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Monday, March 26, 2012

UFOs - The Mantell Incident (1)

   Part 1 - 1: Mantell Case - Original Account (Ruppelt)
        Part 1 - 2: Capt. Thomas Francis Mantell, Jr.
        Part 1 - 3: The P-51D Mustang
        Part 1 - 4: 2005 Prior to Re-Investigation
        Part 2 - 1: March 2006 - The Re-Investigation Begins
        Part 2 - 2:  WFIE Show Aires
        Part 2 - 3:  The Documents Speak
        Part 2 - 4: Project SIGN
        Part 2 - 5: Balloon Deflated
        Part 2 - 6: The Accident Report
        Part 2 - 7: Deyarmond Says Case Unexplained
        Part 2 - 8: Incident 30 - The Clinton County Incidents
        Part 2 - 9: The Fort Knox Sightings
        Part 2-10: The Alert Crew Sightings
        Part 2-11: "Was Not The Planet Venus"
        Part 2-12: Pickering Re-Interviewed
        Part 2-13: "Appeared to Touch the Ground"
        Part 2-14: The Press Reports
        Part 2-15: Plan 62
        Part 2-16: Skyhook 160 Miles From Mantell
        Part 2-17: The Accident Report Arrives
        Part 2-18: WFIE - The Second Interview
        Part 2-19: "Coverup of the Complicity"
        Part 2-20: The Real Work Begins
        Part 3-1: Summary & Analysis by Fran Ridge
        Part 3-2: Independent Analysis by Brad Sparks
-----------------------------------------------

The Mantell Incident

Anatomy of a Re-Investigation







By Francis Ridge

with

Jean Waskiewicz and Dan Wilson
 
 
 


First edition, 2010

Published in the United States

Copyright 2010 by Francis Ridge

All rights reserved. No part of this report may be
reproduced in any form, without written permission
from the copyright holder, unless by a reviewer who
wishes to quote passages.

Printed in the United States of America




Acknowledgments

In the 1960's, all I had with my NICAP rapid deployment investigation team was a crude home office with an old Underwood typewriter, a file cabinet (mostly empty), a small collection of UFO books, and access to the local library. I had three other field investigators and three technical advisers in my 7-man NICAP Subcommittee. My contact with a few outside researchers and NICAP headquarters in Washington, DC, was by the relatively slow U.S. mail and expensive long distance telephone.

Twenty-five to thirty years later, the scene changed drastically. Field investigators and researchers all over the globe had a computer that was online. The internet, with instantaneous email messaging, along with the ability to scan and attach important documents, and text from books and UFO reports from all over the world, created a system that rivaled the FBI.  In December of 1997, I set up the NICAP web site to house archived data and later set up the NICAP A-Team to peer review that data. While my team compiled UFO data for over ten years from the earliest days to, by now, the 1990's, a tremendous amount of information and expertise was in place. But without Rebecca Wise and the Project Blue Book Archive, most of this would have been only historically important. The real breakthroughs came about when we brought the BB files into the picture. If we wanted to provide information to a media source, or another researcher, we either already had it or knew where to get it and had the people who knew the most about it.

None of this would have been possible without the help from the NICAP A-Team and others.  Those who assisted in this re-investigation were: Jean Waskiewicz -  researcher and NICAP site materials archivist; Dan Wilson, Project Blue Book researcher, member Nuclear Connection Project; Brad Sparks, independent researcher & analyst; Richard Hall - Primary NICAP Consultant & Former Acting Director of NICAP, former Chairman of the Fund for UFO Research; Mark Rodeghier - Scientific Director and President of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies;  John Schuessler - Associate for the Center for UFO Study, Director, Mutual UFO Network (2000-2006); Don Berliner - Chairman of the Fund for UFO Research; Tom Deuley - Co-Founder, Fund for UFO Research & Corporate Secretary, Mutual UFO Network;  Steven Kaeser - Executive Board Member, Fund for UFO Research; Rob Swiatek, Secretary & Treasurer, Fund for UFO Research; Bruce Maccabee, former Chairman of the Fund for UFO Research, US Navy optical physicist and expert in analysis of UFO photographs; Rebecca Wise, Project Blue Book Archives; Jan Aldrich, Project-1947 consultant; Joel Carpenter, pilot, Consultant of early UFOs and "foo-fighters"; Don Ledger, pilot & television producer; Peter Davenport - Director, National UFO Reporting Center, Seattle, WA.; also Kevin Randle, Wendy Connors, Terry Mantell, Drew Speier (Channel 14, Evansville), Jerry Clark, Tom DeMary, Michael Swords, Mary Castner, Barry Greenwood, Rod Dyke, Loren Gross, and William Jones.

One of it's members is a workhorse,  a magnificently skilled person by the name of Jean Waskiewicz. Jean is a retired Computer Systems Analyst and  retired Michigan Mufon Webmaster. She is a member of Mufon International and served with Michigan MUFON for many years. UFO history is her passion and she loves the search for new data. She has been working feverishly on the NICAP effort since 2004. In 2006 her work on the Mantell case re-investigation for the NICAP team was absolutely essential. Her work in that regard illustrates that she will do whatever it takes to help decipher old documents and make them readable again. She is also a member of the Nuclear Connection Project Team.

Another extremely gifted and determined member of our A-Team is Dan Wilson. Dan lives in Painesville, Ohio. He began studying nuclear weapons, the entire nuclear weapons complex, nuclear weapons testing, and nuclear power production in 1988. He has read extensively on the UFO phenomena and has interviewed various witnesses from the Air Force, Navy, and the Atomic Energy Commission. He contributed very interesting information to the newly released book, UFOs and Nukes, by Robert Hastings. Since 1998 he has extracted vital documents from the Project Blue Book Archives for the NICAP site, and in 2006 he discovered documents proving a cover-up in the Mantell case. Since 2003 he has provided valuable researched information regarding UFOs and the nuclear connection and is now an official member of the Nuclear Connection Project.

Armed with these great colleagues, and some years preparation with document and database work, we couldn't have been more prepared. But what we found was a lot more than we had imagined. This time it involved a case almost everyone had written off.

The first part of this report is a blow-by-blow, day-by-day, chronicle of the investigation.  It describes who found what, and when, and what others had to say about it. The Mantell Incident: An Anatomy of an Investigation, is more than a diary of what happened each day. It includes transcripts of discovered documents and "lost" press releases, as well as actual copies of important documents. The report includes analyses by numerous researchers of specific issues. The Report would not be complete without the analytical expertise of independent researcher, Brad Sparks, who wrote the very detailed analysis based on all the evidence collected.  We welcome others to conduct their own analyses and/or rebuttals to this report.


Introduction



There are at least 1500 good reports in the Blue Book files where the witnesses actually lived to tell about their encounters with UFOs, many of which would make any sensible person sit up and take notice. And those reports come directly from the Air Force files. In April of 2006, at WFIE reporter Drew Speier's request, I reluctantly agreed to do an interview on the Mantell case, one that even many pro-UFO researchers had thrown out. WFIE wanted to do it because it was somewhat a "local" incident, and it was both sensational and controversial. I finally agreed to do it in the hope that WFIE would do something better in the near future with any of our many better UFO reports or something new that might develop. Since I wanted to do this interview right, for the record, I set out to show the media and the public the importance of what we DID have on the case.

First of all, there were at least seven reasons why I have always felt that the Mantell incident was important and that a cover-up was probably involved:

1) In I960, I was a NICAP Subcommittee Chairman in SW Indiana. A scientific consultant to our team at Vincennes, Indiana, who had worked for Project SIGN, told me that the Mantell case was NOT explained and that the incident had shaken a lot of people up. I was "small potatoes" back then, a field investigator and head of a rapid response team for local and regional reports, with other things in my area of responsibility besides events 12-years in the past and in another state..

2) The Air Force-inspired, 1952 LIFE Magazine article by Robert Ginna, five years after the incident took place, stated that the case was unsolved.

3) In 1956 a former head of Project Blue Book (Capt. Ed Ruppelt) stated in his book, "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects" (page 41): "According to the old timers at ATIC, this report (Chiles-Whitted case) shook them worse than the Mantell Incident. This (C-W) was the first time two reliable sources had been really close enough to anything resembling a UFO to get a good look and live to tell about it."

