Wednesday, September 2, 2009
A SIGN in the Heavens?
Between ten and fifteen years ago, it was my privilege to participate as a secondary figure in a great adventure. Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle were doing their warriors' work in New Mexico, and all about the country, chasing down dozens of Roswell witnesses. I got to know them both as friends and respected colleagues. We used to meet several times a year in Chicago to discuss the latest leads and findings, and it was always a bit of a thrill to know that you were the "second" persons to hear of these things [often months before they were published].
I, naturally, wanted to contribute some help to their amazingly hard work. We thought that although there was plenty of evidence that something very peculiar has crashed and left debris at the ranch site north of Roswell, after that the story went blank. Where did the "stuff" go, regardless of what anyone thinks it was? The only real choice at the time was the technical intelligence group at Wright-Patterson AFB.
They had all the engineering brains and they were used to trying to figure out crash wreckage [from WW2] and such matters. No one had yet really explored what was happening internally at Wright-Pat in those days, and so I agreed to try. I found out a great deal, but unfortunately I picked the "wrong side of the fence" and it didn't help Don and Kevin out much with Roswell. Still, the research was a logical try. I looked at the Intelligence Analysis division, what they called at the time "T-2", and, upon reflection, the crash remains would have gone to the engineering labs at what was called "T-3". Oh well, I probably wouldn't have gotten far with T-3 anyway, and the research on T-2 opened up a whole lot of UFO history. -----------------------------------------------
T-2 was headed by the three guys pictured at the top of the page. The intelligence chief was Colonel Howard McCoy [left], his Assistant Director for Intelligence Analysis , Colonel William Clingerman, [center], and his main headquarters assistant, Lt. Colonel Miles Goll. They had under them a large organization of engineering analysts, in typical military pyramidical chains of command, right down to specific topic "desks"--for instance, a particular Soviet weapons system, and later the UFO desk. The picture on the second layer from the top shows McCoy and his boys meeting either in 1947 or 1948. -----------------------------------------------
As stated in the previous post, UFOs were flying and the Pentagon wanted to know, literally, what was up. Colonel Garrett had made his "estimate" and had gotten no one to say that we had anything like this. Now General George Schulgen [third layer, left] wrote to Wright-Patterson to ask for their guidance. Commanding General Twining asked Mack McCoy to get the experts on it. McCoy did so. The word came back: Garrett is correct. There is some sort of aerial technology flying around and it isn't ours. This was a bit stunning. The Pentagon decided, since this seemed like an "engineering" intelligence problem, to get the main "desk" for this out of the hands of Garrett and into T-2. Garrett began transferring his files ASAP.
The recipient was T-2 intelligence operative, and somewhat of an aerotechnology genius, Alfred Loedding [third layer, right]. Loedding and an engineering friend of Mack McCoy, Albert Deyarmond [third layer, center] became the foundationstones of the initial UFO project that was later formally called SIGN. By the way, during the research a good friend and colleague, Mark Rodeghier, located Mrs. McCoy [Mack had already passed] and interviewed her. She said that Mack was proud of his work on the UFO project, and stayed interested in the subject long past his tenure leading SIGN. She also said that frequent fast trips to DC were regular occurrences in those days, and once he got a call while they were at a party, said his apologies and was gone for nearly a week; all this related to UFOs. --------------------------------------------------------------------------
Whether there was "meaning" behind the choice of the code word, we'll probably never know. But Alfred Loedding felt from the beginning that these devices were real, and he had researched the possibility of disk-shaped aircraft [what the engineers called "lifting bodies"] himself, and even had a patent on a design. Rather quickly it seems, the idea that these things could be neither ours nor the Soviets, but yet were real, seeped into the consciousnesses of Loedding, Deyarmond, and the other main SIGN operatives. All through the months of 1948 SIGN was collecting case reports, mainly from pilots. The "conclusion" seemed just out of reach. Then in July came a commercial aircraft encounter that pushed them into an "estimate".
The famous Chiles-Whitted encounter [named after the pilots] seemed to SIGN to be close to the "proof" from an engineer's perspective. The reported "device" was a large cigar-shaped object that made a near-hit on the plane, rose up and disappeared high. It was said to have "windows" all along an otherwise structureless body [i.e., no wings, tail, etc]. There was an aeronautical theory that said that such a structure COULD fly, but it needed a very mighty powerplant. We did not have such a powerplant, nor did the Soviets. SIGN was driven to the conclusion that this device, and therefore many/most of the other mysterious cases were devices constructed elsewhere than Earth. ---------------------------------------------------------------------
This conclusion has been entitled "The Estimate of the Situation" in UFO lore. It IS significant. Because whether anyone wishes to "buy" it or not, it shows that the first persons who actually looked at the subject seriously, took the flying disks and the extraterrestrial hypothesis very seriously indeed. They were so sure of their ground that they sent the Estimate to the Pentagon, over the signatures of McCoy, Clingerman, et al, as would be required as pass-throughs in the chain-of-command. When it got to the Pentagon, it was expected, though not comfortably. This idea, of admitting that the leading Air Force hypothesis for the flying disks was now "extraterrestrial craft", was, probably for a whole variety of reasons, not going down well.
An "anti-UFO" counter-group had formed in the Pentagon, and were selling the ideas that the disks were either Soviet or they were non-existent. [Despite the evidence to the contrary on both theories]. Director of Intelligence, General Charles Cabell, seems to not have wanted to field this hot potato on his own. He asked AF Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenberg to rule. The Chief said "no way we are agreeing to this" and, with vigor, sent the Estimate back down to SIGN with the demand that they come up with a different Estimate. [Vandenberg is fourth layer, left, above]. ----------------------------------------------------------------
Sign personnel were not "appreciated" for their efforts and soon everyone except the lowest two operatives were reassigned. Alfred Loedding said: My stock at the Pentagon had never been so low. Being positive on UFOs was not a great career move. The Pentagon itself did not want anyone knowing about the Estimate, and for many years denied that any such thing existed. It was one of many such lies, told in the interest of national security--you may make up your own mind as to whether that was appropriate.
We know that it has been an ongoing lie because two perfectly placed AF "UFO officers" have told us so. Dewey Fournet, the Pentagon's UFO desk officer [middle, last picture above] and Edward Ruppelt, Wright-Pat's chief of the UFO project [right above; they are talking to Pentagon public information contact, Al Chop] both saw the Estimate and read it. It said exactly what has been claimed here. Over the years, the UFO history community has requested that the document finally be released. 61 years later they refuse to do so. Why?
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