Newsclippings & Transcripts
Form: Research of newspaper archives
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010
From: daniel wilson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Flying Saucers over Korea During War
What is Nonsense?
Bombers’ Crews Reported Flying Saucers in Korea
Anniston (Ala) Star; Feb 18, 1952; P4
By Jos. And Stewart Alsop
WASHINGTON – What is nonsense and what is worth reporting? Are facts to be taken seriously if they are undoubted as facts, and have already caused a considerable stir among the government’s intelligence chiefs and technical experts? Or are they to be laughed off because they may mean nothing, and quite probably do not mean as much as their sheer mystery suggests? All these questions are raised by the facts that follow:
On Jan. 29, one of our B-29 bombers performing a solitary mission in Korea was flying at somewhat more than 20,000 feet above the town of Wonsan. The bomber’s speed was slightly under 20 miles per hour. The time was shortly before midnight. Simultaneously, two members of the B-29’s crew, the lonely rear gunner in the tail and the wire control man in the waist, saw the same peculiar object.
It was round, and both airmen thought it was disc-shaped. It was orange in color, and around its circumference it seemed to have a series of small bluish flames, subsequently described as being like the flames of a gas stove. Judging its distance and size was naturally difficult, but both airmen thought close to their B-29, and only about three feet in diameter. To both of them, it seemed to fly with a revolving motion. For a full five minutes, this object moved parallel to the plane – or at least the two airmen thought it did – and then it disappeared.
When the B-29 completed its mission, the two airmen reported what they had seen to their squadron intelligence officer. Both men had experienced combat in World War II as well as in Korea, and both were considered steady, sensible fellows. Hence the intelligence officer, who might otherwise have been inclined to ignore their tale, rather gingerly transmitted a routine report to headquarters.
Product of Fancy
At headquarters, the report might also have been ignored, as the product of fancy, if another; almost closely similar report has not been almost simultaneously received. This second report, which came from a different B-29 squadron, also concerned the observation of a fire control man and waist gunner in a B-29 on a mission on the night of Jan.29.
This second B-29 had been flying again at about 20,000 feet, over the town of Sunchon, which is considerable distance from Wonson. At about midnight, the rear gunner and fire control man saw a round object moving level with their aircraft or a little below. As subsequently described by them, what they saw or what they imagined, was almost exactly what the other airmen saw or imagined, except that they were inclined to think the object was globular instead of disc-shaped. It followed their plane – or so they thought – for a minute or a little mote.
Such are the facts. When queried about them, the highest sources in the Air Force have replied that “there is no doubt about the facts but the Air Force still does not believe in flying discs.”
Apparently the idea of an elaborate hoax has been ruled out, since the crews of the two bombers did not know each other. That leaves the experts picking and choosing between all the other possible explanations ranging from an oddly simultaneous illusion produced by the reflections of bright objects in the B-29’s Plexiglas windows, to a Soviet test of a new form of disc-shaped guided missile.
Whether a hoax, or an illusion, or as intimation of something unpleasant to come, the facts none the less seem worth recording to these reporters, simply because they are symbols of the opening of the Pandora’s box of science. Here is a tale in source at least not laughable but close to laughable in substance, which is not being laughed off. In fact, it is the subject of anxious inquiry at high official levels.
Folly of Underestimating
The plain truth is that this now-opened Pandora’s box of science may contain almost any kind of disagreeable surprise; and this the experts can no longer say with assurance. “This is silly, that make sense.” The further truth is that the Korean experience has convinced American experts of our earlier folly in underestimating Soviet technical capabilities.
Much more solid evidence than the two queer intelligence reports from the B-29 crews continues to pile up. More recently, for example, information has come in of Russian production of a genuinely supersonic jet bomber, the MiG-19. The raised estimates of Soviet atomic output are in the same category. There is, of course, counter-balancing evidence, such as the startling withdrawal of the large Soviet air forces formerly stationed in East Germany and the European satellites, which suggests Russian air production problems. Yet over-all, it is clear that we can no longer rely drowsily on “superior American know-how.”
It is also clear, one might add, that the habits of democracy demand much wider ventilation and more serious public consideration of the huge issues raised by the Soviet rummaging in Pandora’s Box.