4) I had known about this but Dan Wilson, our NICAP team's archive researcher found documents confirming that in the 1948 Mantell case the State Police had gotten reports of an object described as "circular, about 250' to 300' in diameter," and moving westward at a "pretty good clip." In my opinion no one would describe a balloon of any kind in this way. In another document we found the object was described as "1/10th the size of the full moon". Yet another, "Tremendous" size was used to describe the object at Godman Field at 1:45 PM.

5) Besides the State Police reports there had been evidence of at least two other UFO sightings, one at Lockbourne AFB, another at Clinton County AFB, both in Ohio. UFO sightings in the region! We found those documents, too.

6) Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe: "Many ranking officers who had laughed at the saucer scare stopped scoffing. One of these was General Sory Smith, now Deputy Director of Air Force Public Relations. Later in my investigation, General Smith told me: 'It was the Mantell case that got me. I knew Tommy Mantell very well - also Colonel Hix, the C.O. at Godman. I knew they were both intelligent men -not the kind to be imagining things."

7) The planes flown by Mantell and his wing men were F-51 Mustangs. In 1948, the designation P-51 (P for pursuit) was changed to F-51 (F for fighter) and the existing F designator for photographic reconnaissance aircraft was dropped because of a new designation scheme throughout the USAF. This 400-mph fighter could overtake a non-powered balloon...... in no time.

With that much already a given, I did the interview. The internet version of the show was viewed by many that weekend. That Monday morning , a well-meaning UFOlogist sent me and the Current Encounters email list a note, asking just what I had that made me think that Mantell was chasing anything other than a balloon. Before I could respond to that email, our team's number one analyst, Brad Sparks, responded. We really started digging that day and haven't stopped yet.

Getting ready for the "flak" and what looked like a second interview in July, for the best defense possible for the incident, my team did a complete case work-up. The report went from a 1/2" thick hard copy printout to a document compilation over 4" thick. I can't speak for everyone, but I don't know any person that wasn't surprised in some way by what we found.

The lighter-than-air balloon theory was blown away. Cover-ups and lies jumped right off the pages of the Air Forces' own documents. An accident report and newspaper clippings proved that even the wing men had lied. By July we were able to tell the public the truth about the balloon theory, and that Captain Thomas Mantell had not lost his life chasing a weather balloon. But the rest had to be held back, until now.

The end result is the report you are reading right now. For that, we have to thank the persistence of WFIE and reporter Drew Speier. And we couldn't have done it at all without the help of Brad Sparks (researcher, consultant, analyst), Rebecca Wise (Project Blue Book Archive), Dan Wilson (document archive researcher), and Jean Waskiewicz (NICAP Database, news clipping search, transcripts)..

Francis Ridge
NICAP Researcher & Archivist
http://www.nicap.org/ 

 
Part 1 - 1: The Mantell Case - Original Account
January 7, 1948




This is the original account of the famous Mantell Incident, as told by Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, in his book in 1956. (Ref.1). Nothing has been changed in this version so that the reader can quickly get through the main gist of the story which has been told many times by many people. If you are well-versed in that regard, you may skip this section and move on. - Francis Ridge



