A Puzzling Radar Incident
An Interview With A Man That Knew Quintanilla
By Francis Ridge, NICAP Site Coordinator
In early 2004 I received an email from a man who claimed he had an interesting radar case to report. He told me he once worked in the Radar Branch of the Foreign Technology Division (FTD), where Project Blue Book was based. According to this man, the Blue Book office had no radar expertise, so all UFO radar reports were sent to his branch for analysis. He had seen one official radar sighting that was sent from Nellis AFB to Project Blue Book that he felt "was unexplainable", "and weird". Unfortunately, his branch chief had no interest in UFO reports and sent back an analysis of "nothing important" to the Blue Book office. This event took place, according to him, probably back in the mid 1960s. It had always left him concerned because it had never been truly analyzed. He said he personally had serious doubts about "aliens", but this one report was truly puzzling. He still remembered it vividly. To make things even more interesting, he was a close friend of Hector Quintanilla.
He had given me his phone number, so late on a Friday afternoon, March 12, 2004, I made the call, which went to a New Mexico area code. I found him to be a very cooperative and courteous person with no UFO hang-ups. It was obvious that this man, like many others in the same position, simply had not seen many of the good radar cases the Air Force had actually admitted to in earlier years. The interview was very enlightening, although there were no startling revelations. The radar case he presented may have been yet another incident swept under the rug, but evidence indicates it was much more. It just might have been one that involved a national alert. As you will see in the interview, his fear of what happened to someone else when they came forward with this kind of information, made it necessary for us not to use his name in this paper. In the interview transcript below I refer to him as "ENG", the engineer, and to myself as "FR". Here is that interview:
ENG: Who is this?
FR: This is Francis Ridge, from Mt. Vernon, Indiana. I'm the head of the NICAP site.
ENG: Oh, yeah, yeah. I sent you an email regarding that radar sighting.
FR: Yes, XXXXX. I'm very interested in what you wanted to tell me.
ENG: And who are you with, Francis?
FR: Well, I was with NICAP back in the 60's, and of course they are defunct now.
ENG: You're sort of on your own now, or what?
FR: Well, I was the state director for Indiana for MUFON for about ten years, but what I did (is) I set up the NICAP site so that all the work we did wouldn't go to waste. So I work with the people that used to belong to NICAP, like Richard Hall and others.
ENG: Let me tell you what I know, OK. The exact date I don't remember. It was, to the best of my recollection, it would have been in the 1960's. I'm gonna guess probably about 62, 3, 4, somewhere through there. And ah, I was working at a place called ATIC, Air Tech Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson. And ah, that's the same place we had Project Blue Book. Project Blue Book consisted of a, well he was a lieutenant colonel, he was a major when I knew him at the time, was Hector V. Quintanilla, and I knew him personally. I worked with him in the Air Force before he ever went to Blue Book. So I knew him for a long time. He's dead now. He ran the Blue Book office, and there was himself, a secretary, and then he would have an NCO, tri-service, it could be a master sergeant in the Army, the Air Force, or a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, and he (also) had a contractor, who was Dr. Hynek up there, a physicist at the University of Michigan.
There was no radar expertise at all in the Blue Book office. And I worked in the Radar Branch and our job was, we were analyzing foreign radars, airborne and ground, ah, determining their capabilities, and their technical characteristics. And ah, so anytime there was a radar sighting, Quintanilla would send it over to our Branch. Now, I was working as an engineer analyst in the Branch at that time. I wasn't the Branch Chief. The Branch Chief didn't believe in flying saucers. He just said that (that) was a waste of time, anytime that there was a UFO report that went in to Quintanilla, ah, it would be sent over to our Branch and the Branch Chief had an "in" box and an "out" box. And everything that came into the Branch went into the "in" box and he would go through it, and he would parcel
out the responsibility, the jobs, or the answering of a question or whatever, to the specific engineers, one of which I was. And ah, then, but anything that came in on radar per UFOs he would answer himself and put it in the "out" box. So we would never see it. And ah, since he had no, no belief in flying saucers or space aliens, or anything like that...
FR: Who was HE?
ENG: Ah, I hate to mention his name. I don't know how you use this information.
