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Monday, March 26, 2012

UFOs - The Mantell Incident (2)

Part 2 -2:  WFIE Show Aires
May 23, 2006

The show aired on WFIE-TV, Channel 14. It did so well it required another installment to be filmed in July. We had uncovered reams of documents, telling a story much different than most UFOlogists had thought. A week later I posted the transcript.

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

Form: Media Transcript

Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2006 19:51:24 -0500
From: Francis Ridge
Subject: Mystery: Pilot Crashes While Pursuing UFO
Part 1, May 23, 2006, WFIE Interview


May 23, 2006 04:15 PM
Reporter: Drew Speier
New Media Producer: Rachel Chambliss

Transcript:
It's a mystery dating back to 1947. A UFO allegedly crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. That story is well documented, but equally puzzling was this mystery regarding a UFO in the skies above Kentucky just a few months after the Roswell incident.

In 1956, a government film addressed this case, a case that'll never be solved because Captain Thomas Mantell from Simpson County, Kentucky, an experienced pilot and World War II Ace, took the answer to his grave.

It made headlines across the country.  January 7th, 1948, 1:30 pm, Kentucky State Police receive reports of a UFO near Godman Air Force Base. The unidentified object is described as a big, bright, shiny star. (Ridge: The second line is a soundbyte WFIE used that came from the Edwards Encounter tape, and does not describe the Godman sighting).

Four F-51 Mustangs, on their way to Standiford Air Force Base in Kentucky, are contacted by the tower. They're ordered to investigate a white object, some 300 feet in diameter. One plane returns for fuel and oxygen, the other three approached the object.

Pilot Thomas Mantell says he sees it ahead of him. The planes climbed to 22,000 feet, too high for WWII fighters without oxygen. Two returned to the base, leaving Captain Mantell in sole pursuit of the unknown.

Minutes later, Mantell with another transmission states, "Mantell to tower: it appears to be a metallic object, and it's of tremendous size."

Captain Mantell kept climbing, most likely past 30,000 feet. Radio contact was lost.

Minutes later, less than two hours from the initial sightings, Mantell's F-51 crashed on a farm in Franklin, Kentucky. His watch stopped at 3:16 p.m. His body, still strapped in his plane. By all accounts, he passed out from a lack of oxygen, forcing his plane to plunge to the ground.

Today, a historical marker sits near the site where Mantell's plane went down in Franklin, Kentucky. In fact, it went down on a farm nearby Joe Phillips farm. His son, a school child then, was one of the first on the scene.

William Phillips Jr. recalls, "We heard this real loud boom, you know. It actually shook the house. In fact, the best I remember it was two of them, like an explosion."

Phillips Jr. was six years old and home sick with his younger sister when the crash occurred.

He says, "We ran to the window, and just happened to pick the right window, and see it hit the ground, as it hit the ground."

The news of the incident immediately made headlines. Newspapers reported Mantell had been shot down by a magnetic ray from a flying saucer. The story took on a life of its own.

Mantell was the first person ever to die while pursuing an unidentified flying object.

The military's response - it was most likely a weather balloon.

Phillips Jr. argues, "I can't see that a balloon could move and out run a P-51. The P-51 was the fastest thing the military virtually had in '47."

It's a story that, almost 60 years later, is still talked about in Franklin, Kentucky where Mantell was born and, oddly enough, died, just a few miles from the Simpson County tourism building where he's honored.

Dan Ware, Simpson County Tourism, says, "There are many UFO buffs who stop by to ask and see what we've got, and want to know as much as they can about the story. It continues to fascinate people, even after 50 years."

To this day, people still wonder what Captain Mantell was chasing.

Second segment:

Just over 58 years ago, a Kentucky National Guard pilot crashed his plane and died while pursuing a UFO. It was a story that made headlines and one that's still talked about today. But the question remains, what was Captain Thomas Mantell chasing that day?

A 1956 documentary on UFO's detailed the Mantell case, which occurred in January of 1948. It happened just months after another celebrated incident in Roswell, New Mexico, where a UFO had reportedly crashed in the summer of 1947.

Newswatch spoke with the man who was the commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard when the Mantell case occurred and a former Chief of Staff with the Guard to get their takes on what happened. Newswatch also talked with a UFO researcher. And as you might guess, we got two different opinions.

Francis Ridge, UFO researcher, says, "It is a classic to this day."

Francis Ridge, who is with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon, is talking about the case of Kentucky Air National Guard pilot, Captain Thomas Mantell.

He explains, "He decided to go after this object which was, according to his description, large and metallic, tremendous in size."

Mantell, a World War II Ace, was chasing a UFO on the afternoon of January 7th, 1948, when he crashed his plane and died. The mystery died with him on a farm in Franklin, Kentucky.

Ridge and others remain convinced Mantell was chasing an object not of this world. (Ridge: Although a mystery in many ways, we do not consider the Mantell case an "unknown". There are over 1500 incidents we DO consider as "unknowns".)

Ridge says, "Several years later, when they restructured the project because Project Sign was the first one, and they were serious, and they came to the conclusion that they were dealing with something from somewhere else."

Project Sign later became Project Blue Book. Because Mantell was a well respected pilot, it gave the UFO story credibility. And the military was concerned.

Ridge defends, "If you look in the Blue Book records, which is the Air Force records, it shook a lot of military people up."
The man, who was the Commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard at the time of the incident, is retired Major General Phillip Ardery. He's now 93 and lives in Louisville. He remembers the Mantell case.

General Ardery recalls, "I'm fascinated with it, that's all I can say about it. I find it a very, very interesting part of my experience."
Ardery believes Mantell was confused and didn't realize he had reached an altitude with no oxygen. He also believes Mantell wasn't chasing a UFO at all.

General Ardery argues, "There are times, we can imagine things that really are not there."

Retired Brigadier General Edward Tonini, joined the Kentucky Air National Guard in 1969. He eventually became Chief of Staff and finished his career at the Pentagon.

General Tonini says, "It was universally accepted that this was not a UFO but a balloon."

He says officers, like Mantell, did not know of a highly classified secret program involving balloons, which is why Mantell thought he was chasing a UFO and why it was difficult for the military to explain the Skyhook Balloon Theory away. (Skyhook was not a highly classified project but a highly publicized one. What they were USED for might have been at times, but with over a hundred launches a year, they apparently didn't attract much attention.)

General Tonini says, "As a result, even it if were a balloon, that was part of a Navy secret project. Nobody was going to come out and say that's what it was because it was classified." (Ridge: Records show, actually FAIL to show, any launch responsible for this incident, which was preceded by and followed by UFO sightings.)

The military's position remains firm. So does the position of those who investigate UFO sightings, like Mantell's, for a living.

Ridge says, "It always impressed me that he was chasing something other than a balloon, even though to this day, it would be very difficult to prove it. One thing about it though, after searching all the records and after the Air Force claimed that it was a Skyhook Balloon, they have pretty good records on all the launches, but they never could establish a launch date for that day."

One footnote, there were several reported sightings of UFO's on the day of Mantell's death, including in Madisonville and Owensboro.

Newly found documents, left off of the official Blue Book records, show that some of these objects were maneuvering and could not be attributed to balloons of any kind.

For now, it all remains a mystery.

END OF TRANSCRIPT

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

May 25, 2006
Two days after the show aired, Dan Wilson found some maps of the area located in Blue Book files. These are presented, for the record, and may be accessed by using the URL provided.
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs5.htm
MAXW-PBB3-657-666

He then found a 19-page checklist found in BB files.
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs4.htm
MAXW-PBB3-678-695

In his 1956 book, Capt. Edward Ruppelt had claimed that nobody agreed on what Mantell had said during his radio transmissions. Ruppelt had suggested more than once that only UFO buffs have ever reported Mantell saying anything specific about the UFO. Two years prior to the book release, in the 1954 True article, Ruppelt had stated:


"There was almost no agreement among the seven men listening on the tower squawk box as to what Mantell actually said.  Only one said he heard Mantell call the UFO "metallic and of tremendous size."

Notice the use of the term "squawk box", which is a reference to the Plan 62 mentioned earlier. In the very same article, just prior to the remark above, Ruppelt commented on the phrase:

"Later in the project, we had many instances of pilots mistaking Venus (and other planets) for something flying through the sky.  None of them ever described it as "tremendous."

This alone strongly suggests Mantell was NOT chasing the planet Venus, and a Top Secret report in our possession also minces no words about what Mantell had said. Later, you'll see further evidence that Air Force personnel listening in on Plan 62 speakerphones, heard and reported specific comments by Mantell AND his wingmen and those on the ground.

I emailed a pdf file to Drew Speier, which was the April 28, 1949 Top Secret report, citing page 12, par. 2k at
http://nicap.org/docs/airintelrpt100-203-79.pdf

Paragraph  k.  " On 7 January 1948, a National Guard pilot was killed while attempting to chase an unidentified object up to 30,000 feet. While it is presumed that this pilot suffered anoxia, resulting in his crash, his last message to the tower was, 'It appears to be metallic object....of tremendous size...directly ahead and slightly above....I am trying to close for a better look.' "

May 26, 2006
Dan Wilson found 8x10 glossy photos of remains of Mantell's F-51 located in BB files.
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs6.htm
MAXW-PBB3-783-799

I already had copies of better versions of crash photos previously supplied by Wendy Connors. I decided to post those too. A montage of those photos is supplied with this report at the end of this chapter (Part 2-2) AND from the URL provide below.
http://www.nicap.org/mantell_crash.htm

Jerome Clark is an American researcher and writer, specializing in UFOs and other anomalous phenomena. Clark is one of the most prominent UFO historians and researchers active today. Although Clark's works have sometimes generated spirited debate, he is widely regarded as one of the most reputable writers in the field, and he has earned the praise of many skeptics. Clark is also a prominently featured talking head on made-for-television UFO documentaries, most notably the 2005 prime-time U.S. television special Peter Jennings Reporting: UFOs ­ Seeing Is Believing, discussing the early history of the U.S. Military's UFO investigations.

Jerome Clark, wrote:

"An investigation conducted in the early 1990s by ufologists Barry Greenwood and Robert G. Todd identified the balloon as one set off from Camp Ripley, Minnesota, at 8 A.M. on January 6, 1948" ["The Mantell UFO," 1994] ). Most UFOlogists had written the case off for a number of reasons, but this was one aspect that could be verified."

I reminded Brad Sparks that Captain Edward J. Ruppelt (former Project Blue Book Director) had stated that no skyhook balloon launch record could be found to account for the Mantell object. This was a a few years after the incident and with the Air Force ready and willing to put an identified label on the Mantell incident. Question: How did Barry Greenwood & Robert Todd accomplish in 1990 what Blue Book would have given its eyeteeth for 40 years earlier?

Sparks responded:

"Get RECORDS of the alleged balloon launch.  It is frustratingly difficult dealing with nebulous claims.  Which agency allegedly launched the Skyhook?  If Ruppelt and ATIC didn't check with all the agencies or the particular one launching from Camp Ripley (ONR possibly??) then they would completely miss it. Another point is that I am almost 100% certain that Ruppelt/ATIC only checked THE DAY of the Mantell crash Jan 7, 1948, and DID NOT CHECK THE DAY BEFORE.  No one ever thought of records for the DAY BEFORE until Greenwood & Todd came along. Which brings up another issue:  Do the WEATHER RECORDS show that a Skyhook launched at 6 AM on Jan 6 would travel 700-800 miles away to the SE in 33+ hours, at about 20-25 mph average speed, to Ft Knox and Franklin, Kentucky?  It seems to me the prevailing winds would be E not SE and even if on some stretches you could get a wind to the SE it seems unlikely to be maintained consistently on average to the SE over 1-1/2 days effectively vectored SE."

May 27, 2006
Dan Wilson found duplicates of USAF-SIGN8-240-241, the same interesting documents, but with different numbers that we mentioned in Part 1-4. They again refer to the State Police report of a huge, relatively low altitude object moving at high speed.

"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 the air, circular in appearance approximately 250-300 feet in diameter, moving westward at a 'a pretty good clip'."