Edward J. Ruppelt:
On January 7 all of the late papers in the U.S. carried headlines similar to those in the Louisville Courier: "F-51 and Capt. Mantell Destroyed Chasing Flying Saucer." This was Volume I of "The Classics," the Mantell Incident. At one-fifteen on that afternoon the control tower operators at Godman AFB, outside Louisville, Kentucky, received a telephone call from the Kentucky State Highway Patrol. The patrol wanted to know if Godman Tower knew anything about any unusual aircraft in the vicinity. Several people from Maysville, Kentucky, a small town 80 miles east of Louisville, had reported seeing a strange aircraft. Godman knew that they had nothing in the vicinity so they called Flight Service at Wright-Patterson AFB. In a few minutes Flight Service called back. Their air Traffic control board showed no flights in the area. About twenty minutes later the state police called again. This time people from the towns of Owensboro and Irvington, Kentucky, west of Louisville, were reporting a strange craft. The report from these two towns was a little more complete. The towns people had described the object to the state police as being "circular, about 250 to 300 feet in diameter," and moving westward at a "pretty good clip." Godman Tower checked Flight Service again. Nothing. All this time the tower operators had been looking for the reported object. They theorized that since the UFO had had to pass north of Godman to get from Maysville to Owensboro it might come back.
At one forty-five they saw it, or something like it. Later, in his official report, the assistant tower operator said that he had seen the object for several minutes before he called his chiefs attention to it. He said that he had been reluctant to "make a flying saucer report." As soon as the two men in the tower had assured themselves that the UFO they saw was not an airplane or a weather balloon, they called Flight Operations. They wanted the operations officer to see the UFO. Before long word of the sighting had gotten around to key personnel on the base, and several officers, besides the base operations officer and the base intelligence officer, were in the tower. All of them looked at the UFO through the tower's 6 x 50 binoculars and decided they couldn't identify it. About this time Colonel Hix, the base commander, arrived. He looked and he was baffled. At two-thirty, they reported, they were discussing what should be done when four F-51's came into view, approaching the base from the south.
The tower called the flight leader, Captain Mantell, and asked him to take a look at the object and try to identify it. One F-51 in the flight was running low on fuel, so he asked permission to go on to his base. Mantell took his two remaining wing men, made a turn, and started after the UFO. The people in Godman Tower were directing him as none of the pilots could see the object at this time. They gave Mantell an initial heading toward the south and the flight was last seen heading in the general direction of the UFO.
By the time the F-51's had climbed to 10,000 feet, the two wing men later reported, Mantell had pulled out ahead of them and they could just barely see him. At two forty-five Mantell called the tower and said, "I see something above and ahead of me and I'm still climbing." All the people in the tower heard Mantell say this and they heard one of the wing men call back and ask, "What the hell are we looking for?" The tower immediately called Mantell and asked him for a description of what he saw. Odd as it may seem, no one can remember exactly what he answered. Saucer historians have credited him with saying, "I've sighted the thing. It looks metallic and it's tremendous in size.... Now it's starting to climb." Then in a few seconds he is supposed to have called and said, "It's above me and I'm gaining on it. I'm going to 20,000 feet." Everyone in the tower agreed on this one last bit of the transmission, "I'm going to 20,000 feet," but didn't agree on the first part, about the UFO's being metallic and tremendous.
The two wing men were now at 15,000 feet and trying frantically to call Mantell. He had climbed far above them by this time and was out of sight. Since none of them had any oxygen they were worried about Mantell. Their calls were not answered. Mantell never talked to anyone again. The two wing men leveled off at 15,000 feet, made another fruitless effort to call Mantell, and started to come back down. As they passed Godman Tower on their way to their base, one of them said something to the effect that all he had seen was a reflection on his canopy.
When they landed at their base, Standiford Field, just north of Godman, one pilot had his F-51 refueled and serviced with oxygen, and took off to search the area again. He didn't see anything.
At three-fifty the tower lost sight of the UFO. A few minutes later they got word that Mantell had crashed and was dead.
Several hours later, at 7:20 P.M., airfield towers all over the Midwest sent in frantic reports of another UFO. In all about a dozen airfield towers reported the UFO as being low on the southwestern horizon and disappearing after about twenty minutes. The writers of saucer lore say this UFO was what Mantell was chasing when he died; the Air Force says this UFO was Venus.
The people on Project Sign worked fast on the Mantell Incident. Contemplating a flood of queries from the press as soon as they heard about the crash, they realized that they had to get a quick answer. Venus had been the target of a chase by an Air Force F-51 several weeks before and there were similarities between this sighting and the Mantell Incident. So almost before the rescue crews had reached the crash, the word "Venus" went out. This satisfied the editors, and so it stood for about a year; Mantell had unfortunately been killed trying to reach the planet Venus.
To the press, the nonchalant, offhand manner with which the sighting was written off by the Air Force public relations officer showed great confidence in the conclusion, Venus, but behind the barbed-wire fence that encircled ATIC the nonchalant attitude didn't exist among the intelligence analysts. One man had already left for Louisville and the rest were doing some tall speculating. The story about the tower-to-air talk, "It looks metallic and it's tremendous in size," spread fast. Rumor had it that the tower had carried on a running conversation with the pilots and that there was more information than was so far known. Rumor also had it that this conversation had been recorded. Unfortunately neither of these rumors was true.
Over a period of several weeks the file on the Mantell Incident grew in size until it was the most thoroughly investigated sighting of that time, at least the file was the thickest.
About a year later the Air Force released its official report on the incident. To use a trite term, it was a masterpiece in the art of "weasel wording." It said that the UFO might have been Venus or it could have been a balloon. Maybe two balloons. It probably was Venus except that this is doubtful because Venus was too dim to be seen in the afternoon. This jolted writers who had been following the UFO story. Only a few weeks before, The Saturday Evening Post had published a two-part story entitled "What You Can Believe About Flying Saucers." The story had official sanction and had quoted the Venus theory as a positive solution. To clear up the situation, several writers were allowed to interview a major in the Pentagon, who was the Air Force's Pentagon "expert" on UFO's. The major was asked directly about the conclusion of the Mantell Incident, and he flatly stated that it was Venus. The writers pointed out the official Air Force analysis. The major's answer was, "They checked again and it was Venus." He didn't know who "they" were, where they had checked, or what they had checked, but it was Venus. The writers then asked, "If there was a later report they had made why wasn't it used as a conclusion?" "Was it available?" The answer to the last question was "No," and the lid snapped back down This interview gave the definite impression that the Air Force was unsuccessfully trying to cover up some very important information, using Venus as a front. Nothing excites a newspaper or magazine writer more than to think he has stumbled onto a big story and that someone is trying to cover it up. Many writers thought this after the interview with the major, and many still think it. You can't really blame them either.
In early 1952 I got a telephone call on ATIC's direct line to the Pentagon. It was a colonel in the Director of Intelligence's office. The Office of Public Information had been getting a number of queries about all of the confusion over the Mantell Incident. What was the answer?
I dug out the file. In 1949 all of the original material on the incident had been microfilmed, but something had been spilled on the film. Many sections were so badly faded they were illegible. As I had to do with many of the older sightings that were now history, I collected what I could from the file, filling in the blanks by talking to people who had been at ATIC during the early UFO era. Many of these people were still around, "Red" Honnacker, George Towles, Al Deyarmond, Nick Post, and many others. Most of them were civilians, the military had been transferred out by this time.
Some of the press clippings in the file mentioned the Pentagon major and his concrete proof of Venus. I couldn't find this concrete proof in the file so I asked around about the major. The major, I found, was an officer in the Pentagon who had at one time written a short intelligence summary about UFO's. He had never been stationed at ATIC, nor was he especially well versed on the UFO problem. When the word of the press conference regarding the Mantell Incident came down, a UFO expert was needed. The major, because of his short intelligence summary on UFO's, became the "expert." He had evidently conjured up "they" and "their later report" to support his Venus answer because the writers at the press conference had him in a corner. I looked farther.
Fortunately the man who had done the most extensive work on the incident, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, head of the Ohio State University Astronomy Department, could be contacted. I called Dr. Hynek and arranged to meet him the next day.
Dr. Hynek was one of the most impressive scientists I met while working on the UFO project, and I met a good many. He didn't do two things that some of them did: give you the answer before he knew the question; or immediately begin to expound on his accomplishments in the field of science. I arrived at Ohio State just before lunch, and Dr. Hynek invited me to eat with him at the faculty club. He wanted to refer to some notes he had on the Mantell Incident and they were in his office, so we discussed UFO's in general during lunch.
Back in his office he started to review the Mantell Incident. He had been responsible for the weasel-worded report that the Air Force released in late 1949, and he apologized for it. Had he known that it was going to cause so much confusion, he said, he would have been more specific. He thought the incident was a dead issue. The reason that Venus had been such a strong suspect was that it was in almost the same spot in the sky as the UFO. Dr. Hynek referred to his notes and told me that at 3:00 P.M., Venus had been south southwest of Godman and 33 degrees above the southern horizon. At 3:00 P.M. the people in the tower estimated the UFO to be southwest of Godman and at an elevation of about 45 degrees. Allowing for human error in estimating directions and angles, this was close. I agreed. There was one big flaw in the theory, however. Venus wasn't bright enough to be seen. He had computed the brilliance of the planet, and on the day in question it was only six times as bright as the surrounding sky. Then he explained what this meant. Six times may sound like a lot, but it isn't. When you start looking for a pinpoint of light only six times as bright as the surrounding sky, it's almost impossible to find it, even on a clear day.
Dr. Hynek said that he didn't think that the UFO was Venus.
I later found out that although it was a relatively clear day there was considerable haze.
I asked him about some of the other possibilities. He repeated the balloon, canopy-reflection, and sundog theories but he refused to comment on them since, as he said, he was an astrophysicist and would care to comment only on the astrophysical aspects of the sightings.
I drove back to Dayton convinced that the UFO wasn't Venus. Dr. Hynek had said Venus would have been a pinpoint of light. The people in the tower had been positive of their descriptions, their statements brought that out. They couldn't agree on a description, they called the UFO "a parachute, an ice cream cone tipped with red," "round and white," "huge and silver or metallic," "a small white object," "one fourth the size of the full moon," but all the descriptions plainly indicated a large object. None of the descriptions could even vaguely be called a pinpoint of light.
This aspect of a definite shape seemed to eliminate the sundog theory too. Sundogs, or perihelia, as they are technically known, are caused by ice particles reflecting a diffused light. This would not give a sharp outline. I also recalled two instances where Air Force pilots had chased sundogs. In both instances when the aircraft began to climb, the sundog disappeared. This was because the angle of reflection changed as the airplane climbed several thousand feet. These sundog-caused UFO's also had fuzzy edges.
I had always heard a lot of wild speculation about the condition of Mantell's crashed F-51, so I wired for a copy of the accident report. It arrived several days after my visit with Dr. Hynek. The report said that the F-51 had lost a wing due to excessive speed in a dive after Mantell had "blacked out" due to the lack of oxygen. Mantell's body had not burned, not disintegrated, and was not full of holes; the wreck was not radioactive, nor was it magnetized.
One very important and pertinent question remained. Why did Mantell, an experienced pilot, try to go to 20,000 feet when he didn't even have an oxygen mask? If he had run out of oxygen, it would have been different. Every pilot and crewman has it pounded into him, "Do not, under any circumstances, go above 15,000 feet without oxygen." In high-altitude indoctrination during World War II, I made several trips up to 30,000 feet in a pressure chamber. To demonstrate anoxia we would leave our oxygen masks off until we became dizzy. A few of the more hardy souls could get to 15,000 feet, but nobody ever got over 17,000. Possibly Mantell thought he could climb up to 20,000 in a hurry and get back down before he got anoxia and blacked out, but this would be a foolish chance. This point was covered in the sighting report. A long-time friend of Mantell's went on record as saying that he'd flown with him several years and knew him personally. He couldn't conceive of Mantell's even thinking about disregarding his lack of oxygen. Mantell was one of the most cautious pilots he knew. "The only thing I can think," he commented, "was that he was after something that he believed to be more important than his life or his family."
My next step was to try to find out what Mantell's wing men had seen or thought but this was a blind alley. All of this evidence was in the ruined portion of the microfilm, even their names were missing. The only reference I could find to them was a vague passage indicating they hadn't seen anything.
I concentrated on the canopy-reflection theory. It is widely believed that many flying saucers appear to pilots who are actually chasing a reflection on their canopy. I checked over all the reports we had on file. I couldn't find one that had been written off for this reason. I dug back into my own flying experience and talked to a dozen pilots. All of us had momentarily been startled by  reflection on the aircraft's canopy or wing, but in a second or two it had been obvious that it was a reflection. Mantell chased the object for at least fifteen to twenty minutes, and it is inconceivable that he wouldn't realize in that length of time that he was chasing a reflection.
About the only theory left to check was that the object might have been one of the big, 100-foot-diameter, "skyhook" balloons. I rechecked the descriptions of the UFO made by the people in the tower. The first man to sight the object called it a parachute; others said ice cream cone, round, etc. All of these descriptions fit a balloon. Buried deep in the file were two more references to balloons that I had previously missed. Not long after the object had disappeared from view at Godman AFB, a man from Madisonville, Kentucky, called Flight Service in Dayton. He had seen an object traveling southeast. He had looked at it through a telescope and it was a balloon. At four forty-five an astronomer living north of Nashville, Tennessee, called in. He had also seen a UFO, looked at it through a telescope, and it was a balloon.
In the thousands of words of testimony and evidence taken on the Mantell Incident this was the only reference to balloons. I had purposely not paid too much attention to this possibility because I was sure that it had been thoroughly checked back in 1948. Now I wasn't sure.
I talked with one of the people who had been in on the Mantell investigation. The possibility of a balloon's causing the sighting had been mentioned but hadn't been followed up for two reasons. Number one was that everybody at ATIC was convinced that the object Mantell was after was a spaceship and that this was the only course they had pursued. When the sighting grew older and no spaceship proof could be found, everybody jumped on the Venus band wagon, as this theory had "already been established." It was an easy way out. The second reason was that a quick check had been made on weather balloons and none were in the area. The big skyhook balloon project was highly classified at that time, and since they were all convinced that the object was of interplanetary origin (a minority wanted to give the Russians credit), they didn't want to bother to buck the red tape of security to get data on skyhook flights.
The group who supervise the contracts for all the skyhook research flights for the Air Force are located at Wright Field, so I called them. They had no records on flights in 1948 but they did think that the big balloons were being launched from Clinton County AFB in southern Ohio at that time. They offered to get the records of the winds on January 7 and see what flight path a balloon launched in southwestern Ohio would have taken. In a few days they had the data for me.
Unfortunately the times of the first sightings, from the towns outside Louisville, were not exact but it was possible to partially reconstruct the sequence of events. The winds were such that a skyhook balloon launched from Clinton County AFB could be seen from the town east of Godman AFB, the town from which the first UFO was reported to the Kentucky State Police. It is not unusual to be able to see a large balloon for 50 to 60 miles. The balloon could have traveled west for a while, climbing as it moved with the strong east winds that were blowing that day and picking up speed as the winds got stronger at altitude. In twenty minutes it could have been in a position where it could be seen from Owensboro and Irvington, Kentucky, the two towns west of Godman. The second reports to the state police had come from these two towns. Still climbing, the balloon would have reached a level where a strong wind was blowing in a southerly direction. The jet-stream winds were not being plotted in 1948 but the weather chart shows strong indications of a southerly bend in the jet stream for this day. Jet stream or not, the balloon would have moved rapidly south, still climbing. At a point somewhere south or southwest of Godman it would have climbed through the southerly-moving winds to a calm belt at about 60,000 feet. At this level it would slowly drift south or southeast. A skyhook balloon can be seen at 60,000.
When first seen by the people in Godman Tower, the UFO was south of the air base. It was relatively close and looked "like a parachute," which a balloon does. During the two hours that it was in sight, the observers reported that it seemed to hover, yet each observer estimated the time he looked at the object through the binoculars and time-wise the descriptions ran "huge," "small," "one fourth the size of a full moon," "one tenth the size of a full moon." Whatever the UFO was, it was slowly moving away. As the balloon continued to drift in a southerly direction it would have picked up stronger winds, and could have easily been seen by the astronomers in Madisonville, Kentucky, and north of Nashville an hour after it disappeared from view at Godman.
Somewhere in the archives of the Air Force or the Navy there are records that will show whether or not a balloon was launched from Clinton County AFB, Ohio, on January 7, 1948. I never could find these records. People who were working with the early skyhook projects "remember" operating out of Clinton County AFB in 1947 but refuse to be pinned down to a January 7 flight. Maybe, they said.
The Mantell Incident is the same old UFO jigsaw puzzle. By assuming the shape of one piece, a balloon launched from southwestern Ohio, the whole picture neatly falls together. It shows a huge balloon that Captain Thomas Mantell died trying to reach. He didn't know that he was chasing a balloon because he had never heard of a huge, 100-foot-diameter skyhook balloon, let alone seen one. Leave out the one piece of the jigsaw puzzle and the picture is a UFO, "metallic and tremendous in size."
It could have been a balloon. This is the answer I phoned back to the Pentagon.
******
Ref. 1:  "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects", Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, 1956, (pages 31-39)