FR: Well, we don't use it unless you allow us to, anyway, but we know most of these people, but I was just curious.
ENG: Well, I doubt if you knew this man. His nickname was "dad". But ah, cause he was an older gentleman. But he was a radar expert, so ah, you know these experts are just like doctors, you know. One doctor tells you something, the other one's not going to counter him. So that anything that "dad" put in to the UFO answer was accepted without question. We use to tease him. We use to say, "Oh, you have a little (and that was before computers, of course) and we use to tease him and say he had a cigar box of 3 by 5 cards and he'd randomly pick out a card and answer it with "second time around prf", "ducting," ah, "anomalous propagation." He would have some kind of an answer to discredit it as being anything important. Well, one day I had a report that I had to get out and I needed an input from a particular organization. And ah, I was waiting for it and it came lunch time. And normally at lunch time we'd all get together to eat and we left the secretary there to answer the phone. Well, my input hadn't come in and everybody was getting ready to leave and I decided that I would wait. I needed to get that out and I wouldn't have much time after it come in so I was gonna skip lunch. And I told the secretary, "You go ahead, too. I'll just answer the phone while everybody's gone." And, ah, so everybody left. I was there by myself and I looked at "dad's" "in" basket and there were quite a few documents that he hadn't even looked at yet. So I thought, I'll go through there and see if I find my input. Well, going through there my input wasn't there, but there was this radar sighting from Nellis AFB to Project Blue Book. And it involved a ground control approach radar, do you know what that is?
FR: Yes, I do.
ENG: OK. Well, this event occurred, it was like a very odd time, like 2 o'clock in the morning. Ah, and ah, it was like on a weekend. It was either Friday or Saturday, something like that. It was a busy time. And, of course, Las Vegas is busy all the time, 24 hours. But, at the GCA radar, the operators were sitting out there around one or two o'clock in the morning, pitch black, and there were no aircraft. No traffic, no aircraft at all, but they still had to man that radar site. And they started seeing some blips on the radarscope that did some things aircraft couldn't do. They would fly at amazing speeds, stop, made right-angled turns, ah, it was just, things aircraft can't do. And they went outside and they looked up in the sky and they saw lights that corresponded to the radar blips that they had on their radarscope. So they called the airdrome officer. Now that just happens to be some pilot that takes his turn in charge of the airport, you know, the base, the flight part of it, anyway. The airdrome officer, he saw this light activity and he woke up the base commander and told him, "I hate to wake you up, there's something going on, I don't know what to do." The base commander said, "Get yourself a pilot and get a plane up there and see what it is." Well, this wasn't an Air Defense Command base; there was nobody on alert. By the time they got a pilot, put him in an airplane and sent him up there, why this activity had all ceased.
But in addition to this report from the airdrome officer there was an attachment that came from the sheriff of the county there who sent it in to the base and said he was getting calls from all sorts of people that were wondering what all the light activity was up in the sky.
Now, I don't have any idea what caused this. Ah, to me it was, I was scared to death that "dad" would give me this and I wouldn't know where even to start. I have no idea how he answered it but, ah, it was something very unusual where you had visible lights correlated with radar blips doing things that aircraft blips couldn't do and of course, at a very sensitive location, you know, Nellis Air Force Base, just outside of Las Vegas. There are a lot of other things out there of course.
FR: We've had quite a few sightings out there, which is interesting because I might be able to correlate civilian cases that were reported and investigated and we might be able to determine the date. Radar visuals are not..., a lot of people think they are rare, but of course they are the best ones, but they are not that rare. We've got quite of few good radar visuals that the Air Force always had a tendency to throw out, you know.
ENG: When you talk about a radar visual, you're talking about actually seeing on the radar screen and visually seeing with your eyes?
FR: Right. Somebody correlating it.
(There is more to the interview, which we will go into later, but the context shifts away from the radar incident, and that's the crux of this report.)
In an attempt to find the incident within existing file records, the first search began at the most logical place, the NICAP radar cases or Category 9. Over 500 radar cases are on record, many of them radar/visuals. Seventy-six are listed as R/V in USAF records alone. But 230 incidents are listed on the NICAP site and this one, alleged to have occurred in the 1960's, was not listed. But, as you will soon see, it should have been.
