The UFO FLAP of 1957
We often hear of the infamous UFO flap of 1952 when all across the United States a plethora of unidentified aerial sightings occurred over civilian and military facilities creating public hysteria. F-94C all weather interceptors chased UFO’s over White House airspace and were detected on the radars of three major airports in the Washington DC area over several nights. Despite Newspaper Headlines concerning the Korean War the major story carried in the national tabloids for days it was UFO's who eclipsed all other news items.
As a result of all the activity and reported sightings the largest post World War II press conference was held by US Army General Samford to explain that some of the radar targets could have been caused by thermal inversions known as “Weather Targets” yet Al Chop, USAF PR Spokesman, Major Dewey Forney USAF flight engineer, and Harry Barnes, Chief Traffic Controller did not agree with that explanation as they watched UFO’s on the radar screens and the US Air Force interceptors that flew in to identify them. More than 300 unidentified sightings were reported over the continental US alone during a short number of days in 1952.
Yet, in the midst of the ever increasing involvement of the US Air Force and the FBI in investigating UFO’s the Robertson Panel convened. This collection of rocket experts, generals, weapons developers, and other scientists was also attended by the Project Blue Book Director Captain Edward Ruppelt, Major Dewey Forney, and Astronomical Advisor Doctor J. Allen Hynek. With the Project Bluebook staff presenting the most impressive sighting reports and films taken by one Naval photographer Delbert Newhouse known as the Tremonton Film and the Beaver Falls, Montana film taken by baseball coach Nick Marianas the evidence was ignored!
With Project Blue Book gaining much integrity with the armed forces and conducting field reports from coast to coast one prominent general was ready to allocate more funding to the project and assign a major aerial reconnaissance group to UFO investigations. However, the Robertson Panel would conclude that UFO’s though still a mystery, presented no threat to National Security and therefore recommended that funding be limited and Project Blue Book be converted into a public relations agency simply for the purpose of convincing the citizenry that an effort was being made to address the subject, using denial as one of their major tools. The more crucial reports of serious concern would be sent up the ladder to Wright Patterson Field where the ATIC was located for more serious study. As a result, the original staff who had worked so hard improve the skills and quality of the reporting would now disband and seek reassignment as they were now discouraged by the bureaucratic coup that had just taken place! Ironically Doctor J. Allen Hynek remained on as the main scientific debunker.
Yet, with all efforts being used by the US Air Force to dismiss public interest in the subject and to dissuade the public from being alarmed over UFO sightings the phenomenon simply refused to go away. In 1957, there was a wider scale of massive UFO reports that spanned the entire globe. Sightings emerged from Kyoto, Japan to New Zealand, from Peru to Argentina, from Portugal to multiple sightings in the UK, but the lion’s share of UFO reports came from the US with a massive wave in California, Texas, and New York State. An alarming number of UFO’s were tracked by radar, had ground level eye witness reports, or scrambled Jet fighters to investigate. A log of US Air Force and other military facilities reads as follows:
16 January 1957 14:20 - Random Lake, Wisconsin, USA - Balloon-like objects observed. Two balls were observed for five minutes Explanation: Balloon.
16 January 1957 20:00 - Fort Worth NW, Texas, USA - B-25 Pilots/Crew incident. Carswell AFB.
25 January 1957 - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - An object was sighted that had an appearance and performance beyond the capability of known earthly aircraft. An unidentifiable object was observed at close range and caused physical effects. Godman Airfield.
8 February 1957 20:50 - Randolph AFB, Texas, USA - A meteor-like object was observed. One object was observed by a male military witness at an airfield for six seconds. Explanation: Meteor.
11 February 1957 11:50 - Honolulu, Hawaii, USA - Luminous disc enters clouds, rises above it accompanied with second smaller object, both objects maneuver about. Pearl Harbor NAS.
13 February 1957 02:30 - Lincoln AFB, Nebraska, USA - Two radars and USAF ground observers tracked several supersonic targets, flying behind an airliner, that broke apart, hovered, and sped away. Explanation: Balloon.
13 February 1957 18:30 - Lockheed Plant, California , USA - Hovered
9 March 1957 01:40 - Shaw AFB, South Carolina, USA - USAF C-47 incident.
22 March 1957 23:15 - Oxnard AFB, California , USA - USN incident. Fighters scrambled to intercept radar returns after many witnesses in the Los Angeles basin report maneuvering lights. Explanation: Star.
23 March 1957 22:00 - Clinton County AFB, Ohio, USA - A meteor-like object was observed. One object was observed by military witnesses at an airfield for six seconds Explanation: Meteor
7 April 1957 17:00 - 427Th Air Refuel Squadron Georgia, USA - An unidentified but otherwise conventional object was sighted. One object was observed by military witnesses for over 25 minutes. Explanation: Balloon.
23 April 1957 01:10 - Hunter AFB N425K, Fl, Georgia, USA - An unidentified object, later identified as a planet, was observed. An unidentified object, later identified as a planet, was observed. One object was observed by military witnesses at an airfield for over 18 minutes. Explanation: Planet.
2 May 1957 07:55 - Edwards AFB, California , USA - Theodolite Crew incident. Explanation: Balloon.
3 May 1957 00:03 - Stead AFB, Nevada, USA - A meteor-like object was observed. One object was observed by a male witness at an airfield. Explanation: Meteor.
