At the close of the year, 2005, the Mantell case directory had files containing what others had written about the case, plus several Project Blue Book documents. The printed-out file was about an inch thick. By the time we conducted the re-investigation in 2006, the file was over four times that size.
The following 21 Air Force documents were in that original file at the NICAP site, thanks to the efforts of UFO researcher, Dan Wilson. The key documents regarding this case were in the first of the four groups below, transcribed by our own, Jean Waskiewicz.
1) On November 9, 2005, our A-Team UFO researcher, Dan Wilson, found these three "RESTRICTED" documents, dated, January 7, 1948. Listed as a report of unusual incidents that took place in several locations. Sightings were reported, (1) In Kentucky; (2) In Ohio at Lockbourne AFB tower and Clinton County Tower who advised that a great ball of light was traveling southwest across the sky; (3) In Missouri, at St. Louis Tower advising that a great ball of light was passing directly over the field - Scott AFB Tower also verified this; and (4) "A call was received from Air Defense Command advising us to alert Coffeyville, Kansas, Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and Kansas City Missouri, and that they had plotted the object as moving WSW at 250 miles per hour." These three documents confirm the original story as reported by Captain Edward Ruppelt, in his 1956 book. Newly found newspaper reports also tell us that someone had called an ambulance (Fire Dept) and they had arrived before the police. Apparently this is how Mantell's body was removed from the plane before State Police got there, and before the accident investigators arrived. But there were more surprises ahead.
The document numbers below that have the (*) correspond to the actual versions that can be found at the end of this chapter. ALL of the documents LISTED can be found on the NICAP website. The transcripts of those selected documents are provided immediately BELOW the relevant doc numbers.
At approximately 1400E, 7 January 1948, Kentucky State Police reported to Ft Knox Military Police they had sighted an unusual aircraft or object flying through air, circular in appearance approximately 250 - 300 feet in diameter, moving westward at "a pretty good clip." This in turn was reported to the Commanding Officer, Godman Field, Ft Knox, Kentucky, who called Godman Tower and asked then to have Flight Service check with Flight Test at Wright Field to see if they had any experimental aircraft in that area.
Captain Hooper at Flight Test Operations stated, "We have no experimental aircraft in that area, however we do have a B-29 and an A-26 on photo missions in that area." This information was relayed to Godman Tower by dispatcher on duty and a verification on report was asked for.
Godman Tower later called back and stated first report was by radio to Ft Knox Military Police and followed by telephone call to same from State Police.
Information on P-51's and further reports are reported as follows by Captain Arthur T. Jehli, Supervisor of the 1600E 2400E shift.
"When the 1600E - 2400E shift reported for duty we were advised that a "disc", or balloon, or some strange object was seen hovering in the vicinity of Godman Field. This object was seen by the Commanding Officer and Operations Officer of Godman Field who advised that they would attempt to send aircraft to ascertain the size and shape of the object.
"At this time there was a flight of 4 P51's enroute from Marietta, Georgia to Standiford Field, Louisville, Kentucky. The lead ship was NG 3869, pilot Mantell. The Commanding Officer, Godman Field contacted this pilot and requested that he investigate the object overhead.
"One of the ships of the formation, NG 336 pilot Hendricks, landed at Standiford Field. The 3 other aircraft started to climb toward the object.
“At 22,000 feet pilot Hammond, NG 737, advised Clements, NG 800, that he had no oxygen equipment. Both pilots then returned to Standiford Field; pilot Mantell, NG 3869, continued climbing.
“Pilot Clements, NG 800, refueled and went back up to 32,000 feet but did not see either the strange object or the aircraft NG 3869 again, and so returned to Standiford Field.
“At 1750E, Standiford Field advised that NG 3869, pilot Mantell, crashed 5 miles SW Franklin, Kentucky at approximately 1645C.
“We then sent an arrival of 1500C for the 3 aircraft, NG 336, NG 737, and NG 800, also notified Maxwell Flight Service Center that NG 3869 had crashed.
“Maxwell Flight Service Center made a long distance call to Franklin, Kentucky and spoke to police officer Joe Walker, who took charge at the scene of the accident.