BLUE BOOK's UNKNOWNS?
Looking at "Bluelist", a NICAP web-based printout of the Project Blue Book UNKNOWNS, I found 139 cases covering the 1960's, but no match. It later became evident that this might have been an "oversight". But this time it was by the Blue Book analysts. The case may have been written off as a "bolide" and not listed.
A Nuclear Connection?My search, again, covered the entire decade. I didn't expect a Nuclear Connection Flag (NCF), but wanted to check this group, Category 10, because they represented a group of "strategic" cases. A few years ago I lined up some great people who have specific expertise in UFO research, and set up the Nuclear Connection Project (NCP). One of those members was Larry Hatch, who operates the *UFO* Database. One of the first things we did was run a computer printout on nuclear connection cases and he provided us with over 200 incidents. That special file was then placed on the NCP website. I pulled up that file and selected the decade in question. There were twenty entries, some of the most startling incidents we ever recorded, were listed there, but not the one described by our radar man.
There was one Nellis AFB entry. It was item 20 or #7991 (9/17/68). The 3-line printout looked similar in many respects and it was from Hynek's book, UFO EXPERIENCE, but after reading the report it was obvious that it wasn't the one. Besides, our informant was quite sure it was earlier than that.
I then ran a search using the NICAP GSID (Global Sighting Information Database) search engine for anything dealing with Nellis AFB. There were 19 entries that mentioned the word "Nellis". The one that stood out was item #6, The Las Vegas UFO Crash which was written about by Kevin Randle. The case was never written up as a report and entered in the proper location on the NICAP site because it was very controversial and was submitted for peer review. In short, it was an "if paper" on our site pulled with permission from the author from his book, A HISTORY OF UFO CRASHES. The incident was documented and occurred on April 18, 1962!
On March 13th, Brad Sparks had sent an email that stated, "Sounds like the April 18, 1962, nationwide air defense alert UFO tracking." My reply was: "But that can't be it. Quintanilla wasn't Project Blue Book chief until later. In 1963, Robert Friend, by then a Lieutenant Colonel, retired as head of Blue Book and was replaced by Major Hector Quintanilla". So I concluded it had to be after late 1963. Evidently this case had never made it to the files because this man's superior, a radar expert, was throwing cases out and explaining them any way he could. I then added, "but since civilian reports were reported to the sheriff near Nellis, maybe we can get that much." Besides, April 18th, 1962 fell on a Wednesday, not on a weekend as my informant had stated. And my informant didn't remember Robert Friend. On March 16th I received a response to an email I had sent him to try to clarify this discrepancy.
Here is what he said:
"I'm quite certain "Q" must have been in charge of Project Blue Book. He was the only person I ever had contact with regarding Blue Book during my entire stay in ATIC, FTD. (Now NAIC I believe). I started at ATIC in Summer 1959."
As I get older and my memory serves me less, I find myself at the mercy of written records. If I hadn't written down what I was doing when I had my close encounter in the seventies, I couldn't tell you what I was doing at the time, and when the incident occurred. I had thought in later years that my two FI's and I had been checking on a night disc close encounter, referred to us by the local sheriff, when we saw the UFO on Highway 69 about a mile north of Mt. Vernon, Indiana. But the records clearly show we were NOT watching for a UFO but an IFO. As we were watching a commercial jet, "Delta 556" with its new FAA "see-and-be-seen lighting system" on Jet Airway 29, a UFO HAD shown up as if it was spying on us. I had confused two separate incidents. Memories do fade and this isn't the only time it has happened to me.
So, our man might have been mistaken, but honest. He was a friend of Quintanilla's, but Lt. Col. Robert Friend was Blue Book chief at the time of the incident. Our man had known "Q" before, during, and after, and HAD worked when "Q" was BB chief in late 1963 on. But when he reported that the incident happened, he thought, "either Friday or Saturday, or something like that", and "one or two in the morning", he was pretty close. Remember, he had gotten all this from reading a report in a letter basket on a desk. He wasn't a "witness". Documents now show that there was a six hour error in the time box which put the sighting at Nellis close at 8 PM on the 18th!