Part 1 - 2: Captain Thomas Francis Mantell, Jr.


 
 

Capt. Thomas F. Mantell Jr., was born in Franklin, Kentucky, 30 June 1922. He was a graduate of Male High School, in Louisville. On 16 June 1942, he joined the Army Air Corps, graduating Flight School on 30 June 1943.

During World War II, Mantell was assigned to the 440th Troop Carrier Group, 96th Troop Carrier Squadron, 9th Air Force. He was awarded Distinguished Flying Cross, and Air Medal w/3 GLCs for heroism. Following the war he returned to Louisville, joining the newly organized Kentucky Air National Guard, as Flight Leader, "C" Flight, 165th Fighter Squadron, Kentucky Air National Guard on 16 February 1947.:


 

Mantell (center)  with buddies at Army Air Corps Flight School, 1942.


 
 
 
Mantell (front row, second from the right) with pilots of the 165th Fighter
Squadron, Kentucky Air National Guard. (Credit: Wendy Connors)


On Saturday, 29 September 2001, the Simpson County Historical Society unveiled a historical marker in honor of Thomas F. Mantell, Jr. The marker is located at the Franklin, Kentucky exit off Interstate 65, next to the office building of Simpson County Tourism.

 
Part 1 - 3: The P-51D Mustang


 

 
NORTH AMERICAN P-51D MUSTANG

The Mustang was among the best and most well-known fighters used by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Possessing excellent range and maneuverability, the P-51 operated primarily as a long-range escort fighter and also as a ground attack fighter-bomber. The Mustang served in nearly every combat zone during WWII, and later fought in the Korean War.

Origins
In 1940 the British approached North American Aviation to license-build Curtiss P-40 fighters for the Royal Air Force. North American offered to design a better fighter, which flew as the NA-73X in October 1940. Production of the aircraft -- named Mustang I by the British -- began the following year.

Mustangs for the USAAF
In the summer of 1941, the USAAF received two Mustang I's under the designation XP-51. Although flight tests of the new fighter showed promise, the USAAF did not immediately order the Mustang. After the personal intervention of Gen. Hap Arnold, however, the USAAF retained 55 Mustangs from a British order. Most of these became F-6A photo-reconnaissance aircraft, which equipped the first USAAF Mustang units, the 154th and 111th Observation Squadrons in North Africa in the spring of 1943.

In March 1942 the USAAF accepted the first production P-51A fighters. Although excellent at lower levels, the P-51A's Allison engines severely limited performance at high altitude. The USAAF employed P-51As in the China-Burma-India theater, where most combat took place at low altitude.

In April 1942 the USAAF ordered an attack version equipped with dive brakes and bomb racks, the A-36 Apache. A-36s entered combat in June 1943 and served in North Africa, Italy and India.

A Winning Combination
In the fall of 1942, Mustangs in the United States and Great Britain were experimentally fitted with British Merlin engines. One in the United States flew a remarkable 441 mph at 29,800 feet -- about 100 mph faster than the P-51A at that altitude. Mass production of the Merlin-powered P-51B and P-51C soon followed (nearly identical, North American produced the "B" in Inglewood, Calif., and the "C" in Dallas, Texas).

In December 1943 the first P-51B/C Mustangs entered combat in Europe with the 354th Fighter Group "Pioneers." By the time of the first U.S. heavy bomber strike against Berlin in March 1944, the USAAF fielded about 175 P-51B/C Mustangs. Along with P-38 Lightnings, these P-51s provided sorely needed long-range, high-altitude escort for the U.S. bombing campaign against Germany.

"Bubble-top" Mustang The P-51D incorporated several improvements, and it became the most numerous variant with nearly 8,000 being built. The most obvious change was a new "bubble-top" canopy that greatly improved the pilot's vision. The P-51D also received the new K-14 gun-sight, an increase from four to six .50-cal machine guns, and a simplified ammunition feed system that considerably reduced gun jams.

The P-51D arrived in quantity in Europe in the spring of 1944, becoming the USAAF's primary long range escort fighter. The versatile Mustang also served as a fighter-bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. Few Luftwaffe aircraft could match the P-51D -- by the end of the war, Mustangs had destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in the air, more than any other USAAF fighter in Europe.

P-51Ds arrived in the Pacific and CBI theaters by the end of 1944. In the spring of 1945, Iwo Jima-based P-51Ds started flying long-range B-29 escort and low-level fighter-bomber missions against ground targets in Japan.

Continuing Development
North American eventually developed a considerably lightened Mustang, which became the P-51H. With a remarkable top speed of 487 mph, it was 50 mph faster than the P-51D. Although it was in production before the war ended, the P-51H did not reach frontline units in time to see combat.