Ruppelt had detailed all of this in his book in 1956. We have illustrated them previously under different BB numbers, USAF-SIGN1-371-373 at the end of Part 2-1. Dan's paper lists them again at: .
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs8.htm
NARA-PBB2-853
NARA-PBB2-854
NARA-PBB2-855
Frame 853 is also at
MAXW-PBB3-710

NARA-PBB2-854 was a potential bombshell that was right in front of us for days before it hit home:

"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 1645C."

This was a verified sighting of the famous Skyhook balloon, a secret project that was supposed to be the real answer to the Mantell incident and not the planet Venus.

Then another document, one much more recent than any from the BB files, dated July 20, 1964, was discovered. From the Civil Aeromedical Research Institute, Federal Aviation Agency to T/Sgt Moody, Foreign Technology Division, WPAFB. It described a similar crash in 1964 of an F-51, the same plane flown by Mantell.


"I would like to thank you for forwarding us a copy of the Mantell case so promptly.

"As I explained in our earlier telephone conversation, we're interested in obtaining data on this case to compare it with a recent P-51 crash occurring in Oregon in which the pilot also apparently became hypoxic at an altitude of over 20, 000 feet and dove into the ground. Since in this case the aircraft also disintegrated prior to impact the copies of wreckage photos were particularly helpful.

"We are assisting the Civil Aeronautics Board with this investigation due to the similarity of certain points would like to obtain a second duplicate copy of this case for the record. I forwarded your earlier copy to the CAB. Secondly, we especially needed any medical information available concerning trauma to the pilot due to impact. This report was not complete since autopsy report, medical findings, and photos of the body of the pilot were not included.
           
"We should particularly like to obtain these medical data. Please air mail if possible."

Sincerely,
Richard G. Snyder, Ph. D., AM-119
Acting Chief, Protection and Survival Branch

May 28, 2006
The Current Encounters mailing  list received an email from Mary Castner of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies. She had seen the TV interview on the internet and was wondering what I meant when I said, "It always impressed me that he (Mantell) was chasing something other than a balloon, even though to this day, it would be very difficult to prove it. One thing about it though, after searching all the records and after the Air Force claimed that it was a Skyhook balloon, they have pretty good records on all the launches, but they never could establish a launch date for that day." Castner, and about everyone else in the "UFO business", had accepted the Skyhook balloon theory based on Todd & Greenwoods research. It would soon be another in a series of mistakes anyone could have made. History was about to be re-written and a cover-up exposed.

Dan Wilson:
The cover-up begins. Page 2 Part 2: Mr. Loedding, a civilian investigator from Wright Field, arrived at Godman Field on January 9, 1948 and made a thorough investigation. Part 3. After obtaining statements and full information on the matter, he (Loedding) issued instructions that no report on the subject would be made until further instructions were given.
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs9.htm
MAXW-PBB3 713-722

USAF-SIGN1-377 (*)
is a clearer version of MAXW-PBB3-714, found three weeks later, on June 21, by Tom DeMary. 

MAXW-PBB3-713 states that, besides Mantell and his wingmen, the ones noted to be in attempted pursuit of the unknown object, two other aircraft taking off from Standiford Field might have been directed to go after it.

In Part 2 - 3 we explore some Blue Book documents in detailed transcripts.

Part 2 - 3:  The Documents Speak

At this time we will go over what the primary documents tell us about the Mantell incident. This document (and 6 enclosures), signed by Lt. Colonel E. Garrison Wood, USAF reads as follows:

MAXW-PBB3-713

HEADQUARTERS                             A/GFH/hmg
315Th AF BASE UNIT (RES TNG)
OFFICE OF THE AIR INSPECTOR
GODMAN FIELD, FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY

9 January 1948

SUBJECT:            Report of Observation of Unidentified Object in Skies Above Godman Field
TO:                       Commanding General
                             Eleventh Air Force

ATTENTION:      Lt. Col. Chandler PIO Section

1. The inclosed certifications are of personnel from Godman Field who witnessed the object in the southwestern sky from Godman Field on 8 January 1948. With additional information concerning the loss of a P-51 (NG869).

2. Standiford Tower, Standiford Field, Louisville, Ky., reported that two aircraft of an unspecified type were taking off from Standiford at approximately 1500 hrs and could be directed to proceed to Godman to assist in determining a definite status of the reported object. These aircraft did not appear. Another flight composed of four P-51's flew directly over Godman Tower at approximately 1500 hrs., at which time they were asked their identification. Upon being informed that they were National Guard aircraft from Standiford Field, and upon their replying in the affirmative that sufficient gas was available, they were asked if they would deviate from their course to assist in determining the nature of the object. Their ETA for the flight to Standiford was changed at that time.

3. The object, as it appeared to the undersigned was circular in shape and, if it was a great distance away, was 1/10th the size of a full moon. If it was an earthly object, the size, as compared to the diminishing size of the P-51's flying toward it, seemed to be at least several hundred feet in diameter.

E. GARRISON WOOD
Lt. Colonel USAF
6 Incl Air Inspector

1. Statement: Pfc. Stanley Oliver

2. Statement: T.Sgt. Q. A. Blackwell

3. Statement: Capt. Cary W. Carter

4. Statement: Capt. James F. Duesler, Jr.

5. Statement: Col. Guy F. Hix, Commanding Officer

6. Statement: Lt Orner

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

The following transcripts of the above reports were produced by Jean Waskiewicz. The noted documents (which are presented in their actual form at the end of this section) are documented reports from witnesses, Pfc. Stanley Oliver,  T.Sgt. Q. A. Blackwell, Capt. Cary W. Carter, Capt. James F. Duesler, Jr., Col. Guy F. Hix, Commanding Officer, and  Lt. Paul I. Orner.


USAF-SIGN1-374
1. Pfc. Stanley Oliver statement

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
AIRWAYS AND AIR COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE, ATC
DETACHMENT 733-5 AF BASE UNIT  (103D AACS SQ)
Godman Field, Fort Knox, Ky

9 January 1948

STATEMENT OF PFC STANLEY OLIVER


I, Pfc Stanley Oliver, was on duty in the Control Tower at Godman Field on the afternoon of 7 January 1948. When first heard of the object in the sky about 1320 CST, we received a phone call from Colonel Hix’s office that a large object was sighted at Mansville, Kentucky, the supposed object was supposed to be about 250 feet to 300 feet in diameter at 1330 CST or more.

Sgt Blackwell sighted an object to the southwest of Godman Field and he asked me if I saw it. I saw the object but thought I was imagining I saw it and Sgt Blackwell told me to look again. This time I was really sure I saw an object and then we called Lt Orner, who came to the Control Tower and he too saw the object. Lt Orner then called Captain Carter who, after coming to the Control Tower, also saw this object. Captain Carter called Colonel Hix who came to the Control Tower and he too saw the object. We all then attempted to figure out just what it could be and to me it had the resemblance of an ice cream cone topped with red.

At or about 1445 CST we sighted five (5) P-51 aircraft coming on from the southwest and as they came over the Control Tower someone suggested contacting the aircraft. Sgt Blackwell contacted them on "B" channel (VHF) and aircraft acknowledged his call. Someone suggested they try to overtake the object and we requested the planes to try and the flight leader stated he would. The call sign of this ship was NG869. They turned around and stared toward the southwest again. One pilot in the formation told the flight leader that he would like to continue on to Louisville with the flight leader giving his permission to do so. We kept in contact with the flight leader for about twenty-five (25) minutes. The last contact we had with the flight leader was when one of his wingmen called and said "what the hell are we looking for". Flight leader stated had the object in sight and he was going up to see what it was. He said at present he was at 15000 feet and was still climbing. Those were the last words I believe we heard from him. Other pilots in the formation tried to contact him but to no avail.

In about another ten or fifteen minutes another P-51 took off from Standiford Field to look for the object. He gave me a call and asked if we still had the object in sight. He was told that at present the object was behind a cloud formation but he said he would try and locate it and in the meantime he tried contacting his flight leader but was unable to do so. He then reported he was unable to see the object and was coming back in when he came over the Control Tower.

I received a call from Standiford Operations that the plane had crashed and the pilot was killed at Franklin, Kentucky. He then sighted


USAF-SIGN1-375

STATEMENT OF PFC STANLEY OLIVER (Cont’d)

the object again and to my belief the object was a great distance from Godman Field and it was so far I couldn't tell if it was moving or not.


MAXW-PBB3-684
CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS


MAXW-PBB3-685

Pfc Stanley Oliver was on duty at the Control Tower at Godman Fld when Col Hix’s office informed the tower that an unidentified object (supposedly some 250 ft to 300 ft in diameter) was sighted over Mansville, Ky. This was approx 1330 CST. Pfc Oliver saw the object southwest of Godman Fld. To him it resembled an ice cream cone topped with red. Could not ascertain if it were moving or not.

RELIABLILITY:  Witnesses: Col. Hix, (CO), Capt. Carter, Lt Orner & M/Sgt Blackwell

NOTE:  The report of alerting the P-51 aircraft contained in Pfc Oliver’s statement and the witnesses correlates material contained in the other reports.


NARA-PBB2-860
2. T. Sgt. Q. A. Blackwell statement

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
AIRWAYS AND AIR COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE, ATC
DETACHMENT 733-5 AF BASE UNIT  (103D AACS SQ)
Godman Field, Fort Knox, Ky

9 January 1948

STATEMENT OF T SGT QUINTON A BLACKWELL

I, T Sgt Quinton A Blackwell, AF18162475, was on duty as chief operator in the Control Tower at Godman Field, Ky. on the afternoon of 7 January 1948. Up until 1315 or 1320 matters were routine. At approximately that time I received a telephone call from Sgt Cook, Col Hix's office, stating that according to Ft Knox Military Police and "E" Town state police, a large circular object from 250 to 300 ft in diameter over Mansville, Ky. and requested I check with Army Flight Service to see if any unusual type aircraft was in the vicinity. Flight Service advised negative on the aircraft and took the other info, requesting our CO verify the story. Shortly afterward Flight Service gave Godman Tower positions on the object over Irvington, Ky. then Owensboro, Ky. of about the same size and description. About 1345 or 1350 I sighted an object in the sky to the South of Godman Field. As I wanted verification, I called my Detachment Commander, 1st Lt Orner, to the Tower. After he had sighted the object, he called for the Operations Officer, Capt. Carter, over the teletalk box from the Traffic Desk. He came up stairs immediately, and looked at the object through the field glasses in the Tower. He then called for the CO, Col Hix. He came to the tower about 1420 (appx) and sighted the object immediately. About 1430 to 1440 a flight of four P-51s approached Goldman Field from the South, enroute from Marietta, Ga. to Standiford Field, Ky. As they passed over the tower I called them on "B" channel, VHF and asked the flight leader, NG 869, if he had enough gas and if so, would he mind trying to identify an object in the sky to the South of Godman Field. He replied in the affirmative and made a right turn around with two planes and proceeded South from Godman Field. The fourth plane proceeded on to Standiford Field alone. The three ship formation proceeded South on a heading of 210°, climbing steadily. About 1445 the flight leader, NG 869, reported seeing the object "ahead and above, I'm still climbing". To which a wing man retorted, "What the Hell are we looking for"? The leader reported at 15,000 ft that "The object is directly ahead of and above me now, moving about half my speed”. When asked for a description he replied, “It appears metallic object of tremendous size”. At 15,000 ft, the flight leader reported, “I’m still climbing, the object is above and ahead of me moving at about my speed or faster, I'm trying to close in for a better look. This last contact was at about 1515. About 5 min. afterward, the other two ships in the flight turned back. As they passed over Godman NG 800 reported "It appears like the reflection of sunlight on an airplane canopy". Shortly afterward, the same pilot and plane took off from Standiford and resumed the search. He went to 33,000 ft. one hundred miles South and did not sight anything. I left the Control Tower shortly afterward.