Apparently, he might have read the report on Thursday or Friday! This could very well have been the nationwide alert! He had mentioned "maneuvers" on radar and civilian reports recieved by the sheriff's department, all part of the Las Vegas Crash report by Kevin Randle. He had mentioned "objects doing things that aircraft can't do." And, from the very beginning, he had said Nellis AFB. But I hadn't heard of any local GCA radar being involved, which is what he mentioned, not that the object had been trcaked by radar over ten states. But the interview didn't end there.
ENG: Yeah. Well, this was, this was one case where, now I saw reports that came in to Quintanilla that were jokes. I mean it was obvious somebody was a lunatic.
FR: We get those, too.
ENG: And of course any photograph that Quintanilla got, we had the Photo - Interpretation Center right there in our organization and they would do the photo research for them. I wasn't involved in that part. But this one really puzzled me because I, for the life of me, can't figure out why you would have a visual sighting of something acting so erratic in the sky that would be unexplained.
(It is obvious that this man was unaware of many of the details of this case, but he cooroborated the location and time of a major incident that is unexplained to this day. Later in the interview I asked him additional questions)
FR: I wanted to ask you a couple questions, though. Ah, what years were you assigned there at ATIC?
ENG: I went there in 1959 and I retired from there in 1978.
FR: OK. And what was your job title?
ENG: Well, I had various job titles there. I was working in the Radar Branch and, ah, I ended up being a Branch Chief there for avionics and weapons.
FR: Did they call it a Radar Branch at that time?
ENG: Yeah. That's where, the Radar Branch no longer exists, I mean, these offices change with the organization.
FR: Uh huh. So they actually referred to it as the Radar Branch back then?
ENG: At the time, yes.
FR: Yeah. And, ah, what was your rank then?
ENG: I probably was a GS...., probably a GS-12 at the time. A civilian.
ENG: Now, I have a wild, wild-ass theory, OK? Ah, you cannot create an ionized cloud in the atmosphere because there are too many free electrons floating around that would neutralize it immediately. You can have an ionized cloud out in space, but not in the atmosphere. An ionized cloud will give you a radar return and would also be visible. Right now I'm living in New Mexico and there's an old rancher here. He's dead now, but was an interesting old guy and he swore up and down one time he saw fire coming from the horns of the cattle. An, ah, I have, I was a pilot myself in the Air Force and I have flown and I've had seen St. Elmo's fire. It would start around the propeller and look like you had the propeller up against a grindstone, and up under the windscreen and right into the cockpit of the airplane, and I knew what it was. And, ah, of course it was just a flickering red spider-webby looking thing.
ENG: And I, I've heard of ball lightning. I don't know what ball lightning is. I've heard of it.
FR: It is very brief.
ENG: And ah, I, I think, going back to this rancher, claiming that he had seen fire from the horns, which I thought might have been sort of like an St. Elmo's' fire and how could something like that occur, and I was wondering if maybe, our atmosphere got some real quirks, some real unusual freakish conditions where you have a, perhaps a relative humidity of 6 and yet you've got a thunderstorm sitting on top of you, you know. It doesn't make any sense. And, maybe in a situation like that, maybe there are some rare instances, so rare that they've never been studied because they are so frequently, or (correction) infrequently seen or observed by anybody to make any kind of an analysis of it.
And I was, in my own crazy thoughts, trying to come up with an explanation. I sort of thought possibly we would have had an ionized cloud reacting to some type of, I don't know, polarity, something or another in the atmosphere, I haven't really studied that much, so it would make it move around. And it would be a radar blip. And it doesn't make any sense, I know. From a, what I'm telling you is wild guess because it has never been documented.
FR: Yeah. XXXXX, there's just a lot of things we don't know. But there are a lot of good cases where these objects take evasive action, or react in an intelligent manner, and follow an aircraft, or stay a mile or so ahead of it. You know, taking evasive action. Ah, the right angle turns thing, you hear that quite often. I often wondered, you know, if we are dealing with, in some cases, now most of, a lot of it, is garbage. But of the ones that you can really sink your teeth into, and by the way, there's hardly been anything in the last ten years that you can. But of those that you can consider being significant, I can't understand why anybody would even light a craft so it could be seen, let alone do something, unless it was, you know, taking evasive action, but I mean doing it just for the fun of it. I can't imagine anything that they would be doing, you know, that would make it necessary for them to make such right angle turns. Unless, what we are seeing is something that is moving at a slower speed for them, but a faster speed observed by us because of a time dilation factor.
