Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Small Moment In UFO History

I've been too rushed to post for about a week, so I thought it a good idea to put some little something up before I trek back to Michigan, as who knows if there will be time there or not.

The fractional government document above is a section of a Pentagon UFO report from the earliest days. I photocopied it from Dr. Hynek's personal papers, as he had an original. I then selected out the majority of it to use in a paper. Notice that it is "clean": no markings on it nor scribbled out witness names. Most of the on-line documents from the Blue Book microfilms are not like this, but clean microfilm copies do exist elsewhere. But the reason that I'm making a post is the image below.

This is the image you get from the typical on-line source. [It's the full page without me "selecting" just the gist of the report]. And it's messy. It happens, however, that it's the kind of messy that historians like.

This case was one of the early military reports from the 1947 "beginning" wave. Wright-Patterson was not yet receiving the reports. This case from Maxwell field, involving four witnesses, was sent through channels to TAC at Langley Field, and from there onto the Pentagon. It took one week to get from Maxwell HQ to Langley [officers at Maxwell were probably not yet sure of what they were supposed to do with something like this], and then four more days to get into the Pentagon. I.E. "Received AFBIR-CO 11-July 47". That means that the report went to Air Force Intelligence [AFBIR at the time] and was received at the desk of the Chief of the Collection Division [CO]. That chief was Colonel Robert Taylor III. He passed it on to his top assistant Lt. Colonel George Garrett. How do we know that, other than "logic"?

Look at that "wonderful" grease marker circled 5 at the bottom of the page. You might think it stupid, but that circled 5 makes me smile. That indicates that this paper was the exact copy that George Garrett spread out on his desk that fateful day in late July/early August [along with several others] to begin making the first ever estimate-of-the-situation. This case, Maxwell field, was his "fifth" case in that estimate. The Kenneth Arnold, EJ Smith cases etc were others.

That moment in UFO history created a snowballing effect leading to Brigadier General George Shulgen's asking all services and commands whether we had developed anything like this, and then separately asking AMC at Wright-Pat the same thing. Wright-Patterson's reply became the now-famous "Twining Memo". This exact sheet of paper led to the USAF admission that the flying disks were real.

Stare a bit at it folks. Sacred document. History right there before your eyes.

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