The foregoing statement is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

/a/Quinton A. Blackwell
QUINTON A. BLACKWELL
T Sgt AF18162475
Det 733D AFBU

“A CERTIFIED TRUE COPY”
JAMES F. DUESLER, JR.
CAPTAIN, USAF


USAF-SIGN1-279
CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS


At approximately 1320 Sgt. Cook from the CO’s office notified the observer (T/Sgt Quinton A Blackwell) that according to Ft Knox Military Police & “E” Town State Police, a large circular object about 250 to 300 ft in diameter was over Mansville, Ky. Advised him to check with Army Flight Svc. They advised negative but shortly thereafter reported object over Irvington, Ky, then Owensboro, Ky. Object first sighted by Blackwell about 1345 to 1350 over south Godman Fld.

Verification:
1st Lt Orner (Detachment Commander)
Capt Carter (Operations Officer)
Col Hix (CO) sighted it about 1420

At approximately 1430 to 1440, four P-51’s approached Godman f/south enroute f/Marietta, Ga. to Standiford Fld, Ky. Blackwell asked Flight Leader NG 869 to attempt to identify object. Accompanied by two other planes he proceeded south f/Godman. Fourth plane proceeded to Standiford Fld alone.

About 1445, flight leader (NG 869) reported sighting object “ahead and above ­ still climbing” At 15,000 ft he reported “Object directly ahead and above and moving about half my speed.” Again “it appears metallic of tremendous size.” Still later “I’m still climbing ­ object is above and ahead moving about my speed or faster ­ I’m trying to close in for better look.” This was about 1515. Five minutes later the other two ships turned back. NG 800 reported “it appeared like the reflection of sunlight on an airplane canopy” Shortly afterward this same pilot (NG 800) resumed search going to 33,000 ft, 100 miles south but did not sight anything.



MAXW-PBB3-718 ,234,235
MAXW-PBB3-718
3. Capt. Gary Carter statement

HEADQUARTERS
315 AF BASE UNIT  (RES TNG)                                      A/hmg
GODMAN FIELD, FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY

9 January 1948

The undersigned was on duty at Godman Field 7 Jan 48 as Operations Officer.

At approximately 1400 hours and 7 minutes, 7 Jan 48 I received a call from Lt. Orner, AACS Detachment Commander, that the tower had spotted an unidentified object and requested that I take a look. Lt. Orner pointed out the object to the southwest, which was easily discernible with the naked eye. The object appeared round and white (whiter than the clouds that passed in front of it) and could be seen through cirrus clouds. After looking through field glasses for approximately 3 or 4 minutes I called Co. Hix’s office, advising that office of the object’s presence. Lt. Col Wood and Capt. Duesler came to the tower immediately. Col. Hix followed them.

About this time a flight of four P-51 aircraft were noticed approaching from the south. I asked Tec. Sgt. Blackwell, Tower Operator to contact the planes and see if they would take a look at the object for us. The planes were contacted and stated they had sufficient gas to take a look. One of the planes proceeded on to Standiford, the other planes were given a heading of 230°. One of the planes said he spotted the object at 1200 o’clock and was climbing toward it. One of the planes then said, “This is 15,000 ft., let’s level out”. One of the planes, at this point (apparently the plane who saw the object) estimated its speed (the object’s) at 180 M.P.H. A few seconds later he stated the object was going up and forward as fast as he was. He stated that he was going to 20,000 feet, and if no closer was going to abandon the chase. This was the last radio contact I heard. It was impossible to identify which plane was doing the talking in the above report. Later we heard that one plane had landed at Standiford to get fuel and oxygen to resume the search.

The undersigned reported to Flight Service a description, position of the object while the planes searched for it.

/a/Cary W. Carter
CARY W. CARTER
Captain, USAF


“A CERTIFIED TRUE COPY”

JAMES F. DUESLER, JR.
CAPTAIN, USAF


SIGN8-PBB3-234
CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS


USAF-SIGN8-235

At approx 1407, 7 Jan 48, Capt. Carter was called by Lt. Orner, AACS Detachment Commander, to come to Tower to witness an unidentified aerial object.

Object appeared round and white (whiter than clouds that passed in front of it) and could be seen thru cirrus clouds.

After observing it thru field glasses for some 3 ­ 4 minutes, he called Col Hix’s office. Col Hix, Lt Col Wood & Capt Duesler came to the tower shortly thereafter.

Capt Carter then suggested that a group of P-51 aircraft in the vicinity be contacted to pursue the object. T/Sgt  Blackwell, Tower Operator, contacted the flight leader to take a look. Three planes proceeded on a heading of approx 230°. One of the planes (Mantell’s) spotted it at 1200 o’clock position. Another plane relayed “This is 15,000 ft, let’s level out” First speed was relayed by Mantell (180 MPH). Later, “object going up and forward as fast as I am” ­ or 360 MPH. Mantell then stated he was going to 20,000 ft and if no closer would abandon chase. Last radio contact heard by Capt. Carter.

NOTE:  Apparently, Mantell blacked out at 20,000 ft or proceeded on since the object apparently appeared closer (if such were the case) and then crashed thru lack of oxygen.

Does not seem to tally with report that the phenomena was “Venus or a comet”


MAXW-PBB3-719, 832,833
4. Captain James Deusler statement
HEADQUARTERS
315 AF BASE UNIT  (RES TNG)                                                             A/hmg
GODMAN FIELD, FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY

9 January 1948

At approx 1420, 7 Jan 48, I accompanied Lt. Col. E. G. Wood to the Godman Field Control Tower to observe “an object hanging high in the sky south of Godman”.

Shortly after reaching the tower, Col Guy F. Hix, the Commanding Officer, was summoned; it was at that time that I first sighted the bright silver object.

Approximately five minutes after Col. Hix came into the tower, a flight of four P-51’s flew over Godman. An officer in the tower requested that the Tower Operator call this flight and ask the Flight Leader to investigate this object if he had sufficient fuel. The Flight Leader (Capt. Thomas F. Mantell) answered that he would, and requested a bearing to this object. At that time one member of the flight informed the leader that it was time for him to land and broke off from the formation. This A/C was heard requesting landing instructions from his home field, Standiford, in Louisville.

In the meantime the remaining three P-51’s were climbing on the course given to them by Godman Tower towards this object that still appeared stationary. The Tower then advised the Flight Leader to correct his course 5 degrees to the left; the Flight Leader acknowledged this correction and also reported his position at 7,500 feet and climbing. Immediately following the Flight Leaders transmission, another member of the flight asked “where in the hell are we going?” In a few minutes the Flight Leader called out an object ”twelve o’clock high”. Asked to describe this object, he said that it was bright and that it was climbing away from him. When asked about its speed, the Flight Leader stated it was going about half his speed, approximately 180 M.P.H.

Those of us in the Tower lost sight of the flight, but could still see this object. Shortly after the last transmission, the Flight Leader said he was at 15,000 ft, and still climbing after “it”, but that he judged its speed to be the same as his. At that time a member of the Flight called to the leader and requested that he “level off”, but we heard no reply from the leader. That was the last message received from any member of the flight by Godman.

/a/James F. Duesler, Jr.
JAMES F. DUESLER, JR.
Captain, USAF

          “A CERTIFIED TRUE COPY”
                    JAMES F. DUESLER, JR.
          CAPTAIN, USAF

CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS


MAXW-PBB3-833

At approx 1420 7 Jan 48, Duesler accompanied by Lt Col E. G. Wood went to Godman Control Tower to observe an unidentified aerial object. Shortly after their arrival Col Hix, the Commanding Officer was summoned. At about this time Duesler first sighted a bright silver object. Then Col Hix arrived. Shortly thereafter a flight of four P-51’s flew over Godman. Leader was contacted to pursue object. He assented and three P-51’s climbed on the course, the fourth P-51 returning to base. Flight leader called to observe that “object was twelve o’clock high.” Asked to describe it, he stated “it is bright and climbing away from me.” He stated at first that it was going about 180 MPH. Then Control Tower lost sight of the flight but could still see the object. (In connection with this, Lt Col E. Garrison Wood, who witnessed the sighting stated that while it appeared about 1/10 the size of a full moon, if the thing were a great distance away, as compared to the diminishing size of the P-51’s flying toward it, it would seem that it was at least several hundred feet in diameter.) Shortly after NG 861, the flight leader, stated that he was “at 15,000 ft and still climbing” He stated that he judged the speed to be the same as his or approx 360 MPH. One of his planes then asked him to level off but no reply was heard from the flight leader. That was the last message received from any member of the flight.

After dark, another or the same object appeared in approx 234° from Godman at 6° elevation. This body moved to the west (259°) and then down. The shape was fluid but generally round with no tail, the color changing from white, to blue, to red to yellow and had a black spot in the center at all times.

At 1600 CST it was obscured by clouds.

NOTE:                    Later, an astronomer was contacted who attempted to account for this phenomena as either Venus or a comet.

SEE ALSO:             Report of civilians and state police and corroborated version of this incident.

PFC Stanley Oliver was on duty at the Control Tower at Godman Fld when Col Hix’s office informed the tower that an unidentified object (Supposedly some 250 ft to 300 ft in diameter) was sighted over Mansville, Ky. This was approx at 1330 CST. Xx PFC Oliver saw the object southwest of Godman Fld. To him it resembled an ice cream  cone topped with red. Could not ascertain if it were moving or not.

RELIABILITY:  Witnesses: Col. Hix, (CO), Capt. Carter, Lt. Orner & M/Sgt Blackwell

NOTE:  The report of alerting the P-51 aircraft contained in PFC Oliver’s statement and the witnesses correlates material in the other reports.


MAXW-PBB3-720
5. Col. Guy F. Hix statement

HEADQUARTERS
315TH AF BASE UNIT  (RES TNG)                                                 A/hmg
GODMAN FIELD, FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY

9 January 1948

At approximately 1300 hours a call came to this Headquarters from State Police, reporting a flying object near Elizabethtown. Another report came in from Madisonville about ten minutes later. A third call came in from Lexington, Kentucky. (All towns are south of Godman Field).

We alerted the Tower to be on the lookout for flying objects. At 1445 hrs the Tower notified me that an object had been sighted at about 215°. I went to the Tower and observed the object until 1550 hrs., when it disappeared behind the clouds.

The object observed could be plainly seen with the naked eye, and appeared to be about one-quarter the size of a full moon, white in color. Through eight-power binoculars, the object seemed to have a red border at the bottom, at times, and a red border at the top at times. It remained stationary for 1½ hours.

When I arrived at the Tower, Tech. Sgt. Quinton Blackwell had contacted there P-51 airplanes over the field and suggested that they have a look if they had sufficient fuel. When I arrived they were within sight of the Tower, heading on a course of 215°.

I heard one of the pilots report that he saw the object straight ahead and estimated the speed of 180 M.P.H. The pilot stated that the object was very large and very bright.


/a/ Guy F. Hix
GUY F. HIX
Colonel, USAF
Commanding


“A CERTIFIED TRUE COPY”
JAMES F. DUESLER, JR.
CAPTAIN, USAF

MAXW-PBB3-690
CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS


MAXW-PBB3-691

At approx 1300 hrs State Police, reported a flying object near Elizabethtown. Ten minutes later sighted near Madisonville. A third call reported it over Lexington. (All south of Godman) Tower then alerted. Tower sighted object at 1445 and notified Col Hix who went immediately to tower where he observed the object thru 8-power binocs. Object also lined up with sighting bar. Three P-51 planes were already pursuing the thing on a course of 215°. (One pilot reported the thing to be traveling at 180 MPH). Col Hix reported the object appeared to the south near the sun. “It was very white and looked like an umbrella,” he stated. “I thought it was a celestial body but I can’t account for the fact it didn’t move.” “I just don’t know what it was.” Appeared about ¼ size of full moon and white in color. Thru binocs it appeared to have a red border at the bottom at times and a red border at the top at times. It remained stationary (seemingly) for 1-1/2 hours.
RELIABILITY:  CO of Godman Fld. Obj chased by National Guard planes and followed from the ground by State Highway patrolman. See corroborating accounts.

NARA-PBB2-865
6. Lt. Paul Orner Statement
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
AIRWAYS AND AIR COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE, ATC
DETACHMENT 733-5 AF BASE UNIT  (103D AACS SQ)
Godman Field, Fort Knox, Ky

9 January 1948
STATEMENT OF LT PAUL I ORNER

Following is an account of the sighting of unknown objects from the Control Tower on 7 January 48 at Godman Field.