ENG: I know what you are getting at. I understand what you're, you know, bringing out the possibility of space travel. Is that right?
ENG: I can't discount it. Ah, I myself, have very mixed feelings about that. I sort of believe that life came from outer space, and didn't generate on its own. I don't have any, I don't have any real, anything to make me really believe anything that has happened in my lifetime was associated with space aliens. I look at these large animal pictures that are made down in South America that don't make any sense and you're out in outer space, makes me wonder, puts a doubt in my mind possibly at some time or another we have had alien space travel. But, like the Roswell incident, I don't believe anything at all about that.
(In regards to Roswell I told him that most of the testimony was garbage but a few people like Mac Brazel, Jesse Marcel & some of the CIC agents and others, would have recognized a weather balloon. He then stated he didn't think for a minute it was a weather balloon. He thought it was a highly classified reconnaissance balloon used to do various secret monitoring. He had no proof, of course, and said it was speculation on his part. Worth mentioning, however, is that he was stationed at Roswell and assigned there Christmas eve of 1952. The following was 5 years later.)
ENG: My wife WORKED for Bert Ballard, the guy that ran the Ballard Funeral Homethere. Bert, he use to make ambulance runs, he had the ambulances as well, and shewould ride in the ambulance. I rented a HOUSE from Bert Ballard, OK. ALL of the time I was there I never heard anybody ever say anything about the Roswell incident. I mean, it was like it never happened. I don't think anybody put any importance to it.
FR: They never really started talking about it until Jesse Marcel was almost on his deathbed, you know. And he told the story, and all of a sudden the guy that worked for the Ballard Funeral home (Glenn Dennis) came out and told his story about the nurse and all that.
(The discussion continued but was basically speculation and personal opinions, so I won't go any further into that area, except to say that XXXXX believes that the Roswell object was a secret or top secret recon balloon.
FR: Do you remember anyone ever coming there, asking questions about radar cases, such as Jim McDonald from the University of Arizona, or anything like that?
ENG: In regards to Yoofo's? No, I don't remember anybody ever questioning anything on Yoofo's.
FR: I don't know what year he went out there, but he went there to look at radar cases, but I don't know who he talked to.
ENG: Yeah. He didn't talk to me; I'm not aware of that. There was a, I know that Quintanilla always use to have some reporters up in his office. We made life miserable for them. When he did that, we'd break into his office and say, "what are we supposed to feed those creatures," or something like that. And I remember Quintanilla, one time I did that, and he looked at everybody and he said, "See what I mean"?.
FR: Did the Navy have any liaison outfits in your section?
ENG: Not liaison officers, sometime the NCO that worked for Blue Book would be a Navy Petty Officer. But we never had any officers, you know, naval officers, assigned to our organization. No.
FR: What about, what they call ELINT elements? Did you have any there?
ENG: Oh, yeah.
FR: OK. Were they interested in UFOs?
ENG: Ah, I don't think we ever had an ELINT signal from a UFO, so I don't think that they would ever be concerned with any transmission from a UFO. No, I don't think that they ever played any role in the UFO part at all.
FR: At that time there weren't too many reports like that but there was some back in the 50's that, no doubt ended up at Blue Book, involved ELINT. And that was something I was curious about.
ENG: When Quintanilla was closing down Blue Book, I brought him out to the house for dinner I wanted my kids to meet him. This was a milestone in history that was taking place. And I wanted them to meet Quintanilla. And I remember after dinner I was talking to him, and I asked him, and I said, "of all the reports, of any at all that you've ever seen, or associated with Blue Book, is there any at all that made you possibly think there's some alien connection, remote or whatever." And he said the only one that left him puzzled was the Socorro incident.
FR: Right. I was going to tell you if you didn't know it. That's right. He was pretty vocal that that's the one that really got to him.
