sightings were being watched by Project Blue Book teams that were at all bases and were already at Perrin when the incident occurred.

     He said this was the group of eight men in civilian suits with uniformed armed guards who came into the radar hut, separated the group and took them at gunpoint to a hangar on the back of the field. They were interrogated for about four hours, during which they had to draw diagrams of what they saw and write narratives of everything that took place. They were ordered never to talk about it to anyone under the threat of a $10,000 fine and 10 years in prison for violating the Official Secrets Act.

     Yergin said last week he has been on the ”cutting edge“ of technology with a remarkable career of more than 37 years in Aerospace Technology, working with prime contractors who manufactured critical components for our satellites and weapon systems. His clearances were secret and he was certified by NASA to perform certain activities, he said.

     ”I KNOW there is nothing that can violate the laws of Physics as we know them!“ Yergin said, adding, ”UFO's are simply Unidentified Flying Objects.“

     He agreed that there is not a shred of evidence to confirm any supernatural occurrence and the only real story about the sighting was the paranoia of the government at that time. He said a group of guys being taken at gunpoint, intimidated and threatened with fine and imprisonment if they spoke about that they had seen was pure paranoia.

     ”Eyewitness accounts of almost anything are notoriously unreliable,“ he said, ”especially where flying objects are concerned and there is no frame of reference to determine size, shape, height, speed, etc,“ He said he thought about six percent of ”sightings“ have not been explained, but that doesn't mean there is no explanation.

     Vergin said he would like to find someone who was at the Radar Annex at the time and/or one of the pilots that was scrambled to try and get a visual sighting so they could have a good laugh about it all over a drink.

     Vergin remembers that the Perrin Radar Annex was located on FM 1417, not far from the main base. The facility was part of a large system of radar stations guarding this country's sky against attack during the Cold War. The facility also was known as a Ground Controlled Intercept (GCI) site and it remained active until Perrin closed.

     Vergin said the large blip on the screen had been declared hostile in New York because it wasn't identified. F-86 Fighters from Perrin and planes from other bases were scrambled to try to check out the blips. Virgin said he watched as the objects crossed the Red River and when the fighters got to within 20 miles of them, the blips changed direction and took off toward the Northwest.

     A few minutes later the mob of government Blue Book interrogators appeared with the armed guards.

     In 1953 Yergin's father died and he asked for a transfer to a non-critical field so that he could get a hardship discharge. He was transferred to a survival school to become an instructor, then was given that discharge to return home to help his mother since he was the only surviving son.

     He said he had a remarkable career that took him to France, England, Spain, Belgium, Canada and Mexico as well as most of the 50 states.

     He said he had seen one other object that he couldn't identify. He was sitting in the spa one night in Tucson and saw a beautiful white object that looked like a lighted globe in the sky. It was a cloudless night and he watched the object about 30 minutes, trying to figure how high it was. He noticed a small cloud and watched to see if it went over or under the object.

     The cloud passed under it and he could still see the light through the cloud, he said. After about 40 minutes he looked away and when he looked back, the light was gone, he said. He put this sighting in the column of ”unexplained,“ but that doesn't mean its it extraterrestrial, he said. It just means it was an ”unidentified flying object.“

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