On the above date at approximately 1400 CST a report came in to the Control Tower through M Sgt. Cook of a report of an unidentified object flying at terrific speed in the vicinity of Maysville. This call was cancelled minutes later by the Military Police at Fort Knox who had instructions from the Kentucky State Police.

Very soon thereafter several reports of the same nature came from Flight Service saying this object was over Irvington and Owensboro, Kentucky. At the same time an object was reported by T Sgt Blackwell, Chief Control Tower operator on duty. I was in the office of the Commanding Officer checking the call from the Fort Knox Military Police at this time. When the call was cancelled I was returning to the Control Tower to see the object sighted by them. I immediately went to the Control Tower and saw a small white object in the southwest sky. This object appeared stationary. I was unable to tell if it was an object radiating its own light or giving off reflected light. Through binoculars it partially appeared as a parachute does with bright sun shining on the top of the silk but there also seemed to be some red light around the lower of it.

The Commanding Officer, Operations Officer, S-2 and Executive Officer were called immediately. Several minutes after the object was sighted a flight of four (4) P-51’s came over the field from the south. I instructed T Sgt Blackwell to call flight leader and ask if they had seen any evidence of this object. The flight leader answered negative and I suggested to the Operations Officer that we ask them if they had enough gas to go look for this object. The Tower operator was instructed to call the flight leader and he answered “yes” to this question. One (1) P-51 had permission from the flight leader to break formation and continue where he landed several minutes later on their original flight plan. The flight leader and two (2) other planes flew a course of 210° and in about five (5) minutes sighted the object. At first the flight leader reported it high and about one-half his speed at “12 o’clock”. Shortly thereafter the flight leader reported it at about his speed and later said he was closing in to take a good look. This was the last message from NG869, the flight leader. NG800 shortly thereafter reported NG869 disappeared. From pilots reports in the formation NG869 was high and ahead of the wing man at about 1515 CST to 1530 CST when he disappeared. NG800 said he was breaking off with other wing man to return to Standiford Field due to lack of gas. This was about 1523 CST to 1530 CST. From messages transmitted by the formation it is estimated the flight leader was at 18 to 20 thousand feet and the wing man at approximately 15 thousand feet wide formation when the flight leader NG869 disappeared.NG800 and other wing man returned to Standiford Field.


NARA-PBB2-866
 
 
NG800 gassed up and got more oxygen and flew a second mission on the same heading of 210° to a position of about 100 miles south of Godman Field to an altitude of 33 thousand feet and did not sight the object. At about 1645 CST when NG800 reported not seeing the object I left the Control Tower.

At about 1735 CST I returned to the Control Tower and a bright light different than a star at a position of about 240° azimuth and 8° elevation from the Control Tower. This was a round object. It seemed to have a dark spot in the center and the object moved north and disappeared from the horizon at a point 250° from the Tower. The unusual fact about this object was the fact that it remained visible and glowed through the haze near the Earth when no other stars were visible and did not disappear until it went below the level of the earth in a manner similar to the sun or moon setting. This object was viewed and tracked with the Weather Station theodolite from the hangar roof.
 
 
 
MAXW-PBB3-682
CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS
 
MAXW-PBB3-683

Unknown object first reported by Military Police at Ft. Knox, approx 1400 CST, vicinity of Mansville. Later over Irvington & Owensboro, Ky. Sighted, Godman, by Blackwell, Chf Control Tower. Lt Orner then left office of CO, proceeding to Control Tower where he sighted a small white object in the southwest sky. It appeared stationary. Could not determine of object radiated or reflected light. Thru binocs it appeared partially as parachute with bright sun reflecting from top of the silk, however, there seemed to be some red light around the lower part of it. Three P-51’s alerted to pursue object. Took a course of around 210°. Approx 5” later object sighted. NG 869 (flight leader) reported it high and traveling about ½ his speed at 12 o’clock. Later he stated he was “closing in to take a good look”. This was his last message. NG800 then reported NG 869 had disappeared. At the time of his disappearance he was reported high and ahead of wing man at approx 18,000 to 20,000 ft and wing man at approx 15,000 ft. Wing man (NG800) returned for fuel and resumed pursuit going to altitude of 33,000 ft but did not sight object. At about 1645 Lt Orner left tower.

Later, Lt Orner, returned to Control Tower (about 1735 CST) and perceived bright light at a position of about 240° azimuth and 8° elevation. It was a round object and did not resemble a star. Although there was a ----x haze the object remained visible and did not disappear until it went below the level of the earth in a manner similar to the sun or moon setting. This object was viewed and tracked with the Weather Station theodolite from the hangar roof.

RELIABILITY:              Verified by Commanding Officer, Operations Officer, S-2 and Executive Officer. However, these officers were apparently present when second sighting took place.

With this information now under our belt, we stop for a moment to discuss  the Air Force project that went into operation the same month Mantell was killed chasing a UFO on that afternoon of January 7th, 1948.

Part 2 - 4:  Project SIGN
There is a large amount of ground to cover with the Mantell incident, but for a moment let's discuss the UFO project which had just "officially" began in January of 1948, a few weeks after the tragic incident. Project SIGN, the forerunner of Projects Grudge and Blue Book, was actually started a month before, if not years before and was referred to as "Project Saucer".


Project Sign was instigated following a recommendation from Lt. General Nathan F. Twining, then the head of Air Materiel Command. Just before this, Brig. Gen. George Schulgen, of the Army Air Forces air intelligence division, had completed a preliminary review of the many UFO reports, then called "flying discs" by military authorities, which had received considerable publicity following the Kenneth Arnold sighting of June 24, 1947. Schulgen's study, completed in late July 1947, concluded that the flying discs were real craft. Schulgen then asked Twining and his command, which included the intelligence and engineering divisions located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, (then referred to as Wright Field), to carry out a more exhaustive review of the data. In his formal SECRET letter to Gen. Schulgen (*) on September 23, 1947, in part, General Nathan Twining wrote:

"2. It is the opinion that:

"(a) The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious.
"(b) There are objects probably approximately the shape of a disc, of such appreciable size as to appear to be as large as a man-made aircraft.
"(c) There is the possibility that some of the incidents may be caused by natural phenomena, such as meteors.
"(d) The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, maneuverability (particularly in roll), and action which must be considered evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects are controlled either manually, automatically or remotely."

He recommended that " ...Army Air Forces issue a directive assigning a priority, security classification and code name for detailed study of this matter." Though conducted by the Army Air Force, the study's information and conclusions would be made available to all the armed services, and to scientific agencies with formal government ties.

Twining's suggestion was approved on December 30 by Major General Laurence C. Craigie, Director of Research and Development under the Deputy Chief of Staff for Materiel at Headquarters U.S. Air Force. According to Craigie's directive, it would be the role of Sign to: "...collect, collate, evaluate and distribute to interested government agencies and contractors all information concerning sightings and phenomena in the atmosphere which can be construed to be of concern to the national security."

On January 22, 1948, Project Sign formally began its work as a branch of Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, under the direction of Captain Robert R. Sneider.

Sign was seen as a very important undertaking: Ruppelt wrote that Sign "was given a 2A priority, 1A being the highest priority an Air Force project could have." Though it was classified "restricted", the study's existence was eventually known to the general public, and was often called "Project Saucer". However, UFO historian Wendy Connors established, through an interview with a surviving Sign secretary, that "Project Saucer" was the project's original informal name and had actually begun in late 1946. If this was the case, then the Army Air Force had already begun investigation of UFOs well before the Kenneth Arnold sighting that launched the first flood of UFO reports of June-July 1947 in the United States.

May 28, 2006, continued:

Michael D. Swords is a Professor of Natural Science at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His major professional and involvements are teaching and writing in the areas of general sciences and anomalous phenomena. His teaching centers about human biology, the history and philosophy of science, scientific methodology, and the "parasciences" of which UFOlogy is a member. His writings have concentrated mainly on topics in UFOlogy, parapsychology, and cryptozoology, and several have been published in the "MUFON UFO Journal". A very relevant paper is:
Project SIGN & the Estimate of the Situation (2000).

Dr. Michael D. Swords writes:
"The core personnel for the project were probably the most talented group to work on UFOs until the Air Force ended its investigation in 1969. Aiding chief officer, Capt. Robert R Sneider, were two outstanding aeronautical engineers, Alfred Loedding and Alfred B. Deyarmond. Completing the group was nuclear and missile expert Lawrence Truettner. The quality of these people indicates the seriousness (and the comparative difference in later years) with which the Air Force considered the flying disk problem."

Wendy Connors:
In 1947, Wright-Field's  T-2's job (Dayton, Ohio) was to acquire, collect, analyze and produce foreign aerospace technical intelligence for the Army Air Forces. Loedding was an expert in such areas as Vertical Takeoff aircraft, the hydro bomb, rockets/fuel and low aspect ratio aircraft. Documents show Colonel Howard McCoy sent Loedding to the Pentagon as the first liaison between T-2 Intelligence and the AF Office of Intelligence (AFOIN). This was done in July 1947 because General McDonald wanted someone to work with Dr. Charles Carroll in setting up the preliminary outline for a formal and parallel project to investigate the "flying disc" phenomenon that was rapidly developing. Loedding's expertise was necessary because at the time the "boys at the Pentagon" were of the opinion that the discs were advanced technology from Russia and invading US airspace.

Dan Wilson's reports to the A-Team:
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs9.htm
MAXW-PBB3 713-722
The cover-up of the Mantell case begins with the timely discovery of a document (MAXW-PBB3-714) signed by base commanding officer, Colonel Guy F. Hix. In the document below it clearly states that the civilian investigator (Alfred Loedding) from Wright Field, arrived at Godman Field on January 9, 1948 and made a thorough investigation. After obtaining statements and full information on the matter, he (Loedding) issued instructions that no report on the subject would be made until further instructions were given.

Fran Ridge:
USAF-SIGN1-377
is a better version of MAXW-PBB3-714, transcript below (Frame 377, see Part 2-2) .                                

THIS PAGE IS UNCLASSIFIED           
HQ 315th AF BASE UNIT (RES TNG), Godman Field, Ft. Knox, Ky. 9 Jam 48
TO:      Commanding General Eleventh Air Force, 1612 South Cameron Street Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
ATTENTION:  Lt. Col. Chandler, PIO Section
             1.         Forwarded in accordance with telephone instructions, your office this date.
             2.         A Mr. Loedding, civilian investigator for the intelligence Division, Department of the Air Force, assigned to Wright Field, Ohio, arrived at this headquarters, this date, and made a through investigation of the matters listed in basic letter.
             3.         After obtaining statements and full information on the matter, he issued instructions that no reports on the subject would be made until further notice was given.
             4.         This report, however, is forwarded in compliance with your instructions.
  
            6 Incls                                                              GUY F. HIX   
                 N/C                                                             Colonel, USAF
                                                                                     Commanding


The next day, May 29, Brad Sparks sent the group an email: He had gotten the records on the balloon flight.

Brad Sparks:
I read over the posted June 1994 CAUS article on Mantell expecting to find a RECORD of a Skyhook launch on Jan 6, 1948.  I was hoping to find a THEODOLITE tracking on a MAP, since "theodolite" tracking was made much of in the article.  I was bitterly disappointed to find neither.  In fact there is an eerie deja vu here with the infamous C B Moore again involved in peddling questionable stories about balloon antics that are not documented and are flagrantly contradicted by the facts -- just like with his wholesale falsification of the Roswell MOGUL balloon fiction which Dave Rudiak and I thoroughly exploded as a tissue of lies, deceit and fabrication from start to finish.  (more on Moore's lies below).
If it was a UFO it was very poorly documented.  If it was a Skyhook balloon it was very poorly documented.

How do we _know_ the alleged Skyhook balloon was lost after passing the Georgia/South Carolina coastline?  That kind of assertion in the article makes it seem like there was a TRACKING of the balloon over a distance of 1,000+ miles out to the Georgia/South Carolina coast, a seemingly solid documentary record.

