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.


 

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