gleefully clapped their hands. The gleeful handclaps were from those people who wanted the UFO's to be socially recognized, and they believed that if they couldn't talk their ideas into being they
might be able to force them in with the help of this type of publicity.
The temporary lull in reporting that Project Blue Book had experienced in early July proved to be only the calm before the storm. By mid-July we were getting about
twenty reports a day plus frantic calls from intelligence officers all over the United States as every Air Force installation in the U.S. was being swamped with
reports. We told the intelligence officers to send in the ones that sounded the best.
The build-up in UFO reports wasn't limited to the United States-- every day we would receive reports from our air attaches in other countries. England and France led
the field, with the South American countries running a close third. Needless to say, we didn't investigate or evaluate foreign reports because we had our hands full
right at home.
Most of us were putting in fourteen hours a day, six days a week. It wasn't at all uncommon for Lieutenant Andy Flues, Bob Olsson, or Kerry Rothstien, my
investigators, to get their sleep on an airliner going out or coming back from an investigation. TWA airliners out of Dayton were more like home than home. But we
hadn't seen anything yet.
All the reports that were coming in were good ones, ones with no answers. Unknowns were running about 40 percent. Rumors persist that in mid-July 1952 the Air Force
was braced for an expected invasion by flying saucers. Had these rumormongers been at ATIC in mid-July they would have thought that the invasion was already in full
swing. And they would have thought that one of the beachheads for the invasion was Patrick AFB, the Air Force's Guided Missile Long-Range Proving Ground on the east
coast of Florida.
On the night of July 18, at ten forty-five, two officers were standing in front of base operations at Patrick when they noticed a light at about a 45-degree angle from
the horizon and off to the west. It was an amber color and "quite a bit brighter than a star." Both officers had heard flying saucer stories, and both
thought the light was a balloon. But, to be comedians, they called to several more officers and airmen inside the operations office and told them to come out and
"see the flying saucer." The people came out and looked. A few were surprised and took the mysterious light seriously, at the expense of considerable
laughter from the rest of the group. The discussion about the light grew livelier and bets that it was a balloon were placed. In the meantime the light had drifted
over the base, had stopped for about a minute, turned, and was now heading