Or is this just a bald assertion based simply on drawing a straight line from Camp Ripley, Minn., to Mantell's crash site near Franklin, Ky., and then continuing the line out to the Georgia/South Carolina?  That is not a RECORD, that is a hypothetical extrapolation dressed up to LOOK like a documentary record made at the time, in 1948, which is not quite kosher, it's misleading. That would be pretty amazing given all the cross-winds at altitude that are hypothesized just to get a Camp Ripley -- Believe it or Not! -- balloon over central Kentucky at the time of the Mantell and other sightings, and to stop and start at the right time, etc.

Interestingly the AF claimed to have had actual "wind plots" (Ruppelt book) to show that a Clinton County AFB Skyhook launch would have traveled SW to the sighting area in Kentucky -- about 90 degrees off of C B Moore's alleged SE heading claimed for the purported Camp Ripley balloon.  How is that possible?  Where are the WEATHER RECORDS to prove the Camp Ripley theory???  Moore is a meteorologist for crying out loud so where are the meteorological records to support his baseless theory???  At least the Clinton County Skyhook theory has WEATHER RECORDS, but these would seem to contradict any Camp Ripley balloon path.

The article claims that "Complete weather and tracking data for the Camp Ripley launch are not available for the entire path."  Well that implies there ARE such "weather and tracking data" available for SOME of the balloon flight path so WHERE IS IT????

Speaking of amazing coincidences, isn't it a pretty extraordinary "coincidence" that just a few hours after an alleged Skyhook balloon supposedly passes over the general region that at 7:20-8:00 PM (EST) on Jan 7, 1948, or almost 2 HOURS AFTER SUNSET AT BALLOON ALTITUDE AND WHEN THE BALLOON COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE SEEN there were Skyhook-balloon-like sightings from Lockbourne AFB and Clinton County AFB in southern Ohio???  How is that possible???  Pretty amazing when one considers a Skyhook could not possibly have been seen as a classic "ice cream cone" shape in PITCH DARKNESS of night.  Even if the instrument package underneath the balloon carried a tiny light the light could not possibly have illuminated the 100-foot cone-shaped gas bag above it.  These are just physical impossibilities you can take to the bank.

Here is what I found in the AF file on the Mantell case about these impossible NIGHTTIME Skyhook-like sightings of a "flaming red cone" with "intense brightness" seen by the Clinton County Air Field Control Tower operators and flight crew members, an object so bright that when a cloud drifted in front of it the object's light could still be seen even though stars were completely blotted out (Maxwell Roll 3, p. 737;  see also Sign Roll 1, p. 513-4, 518, 526-7, 531, etc.):

"Description of object seen at Clinton AFB.

"A. 6 observers at Wilmington, site of Clinton AFB, stated that a cone shaped object ... similar to what a partially inflated Skyhook balloon would look like.  It was in sight for approx. 30 [mins].  All stated it disappeared in general SW direction.

"B.  2 observers described it as an inverted triangle or a cone -- it climbed and descended.  Wind was from NE to SW, which is in the exact direction of GODMAN.

"CONE INVERTED TRIANGLE
[drawings] partially inflated balloon"

I noticed in the article that famed astronomer Carl Seyfert's sighting of a balloon from Vanderbilt Observatory near Nashville, Tenn., is seriously MISQUOTED leaving out the crucial observation that the balloon seen in the SSE was "moving first SE" (which would fit the Camp Ripley Skyhook theory) but then it WENT WEST "then W" which would contradict the Ripley "Believe It or Not" Skyhook balloon theory.  The part saying "then W" was left out and no ellipses indicated any deletion, and so was the word "first" left out of "moving first SE, then W" so as to further cover up the direction change.  There were several other distortions in the mangled quotation or misquotation.  (Maxwell Roll 3, p. 711)

If the Camp Ripley Skyhook was held stationary for 1-1/2 hours from 1:45 to 3:15 PM (CST) as the article and Moore apparently both claim, because of ascending into a "turnaround altitude" from 60,000 to 75,000 ft then how is it that astronomer Seyfert just over an hour later at 4:30 PM CST estimated the balloon was at just 25,000 ft moving at 10 mph, a speed which Moore seemed to agree with.  But you can't have both because if Seyfert was able to accurately estimate a 10 mph speed then he must have had a reasonable estimate of distance and height in order to calculate the speed.  If the Skyhook was rapidly descending 35,000+ ft in perhaps another 1 hour then it should have impacted the ground in south-central Tennessee at about 5:30 PM CST.  It could not possibly then have traveled to the Atlantic Ocean over the Georgia/South Carolina border as Moore claims.

The article claims, based on what Moore was alleging, that the Navy did the Skyhook launch from Camp Ripley but did not disclose this at the time to the AF investigation of the Mantell crash because the Navy did not want to get blamed for Mantell's death.  We also get the usual bullshit about how Skyhook was "highly classified" at the time, too, which it WAS NOT.  It was HIGHLY PUBLICIZED at the time. Certain projects using Skyhooks were classified but not the Skyhook launches or the Skyhook balloons.  This is a cute new "reasonable cover-up" theory similar to the Roswell MOGUL fraud but it's missing any proof that the NAVY launched the Skyhook from Camp Ripley on Jan 6, 1948.  Moore's finding photos of the alleged Camp Ripley launch in his files implies that he personally was there and that he launched the Skyhook (why not say so?  why conceal his personal involvement?).  But Moore was under AIR FORCE CONTRACT at the time and he is able to cite chapter and verse by AF Contract Number "AF 19(122)-633" to prove that Clinton County, Ohio, was not launching Skyhooks until 1951, but doesn't do the same for Camp Ripley in 1948.  Where is the NAVY CONTRACT NUMBER and PROJECT IDENTIFICATION for the Camp Ripley Skyhooks in 1948????

Where is the actual RECORD of the alleged Skyhook balloon launch from Camp Ripley, Minn., on Jan 6, 1948????  It was launched at "about" 8 AM?  Why is there no exact recorded time?  Is that because this "record" is actually all dependent on the confabulated convenient memory of one person, C B Moore, one of the most notorious liars in the history of UFOlogy who has been caught red-handed in numerous outright proven lies and falsifications of data and preposterous math?  Moore makes George Adamski look like an honest Boy Scout in comparison.



The Mantell crash itself seems to suffer from outright doubletalk.  In the same Accident Report it first says Mantell's fighter crashed because "as nose depressed, [Mantell] finally began a spiraling dive which resulted in excessive speeds causing gradual disintegration."  So Mantell's aircraft was in a crash dive nose down going so fast it broke apart, yet then the report admits the plane did not hit ground nose first but came down pancaking flat on its belly, while still trying to maintain the fiction of coming "straight down," but IN A "HORIZONTAL POSITION"!!!  Huh????  Note the slick weasel-wording:

"The aircraft came straight down in a horizontal position and landed on the left side." (Maxwell Roll 3 p. 750)

Fran Ridge:
I then discovered two restricted documents, one which tells more about what Mantell had said than any previous document found. MAXW-PBB3-681 reads in part:

"About 1445 flight leader (NG 869) reported sighting object 'ahead and above still climbing'. At 15,000 ft he reported: 'Object directly ahead and above and moving about half my speed ' Again 'it appears metallic and of tremendous size.' Still later 'I'm still climbing - object is above and ahead moving about my speed or faster - I'm trying to close in for better look'. This was about 3:15 PM.  Five minutes later the other two ships turned back. Both documents appear on the web page I created, http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs11.htm,
but the actual documents are located at the end of this chapter.

Interest in the case re-investigation was mounting, but some were questioning why re-investigate in the first place?

Mary Castner of CUFOS wrote:
"Please tell me what makes you think this Skyhook couldn't be what Mantell saw and why a Skyhook had to be launched on 1/7 to qualify for what Mantell saw?"

Fran Ridge:
As I told the list members, first of all, I was approached in March by Drew Speier of WFIE to help on a story they wanted to do on the Mantell incident. To set the record straight, I told him that there were MUCH better reports and that the Mantell incident was not even an "unknown". He insisted that it was a "local" story and told me that it would possibly lead to other stories if it went well. May was ratings month and that was the release period.

There are a LOT of problems with the Mantell incident. It was NOT an open and shut case of a balloon. I didn't go into them at this time because when Drew asked me to do the story I re-opened the investigation. I told her (and the list) that, when Dan and I get all the documents posted, the case will be presented for comment. The case was not listed as an unknown at this point.

I have worked with people, one which served on on Project SAUCER (Code-named SIGN), and there is reasonable doubt about many factors in this case. There WERE UFO reports that day. One report of an object 250' in diameter moving at a good clip does not square with a Skyhook balloon, reported BEFORE Mantell and the tower saw anything. And some pilot friends of mine cannot accept the idea of a pilot who, during the stress of aerial combat in WWII, while chasing a balloon OR flying saucer would forget his oxygen. Whether we like it or not, we still have a mystery. We may not end up with an unknown, but mystery we do have.

Later that day I found this document, showing the Project SIGN first quarter sightings, early on lists the case as solved, yet doesn't do an across the board balloon explanation to explain the rash of sightings in the region. Venus is the explanation for ALL of them, except the Mantell incident. The Jan-Feb-March sighting listings lists the sighting at Godman as a "balloon"!!!
NARA-PBB1-15 (*)

The Air Force publicly blamed the planet Venus as the cause for all of the series of sightings, including the daylight incident in Kentucky (not Mantell). In actuality, however, many of the intelligence officers in TID's Sign project were slowly becoming convinced UFOs were extraterrestrial in origin during the course of the long accident investigation that continued through April. Loedding and Sneider got the Venus idea from Dr. Hynek who had only offhandedly suggested the planet as one possible explanation. They, however, used it as a cover or a quick fix to explain away what, at the time, became a very widely publicized incident in the midst of what was obviously going to be a long investigation. Sign team members thought they might have to suggest a far more shocking conclusion, but not before they had the time to develop the theory.

Part 2 - 5:  Balloon Deflated
 
May 31, 2006

One of the many reasons why I never believed the Mantell case was actually explained was the LIFE Magazine article in 1952. On May 31st, I mentioned this and listed it as part of the record. On April 7, 1952, four years after the incident mind you, in this article, cleared by the Air Force, Robert Gina of LIFE Magazine states:

"Nevertheless in serious moments most people were a little worried by all the 'chromium hubcaps,' 'flying washtubs' and 'whirling doughnuts' in the sky. Buried in the heap of hysterical reports were some sobering cases. One was the calamity that befell Air Force Captain Thomas F. Mantell on Jan. 7, 1948. That afternoon Mantell and two other F-51 fighter pilots sighted an object that looked like "an ice-cream cone topped with red" over Godman Air Force Base and Fort Knox, Ky. Mantell followed the strange object up to 20,000 feet and disappeared. Later in the day his body was found in a nearby field, the wreckage of his plane scattered for a half mile around. It now seems possible that Mantell was one of the very few sighters who actually were deceived by a Skyhook balloon, but the incident is still listed as unsolved by the Air Force files."

Barry Greenwood has pursued the UFO topic since 1964. He specialized in researching government documents in the late 1970s, leading to co-authoring the book "Clear Intent" (with Larry Fawcett) in 1984. He also edited the newsletter "Just Cause" for "Citizens Against UFO Secrecy" (CAUS) from 1984 to 1998. Other research has been published in the "MUFON Journal," "Flying Saucer Review" and a variety of international publications since the mid-1970s. In more recent years, he has specialized in UFO history, compiling "The New England Airship Wave of 1909" and editing "U.F.O. Historical Revue," a newsletter issued from 1998 to date. He also published the online "Union Catalog of Periodical UFO Articles," a massive listing of UFO articles published in worldwide periodical literature and is an associate of "Project 1947" and the "Sign Historical Group" (SHG), and is an overseer of one of the larger archives of historical UFO materials in existence, having spent thousands of hours in library and archive research.