"Officer Walker stated that when he arrived the pilots body had been removed from the aircraft. Upon questioning eyewitnesses, Officer Walker learned that the aircraft had exploded in the air before it hit the ground, but, that the aircraft did not burn upon contact with the ground.
"The wrecking was scattered over an area of about one mile, and at that time the tail section, one wing, and the propeller had not been located.
“Lt Tyler, Operations Officer at Standiford Field, departed Standiford Field for Bolling (Bowling) Green, Kentucky in N 8101 to investigate the accident - Also at our suggestion an investigation party and Military Police were dispatched from Godman Field to the scene.
“So much for the accident - now hold on to your hat!
“Godman Tower again contacted us to report that there was a large light in the sky in the approximate position of the object seen earlier. Then Lockbourne Tower and Clinton County Tower advised a great ball of light was traveling southwest across the sky.
“We then contacted Olmsted Flight Service Center and gave them all the information available to deliver to the Air Defense Command at Mitchel Field, Hempstead, New York.
"Later we received a call from St. Louis Tower advising that a great ball of light was passing directly over the field - Scott Tower also verified this.
“We then received a call from Air Defense Command through Olmsted Flight Service Center advising us to alert Coffeyville, Kansas, Ft Smith, Arkansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, and that they had plotted the object as moving WSW at 250 miles per hour.
“We then received information from Maxwell Flight Service Center that a Dr. Seyfert, an astronomer at Vanderbilt University, had spotted an object SSE of Nashville, Tennessee that he identified as a pear shaped balloon with cables and a basket attached, moving first SSE, then W, at a speed of 10 miles per hour at 25,000 feet. This was observed between 1630C and l645C.
"Olmsted Flight Service Center then advised us to instruct Godman Field to forward a complete report of the whole incident to Air Defense Command at Mitchel Field, Hempstead, New York as soon as possible.
“The Military Police at the scene of the accident called back and advised Godman Field that someone at Madisonville, Kentucky had observed, thru a Finch telescope an object described as cone shaped, 100 feet from top to bottom, 45 feet across, and 4 miles high proceeding SW at 10 miles per hour.
“All this time the weather observer at Godman Field was spotting the object with a Theodolite and keeping a record of times, elevations and azimuths.
“St Louis ATC advised of an article printed in the "Edwardsville Intelligencer", Edwardsville, Illinois, describing an object, over the town at 0720C, of aluminum appearance without apparent wings or control surfaces which was moving southwest. This object remained visible for about 30 minutes. This article went on to describe the amazement and wondering of the editor regarding this object - and you can bet that he was no more confused than I am at this moment.”
2) "Mantell Incident", January 7, 1948, Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio. Two-page document checklist on observations of objects from 0720 hours to 1925 hours.
Although we had these documents in 2005, better, more detailed information was found in other documents.
3) This series of twelve documents dated January 7, 1948 mentions the witnesses: (1) T/Sgt Quinton A. Blackwell, Chief Operator in control tower at Godman Field; (2) PFC Stanley Oliver, on duty in control tower Godman Field; (3) USAF Capt. J. F. Duesler Jr., in control tower Godman Field; (4) USAF Capt. Cary W. Carter, at Godman Field; (5) Col. Guy G. Hix, at Godman Field; and the lead pilot himself, (6) Capt. Thomas F. Mantell, flight leader in NG 869 F-51 aircraft. The docs listed are mentioned for-the-record only at this point.
4) On November 10th, 2005, Dan Wilson submitted this four-page AF Form 14, Report of Major accident, Jan. 7, 1948, near Franklin, Ky, Capt. Thomas F. Mantell 0-806873, Fatal. The accident summary says that Mantell went up to 25,000 feet and possibly as high as 30,000 feet, and that he passed out for lack of oxygen. According to other reports, Mantell's last words was that he was at 15,000 feet and would go to 20,000 feet and if no closer would abandon chase. USAF-SIGN1-310 held a vital clue, but a better version of those documents was uncovered by Wilson on June 1st of 2006. Fact: Mantell had oxygen! From the very beginning we had the evidence right under our noses, and later, analyst Brad Sparks amply pointed this out and was able to use other evidence to prove it.