With the last of 555 P-51Hs completed in 1946, the production run of the Mustang ended with over 15,000 of all types built.

Korean War
Although Mustangs continued in service with the newly-formed U.S. Air Force and many other nations after the war, more advanced jet fighters relegated them to secondary status. Many of the USAF's Mustangs (redesignated the F-51) were surplused or transferred to the Reserve and the Air National Guard (ANG).

At the start of the Korean War, however, the Mustang once again proved its usefulness. After the initial invasion, USAF units were forced to fly from bases in Japan, and F-51Ds could hit targets in Korea that short-ranged F-80 jet fighters could not. Mustangs continued flying with USAF, South Korean Air Force (ROKAF), South African Air Force (SAAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter-bomber units on close support and interdiction missions in Korea until they were largely replaced by F-86F jet fighter-bombers in 1953.

Epilogue
F-51s flew in the Reserve and ANG until they were finally phased out in 1957. Obtained from the West Virginia ANG in 1957, the aircraft on display was the last Mustang assigned to a USAF tactical unit. It is painted as the P-51D flown by Col. C.L. Sluder, commander of the 325th Fighter Group in Italy in 1944. The name of this aircraft, Shimmy IV, is derived from the names of his daughter, Sharon, and his wife, Zimmy.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Armament:
Six .50-cal. machine guns and 10 5-in. rockets or 2,000 lbs. of bombs
Engine: Packard-built Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1650 of 1,695 hp
Maximum speed: 437 mph
Cruising speed: 275 mph
Range: 1,000 miles
Ceiling: 41,900 ft.
Span: 37 ft.
Length: 32 ft. 3 in.
Height: 13 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 12,100 lbs. maximum
Serial number: 44-74936
 


Part 1 - 4:   2005 - Prior to Re-Investigation
At the close of the year, 2005, the Mantell case directory had files containing what others had written about the case, plus several Project Blue Book documents. The printed-out file was about an inch thick. By the time we conducted the re-investigation in 2006, the file was over four times that size.

The following 21 Air Force documents were in that original file at the NICAP site, thanks to the efforts of UFO researcher, Dan Wilson. The key documents regarding this case were in the first of the four groups below, transcribed by our own, Jean Waskiewicz.

1)  On November 9, 2005, our A-Team UFO researcher, Dan Wilson, found these three "RESTRICTED" documents, dated, January 7, 1948. Listed as a report of unusual incidents that took place in several locations. Sightings were reported, (1) In Kentucky; (2) In Ohio at Lockbourne AFB tower and Clinton County Tower who advised that a great ball of light was traveling southwest across the sky; (3) In Missouri, at St. Louis Tower advising that a great ball of light was passing directly over the field - Scott AFB Tower also verified this; and (4) "A call was received from Air Defense Command advising us to alert Coffeyville, Kansas, Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and Kansas City Missouri, and that they had plotted the object as moving WSW at 250 miles per hour." These three documents confirm the original story as reported by Captain Edward Ruppelt, in his 1956 book. Newly found newspaper reports also tell us that someone had called an ambulance (Fire Dept) and they had arrived before the police. Apparently this is how Mantell's body was removed from the plane before State Police got there, and before the accident investigators arrived. But there were more surprises ahead.

The document numbers below that have the (*) correspond to
the actual versions that can be found at the end of this chapter. ALL of the documents LISTED can be found on the NICAP website. The transcripts of those selected documents are provided immediately BELOW the relevant doc numbers.


At approximately 1400E, 7 January 1948, Kentucky State Police reported to Ft Knox Military Police they had sighted an unusual aircraft or object flying through air, circular in appearance approximately 250 - 300 feet in diameter, moving westward at "a pretty good clip." This in turn was reported to the Commanding Officer, Godman Field, Ft Knox, Kentucky, who called Godman Tower and asked then to have Flight Service check with Flight Test at Wright Field to see if they had any experimental aircraft in that area.

Captain Hooper at Flight Test Operations stated, "We have no experimental aircraft in that area, however we do have a B-29 and an A-26 on photo missions in that area." This information was relayed to Godman Tower by dispatcher on duty and a verification on report was asked for.

Godman Tower later called back and stated first report was by radio to Ft Knox Military Police and followed by telephone call to same from State Police.

Information on P-51's and further reports are reported as follows by Captain Arthur T. Jehli, Supervisor of the 1600E ­ 2400E shift.

"When the 1600E - 2400E shift reported for duty we were advised that a "disc", or balloon, or some strange object was seen hovering in the vicinity of Godman Field. This object was seen by the Commanding Officer and Operations Officer of Godman Field who advised that they would attempt to send aircraft to ascertain the size and shape of the object.

"At this time there was a flight of 4 P51's enroute from Marietta, Georgia to Standiford Field, Louisville, Kentucky. The lead ship was NG 3869, pilot Mantell. The Commanding Officer, Godman Field contacted this pilot and requested that he investigate the object overhead.

"One of the ships of the formation, NG 336 pilot Hendricks, landed at Standiford Field. The 3 other aircraft started to climb toward the object.

“At 22,000 feet pilot Hammond, NG 737, advised Clements, NG 800, that he had no oxygen equipment. Both pilots then returned to Standiford Field; pilot Mantell, NG 3869, continued climbing.

“Pilot Clements, NG 800, refueled and went back up to 32,000 feet but did not see either the strange object or the aircraft NG 3869 again, and so returned to Standiford Field.

“At 1750E, Standiford Field advised that NG 3869, pilot Mantell, crashed 5 miles SW Franklin, Kentucky at approximately 1645C.

“We then sent an arrival of 1500C for the 3 aircraft, NG 336, NG 737, and NG 800, also notified Maxwell Flight Service Center that NG 3869 had crashed.

“Maxwell Flight Service Center made a long distance call to Franklin, Kentucky and spoke to police officer Joe Walker, who took charge at the scene of the accident.

"Officer Walker stated that when he arrived the pilots body had been removed from the aircraft. Upon questioning eyewitnesses, Officer Walker learned that the aircraft had exploded in the air before it hit the ground, but, that the aircraft did not burn upon contact with the ground. 
"The wrecking was scattered over an area of about one mile, and at that time the tail section, one wing, and the propeller had not been located.

“Lt Tyler, Operations Officer at Standiford Field, departed Standiford Field for Bolling (Bowling) Green, Kentucky in N 8101 to investigate the accident - Also at our suggestion an investigation party and Military Police were dispatched from Godman Field to the scene.

“So much for the accident - now hold on to your hat!

“Godman Tower again contacted us to report that there was a large light in the sky in the approximate position of the object seen earlier. Then Lockbourne Tower and Clinton County Tower advised a great ball of light was traveling southwest across the sky.

“We then contacted Olmsted Flight Service Center and gave them all the information available to deliver to the Air Defense Command at Mitchel Field, Hempstead, New York.

"Later we received a call from St. Louis Tower advising that a great ball of light was passing directly over the field - Scott Tower also verified this.

“We then received a call from Air Defense Command through Olmsted Flight Service Center advising us to alert Coffeyville, Kansas, Ft Smith, Arkansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, and that they had plotted the object as moving WSW at 250 miles per hour.

“We then received information from Maxwell Flight Service Center that a Dr. Seyfert, an astronomer at Vanderbilt University, had spotted an object SSE of Nashville, Tennessee that he identified as a pear shaped balloon with cables and a basket attached, moving first SSE, then W, at a speed of 10 miles per hour at 25,000 feet. This was observed between 1630C and l645C.

"Olmsted Flight Service Center then advised us to instruct Godman Field to forward a complete report of the whole incident to Air Defense Command at Mitchel Field, Hempstead, New York as soon as possible.

“The Military Police at the scene of the accident called back and advised Godman Field that someone at Madisonville, Kentucky had observed, thru a Finch telescope an object described as cone shaped, 100 feet from top to bottom, 45 feet across, and 4 miles high proceeding SW at 10 miles per hour.

“All this time the weather observer at Godman Field was spotting the object with a Theodolite and keeping a record of times, elevations and azimuths.

“St Louis ATC advised of an article printed in the "Edwardsville  Intelligencer", Edwardsville, Illinois, describing an object, over the town at 0720C, of aluminum appearance without apparent wings or control surfaces which was moving southwest. This object remained visible for about 30 minutes. This article went on to describe the amazement and wondering of the editor regarding this object - and you can bet that he was no more confused than I am at this moment.”