On this same day, Greenwood responded to Brad Sparks May 29 email:

Barry Greenwood:
Since you dismissed the Camp Ripley data in my Just Cause article as "not worth the paper they are written on," perhaps you can explain why you continue to carry the General Mills sighting at Arrey, NM on 4-24-48 as an unknown since the main witness, Charles Moore, is not credible by your reckoning. If he lied about Roswell and lied about Mantell, why should the Arrey report hold any credence?

Fran Ridge:
Barry, it's no reflection on you or your great work, which I have always admired. It just turns out that Moore fooled us all...for a while. The more we dig; the more we find. Exactly what you would expect if there is something to all this. And the most surprising thing about it all, to me (as I told the WFIE reporter), is that the evidence is right in front of us in the Blue Book files.

Barry Greenwood:
Might we safely say that we can now dismiss the 1949 General Mills sighting as a hoax because Charles Moore was involved, based upon what we've seen here today? If he is a liar and forger, there can be no other conclusion.

Brad Sparks:
Moore wasn't the only witness on April 24, 1949, and we have the statements from the other four Navy witnesses obtained by AFOSI (William Akers, Richard G. Davidson, Clifford E. Fitzsimmons, Moorman).

Fran Ridge:
Remember the famous balloon at Sandy Hook that was chased by the T-33 after the Fort Monmouth incident? Everybody wanted to toss that case out, too. Ruppelt (like Moore) placed the balloon at the right place and the right time. We (the report) went from a reference in Ruppelt's book to a full report almost 2" thick that blew that (explanation) out of the water once and for all. It is now listed as an unknown!!!

Jan Aldrich is the creator and coordinator of Project 1947, an ongoing and unprecedented effort to collect and archive UFO data. Aldrich's project has compiled a massive amount of data ranging from government documents, newspaper stories, magazine clippings, and other documents. Jan is also the author of several UFO articles. He is also a member of the NICAP A-Team.

Jan Aldrich:
I am sorry but this is completely untrue.  I have always said that the AF's explanation was flawed here (Sandy Hook).  This is based on the AF claims that a balloon can act like a high speed aircraft and out distance the chase plane in low winds.  I am not the only one that said that and have posted on the case several time on UFO Updates. As far as the Mantle (sic) case...there were UFOs in the area?  So what!   Are the two connected?  Look at Mantel's (sic) description. There were sightings of a big balloon in the area afterward. It is your opinion that a pilot would not go above 20,000 without oxygen. An NG pilot did the same thing in 1956 and from the same outfit as Mantell. Why?  Probably, because of lack of judgement when flying at high altitudes with lack of oxygen.   Thinking that they can just go that little extra altitude and get back down before being effected.

Fran Ridge:
Jan, You supported us when we redid that entire (Fort Monmouth) report. When I made the comment I meant that MOST of the UFO community was satisfied with Ruppelt's explanation by doing nothing and letting it lie. You were one of the people that helped (us), so when I said "everyone" I meant that, if we hadn't created the full report with all the documents, it would still be written off.

Brad Sparks:
But that's the whole point Jan -- the "Skyhook-like" sightings 4 HOURS after Mantell crashed and 2 HOURS AFTER SUNSET at high altitude, made by numerous competent Clinton County AFB tower personnel (and others elsewhere including at the Mantell crash site) with binoculars who MADE DRAWINGS.  How do you explain this????  Ice-cream cone shaped intense red light, just like red sunset light.  Gotta be a Skyhook balloon right???  How can it be otherwise???  How can you have such a "coincidence" otherwise??? See full rebuttal at

I had noticed that Bill Booth had made some great comments on our show, so I posted the URL for the web site. This is what Booth said:

"Thomas Mantell Dies Chasing UFO is a skillful piece of writing, and the gentleman who wrote it certainly did his research. It is rare that I say this, but the video that accompanies the article is a must see. It is surely a professional creation with great facts mixed with archival footage from the U S Air Force. I must give credit where it is due. Reporter: Drew Speier, New Media Producer: Rachel Chambliss, both of you, KUDOS! A well balanced report giving both sides of the argument. Once again, we face the familiar argument of the debunkers who say that Mantell was merely chasing a top secret balloon. Where have we heard this before? The proponents of the UFO theory point out that even Project Blue Book, who were interested in the case because Mantell was a pilot, would assert that the maneuverability of the object was beyond the capabilities of a balloon. The documents with this information were originally left off of the official report. There the mystery rests."
http://ufos.about.com/b/2006/05/29/thomas-mantell-dies-chasing-ufo.htm



Joel Carpenter is a pilot and a member of NICAP's A-Team, He is a consultant on early UFOs and "foo-fighters".

Joel Carpenter:
Why doesn't anyone think he recovered consciousness in the last seconds, tried to pull out of the dive, began to, and lost the wing in up-bending -- just as the report says. In this case, the plane would not be in a screaming nosedive from 20,000 ft, but would be decelerating tumbling debris. (Note: There were certain control settings that implied that he had regained consciousness and reset things just before impact -- I don't recall exactly -- fuel pump, carb setting, something like that -- that wasn't in positions that would be expected during a high-speed climb. This is similar to the kind of thing NASA said about the Challenger astronauts -- certain switches were set to positions that they weren't in at launch, which implied that at least a couple of the astronauts had survived the explosion and tried to prepare for a crash.) I believe the report specifically noted that a fuel switch was in a position that wouldn't be expected in a climb, which implied that he might have recovered consciousness and changed it in the last seconds.
Joel then provided information on problems noted with the P-51, over three years prior to the Mantell crash.  He quotes the internet source:
"The loss of a P-51 Mustang fighter and the tragic death of its pilot over Preston in mid-1944 is probably one of the lesser-known local incidents of the Second World War. Yet this was the second such loss in identical circumstances in a matter of weeks and the potential consequences for the American and British Air forces were immense.
"The first incident occurred on 12th June 1944 when P-51D Serial No. 44-13403 embedded itself in the Ribble mud close to BAD2 at Warton killing it's pilot, Second Lieutenant W. T. Clearwater. Detailed examination of the recovered wreckage showed that there had been catastrophic structural failure of the wing assembly. It was some two weeks later that another BAD2 test pilot, 2nd Lt. Burtie Orth, was making a similar test flight in P-51D Serial No. 44-13593 on the morning of 27th June 1944. Weather conditions were not ideal with frequent thunder showers and 7/10th cloud cover at 1400 feet, but there were clear areas and the pilot may well have flown over Preston in order to carry out his testing schedule in just such an area. Although the aircraft's movement were not observed prior to the crash, it is believed that Burtie would have adhered strictly to the limitations on aerobatics flying which had been placed following the crash two weeks earlier. Exactly what happened next will never be known, but as in the case of previous crash, the first indication to those on the ground was the scream of the engine running out of control. At approx. 9:00 am morning assembly was taking place at Fulwood and Cadley School, when the children's attention was diverted by the noise and many ran to the windows in time to glimpse the last moments of the aircraft, a memory that was to stay with them for the rest of their lives. It appeared to those watching that the pilot somehow had some partial control over the direction of the aircraft's descent and it "steered" away from the school and houses below. The stricken plane exploding on impact, on an area of farmland in the Cadley area of the town. Those first on the scene quickly realised that they could do nothing for the unfortunate pilot.
"At the time of the accident it was suggested that although there was a recognised weakness in the wing of the new P-51D, the actual failure of the structure could have been triggered by the Starboard main undercarriage leg inadvertently lowering into the slipstream at cruising speed and placing immense pressure on the wing spar. However examination of the official crash reports for both incidents clearly places the blame on a weakness in the front wing spar assembly and associated stressed skin structure between "Rib stations 75 to 91.5, i.e. the Gun Bay area. The report on Orth's aircraft does go on to suggest that failure of the retracting/locking system could be a contributory factor, but merely recommends further investigation.
"For many years local enthusiasts believed that both these incidents occurred close to the site of BAD2 at Warton and one group actually went so far as to identify the crash site of an American fighter on the marshes at Freckleton as being that of 44-13593 and partially excavated the site! (See "Flypast" Nov. 1983 & Mar.1985) However a brief examination of the known details soon showed that this deduction was flawed. Inspection of local papers close to the date of the accident revealed little, though a small note about local school children sending flowers for the funeral of an American pilot put us on the right track. Following information appeals in the local press we soon had several witnesses to interview - mainly former pupils at the local school - which the aircraft had narrowly missed. Pinpointing the exact site proved a little harder - it had been well guarded and few of those interviewed had got near, also photos of the site obtained from the BAD2 Association clearly showed a substantial farm building in the background - which we failed to locate. Fortunately the present owner of the former farmhouse recalled demolishing the aforementioned building many years before and we were soon systematically searching a nearby field with a metal detector. Just days later the crash report arrived from Craig Fuller of AAIR, confirming the location beyond question.
"Our excavation of the site took place, coincidentally, on 27th June 1998 and we knew from the start that little was likely to be left, though our trusty Forster Locator was giving a good signal! Considering the importance placed at the time on discovering the cause of these two tragic accidents, we were most surprised to discover the top section of the starboard undercarriage leg. This comprised of the complete pivot casting from the top of the leg encased in the corroded remains of the magnesium pivot block, mounted on a section of the front wing spar and including the undercarriage locking mechanism. The position of the casting in the block clearly showed that the leg had in fact been in the fully retracted position at the time the remainder of the leg had been torn off. The force of the wing breaking away, with the wheel presumably held fast in the wheel well, had exerted immense pressure on the four bolts holding the leg into the pivot casting collar and these had sheared allowing the wing to break completely away and the heavy undercarriage leg to fall free. The latter falling in nearby Mill Lane according to one witness interviewed. Other finds included; the remains of three instruments, radio tuner control, spare lamp-bulb locker cover, drop tank release handle, an electric motor and many very small fragments, such as a locking cone from the pilot's parachute pack. As predicted the finds petered out at less than one meter in depth and the rest of the day was spent carefully checking through the spoil for missed items and reinstating the site just as we found it."
Richard Hall enlisted in the fledgling U.S. Air Force in 1949 and served into early 1951, followed by six years in the Air Force Reserve. After returning to civilian life he enrolled at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1954. Attracted by then emerging news about sightings of "flying saucers" (UFOs) in the 1950s he opted to make himself available to the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) then being formed. After working for NICAP for about 10 years, Hall resigned to find paying work because of his impending marriage. For a number of years thereafter, he worked for various trade associations in Washington, D.C., and for some "Beltway Bandit" consulting firms as a writer-editor. His final formal job before semi-retirement was as an abstractor-indexer at Congressional Information Service, Bethesda, Maryland for about 10 years. (See full resume below.) Hall served as Chairman of the Fund for UFO Research, 1993-1998, and is the author of several books. He is a prime member and consultant to the NICAP A-Team.

Dick Hall:
For heavens sakes, guys! I thought my memory problems were bad, but you all make me feel better. The whole business about oxygen in the Mantell case has been on the record all along. A quick look at the two-volume edition of Jerry Clark's Encyclopedia found at:
 "Mantell's right wingman, 1st Lt. Albert Clements, put on his oxygen mask. Already the air was getting dangerously thin [at 16,000 feet] and Mantell and the left wingman, 2nd Lt. B.A. Hammond, had not brought oxygen masks with them. Mantell, without oxygen, said he wanted to go up to 25,000 for 10 minutes, then if he could get no closer he would abandon the chase.

"The wingmen broke off the pursuit at 22,500 feet, and the last they saw of Mantell he was "still climbing almost directly into the sun," according to Clements. A couple of minutes later his plane was seen circling lazily around, and it seems obvious that he had passed out from lack of oxygen. The ground witness saw it start to spiral down and it started to break up in the air before pancaking to the ground.

"The best guess is that Mantell was excited by the object he was viewing and committed a lapse of judgment under the very unusual circumstances."

Don Ledger is the author of three books, "Maritime UFO Files" which catalogues some 135 UFO sightings in eastern Canada, "Swissair Down" a detailed look at the crash of Swissair Flight 111 off the coast of Nova Scotia and more recently “Dark Object” which chronicles the Shag Harbour Incident of October 4, 1967. Don has been investigating the UFO phenomenon for 20 years and presently concentrates on UFO sightings by pilots. He is the Canadian Affiliate and technical specialist for NARCAP, the National Aviation Reporting Center for Anomalous Phenomena. He has appeared in numerous documentaries, television and radio, lectured at various UFO conferences around North America and has contributed to various periodicals and magazines. Don is a member of the NICAP A-Team.