(Not mentioned to ENG during the interview, I was with NICAP at the time of the Socorro incident. CNN had an anchorman for quite a while by the name of David Goodnow. He was a radio announcer for WAOV in my home town of Vincennes, Indiana, in April of 1964. One day he called me and told me of a teletype that had just come in about a UFO landing in New Mexico. I still have that document. Later, when I moved to near Evansville, Indiana, David was working for a TV station there and we did some spots on UFOs whenever there would be some sightings in the area. The Lonnie Zamora case had a personal touch for me, even though I was way back in Indiana. And NICAP was on top of the investigation .)
Back to the interview. Apparently, ENG had a connection also.
ENG: Yeah. Well I had a little personal thing in this Socorro thing. Ah, when I was working at Wright- Patterson and I moved out to New Mexico here and one day my wife and I were driving up to Albuquerque, and we stopped to eat at a restaurant in Socorro and my wife was, see we had already eaten and she was in the rest room and I was waiting outside for her, and a police car drove up. It was a fairly young policeman and I was thinking about what Quintanilla had told me and I said, "were you here by any chance when they had that yoofo report with this Lonnie Zamora?" Lonnie Zamora, was that his name?
ENG: And he said, "no, I wasn't here then. That was before my time." And about that time another police car drove up and it had about four cops in it. And he said, "here comes chief" somebody or another. And I remember, I don't remember what the chief's name was, but it was a real German name like "Austerheidi" or some crazy thing, and he says, "chief, come here a minute." and this police chief came over to me. And ah, he said "this man was asking about that YOOFO incident back there with Lonnie." And the police chief looked at me, you know, he wasn't very friendly, he says, "are you a writer? Are you with Hollywood or anything like that?" And ah, "why do you want to know about this?" You know, it put me on the defensive. And I said, no. "I just happened to work with the guy from Blue Book and he said of all the incidents that ever left him puzzled, it was the one that involved (Lonnie Zamora). So after the police chief was convinced that I wasn't a threat to anybody, ah, he told me that that was the worst thing that Zamora had ever done, was to report that.
FR: Yeah. He admitted that, didn't he?
ENG: Yeah, but ah, you know, he received letters that he was an anti-Christ and all sorts of things and Zamora turned into a recluse. What I'm talking about happened, maybe twenty years ago. I don't know if he is even alive now. But at the time, he told me, he said he made himself a hole and crawled into a bottle.
FR: Yeah, that was 1964.
ENG: And ah, but then the chief said something that puzzled me that I don't ever remember seeing in any of the reports. He said, "I was there. I went down there and the ground was still warm. The ground was warm." Now..
FR: Some people saw the bush was still smoking. I'll be honest with you. I was with NICAP and the teletype came in at the radio station and I actually thought that (this) was the test of the Lunar Module because they were testing the LEM then.
ENG: Well, that's true. One of my buddies who worked for Grumman, my buddy, he retired from there. He was one of their test pilots. I asked him about that. He said that they never built a proto-type for the Lunar Module. They never built a proto-type. Another thing, in that drawing that Zamora had, he said that the ladder came down from underneath the object and in the Lunar module it came out of the side.
FR: It had an insignia on the side, too. An arrow pointing up to a curve.
ENG: I'll be honest with you, that was my thoughts about it. That this was probably some kind of a test vehicle that was being flown...
(He then went into lengthy discussion on how Quintanilla might not have been able to identify the craft because it was a secret test of something less than a proto-type, a test vehicle, that was a failure that Grumman wanted to keep secret, even from the Air Force and NASA, so they denied it ever happened. Quintanilla had security clearances and couldn't get anywhere with it. He tried the CIA, NASA, everybody. He admitted that this was just speculation. The first LM flight was on January 22, 1968, four years after Socorro, when the unmanned LM-1 was launched on a Saturn 1B for testing of propulsion systems in orbit. The next LM flight was aboard Apollo 9 using LM-3 on March 3, 1969 as a manned flight (McDivitt, Scott and Schweickart) to test a number of systems in Earth orbit including LM and CSM crew transit, LM propulsion, separation and docking. Forty years later we know that no LEM test could have accounted for the Lonnie Zamora CE-III. Besides, the craft he observed took off vertically like a LEM, then hovered briefly, the took off horizontally with NO SOUND.)
