Friday, January 22, 2010

Former Project Blue Book’s Director on The Joiner Report - Tonight

Air Force Check Out Lights - Wayne County Press 8-12-1963

Colonel Robert Friend     USAF Colonel Robert Friend was Project Blue Book’s director from 1958 to 1963. Originally known as Blue Book, the project was based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio to investigate hundreds of UFO reports yearly through the 1950s and 1960s.

In a 2005 ABC News interview (The Secret of Project Blue Book), Friend said, “We wanted to explain as many (UFO) sightings as possible, but we recognized that the amount of resources that would have been necessary in order to do this would have been far beyond those that we were ready to commit at the time.” He said he also recognized the project’s real purpose. “What they wanted to try to do was, I think, to re-educate the public regarding UFOs, to take away the aura of mystery.”

Friend worked closely with one civilian scientist, Ohio State University astronomer J. Allen Hynek (d. 1986). Between 1948 and 1969, Dr. Hynek was the lead investigator on thousands of cases. Friend established monthly meetings with an unofficial scientific advisory group chaired by Dr. Hynek to discuss the unexplained cases and hopefully discern trends.

In February of 1958, the Air Force revised regulation 200-2 for the fifth time. It stated that, “Air Force activities must reduce the percentage of unidentified to the minimum.” In the wake of this change Blue Book started to look more and more like a mere repository of files with little investigative authority. The end result was to keep UFOs out of the newspapers and out of the public mind by repeatedly stating the sightings were nothing more than weather balloons or rare atmospheric conditions, like a star on the horizon. Lack of resources and continual budget cuts ultimately doomed the project.

In 1963, Friend retired as head of Blue Book—replaced by Major Hector Quintanilla who served merely as a caretaker of the project until it disbanded in 1969.

After retiring from the Air Force, Friend served over 17 years with Fairchild Controls, Fairchild Space and Defense, as Director of Human Resources, Director of Quality, Director of Performance Improvement and Planning, and Director of Engineering. He is currently on the Board of Directors and Executive Vice President for Stanford Mu Corporation. He is married to Anna Bernice Rice and has a family of eight children and many grand and great-grandchildren.

Expect an informative hour when The Joiner Report welcomes Robert Friend, Friday, Jan. 22, 9-10 p.m. CST, on the UFO Paranormal Radio Network.

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