4 May 1957 02:25 - McClellan AFB, California , USA - USAF 552nd AEW&C incident. Explanation: Rocket.
17 May 1957 07:50 - Roswell, New Mexico, USA - One white disc was observed.
1 June 1957 12:00 - East Los Angeles, California , USA - Man witnesses two bright "white and blue" stars pursued by jet fighters. Los Angeles AFB
In mid-June 1957 - Great Falls, Montana, USA - From June 1956-57-58-Aug. 1959 we were stationed at Malstrom AFB UFO sightings
16 June 1957 13:58 - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - Radar tracked an inbound target at average speed of about 6,200 mph for 48 seconds Nellis AFB
9 July 1957 19:00 - Amarillo, Texas, USA - Balloon-like object observed. One ball was observed (Ross). Explanation: Balloon. Amarillo AFB USAF
10 July 1957 20:30 - Del Rio Nw8M, Texas, USA - An unidentified but otherwise conventional object was sighted. One object was observed by one witness for over 35 minutes (Bradley). Explanation: Star. Laughlin AFB.
23 July 1957 Daytime - White Sands, New Mexico, USA - A flying disc was observed. One disc was observed by four witnesses White Sands Proving Grounds.
7 August 1957 01:38 - Bunker Hill Afb, Indiana, USA - A meteor-like object was observed. One object was observed by military witnesses at an airfield for 12 seconds. Explanation: Meteor.
7 August 1957 22:00 - Lakehurst, New Jersey, USA - Meteor-like objects were observed. Two objects were observed for 12 seconds Explanation: Meteor.
10 August 1957 - Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA - Atlas ICBM incident.
21 August 1957 19:58 - Cambria Air Force Station, California , USA - Radar/visual confirmation. Explanation: Mirage
22 August 1957 15:40 - Cecil NAS, Florida, USA - Car chased a 15 meters black, bell shaped object. Explanation: Aircraft.
27 August 1957 20:35 - Eglin AFB, Florida, USA - Balloon-like object observed. One ball was observed by eight witnesses at an airfield for five minutes (Limbaugh). Explanation: Balloon
In September 1957 09:00 - Fort Belvoir, Virginia , USA - Fort Belvoir Photo of a ring-shaped object. Explanation: cloud produced by atomic-bomb simulation.
29 September 1957 Night - White Sands, New Mexico, USA - An unidentified object was sighted, that had an unusual appearance or performance. One object was observed by four male witnesses at an airfield for over six minutes Explanation: Aircraft.
6 October 1957 Night - Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA - One object was observed by over 10 witnesses near a missile.
15 October 1957 19:45 - North Island NAS, California , USA - USN incident. Explanation: Aircraft.
16 October 1957 13:30 - Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA - Photo of elliptical object, evaluated as lenticular cloud. Explanation: Cloud Holloman, AFB
18 October 1957 05:24 - Lackland AFB, Texas, USA - An object was observed and photographed. One object was observed by military witnesses at an airfield for 36 seconds Explanation: Satellite
19 October 1957 17:10 - Larson AFB, Washington, USA - A comet-like object was observed. One object was observed at an airfield. Explanation: Comet
23 October 1957 20:35 - Corpus Christi, Texas, USA - Meteor-like objects were observed. Three objects were observed for six seconds (Huffman). Explanation: Meteor. NAS Corpus Christi
25 October 1957 04:57 - Kodiak, Alaska, USA - USN incident. Explanation: Balloon.
In November 1957 - Warren AFB, Wyoming, USA - A daylight disc was observed by military witnesses near a nuclear test site.
2 November 1957 - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - A meteor-like object was observed. Nocturnal lights were reported (Coffman). Explanation: Meteor Carswell AFB.
2 November 1957 21:30 - Levelland, Texas, USA - Levelland case. Over a four hour period, 15 separate witnesses saw enormous, luminous, egg-shaped UFOs straddling the road at different locations near the town. In nine cases car electrical systems failed. Explanation: electromagnetic phenomenon
2 November 1957 Night - Army Camp, Texas, USA - A flying disc was observed. Electromagnetic effects were noted. One disc was observed by military witnesses at a military facility.
3 November 1957 03:00 - White Sands, New Mexico, USA - MP incident, taped radio report. Explanation: Moon
3 November 1957 23:53 - Amarillo, Texas, USA - Navy Pilot incident.
4 November 1957 00:10 - Amarillo, Texas, USA - An object was observed. Electromagnetic effects were noted. An unidentifiable object was observed at close range and caused physical effects.
4 November 1957 22:45 - Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, USA - USAF Air Traffic Controllers track and observe visually an object, car-shaped, 18 feet high, that buzzes their runway. It hovers like a helicopter but accelerates away like a jet. Official explanation: (classified?) aircraft?
The above mentioned reports are an incomplete list for 1957 that even though some sightings are explained away as meteors, balloons, or planets, these sightings clearly reveal a military on alert and ready to launch interceptions. Why? These accounts seem more like a war time footing. Even though the "Cold War" was underway it would seem there was something much more ominous going on.
In Part II we will further examine the rest of the military base reports along with some hostile engagements that took place that same year. It would seem that the Robertson Panel was incorrect in assessing flying saucers as a non threat to National Security!