2) "Mantell Incident", January 7, 1948, Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio. Two-page document checklist on observations of objects from 0720 hours to 1925 hours.


Although we had these documents in 2005, better, more detailed information was found in other documents.

3) This series of twelve documents dated January 7, 1948 mentions the witnesses: (1) T/Sgt Quinton A. Blackwell, Chief Operator in control tower at Godman Field; (2) PFC Stanley Oliver, on duty in control tower Godman Field; (3) USAF Capt. J. F. Duesler Jr., in control tower Godman Field; (4) USAF Capt. Cary W. Carter, at Godman Field; (5) Col. Guy G. Hix, at Godman Field; and the lead pilot himself, (6) Capt. Thomas F. Mantell, flight leader in NG 869 F-51 aircraft. The docs listed are mentioned for-the-record only at this point.


4) On November 10th, 2005, Dan Wilson submitted this four-page AF Form 14, Report of Major accident, Jan. 7, 1948, near Franklin, Ky, Capt. Thomas F. Mantell 0-806873, Fatal. The accident summary says that Mantell went up to 25,000 feet and possibly as high as 30,000 feet, and that he passed out for lack of oxygen. According to other reports, Mantell's last words was that he was at 15,000 feet and would go to 20,000 feet and if no closer would abandon chase. USAF-SIGN1-310 held a vital clue, but a better version of those documents was uncovered by Wilson on June 1st of 2006. Fact: Mantell had oxygen! From the very beginning we had the evidence right under our noses, and later, analyst Brad Sparks amply pointed this out and was able to use other evidence to prove it.




In March of 2006 I had several messages on my answering machine.  Maybe it's my age, or maybe it's all the years I've been chasing UFOs, I don't know. I'm more reluctant about doing over-the-phone interviews or spending a lot of time with reporters these days. I get much more accomplished with research and archival work and don't need distractions. The man calling left his number and I finally got around to returning his call. His name was Drew Speier, and he was a reporter from Evansville, Indiana's TV Channel 14, WFIE. He never mentioned it, but I soon found out that it was ratings time and they were planning on doing a story on a somewhat local UFO event. The Mantell incident was more regional than local, of course, but it had  a sensational  twist to it, something the media loves, and apparently the viewers too. I told him that I was familiar with the case for two reasons: First, every serious UFO enthusiast knew about the case. It's a dramatic and well-known part of UFO history. Secondly, it was a case that was part of my database because it WAS regional.  The Mantell case directory, which was on the NICAP web site, didn't have much listed other than the fact that Ed Ruppelt had written about it in his book in 1956, and Kevin Randle had written a massive 5-part, forty-page report. For over 58 years the case had been written about in about every book and mentioned on numerous TV shows, and had finally been written off as a mistaken balloon, with the pilot killed in either a freak accident or misgauging his ability to fly at certain altitudes without oxygen. In effect, everybody had written it off. I had serious reservations about that, however, some of those personal, but I had to assume I was not always right and my peers are the ones I answer to with the NICAP archiving.

Drew & I had a few lengthy discussions about my work and UFOs in general, and we discussed the Mantell case and how it was not really a showcase sighting among serious researchers. But WFIE still wanted to do the show on Mantell. In April, at WFIE reporter Drew Speier's request, I reluctantly agreed to do a filmed interview on the Mantell case. I consented to do it in the hopes that WFIE would do something better in the near future with any of our many better UFO reports or something new that might develop. Since I wanted to do this interview right, for the record, I set out to show the media and the public the importance of what we DID have on the case. I had figured, too, that our conclusions were not going to provide the image the show was trying to project. This was going to be an IFO, an "Identified Flying Object".

When we investigate a case there is a list of things we do routinely and the final report includes them all:
 

SIGHTING ACCOUNT
Form 1, General Cases, should include witness notes or brief chronological composite or consolidation of the UFO sighting account. In the Mantell case we had the stories from various writers and researchers, but primarily the recollections of the man who was Project Blue Book's director a few years later, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt. His part of this report is from his book, "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects" and can be skipped over if the reader desires, but I strongly recommend reading it. Briefly let me say that Ruppelt got a call in early 1952 on ATIC's (Air Technical Intelligence Center) direct line to the Pentagon. It was a colonel in the Director of Intelligence's office. The Office of Public Information had been getting a number of queries about all of the confusion over the Mantell Incident. So, he dug into the file. The case file documents had all been microfilmed but Ruppelt claimed that something had been spilled on the film and they were faded and were illegible. To get the story he said he had to talk to the people at ATIC who had been there during the early UFO era. (34) On the previous page Ruppelt made a comment about how the Air Force reacted to the incident right after it happened. But this comment is different than the one he made in the original unedited manuscript.:

"The people on Project Sign worked fast on the Mantell Incident, [in fact they heard about it through Flight Service while it was all in progress.] Contemplating a flood of queries from the press, as soon as they heard about the crash, they realized that they had to get a quick answer. Venus had been the target of a chase by an Air Force F-51 several weeks before...."

The comment in brackets is Ruppelt's, not mine. And our investigation was able to confirm this!

SIGHTING INVESTIGATION
Activity Log. Simple chronological log by date, time and place denoting the tasks the FI carried out during the investigation. The first part of this book is the Sighting Investigation Activity log and fully explains and documents what was found and when and by whom.

INTERVIEW AND INTERROGATION
FI Notes. A description of the interview and interrogation. This should include where and how the interview took place (mail, telephone, or onsite). In the Mantell case the only people who could be interviewed were relatives of Captain Mantell and their recollections were tainted by years.

ADDITIONAL WITNESS CHECK
FI Notes. The circumstances surrounding how, when, and where additional witnesses were located and any subsequent interviews and interrogations including the FI's personal impressions of these witnesses and their home environment, interests, etc. In this case we had the witness reports from the original Air Force investigation.

The Project Blue Book Archive is a website which provides free online access to the National Archives Blue Book microfilm collection, and has so far posted documents of,  to about mid-1954, which is still a fraction of the Blue Book microfilm. The site and work is conducted by Rebecca Wise, a very dedicated researcher and also a member of the NICAP A-Team. The Blue Book Archive provides a fully searchable interface to high-resolution document scans relating to the US government's investigation of the UFO phenomena. Also available are high-quality CD-ROMs of the microfilms, which can be purchased directly from the website.

Documents mentioned in this report are listed by number, and selected ones actually presented at the end of each chapter are marked with an asterisk (*). The less pertinent documents that CAN be examined are listed but not provided here due to lack of room in this already hefty report. These ARE provided on the NICAP website. In most cases the transcript (or part) is provided.

So here, for the record, is the official

SIGHTING INVESTIGATION ACTIVITY LOG:
March 8, 2006
Using the search engine for the Project Blue Book Archive, as we have for other cases the last few years, the keyword "Mantell" brought up four printed pages, 37 references, to BB documents, a good place to start. Immediately
I found an interesting nine pages of documents on the Mantell Incident Report.  Minus doc. 671, these documents describe the incident and the possible cause of a series of reports. The Air Force claimed Venus was the main culprit for the other reports that day, while the secret Skyhook balloon was what Mantell was supposed to have been chasing. My report and the documents cited are at:
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell_668-677.pdf
MAXW-PBB3-668-677

March 10, 2006
On March 10th I sent an email to researcher Brad Sparks and advised that WFIE TV at Evansville, Indiana, wanted me to do an interview about Mantell for May release. I told him that I wanted to divert Drew Speier to a better case, but couldn't change his mind. But the Mantell incident had always bothered me. I didn't buy the explanation. Mantell should have been able to run into the damned thing at the speeds the P-51 can muster. The state police reported an object 250 feet wide, hardly the description of a distant skyhook. Buried in those many reports are some anomalous objects. Just a coincidence? And if the skyhook answer was so obvious, why did it take so long to come up with that conclusion? People in the AF were scratching their heads years later. Plus , there were some newly found documents we had on file.

