Edward J. Ruppelt
Ed Ruppelt was an Army Air Force bombardier and pilot as a young man in WWII and much decorated. When he left the service, he studied aeronautical engineering at Iowa State, and upon receiving his degree was called back into the Air Force. His assignment was at the Wright-Patterson Air Technical Intelligence Center, and analyzing reports of Soviet MIG jets.      The famous story is that he had the desk next to the current UFO analysis officer, Lt. Jerry Cummings, who was a bit of a rebel against the previous holdovers of the Project Grudge regime. From Cummings Ruppelt learned that the UFO phenomenon was more mysterious that people were given to believe. When Cummings left to study at Cal Tech, Ruppelt was assigned to that desk, and became project chief for Grudge, soon to be re-named Blue Book.      Ruppelt was appalled at the undisciplined chaos of the files which had been left to Cummings by the previous officers, and his first action was ordering and restoring them. From late 1951 through early 1953, Ed Ruppelt, now promoted from Lieutenant to Captain, proved to be, in many UFO historians' minds, the finest chief that the Air Force project ever had. History is blessed that during his era there was a UFO wave across America, and we had a good open-minded officer as chief of Blue Book.   Due to the generally sympathetic handling of the UFO phenomenon during his tenure on the Project, most UFOlogists have seen those years similarly to UFO historian Jerry Clark, when he writes, "Most observers of Blue Book agree that the Ruppelt years comprised the project's golden age, when investigations were most capably directed and conducted." Even after Ruppelt published his famous and influential book, Robertson Panel member, Frederick Durant wrote: "His investigations, as his writings indicate, were thorough, unbiased and competent. I can think of no one better qualified to write on the Air Force activities in this regard. His book is a splendid account of this work, readable and enjoyable. It should be of wide interest to both the professional and the layman."