Radar Inspired National Alert
Northeastern United States
December 6, 1950

From: Bruce Maccabee <brumac@compuserve.com>
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 12:02:20 -0500
Fwd Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 12:59:11 -0500
Subject: Re: PROJECT-1947: Ruppelt, Air Defense & UFOs

Bruce Maccabee:
On another matter, regarding the Air defense Command and radar: I have been trying to locate records related to the radar inspired national alert on December 6, 1950 at about 10:30 AM when radar picked up a number of objects approaching the northeastern United States.  I have a chapter on this in my book THE UFO-FBI CONNECTION because two days later, according to a message found in the FBI file, the counter-intelligence corps was put on immediate high alert for any information related to flying saucers (Dec. 8). There appear to be NO RECORDS OF THIS EVENT in the files of the Secretary of Defense, other than one document which provides a few details that could only have come from other documents .

Furthermore, it is clear that the SECDEF office was involved in this event which resulted in planes being scrambled AND THE PRESIDENT AND SECRETARY OF STATE BEING ALERTED!

Could this be a real radar detection of a group of UFOs that was effectively covered up by the defense department? Hard to know.  Truman comments briefly about this event in his memoirs (Chapt.25, Vol. II). So on Dec. 6, there were no doubt fears of a surprise Soviet air attack. Truman wrote:

< SNIP valuable comments about war jitters regarding the Korean war and the possibility of direct Russian attack, and the implications of "the bomb.">

Truman wrote in his memoirs of the Dec 6 alert:

"Shortly before we went into that morning meeting, Under Secretary Lovett called from the Pentagon, reporting that the radar screens of some air defense installations in the Far North were reporting large formations of unidentified planes approaching.  Fighter planes were sent up to reconnoiter and alerts were flashed to air centers in New England and beyond. But about an hour later -- while I was meeting with Attlee --Lovett notified me that the report had been in error.  Some unusual disturbance in the Arctic atmosphere had thrown the radar off."

If the Dec. 6 event was indeed caused by an "atmospheric disturbance," then why the CIC high alert two days later for any information on flying saucers?

Was Truman really told it was atmospheric, or was he really told that it wasn't Soviet bombers (the primary concern), but flying saucers instead?  It's impossible to know from the scant information that we have.

True it is: we don't have enough information. But what there is paints a picture of confusion:

(a) Truman, in his memoirs, says Lovett (Under Sec of Def. under George Marshal, SECDEF) told him it was atmospheric disturbance  (this also appears in the minutes of the meeting)

(b) Secretary of State Dean Acheson was told of the alert by Lovett at about 10:30 AM.  Acheson wrote: "Our early warning radar in Canada had picked up formations of unidentified objects, presumably aircraft, headed on a southeast course that would bring them over Washington in two or three hours."

An hour later, during which time Acheson went to the White House, "Lovett told us the unidentified objects had disappeared.  His guess was that they had been geese."

(c) International News Service carried a report of the event. After reporting on the alert and scramble. INS wrote, "Later a spokesman for the Air Force stated that interceptor aircraft had been dispatched and that the object in question had been identified shortly thereafter as a North American C-47 which was approaching the continent from Goose Bay..."

(d) A memorandum written by AF Col. Charles Winkle on dec 6 (afternoon?) entitled "air alert 1030 hours" says that the Continental Air Command Air Defense Controller ...at 1030 hours...(reported) a number of unidentified aircraft..approaching the northeast ....and there was no reason to believe they were friendly."  At 1040 hours the information was "further amplified" by radar contact which showed 40 aircraft in flight at 32,000 feet near Limestone, Maine.

The alert procedure went into affect and the President was notified.  At 11:04 hours the radar track had "faded out and it appeared that the flight as originally identified is a friendly flight."

"Atmospheric? Geese? One C-47? A friendly flight? Wait a minute.  You can bet that the initial 1030 detection was by radar, probably at a distance of about 200 miles (typical for search radar even in those days).   Assuming the detection was made by "lashup" radar at Limestone, Maine, then if there were 40 "aircraft" in the vicinity of Limestone only 10 minutes later they must have traveled nearly 200 miles in 10 minutes.... or nearly 600 mph.... FAST for those days.

Also, you can bet that contact signals were repeatedly sent from the ground to these aircraft. Had they been friendly they would have responded.  They certainly weren't Russian bombers.... so
WHAT WERE THEY?

Or maybe something else was happening to trigger the Dec. 8  alert.  Dec. 6 is also the day of the rumored flying saucer crash  in northern Mexico with retrieval by the U.S. military.

NOTE:  This is the "Col Willingham" report made first in  the late 1970's.   However, Willingham never specified said Dec. 6.

This was a date invented by someone (Todd Zechel? Kevin Randle?). Willingham only said 1948-49, perhaps 1950. HE couldn't pin down a date. This is being checked on.

 

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