Brad Sparks stated:
It would require intensive analysis of the confusing mass of sighting data to disentangle it all, much like the huge mess of the Washington National case, and I'm not sure it's really worth it." (Kevin Randle has had his challenge to debate Sparks on the Mantell case in writing up on UFO UpDates for maybe 2 + years by now and I don't think anyone has taken him up on it).  Sparks: "I couldn't even have tried until BB Archive first made the Mantell file available this year or late last year". He added: "Mantell's last transmission about a tremendous metallic object doesn't have enough detail to screen it from an IFO, no angular size, no attempt to estimate size or distance or altitude, no detail of shape or structure if any.  I find the F-51 plane crash very strange.  It didn't crash nose down but pancaked flat on the ground, in fact that's a major reason there was enough remains intact even to recover the body (had it hit nose forward at high speed it would have shattered into many pieces).  But that doesn't give us a description of a UFO. What are these "newly found documents, which appear to have been conveniently left out of the official Blue Book" ??

I advised Brad that the "newly found documents" were obtained by Wendy Connors and Mike Hall, and the web page showing these was at http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell4.htm

Wendy Ann Connors originally hails from Iowa. Following High School she joined the United States Air Force. Completing her basic training at Lackland AFB her first duty assignment was at Stewart AFB in New York. In 1968 she was transferred to Mactan Island AFB, Philippines and worked as a Communications Supervisor and NCOIC of Administration. Honorably discharged an E-5 in the summer of 1969, Wendy returned to Iowa and completed her degrees at the University of Iowa and in 1980, moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her accomplishments are many. She brought the history of Project SIGN and its members to the field, as well as the involvement and genius of Alfred C. Loedding. She has also brought many unknown documents to the field as well. She is a founding member of the SIGN Historical Group and holds one of the largest audio and photographic archives in the world dealing with crypto-aeronautics. Today, her health deteriorating, she continues to research the modern history of the unidentified flying object phenomenon. She also operates and maintains the Faded Discs Archive.

Her colleague in the Project Blue Book Research (including Project Sign) was Michael David Hall. Mike researched all aspects of the Project Blue Book days and published a book primarily dealing with the very early years of Air Force investigations into UFOs. That book, Origin of the UFO Phenomenon, documents many fascinating events long forgotten by today's sound bite generation. It is one of very few books that approaches the subject from a historical perspective. Hall holds a B.A. from Illinois College and an M.A. from Western Illinois University in American History.




The "mystery" photo

When Wendy found out I was doing research on the Mantell incident, we were discussing other things, but using her great sense of humor often, she sent me a "mystery photo". I didn't have a clue, but it turns out to be a photo of (L-R) Captain Thomas F. Mantell & Lt. A. W. Clements. This was a cropped version of a larger photo of the full crew that day (See Part 1-2).

The following are the transcripts, produced by Jean Waskiewicz, with the actual documents not found in the Blue Book files located at the end of this chapter.

------------------------------

Connors Doc #1 (*)

NEWS RELEASE
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
ALL WEATHER Flying Center
Clinton County Army Air Field
WILMINGTON, OHIO 8 January 1948
 __________________________________________________________________

COPY
(ENCLOSURE 1)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WILMINGTON, Ohio, Jan. 8-- A sky phenomena, described by observers at  the Clinton County air Base as having the appearance of a flaming red cone trailing a gaseous green mist, appeared in the southwest skies of Wilmington last night between 7:20 and 7:55 P.M.

S/Sgt. Gale F. Walter and Cpl. James Hudson, control tower operators at the air field, first saw the phenomena at 7:20 P.M. and observed its  maneuvers in the sky until 7:55 P.M. when it reported disappeared over the horizon.  The sky phenomena hung suspended in the air at intervals and then gained and lost altitude at what appeared to be terrific bursts of speed. The intense brightness of the sky phenomena pierced through a heavy layer of clouds passing intermittently over the area and obscuring other celestial phenomena.
            
MSgt. Irvin H. Lewis, S/Sgt John P. Haag, Sgt. Harold E. Olvis and T/Sgt. Leroy Ziegler, four members of the alert crew, joined the control tower operators in observing the sky phenomena for approximately 35 minutes.

------------------------------

Conners Doc #2 (*)

DET 103rd AACS
LOCKBOURNE A. B.
COLUMBUS, OHIO
13 JANUARY 1947
SUBJECT:  Report on Unusual Circumstance  
TO:  CO 332nd FIGHTER WING LOCKBOURNE A B 

At approximately 1940 hrs Jan. 7th the Control Tower operator advised he observed an extremely strange bright light in the south west.  However by the time I reached the operation steps at the entrance the light faded out.  About two minutes later the Tower advised that the phenomenon was visible again.  This time I saw the object at about 15 degrees above the horizon to the west south west of Lockbourne.  The object was extremely bright, more so than any star.  I would say about as large as and as bright as one of the runway lights at full intensity as viewed from the Control Tower.  It appeared to have a tapering tail about 6 diameters long and predominantly was of a ruddy red color changing to a amber-yellow at different intervals.

The position of the object in the sky and the fact that we were reporting. A high overcast at the time added to the mystery.

Up until approximately 1950 hrs the object appeared to be motionless, at this time, however, it descended to the horizon in an interval of about 3 or 4 seconds, hovering there for 3 or 4 seconds and the ascended to its original position in an interval of about 3 seconds.  It then rapidly began to fade and lower in the sky and disappeared at 1955 hrs.

AF9944 xmtd a position report to me at 1953 hrs over Columbus at 5,000 ft on round robin flight out of Wright Field to Washington and return , and reported a mysterious bright light to the west south west of his position, appearing like an oversized beacon.

Further information on reports from other stations observing the phenomenon can be obtained from flight services at Patterson.

 //signed//
 Frank M. Eisle
 ------------------------------
Conners Doc #3 (*)
DETACHMENT 733RD AF BASE UNIT
103rd AACS SQUADRON
LOCKBOURNE ARMY AIR BASE\
COLUMBUS 17, OHIO
14 JANUARY 1947
SUBJECT:  Report of Unusual Circumstance   
TO:
Commanding Officer, 332nd Fighter Wing, Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus 17, Ohio.

On Wednesday January 7th between the hours of 1915 and 1939, there appeared in the sky a bright glowing object which I could not identify. At first I assumed it to be a star but the sky being overcast, I knew definitely that it was not a star nor an aircraft because the only aircraft flying in the local area was landing at the time.  It was not an aircraft flare nor a balloon because it appeared to be enormous in size. I then observed it through the binoculars.  It appeared to be cone-shaped, blunt on top and tapering off toward the bottom.  I could not distinguish the attitude in which the object appeared to be.  It was glowed from a bright white to an amber color with a small streak trailing.  It was at a distance between 5 and 7 miles from the control tower at an altitude of approximately 2000 to 3000 feet bobbing up and down and moving in a south-southwesterly direction at a speed exceeding 500 miles per hour.  Also the wind at the time was blowing from east to west and if it had been a balloon or lighter-than-aircraft it would have drifted in the direction the wind was blowing.  There was no sound or unusual noise. Its performance was very unusual and the light emitting from it seemed to fade out at times. Just before it disappeared beyond the horizon the light changed to a sort of red color.  The same object was later sighted in the vicinity of Clinton County Air Field by operators on duty in the control tower.

I have been actually engaged in aviation as an Air Traffic Control Tower Operator and a Private Pilot for a period of 5 years and thus far in all my experience, I have never encountered an optical illusion or any physical defect that would disqualify my possessions of such ratings.

//signed//
ALEX A. BOUDREAUX
Air Traffic Controller
CAF-6

-----------------------------

Conners Doc #4a (*)

DETACHMENT 733RD AF BASE UNIT
103RD AACE SQUADRON
LOCKBOURNE ARMY AIR BASE
COLUMBUS 17, OHIO
14 JANUARY 1948
SUBJECT:  Report of Unusual Circumstance

TO:
Commanding Officer
332nd Fighter Wing
Lockbourne Army Air Base
Columbus 17, Ohio

On Wednesday January 7, 1948 at about 1925 Eastern time I observed in the sky an object which I could not identify.  It appeared to hover in one position for quite some time, moving very little.  It disappeared once for about one minute and I assumed it entered the overcast, which was at about 10,000 feet.  After descending again below the overcast it circled one place for the duration of three 360 degree turns, then moved to another position to circle some more.  Turns required approximately 30 to 40 seconds each, diameter estimated about two miles.