Don Ledger:
That's one I'd never heard before. As you say, hearsay, however. That portion of dialogue between the controllers and Mantell has never been mentioned, either to support that Mantell had the oxygen or that he did not. Frankly it has always bothered me that an experienced fighter pilot would ever climb past 12,000 feet [daytime flight] without oxygen. Excited he may have been about chasing the "object" but it would not compare with the various and heightened emotions that fighter pilots would experience when engaging an enemy.
Fran Ridge:
That part has always bothered me, and you expressed it very well. I had said that Mantell had been in stressful situations in aerial combat, yet going after an unidentified object in broad daylight shouldn't have affected his mind enough to do something life threatening. And while it was true that Mantell would have trouble reaching the balloon height (his 30,000 verses 50-100,000 ' for the balloon), the speed of the then one of the fastest airplanes we had of almost 450 mph would have overshot the higher object very quickly, not traveling faster or even "at half my speed".

Don Ledger:
Though the F-51 was capable of speeds in excess of 425 mph in straight and level flight under optimal conditions, it would have been a very rare day for it to reach 450 mph. Easy downhill mind you. In a climb it would have been struggling at its maximum climb angle of 17 degrees [the wing would stall over that angle even with engine laboring and blower at high readings in inches of manifold pressure] to get up to or over 200 mph. Even then it would have been probably mushing. The greater the altitude the less the rate-of-climb [ROC] versus forward speed. But yes, the real puzzler was Mantell's disregard for anoxia. He knew better. I can't understand why he would have gotten so excited about this object, more excited than if he had been in combat, to ignore this obvious danger.
Although I had mentioned this earlier in this report, this is a good time to once again look at the facts. This is what Mantell's friends had to say:

Ruppelt
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."

Keyhoe:
One of these (friends) 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."

Brad Sparks:
I would like to verify Mantell's WWII service.  Doesn't seem likely that a mere troop transport pilot would come to the attention of brass like Gen Garland. Capt Tyler's statement says that Mantell flew "transition in B-24's" in WWII (not sure what "transition" means unless he was training for B-24 flight duty).  B-24's were bombers not troop transports, and flew much higher (to 32,000 ft), where oxygen was necessary and thus Mantell had to be familiar with oxygen requirements from personal experience.  The excuse that he only flew low-altitude transports doesn't cut it.

And my research note:
Mantell had 2,867 flying hours, 67 of them in the F-51. He was a very experienced flyer and a veteran of the Normandy Invasion, having also won a Distinguished Flying Medal. He was also then operating his own flying school. At 22,000 feet or higher could he not have recognized a high altitude balloon that should have resembled a cone-shaped object, much like ground observer Pfc Oliver described?

Steven Kaeser is an Executive Board Member, Fund for UFO Research and has been on the NICAP A-Team from day one.

Steven Kaeser:
Fran, has the original report on this crash been located?  Some sort of official investigation would have taken place after this incident, but (I) haven't seen any discussion of what it says about the accident. So, a case that is probably older than most of us discussing it, has again reared its ugly head and confused us with evidence that we can either ignore or deal with.   Frustration has been expressed regarding the re-opening of this case to debate, but to my knowledge there are no major UFO cases that have been fully proven as mundane, and the Mantell crash is no different.

Rod Dyke spearheads the Archives for UFO Research, News and Information Service in Bainbridge Island, in the US West Coast state of Washington.

Rod Dyke:
The Archives for UFO Research (AUFOR), has a copy of the Official Accident Report (Inquiry # 10-480107-1) ... 125 pages long. IF anyone requires a copy, we can supply for $20 via media mail or $25 via priority mail.

It was essential that we order the FULL official accident report report, and this was done immediately. Up until now we had pages from it, but not the whole document. It was supposed to be 450 pages; then, it turned out to be 250 pages, and when we finally got it, it was 127 pages. What happened to the other pages, and what's on those missing documents?

Also of note are some excepts from popular magazines that relate to Mantell, I recalled, in  Ruppelt's TRUE article, a note by editors. In a letter to TRUE on this point, Capt. William B. Nash, had written:

"As a pilot, Ruppelt must know that he wrote pure deception when he said of the Mantell case, 'The propeller torque would pull it into a slow left turn, into a shallow dive, then an increasingly steeper descent under power. Somewhere during the screaming dive, the plane reached excessive speeds and began to break up in the air.' Any Dilbert knows that as the speed of an airplane increases its lift increases, and the plane's nose would come up until the speed decreased again and the nose dipped once more to pick up speed and lift, thus creating an oscillation all the way to the ground-not a 'screaming dive.' The plane could spin or spiral instead of oscillate, but a spin is a stall maneuver, and planes do not come apart in a stall. This oscillation would he especially likely to occur if the airplane had been trimmed to climb . . . and . . . Ruppelt says, 'The wreckage showed that the plane was trimmed to climb."

When newsmen began asking him whether the article was Air Force inspired, Ruppelt replied that they had furnished Life with some raw data.

Ruppelt:
"My answer was purposely weasel worded because I knew that the Air Force had unofficially inspired the Life article... [and also knew that the strongly implied answer that UFOs were interplanetary] was the personal opinion of several very high-ranking officers in the Pentagon - so high that their personal opinion was almost policy."

LIFE:
"Nevertheless in serious moments most people were a little worried by all the "chromium hubcaps," "flying washtubs" and "whirling doughnuts" in the sky. Buried in the heap of hysterical reports were some sobering cases. One was the calamity that befell Air Force Captain Thomas F. Mantell on Jan. 7, 1948. That afternoon Mantell and two other F-51 fighter pilots sighted an object that looked like "an ice-cream cone topped with red" over Godman Air Force Base and Fort Knox, Ky. Mantell followed the strange object up to 20,000 feet and disappeared. Later in the day his body was found in a nearby field, the wreckage of his plane scattered for a half mile around. It now seems possible that Mantell was one of the very few sighters who actually were deceived by a Skyhook balloon, but the incident is still listed as unsolved by the Air Force files. (Re: April 7, 1952: Life Magazine article, "Have We Visitors From Space?) "


Part 2 - 6:  The Accident Report
 

On June 1, 2006, while we waited on the 127-page accident report from Rod Dyke's Archives for UFO Research, Dan Wilson located some of documents in the BB Archive files.

Dan Wilson:
A few pages of the Accident Report are located here. (USAF-SIGN1-310, bottom line, says "Oxygen system was not serviced: System was in working order." (BTW, these documents are "reverse" print, with white type on black background. - Fran Ridge)
Dan Wilson:
39-page AF Report of Major Accident was found and posted.
MAXW-PBB3-748 is same doc as USAF-SIGN1-310 above.
which lists all of the following documents, MAXW-PBB3-746-782

Frame 6 (of 32), Part 1 of 4 of full Accident Report
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/MantellAccRptPages1-32.pdf
is
UFOArchivePage006
also is
MAXW-PBB3-743
States that Capt. Mantell did not have oxygen or oxygen mask. One must be careful when reading USAF aircraft accident reports for what I have found, they do not always tell the truth.

Raymond E. Fowler was born in Salem, Massachusetts and received a B.A. degree (magna cum laude) from Gordon College of Liberal Arts. His career included a tour with the USAF Security Service and 25 years with GTE Government Systems. He retired early after working as a Task Manager and Senior Planner on several major weapons systems including the Minuteman and MX Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. Ray Fowler's contributions to UFOlogy are respected by UFO researchers throughout the  world. His investigation reports have been published in: Congressional Hearings, 

Ray Fowler:
In one of my courses on UFOs, I quoted from a declassified document which I no longer have but may have on a slide. "pilots Hammond NG737 and Clements NG800 climbed to 22,000 feet with Mantell in NG869, then continued on to their original destination because of lack of oxygen". This could imply that Mantell continued the chase because he HAD oxygen. I will try to find the slide of the government document. I believe the actual document is now with Barry Greenwood who purchased my non-abduction UFO files.

Fran Ridge:
Ray, since it was probably a BB doc, and we have looked at most of them recently, I did some checking. The Accident Report says:
"The object was still visible, and the Flight Commander was requested to investigate and attempt to determine the nature of the UFO if his mission allowed. The Flight Commander, Captain Mantell, stated he was on a ferry mission, but would investigate. Captain Mantell then started a spiraling climb to 15,000 feet, then continued to climb on a heading of 220 degrees, the approximate direction of the UFO from Godman Field.  At 15,000 feet the wing men turned back because they were not completely outfitted for flights requiring oxygen."

"Not completely outfitted" may mean all they lacked was tanks, but implies Mantell may have been equipped. Then later they say he wasn't equipped. . Also shown on our March 8 entry, specifically note MAXW-PBB3-668, which may be the doc you are referring to) 

"It is believed that Captain Mantell never regained consciousness.  This is borne out by the fact that the canopy lock was still in-place after the crash, discounting any attempt to abandon the aircraft. The UFO was in no way way directly responsible for this accident. However, it is probable that the excitement caused by the object was responsible for this experienced pilot conducting a high altitude flight without the necessary oxygen equipment." (Note: the object was referred to as a "UFO".)


On this day during the re-investigation sequence, a very controversial aspect of the Mantell tragedy came up. One source had mentioned Mantell's plane and his body were riddled with tiny pinholes. A short discussion ensued.

Don Ledger:
I have heard this story (holes in fuselage) as well a few times over the years, but I'd  be surprised if there weren't hundreds of holes in the aircraft's skin. It was held together with thousands of countersunk rivets, many of which could have pulled through from the stress of the spiral dive and the impact. I wonder if  pulled through rivets holes is where the story (began).....

Dan Wilson:
21 Jan 1948 cover letter and 35 pages from Accident Report that might have something in there.:
MAXW-PBB3-746-782
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs12.htm
(The following page, page 3 of that document group, is a better version of the one saying Mantell had oxygen, although un-serviced. See Frame 310, Part 1-4 - Fran Ridge)
MAXW-PBB3-748
 
Don Ledger:
I noticed two discrepancies in the Mantell incident as compared to the AAF report. First it mentions that the weather was CAVU-Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited which doesn't square with the mention of clouds in some reports. Also it states that Mantell "Violated AAF Reg. 60-16 Par. 45. However, Capt. Mantell was requested by Godman Field Control Tower to investigate objects in the sky causing this officer to go above limits of AAF Reg. 60-16." Note that (objects) was mentioned. Not object, indicating more than one bogey might have been seen in the sky by Godman Tower controllers.

Brad commented on this later on September 12 (2008) and it is placed here for its contextual value: "Yes, as I discovered earlier this year, there were two (2) UFO's, the main object at 205-210 degrees azimuth chased by Mantell, and the second one at 240-250 degrees tracked intermittently by theodolite on the roof of the hangar at Godman Field at the same time."

Actually, Dan Wilson had found the documents citing this information two years prior and we posted them on May 28, 2006.  Jean Waskiewicz had provided the transcripts.


 
 
Lt. Paul Orner:
NG800 gassed up and got more oxygen and flew a second mission on the same heading of 210° to a position of about 100 miles south of Godman Field to an altitude of 33 thousand feet and did not sight the object. At about 1645 CST when NG800 reported not seeing the object I left the Control Tower.

At about 1735 CST I returned to the Control Tower and a bright light different than a star at a position of about 240° azimuth and 8° elevation from the Control Tower. This was a round object. It seemed to have a dark spot in the center and the object moved north and disappeared from the horizon at a point 250° from the Tower. The unusual fact about this object was the fact that it remained visible and glowed through the haze near the Earth when no other stars were visible and did not disappear until it went below the level of the earth in
a manner similar to the sun or moon setting. This object was viewed and tracked with the Weather Station theodolite from the hangar roof.

