| Maj. Donald
The spiritual leader of NICAP from 1956 through the early 1970s was Major Donald E. Keyhoe, USMC (Ret.). His books, Flying Saucers Are Real (1950) and Flying Saucers From Outer Space (1953) had called attention to the serious nature of UFO sightings. Keyhoe's background as a Marine Corps pilot, Government information official in the predecessor agency to the Federal Aviation Administration, and aide to Admiral Richard Byrd and Charles A. Lindbergh, caused his views to be well-informed and highly influential. Major Keyhoe's knowledge of aviation and Government affairs, and his high-level military contacts, were put to work when NICAP was officially launched in 1957. Among Keyhoe's Annapolis classmates were Adm. Delmer Fahrney, chief of guided missiles for the Navy, who signed off on the 1957 press release announcing the formation of NICAP, and Adm. Roscoe Hillenkoetter, first director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who served as a Board Member for several years. The one important element missing was money sufficient to finance an adequate staff to carry out the mission. That situation has never changed significantly in the subsequent 45 years of UFO history. Working with an extremely small and inadequate budget (typically on the order of $10,000-$20,000 a year in public donations), Keyhoe--with the aid of Assistant Director Richard Hall and an underpaid staff supplemented by occasional volunteers--accomplished miracles. NICAP (through its Government contacts and publication of The UFO Evidence in 1964) helped to force Congressional hearings and a reappraisal of the Air Force UFO investigation. At the heart of this success was the NICAP Affiliate and Subcommittee (investigation unit) network which, on an entirely volunteer basis, funneled highly significant, well-investigated case reports to headquarters that were then put to good use in the battle for minds.It's an interesting story waiting for the attention of historians, but it would not have been possible without the intelligent and principled leadership of Major Keyhoe and the hard work conducted in the field by the NICAP Affiliates and Subcommittees. (Richard Hall).
Vintage interview from 1958 with Mike Wallace