Source: Lima (OH) News August 21, 1952 (page 7)
Source Image: http://www.nicap.org/images/LimaNews21Aug52.jpg
WASHINGTON (INS) – The Air Force has made public for the first time a P-51 fighter pilot’s graphic description of a “flying object” which he was chasing over Kentucky just before he was killed.
Hitherto secret details of a radio conversation involving Capt. Thomas F. Mantell and four airmen at Godman Air Base, Fort Knox, Ky., were released after an exhaustive inquiry by the Air Force.
On Jan 7, 1948, the 25-year old pilot, a World War II air hero, and three other P-51 pilots, sighted a mysterious object during a routine training flight. Three pilots, including Mantell, gave chase.
Mantell then radioed his description to the Godman control tower. Authorities said that no official transcript was made. However, the testimony of the men in the tower was pieced together. This is their account:
T-Sgt. Quinton A. Blackwell: “About 1445 (2:45 p.m.) the flight leader reported sighting the object ahead and above – still climbing. At 15,000 feet he reported the ‘object directly ahead and above and moving about half my speed. It appears metallic and of tremendous size. I’m still climbing. Object is above and ahead moving about my speed or faster. I’m trying to close in for a better look.’
l l l
“THIS WAS about 1515. Five minutes later the two other aircraft turned back. Flight leader reported ‘it appeared like the reflection of sunlight on an airplane canopy’.”
Lt. Paul I. Orner said Mantell’s closing-in message was his last. Capt. J. F. Dassler (Duessler), Jr., leader of the P-51 group, said Mantell, in answer to a request to describe the object, reported it was “bright and climbing away from me … moving at about 350 miles per hour. One of his planes asked him to level off but no reply was heard.”
Capt. Cary W. Carter, operations officer at Godman Air Force Base, said he heard Mantell say later the “object is going up and forward as fast as I am.” Mantell then declared he was climbing to 20,000 feet and if he failed to close in on the “saucer” he would abandon the chase. That was his last radio message.
A 14-year old school girl who was waiting for a bus at the time, said she heard Mantell’s plane explode in the air. The wife of a farmer said she heard it roar low over her house and went to a window in time to see it fall apart in the air, at about tree-top height.
Back to Mantell Directory Page