Brad Sparks:
Mary and Joel have obtained the map from Barry who got it from C B Moore. The shocker is that Moore apparently even lied about Camp Ripley as the Skyhook launch site.  It was NOT launched from Camp Ripley but from Milaca, Minn., almost 50 MILES from Camp Ripley!!!  This guy can't tell the truth about ANYTHING especially when he alone has the documentation in front of him.

Re: Maps Just to clarify:  Barry Greenwood had it in his files all along since 1994, which is when he got it from Moore, not that he recently got it from Moore.  However Mary pried it out of Barry who had to scan it in several sheet segments then email it and then Mary got Joel to stitch the scans together, which he should be done with soon.  Also they are highlighting the 1-6-48 launch in red otherwise it is hard to tell which one is it.

(Joel's working on the map) Nashville Int'l Airport/Berry Field has Winds Aloft / Upper Air twice a day in Jan 1948 up to an average height of about the 257 mb level or 33,000 ft.  Louisville should have similar. Maybe you can navigate to see if the data is actually online or whether NCDC in Asheville NC has to be called by phone to get it.

Fran Ridge:
Transcript of WFIE-TV Show (already sent to a few on the list) was now posted on the NICAP site.
http://nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107_WFIE.htm

June 2, 2006
I asked Jean to send the file on Mantell from Loren's UFO History to Brad ASAP.

Fran Ridge:
What about the State Police report of an object 250' in diameter moving at a good clip? This is how it all started and they called Godman.

Brad Sparks:
All those initial reports are confused in my mind.  We need solid BB (Sign) reports to sort them out and I didn't find them in the BB files (yet).  Obviously size estimates like that 250-ft are notoriously unreliable -- could have been ten times closer and only 25 ft in size, etc.

(Blue Book documents regarding this was among the first ones we had in 2005 before the re-investigation started. Fran Ridge).
Also USAF-SIGN1-371 presented in Part 1-4..
Brad Sparks:
(Col. Hix report discussion).
Dr. Kevin D. Randle is a major in the Iowa National Guard as well as a prominent UFOlogist. Within the UFO Community he is often regarded as one of the leading experts on the reported crash of a UFO near Roswell New Mexico in July 1947.

Kevin Randle:
Thomas Mantell died in a tragic mistake of misidentification complicated by his violation of regulations. It's a sad tale but it is time to retire this from the UFO lore.

Fran Ridge:
Mantell didn't violate any regs. He was ordered to pursue this object. When the military asks you to do something, that's an order.

Kevin Randle:
While the skyhook balloons might not have been classified, the project was, and Mantell and those with him and those in the tower were unfamiliar with the skyhook balloons. The evidence available today suggests that Mantell was attempting to intercept a skyhook that was at 80 to 100,000 feet, or something like 10 to 12 miles above him. ......... weather balloons of fifteen or twenty five in diameter, a skyhook that was four of five times as large and made of shiny material, seen at such a distance would certainly fool them. If you look at the drawings of the object made by the men in the tower, it is clear what they were describing.

Brad Sparks:
I believe the NY Times had a big article on Skyhook balloons in Sept 1947 when they were first launched and I think the article was reprinted in papers across the country.  I know of no way that an eyewitness observer can "see" a "project" whether secret or not, a "project" is an intangible and invisible structuring of human organization.  A person can only "see" a balloon, a physical object (and only if big enough and close enough).

Fran Ridge:
There were about 100 launchings of Skyhooks per year, about two a week. Skyhooks were written about (highly publicized) and discussed in unclassified documents. But, there is no launch date and location that even comes close to producing a Skyhook over Godman at that time. There WAS, but that has been changed twice and apparently turns out to be completely wrong. I'm open to new evidence and won't be upset if it indeed turns out to be a balloon explanation, but now is the time to place these events where they properly belong for the record.

Joel Carpenter:
This is the famous statement "declassifying" the research applications of the Skyhook balloon system. "SKYHOOK BALLOONS PUBLICLY REVEALED, This article was published in the daily newspaper The Evening Telegraph, of Dixon, Illinois, USA, on February 13, 1951. "The physicist (Liddel) said 2,000 reports of 'flying saucers' were checked, and those considered 'whimsical' were eliminated. Of the 'reliable' reports, he said, "there is not a single observation which is not attributable to the cosmic balloons.'  " (See transcript below and actual document on the link provided).
If You Saw 'em You Were
Right, They Were Saucers

NEW YORK, (AP) -- A navy official confirmed today that "flying saucers" really existed, but actually were huge plastic balloons used in high altitude cosmic ray studies.

Dr. Urner Liddel, chief of the nuclear physics branch of the Office of Naval Research, made this disclosure in an article in the current magazine.

Liddel, in Washington, discussed the story further when newsmen queried him.

The Navy balloons, Liddel declared, were 100 feet in diameter and sometimes rose to a height of 19 miles. He added that winds might sweep them along at 200 miles an hour.

Sun did it

At dusk, the slanting rays of the sun lighted up the balloons' bottoms, giving them the saucer like appearances, Liddel said.

He added that many of the disks were sighted as the sun set. Liddel said the existence of the big balloons was kept secret because the project was connected with atomic developments.

Liddel, who was in charge of the balloons tests, said they carried instruments to record the results of collisions between cosmic rays and atoms in the earth's atmosphere.

No Longer Secret

He added that secrecy was "no longer necessary."

Liddel said he was convinced that a "saucer" photographed at 77,000 feet altitude over Minnesota was a Skyhook.
The physicist said 2,000 reports of "flying saucers" were checked, and those considered "whimsical" were eliminated. Of the "reliable" reports, he said, "there is not a single observation which is not attributable to the cosmic balloons."

These balloons, called Skyhooks by the Navy, were first used in 1947, about the time the disk were first sighted. Liddell said reports of "flying saucers" increased or decreased in proportion to the number of balloons sent aloft.


Fran Ridge:
That's interesting, Joel. We'll make that part of the record that it was "officially" announced in 1951, a little over three years after the Mantell incident. The part about the physicist checking 2,000 "flying saucer" reports, and after eliminating the "whimsical" ones there wasn't a single case that could not be attributed to "cosmic balloons" (Skyhooks) reminds me of the report about the U-2 years back. Same old bull crap.. The piece was obviously released as a debunking ploy, not as accurate information.

For the record, the May 1948 issue of Popular Science. "Are Secret Balloons The Flying Saucers?" spilled the beans three years earlier: Popular Science, May 1948

Brad Sparks:
This is secrecy revelation-mongering where the alleged secrecy has to be played so that the revelation seems all the more sensational.  What about NY Times news stories in Sept 1947 when the Skyhooks were first launched?  Kinda deflates the whole super-secrecy aspect.

Brad Sparks:
Response to Mary Castner's balloon/wind data.

Jean:
(I) attached pages from Loren's 1948 UFO History to Fran & Brad. (later posted to list)
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/Mantell_Gross1948.pdf

Brad:
(Gives OK to post preliminary analysis).

I would only add one more comment:  Maximum possible range to see a 100 ft Skyhook is 50-60 miles, otherwise it is smaller than the MAR subtended angle of about 1 arcminute.  And that 50-60 miles is assuming very generously that ALL 100 feet of the Skyhook is lit up by sunlight in the daytime of course (NOT visible at all at NIGHT) which I doubt very much.  Looking at the 1994 CAUS article photos of the Jan 6, 1948, launch NOT from Camp Ripley (Moore lied even about that) but launched from 50 miles away at Milaca, Minn., it looks like maybe the 100 foot length includes about 50 feet of cabling to the instrument package and about 50 feet of balloon.
Dan Wilson:
Incident 30 & 32 at Columbus, Ohio. Hard to read. Says UFO was Venus.
MAXW-PBB3-379- 386, 389 - 402
A far better version exists in
NARA-PBB2-489

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

(Note: Transcripts for these documents, created by Jean Waskiewicz and released on Aug. 10, 2006, are moved up in this chronological timeline to match these documents secured by Dan Wilson).

Incident 30, Captain Charles McGee statement:


Very bright white light southwest of the field. The light did not cast a beam and seemed the size of a flood light. From the ground the light appeared to move westward. It was further west and lower than I saw it in the air, also the light was similar to that of a lantern light in that it was glimmering. The light varied yellowish to orange and appeared to be descending and burning out. The latter observation may be that in its westward movement it appeared to be fading out and descending however the light was not nearly as bright on the second observation. At first it was very white and did not appear to be moving though when it flashed on and off it appeared as in a fast descent. With the naked eye I could at no time make out any shape other than the light being oval shaped as though looking at a large spot light. It was not a heavenly body of any type in that the sky was solid overcast in the Lockbourne area and the object’s movement outweighs such a thought. I heard no noise in connection with the object. I estimated at the first observation that it was 4-5 miles southwest of the base. At the second appearance it was 6-7 miles west and moved westerly in a hovering manner but moving away.

AIRDROME OPERATIONS                             CH?/wew
LOCKBOURNE ARMY AIR BASE
Columbus 17, Ohio

ADGP/319.1 14 January 1948

SUBJECT:       Report of' Unusual Circumstance.
TO:                  Commanding Officer, 332d Fighter Wing, Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus 17, Ohio.

1.  At approximately 1925 EST on the 7 January 1948 I turned to runway 23 for an overhead approach at traffic altitude (1500 ft). Just prior to break-away saw a very bright white 1ight southwest of the Field. I began my 360° approach. It struck me that the light was very unusual and it was not on the ground so I looked in its direction at again from my base leg position, It appeared the same and as though it were about 3000 feet is the air. While on my base leg the light suddenly disappeared. The light did not cast a beam and seemed the size of a flood light. While on my approach it flashed on and off again immediately. I landed and taxied to the ramp thinking that it may have been a reflection from the ground or the like.

2.  Before flying I had heard part of an interphone conversation from Letterson Center to Olmstead Center relative to a circular object seen over Tennessee. I returned to the Operations Building. While there, the airways operator, Mr. Eisele, said the tower operator, Mr. Boudreaux, reported seeing something unusual southwest of the field. I stated that I had seen an unusual light and suggested calling him to check. We called the tower on the "squawk" box, and Mr. Boudreaux, said the light was what he had been watching about 15 minutes or so and that through the field glasses it appeared to have bluish streaks like a jet effect out from the right. He stated that it went out while I was in the pattern.

During the conversation he said it could be seen again (1935-1940). We went to the door to observe.

3.  From the ground the light appeared to move westward. It was further west and lower than I saw it in the air, also the light was similar to that of a lantern light in that it was glimmering. The light varied yellowish to orange and appeared to be descending and burning out. It moved very slowly and finally disappeared. The latter observation may be that in its westward movement it appeared to be fading out and descending, however the light was not nearly as bright on the second observation.

Ltr. Subj: Report of Unusual Circumstance (13 Jan 48) cont'd
At first it was very white and did not appear to be moving though when it flashed on and off it appeared as in a fast descent. With the naked eye I could at no time make out any shape other than the light being oval shaped as though looking directly at a large spot 1ight.

4.  This object was too large and too sharp a light to be a reflection from the ground. It was not a heavenly body of any type in that the sky was solid overcast in the Lockbourne area and the object’s movement outweighs such a thought. I heard no noise in connection with the object. I estimated at the first observation that it was 4-5 miles southwest of the base. At the second appearance it was 6-7 miles west and moved westerly in a hovering manner but moving away. The winds at this time were west-southwest averaging 6 miles per hour.

                    Charles E. McGee
                    Captain USAF
Ass’t Opns Officer 

Transcripts available for Incident 32, Lt. C.W. Thomas statement

USAF-SIGN1-275 (also MAXW-PBB3-390)
Lt. C. W. Thomas and Lt. Sims were making a regular cross country flight and reported in to Columbus Airways who asked them if they saw any unusual object in the sky. This report was relayed to Lockbourne ­ See Eisele’s report ­ Incident 30c.

Lt. C. W. Thomas and Lt Sims (??-0226) were making a regular cross country flight. They reported in to Columbus Airways who asked them if they saw any unusual object in the sky. They could see a large bright light off to the west. They estimated it to be below them, or about 3000 ft. It seemed stationery. The light was amber and looked like a large star or planet. It was about 15 miles away from them. The night was dark and overcast.
 ---------------------------------------------------------------

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