Fort Monmouth Incident
These are unpublished notes which were not used in Ruppelt's
book in 1956. They shed more light on a highly controversial incident
which shook the Pentagon and Air Force to their very foundations.
Captain Edward J. Ruppelt:
Jerry said that on the afternoon of September 1951, he was in the office when he got a call from Lt. Col. Rosengarten, who was chief of the Aircraft and Propulsion Section at ATIC. "Rosy" was our boss. Rosy had a wire that had come in from Ft. Monmouth telling about the sightings there of the past few days. The wire was about 4' long and very detailed. It was obvious from the tone of the wire that it had created quite a stir at Ft. Monmouth.
When the wire had come into Fieling's office (Col. Bruno Fieling, Chief of the Analysis Division) at about 1300 [hours], he had sent it on to Capt. Roy James in the Electronics Branch since the sighting involved radar. Somehow Jim Rogers, ex-chief of Blue Book (at the time it was Grudge) had gotten into the act. Rogers and James were laughing about the whole thing when Cummings first heard about it. He was a bit hacked because he was supposed to have the Project but there was nothing that he could do. The reason for the interest by Rogers and James, supposedly the first team, was that there had been a rumble that someone in Washington was interested and a quick answer was needed. Cummings was "too slow." After they messed around with the report for awhile, speculating on what they could use for an answer, Rosy had gotten wind of the report and he went into Fieling's office to complain that if he was responsible for the UFO reports, he should be the first one to get them. Rogers was called in and he gave the report to Rosy. Rogers already had an answer, "the whole outfit were a bunch of young, impressionable kids and the T-33 crew had seen a reflection." Rogers had supposedly reported these findings to Col. Watson, the Chief of ATIC, and Watson had supposedly bought the idea. Rosy didn't like this answer and Cummings liked it less, when he saw the wire in Rosy's office.
They decided not to call in James again because neither one of them trusted his judgment. Cummings was just getting ready to go over to Wright Field to get someone from the Radiation Lab to take a look at the report when a wire came in from Washington. The time was now about [1600 hours]. The wire indicated that General Cabell had seen a copy of the wire from Monmouth and that he wanted to know what ATIC thought. Rogers put the pressure on to send his answer back to the Pentagon and "get them off our backs." He claimed that Watson was in agreement with him. (It's possible Watson wasn't there. If Watson wasn't there, it was Dunn, but this doesn't sound like Dunn. Jerry kept saying Watson.) Both Rosy and Cummings were against this and when it looked as if Rogers might be going to win-out someone (I didn't get who) called the Pentagon and talked to Gen. Cabell's assistant, a colonel. This colonel was very surprised to hear that there was even any question as to whether or not anyone would go out and investigate the report. So whoever it was from ATIC that was on the phone weaseled around to make it sound as if they were going to go to Monmouth - and had planned to do it all the time. The Colonel, Cabell's assistant, added that the General had said that he wanted this report fully investigated and that if they weren't getting the proper cooperation they should call him or the General and get him out of bed, if necessary.
With this, it was decided that a trip should be made and Rosy and Cummings got a hurried set of orders and were on their way. When they got to New Jersey they called the Pentagon and found that Cabell had left word that he was to be briefed at the earliest possible moment. The General said that he wanted to be briefed on Monday (??) at the latest.
When they got to Monmouth, Cummings and Rosy got in touch with the OD and the OD got them transportation. The Signal Corps was very cooperative. They talked to all concerned and got their story.
The pilot and passenger of the T-33 flew up to Mitchell (??) and Rosy and Cummings went over there to talk to them. They were both completely sold that the UFO was real. They didn't have any idea what it was but they were convinced that it was something "intelligently controlled."
(It is interesting to note that weeks later, when we proved at least to my satisfaction that the UFO was a balloon, the two officers said that we were nuts. They found several holes in our analysis.)
Rosy and Jerry found out that the press had gotten a hold of the story and they didn't like it one bit. At this time the UFO project was a fairly well guarded secret for two reasons: (1) Many people believed that these UFO's were from outer space and they didn't want to cause any alarm, and (2), the other faction, led by Watson, and obediently followed by Rogers and James, believed that if you stuck your head deep enough into the sand that they would go away. In addition, Watson had been telling the reporters that the Project was dead. (Cabell read this, evidently, but he was for keeping it all quiet and thought that this story from ATIC was just a cover-up.)