In moving from one place to another a tail was visible of approximately five times the length of the object.  Not knowing how close or how far the object was from me at the time, I could not estimate the size very accurately, but it appeared as large or larger than one of our C 47 planes, and of a different shape.  Either round or oval shaped.  Just before leaving it came to very near the ground, staying down for about ten seconds, then climbed at a very fast rate back to its original altitude, 10,000 feet, leveling off and disappearing into the overcast heading 120 degrees.  Its speed was greater than 500 mph in level flight.  It was visible to me for a period of twenty minutes.  No noise or sound could be detected.  The color was amber light but not sufficiently bright to cover or obscure the outline of the configuration was was approximately round.  During up and down movement no maneuvering took place.  Motions was same as an elevator, climbing and descending vertically.  Exhaust trail was noticeable only during forward speed.  It appeared as a thin mist approximately same color (amber) as the object.  Length about 5 times length of object.

During descent it appeared to touch the ground or was very close to touching it.  It was approximately 3 to 5 miles away from Lockbourne Air Base in immediate vicinity of COMMERCIAL POINT.  It positively was not a star, comet or any astronomical body to the best of my knowledge of such thing.  I also rule out the possibility of it being a balloon, flare, dirigible, military or private aircraft.

Conners Doc #4b Page 2 (*)

Ltr, Subj:  Report of Unusual Circumstance, 14 Jan 48 (Cont'd)  I am 26 years old and in good health and have excellent vision.  I have been actively engaged in aviation 6 years.  I have a private pilot license and spent 3 years 10 months in the U. S. Army Air Corps as a Sergeant link trainer instructor, instrument flight observer.

The statements made herin are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and may be used for any official purpose as deemed necessary.

//signed//
ALBERT R. PICKERING
VHF/DF Operator
CAF 7

------------------------------

Conners Doc #5 (*)

UNCLASSIFIED
MCIA/ACL/amb
JAN 14, 1947

Request for Report on Crashed P-51 National Guard Aircraft
Commanding Officer
315th AAFBU (Reserve Training)
Godman Field, Kentucky

1.  It has been brought to the attention of this office that an official report has been made regarding the National Guard P-51 aircraft that crashed as a result of chasing an unidentified object on 7 January 1948.  Information contained in this report may contribute greatly in the accomplishment of intelligence investigations of unidentified flying objects, or so-called "flying discs".

2.  It is requested, therefore, that a copy of this report be made available to this Command as soon as possible.

FOR THE COMMANDING GENERAL:
H. M. McCOY
Colonel, USAF
Chief of Intelligence

--------------

STATE OF OHIO              )
                                           )
COUNTY OF CLINTON  )

Before me, the undersigned Authority for administering oaths of  this kind, personally appeared one James H. Hudson, Cpl, ASN 13220873  who, being first duly sworn by me, disposes and says; the following information came over Plan 62: This observation was made in Kentucky at the scene of the P-51 crash with an 8" telescope:

1.  Height, 4 miles.
2.  Width, 43 feet.
3.  Height of object, 100 feet.
4.  Speed at time, 10 mph
5.  Shape, Cone.
6.  Color, red with green tail.

This observation was taken at Godman Field, Kentucky, with a theodolite:

1854 CST.
Elevation, 2.4 Azimuth 254.6

1856 CST
Elevation, 2.0 Azimuth 253.9

1902 CST
Elevation, 1.2 Azimuth 253.0

1906 CST
Disappeared.

The following is my opinion:  The object is not a comet or star, but was man made. It was not a balloon, comet, star, aircraft of known type.  The light did not come from an aircraft's running lights.  The whole object appeared to be surrounded with a burning gas or something that gave a light.

--  sketches --

Further the deponent sayeth not,

//signed//
JAMES H. HUDSON, Cpl
3220873

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 20th day of January, 1948
//signed//
GEORGE W. HOHANNESS
Captain, USAF

--------------------

Conners Doc #7 (*)

                                         )
COUNTY OF CLINTON)
                                         )

Before me, the undersigned authority for administering oaths of this kind, personally appeared one John P. Haag, S/Sgt, AF 17003481 who, being first duly sworn by me, disposes and says:  The unidentified flying object was sighted in a South-West position at Clinton County Army Air Base at a heading of approximately 210 degrees on 7 January 1948, first being visible to this person at 19:35 o'clock when it was pointed out to me.  The weather at the time was clear over the base, with a South-West wind which was moderate.  There seemed to be an overcast in the South-West which was a layer approximately 1000 feet thick.  The height of this overcast was approximately 5000 feet.  The one and only object which was seen with the naked eye seemed to be about five miles from the field at an estimated altitude of 15,000 to 20,000 feet.  The object seemed to remain stationary as first seen, with a light which resembled a complete wing of an airplane on fire.  There was no beam of light projected.  Then, for a period of five minutes I just took occasional glances at it as I went up the the Control Tower and observed the object through field glasses, which I then decided was not a comet or falling star, to my knowledge of astronomy.  With the aid of field glasses, the object appeared to go from an altitude of 15,000 feet to 10,000 feet without any noticed forward or backward motion and then back up to its original altitude very rapidly, about three or four times.  It seemed that when the object moved, a red light would dominate and change to a green light and then back to it's original color.  It then began moving at a heading of 210 degrees and went behind the overcast and the light was seen through the overcast.  The object moved very fast away; it stopped momentarily for three or four minutes and disappeared over the horizon at 15:55.  No sound was heard from this object or no photographs taken.

Further the deponent sayeth not,
//signed//
JOHN P. HAAG
S/Sgt, AF 17003481

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 21 day of January, 1948
//signed//
ROBERT O. PETRANEKS
Caots in, USAFR

-------------

Note: Wendy Conners document # 6 mentions a "Plan 62".  This was an important early discovery. Ruppelt's slip-up in his manuscript had mentioned that "The people on Project Sign worked fast on the Mantell Incident, [in fact they heard about it through Flight Service while it was all in progress.]..."  The cat was out of the bag. A few months after our re-investigation had begun I asked Brad Sparks, who was by then heavy into the re-investigation with us, what Plan 62 was. June 7th: Brad Sparks: "I think it is the intercom system between Godman, Standiford, Lockbourne, Clinton County, etc., which was patched together the afternoon of Jan 7, 1948, to keep everyone up to the minute on events.  People mention hearing about sightings at the other bases as it happened." Later, after further research, he was able to report, "The Air Defense Command (ADC) used the Plan 62 intercom system, through the Air Transport Command's Flight Service Centers, and the air traffic controllers of the Airways and Air Communications Service (AACS) in those centers and outlying bases, to coordinate the use of air traffic control towers and radars to track the UFO. This was because at that time the ADC had only two operating radars in the nation, both too far away, across the continent on the West Coast (at Half Moon Bay, Calif., and Arlington, Wash.)." But more on that later.

A member of my Nuclear Connection Project, Loren Gross, became interested in UFOs as a teenager when he was a member of the civilian Ground Observer Corps in the 1950's. After graduation from high school, he served four years in the U.S. Air Force as a radar operator with the Air Defense Command. In 1966 he received his B.A. degree in social science from the University of California at Chico and has since completed postgraduate work in physical science, history, and art. Mr. Gross is the author of many booklets on the early history of the UFO problem: The UFO Wave of 1896 (1974), The Mystery of the Ghost Rockets (1974), and Charles Fort, The Fortean Society, and Unidentified Flying Objects (1976). His most well-known works are the UFOs: A History series of booklets.

March 29, 2006
On March 29, I emailed Loren to see if we could post information about Mantell from his UFOs: a History, 1948. I had Jean scan the section for limited in-house use until we got the OK. Later, on June 4th, Loren would approve this in order to update the case file we were putting together.

May 12, 2006
Over a month had passed since I had been in contact with WFIE and I sent a DVD copy of the Greene-Rouse production, "U.F.O." to Drew Speier to be used for b&w era footage. Four days later I got an email from Drew:

"I have read accounts that had Mantell flying a P-51 and an F-51.  Are they the same?  I have been going with F-51 but now I'm not so sure. Can you clear this up or do I need to contact one of the Generals I spoke with who were former commanders of the KyANG. The documentary and the newspaper articles say F-51...that must be correct."

I had told him 1946, which was an error, but it was in 1948, that the designation P-51 (P for pursuit) had been changed to F-51 (F for fighter) and the existing F designator for photographic reconnaissance aircraft was dropped because of a new designation scheme throughout the USAF. Later in the month we filmed my portion of the show.

May 23, 2006
The show aired on WFIE-TV, Channel 14. It was only the beginning. The evidence would continue to mount and the need for a second interview and another show explaining our new findings was a certainty.
 



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