CUFOS got word of this explosion of UFOs over Western Michigan at about the same time that everyone else did, but CUFOS was by that time in its history no longer an organization which did onsite fieldwork except in very special circumstances. Still, CUFOS Director, Mark Rodeghier, decided that this one sounded like we should at least we should dip our toe in the water. He knew that I was not a field researcher, but that I had a friend, an old NICAP member, who used to do that. So that's who he called. My friend began looking into this.
It was instantly obvious that a chaotic circus had immediately commenced. Witnesses, other than the Graves family, were being assaulted in paparazzi fashion and being turned off everywhere. The 911 operator told my friend that he knew of a few witnesses who had seen quite a bit, but who had told him that under no circumstances was he to let out their names. One guy was an ex-USAF colonel who lived south along the coast and who would have been a superior addition to the story. But no way.
The NOAA station manager had told everyone flat that there would be no interviewing any station personnel especially the night operator who took the 911 call. They wanted none of the grief. My friend made contact not only with them [briefly] but went on to talk with NOAA HQ in Washington DC. He made a good impression. Ultimately they called him back and said that he could have the only interview with the staff, BUT he would have to bring that WMU science professor with him when he came [he'd played my "PhD card" to them over the phone]. So I was stuck with a field investigation if we wanted access.
Suddenly, in about one second, the single blip manifests as three. These have moved slightly WSW, still in the South Haven area.
Rapidly the array turns more to a triangular positioning, and ascends to a significantly greater height.
So, smiles all around, we left the station with what seemed, and still seems, some first class testimony for a magnificent mystery. We stumbled upon some people from WMU shortly afterwards [student pilots, and a geology field trip group --- the assistant professor of the geo-group happened to occasionally sit by me in Church] and they told coherent and supportive tales of lights moving on high in good time concurrence with what might have happened just after the Chicago "disappearance".
We waited a long time to see the MUFON report in print. "Part One" came out in the Journal, a fairly intriguing but shallow presentation, but the promised "Part Two" never appeared. We waited longer to see if things would ever settle down so that the USAF Colonel would be willing to talk to us, but no. The sketch below shows how valuable his testimony could have been, as it was well possible that he was directly beneath the phenomenon when it suddenly leapt strait upwards. In the end, I finally gave up and wrote up what you've just read for IUR.
Part three of this current series, if I ever make it, will cover the aftermath of this thing, which included some "sociology" which was almost as weird as the encounter itself. Till then.