The story had leaked out when the T-33 crew talked to the tower and when they had inadvertently talked to each other on VHF instead of the intercom. Later on they were talking in a bar and a reporter overheard them. Both of these bits of intelligence were put together and the local story evolved.
Cummings got word somehow that the ADC radar site at, or near, Sandy Hook had been picking up targets at the same time as the activity was going on at Monmouth so he went to the site to try to find out what was going on. He got a very cold reception and had to call the Duty Officer at the D/I to get into the place. When he did, he found out that things were all fouled up. The radar logs showed unidentified targets but the officer-in-charge said that the targets were weather, then another officer said that they were SAC aircraft on a classified training mission. The log didn't show this, however. Jerry did think that he established that the radar had no target other than the T-33 at the time of the sighting.
When Rosy and Cummings finished, they couldn't get a flight to Washington so they again called the Pentagon to see if they could get an aircraft to come up after them. They didn't have an aircraft that Intelligence could get so the Pentagon said to charter a plane. This they did.
When they got to Washington they cleaned up and went out to the Pentagon and Gen. Cabell had a meeting set up. There were several people from the aircraft industry at the meeting. How they had found out about the meeting, Jerry didn't know. One of the men was a Mr. Brewster from Republic Aircraft.
The whole meeting was recorded on wire but several weeks later, at ATIC, at the direction of either Col. Watson or Al Deyarmond, the wire was destroyed. I heard it before it was destroyed, however.
The meeting was a rough one. While Jerry and Rosy were in New
Jersey, the General had done a little bit of checking. He had called
ATIC and talked to Rogers and it was obvious that Rogers didn't have
the answers that the General thought he should have. He got a good clue
When the briefing was rolling, the General asked Jerry to give a resume of what had been taking place on Project Grudge. Jerry told me that he looked at Rosy and got the OK sign, so he cut loose. He told how every report was taken as a huge joke; that at the personal direction of Watson, Rogers - Watson's #1 stooge - was doing everything to degrade the quality of the reports, and how the only analysis consisted of Roger's trying to think up new and original explanations that hadn't been sent to Washington before. Rogers couldn't even find half of the reports.
The General then got on his horse. He said, "I want an open mind, in fact, I order an open mind. Anyone that doesn't keep an open mind can get out, now. As long as there is any element of doubt, the Project will continue."
About this time one of the General's staff suggested that since there were industry observers present, maybe the remarks should be kept objective or that the industry people should leave. This got the Old Man, and he said that he didn't care how embarrassing it was, he wasn't ashamed to give people the devil in front of strangers.
He said that the apparent disregard of his orders were a source of concern. He complimented Cummings and Rosy by saying that he was glad to "get action."
The General asked about the results of the investigations of several other good sightings but a telephone check to ATIC showed that they had been lost, no one ever could find them.
His next question was: "Why do I have to stir up the action? Anyone can see that we do not have a satisfactory answer to the saucer question."
Cabell went on to say that he wanted some action. He wanted the Project reorganized and he wanted all of the directives reissued because, he said, it was obvious that they were not being followed.
Then, Jerry told me, the General looked at his staff of colonels for about 45 seconds and said, "I've been lied to, and lied to, and lied to. I want it to stop. I want the answer to the saucers and I want a good answer." He started in on the Mantell Sightings and said the he had never heard such a collection of contradictory and indefinite statements. He said that he thought he had a big activity operating and found out the only man, an apparently incompetent one at that, [was] fumbling around trying to make excuses.
Col. Porter (whom I considered to be one of the most totally incompetent men in the Air Force for reasons other than the UFO Project) was his old stupid self and said that he still thought that the Project was a waste of time. The General's reply was that he didn't consider himself a crackpot or impressionable person and that he had a great deal of doubt in his mind that the saucers were all "hoaxes, hallucinations or the misinterpretation of known objects." He took a swing at the famous Grudge Report by saying that it was the "most poorly written, inconclusive piece of unscientific tripe" that he'd ever seen.
The General ended up the meeting by giving a pep talk and saying that he thought that things would change and that the saucers would become respective. He said that he was going to keep an open mind and that he wanted the same from his staff.
Cummings and Rosy came back to ATIC but the battle wasn't over. Watson hadn't been at the meeting and had sent Col. Dunn. Watson didn't openly fight the Project but he dragged his feet for all he was worth. It wasn't until Watson went to Europe that the Project began to pick up.
(These verbatim notes, originally in a six-page double-spaced format, were supplied by CUFOS' Robert Swiatek. The web page was produced for the NICAP Site by Jerry Washington & Francis Ridge)