FR: That was my observation, too, at the time. Of course, I'm convinced different now, but ah....a lot of this stuff that we use to worry about at the time that it occurred has stood the test of time, but we haven't had much that has happened since the 90's. I mean it has really been crazy. I mean, if that's all we had to go with, the type of sightings we've had since the 90's, I could write it all off and wouldn't have gotten involved in this (any furthet). But, we had in the late 40's and mid 50's, we had what we would have had to refer to as "flying saucer" sightings. And when you see something like that and you track it on radar, that's one thing. But you see a light in the sky and track it on radar, that's a totally different thing. There are a lot of those (uncorrelated targets) where you don't really have anything to go on and you know that radar tracked it , but that's all you have.
ENG: What is your own personal belief, Francis?
FR: I'm convinced that there's something, or has been something, up there that wasn't ours. But I don't know what has happened since then. I don't know why it ended or whether it has gone covert. I just don't know.
ENG: What about that sighting over in England?
ENG: Yeah! Now, that one left me really puzzled.
FR: There's just enough out there, ......that convinces me that, I don't know to what extent or what magnitude, but there was something very strange going on at the same time that we were involved in a very dangerous time with the Russians and the cold war. And I get this weird impression, speculation on my part, that somebody wanted to make sure the United States was a dominant power. They wanted to point out our problems with our aircraft, any deficiencies we had with our aircraft, the radar. They wanted to make sure that we were the main guy on the block
ENG: Are you saying these were fabrications, disinformation that was sent out. I don't...
FR: No. I think, my impression is, that somebody, a much higher intelligence than us, wanted to make sure, without getting directly involved, wanted to make sure that the United States and the free world was....I guess they figured that we were the most rational people on the planet.
(I mentioned that the military sightings involved many new aircraft designs and radar technology and that their deficiencies became known during many UFO sightings and intercept missions. A lot of the best UFO incidents occurred prior to and during the setting up of the Air Defense Command. I also mentioned that I could understand how Quintanilla and others, assigned to the defense of the United States, must have felt, for the detection of any unknown over the continental United States could have been the observational evidence of a real threat from the Russians.
ENG: I was with the Technical Intelligence, we were the ones who looked at the Russian's war machine, if you will, the aircraft and the space program, and anything associated with it, any cruise missiles. And ah, of course we were always looking at anything at all that......our goal our mission was to prevent technological surprise. My general feeling of the Soviet capability throughout that cold war period was that they always lagged behind us about five years in technology. They never quite caught up to us.
(We got into a lot of information that wasn't relevant to this paper. Then we ended with this:)
ENG: I am a firm believer that there is life in outer space. There is no doubt in my mindthat it's there. I believe that it's out there. Ah, when we talk about visitors from anothergalaxy coming to Earth and observing us or something, I find that hard to believe, Francis, ah, but I do believe at one time, I'm talking about thousands of years ago, that this may have happened. I don't necessarily believe it but my mind is open to the possibility that it did happen.
FR: Well, you see, Carl Sagan even thought that....Well, I'm like you, if this is really happening, and I'm convinced that it is, I'm convinced that it is somebody that was here before us or somebody that is very close by. The distance is so great that I can't see interstellar travel or intergalactic travel.
(The interview lasted about 45 minutes, and it was obvious that I would have to get back to him with more questions, either by phone or email. But even before the interview I had run some computer checks on the incident which was supposed to have occurred in the mid-1960s at Nellis AFB, Nevada. If it was the Nellis case of April 18, 1962, it was probably even more revealing. This one was unexplained and was "officially" written off. )
The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena was set up in 1956, but I didn't join the group until late 1960. My seven-man group, a rapid deployment team for southern Indiana and SE Illinois (one of four such units in Indiana), was active until 1970 until I had to move. Later, after NICAP faded out and closed down, I became a State Section Director, then State Director for MUFON. We/I investigated many cases and logged and studied over 4,000 incidents in the region. In 1996 I entertained the idea of preserving and presenting the evidence that NICAP had worked so hard for all those years, and with the aid of a computer and the world-wide web, I got the approval from CUFOS and the blessing of NICAP's Richard Hall, to set up the NICAP web site in 1997.