WFIE Interviews Brig. Gen. Edward W. Tonini (May 2005)










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.

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."

To this day, former Kentucky National Guard Commander Brigadier General Edward Tonini, now living in Louisville, is sticking to the skyhook balloon theory.

In a second interview on June 28tha nd aired on July 26th, Tonini said:

"It was unexplained to him certainly what it was, and he was chasing something and not just an illusion. And I believe that it was just this balloon."

After the show Tonini praised Drew Speier and WFIE for a great production:

"Very interesting work, you'll be working for one of the major networks soon enough.  Please keep me updated as more is learned.  I am not beyond changing my mind with enough strong evidence."

July 27, 2006
"Thanks for the note.  I look forward to any further developments in the Mantell Case.  As I told Drew originally I joined the KyANG in 1969, so the Mantell case was just something that was talked about by the 'old timers'...I have no first hand knowledge of the incident."

Brigadier General Edward W. Tonini is chief of staff of the Kentucky Air National Guard, Frankfort, Kentucky. As chief of staff, he serves the Adjutant General of Kentucky through the Assistant Adjutant General for Air as a principal advisor on matters pertaining to the KYANG. General Tonini oversees operational activities of Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard and all Headquarters Staff agencies.

Prior to his appointment to the position of chief of staff in April 1996, he spent 26 years in Public Affairs. He is the first career public affairs officer in Air National Guard history to be appointed a state chief of staff, and to attain the rank of general officer. His experience in dealing with local, regional, national and international media around the globe is extensive. He has produced news features and documentaries about the KYANG and has been published in newspapers and periodicals around the world.

His handling of media following the tragic C-130 accident in Evansville, Indiana in 1990 is considered a classic case study in effective public affairs. One year to the day after a front page story detailed the loss of thirteen lives in the accident, the KYANG was heralded as "The Guardians of Hope" in a special eight-page full color section of Kentucky's two daily newspapers, detailing the unit's humanitarian airlift efforts in Somalia. The story was a result of the first regional "media pool" ever, led by General Tonini, which included print and electronic representatives sharing their editorial product among competitors.

EDUCATION:

1973 Bachelor of Arts, Bellarmine College
1975 Squadron Officer School
1984 Air Command and Staff College
1988 Air War College

ASSIGNMENTS:

1. March 1969 - September 1970, Information Technician, Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, Frankfort, Kentucky
2. September 1970 - January 1972, Group Information Officer, Headquarters, 123d Tactical Reconnaissance Group, Shewmaker Air National Guard Base, Kentucky
3. January 1972 - September 1972, Base Fuels Management Officer, 123d Supply Squadron, Shewmaker Air National Guard Base, Kentucky
4. October 1972 - December 1974, NAF Information Officer, Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, Frankfort, Kentucky
5. December 1974 - September 1979, Wing Information Officer, Headquarters, 123d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Standiford Field, Kentucky
6. October 1979 - August 1983, Chief, Public Affairs Office, Headquarters, 123d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Standiford Field, Kentucky
7. August 1983 - April 1996, Chief, Public Affairs Office, Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, Frankfort, Kentucky
8. April 1996 - Present, Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, Frankfort, Kentucky