right away. The team would make a thorough investigation and wire us their report. If the answer came back " Unknown," we would study the details of the sighting and, with the help of Project Bear, try to find the answer.
A few weeks after the final plans had been made with the 4602nd, I again bade farewell to Project Blue Book. In a simple ceremony on the poop deck of one of the flying
saucers that I frequently have been accused of capturing, before a formation of the three-foot-tall green men that I have equally as frequently been accused of keeping
prisoner, I turned my command over to Al/c Max Futch and walked out the door into civilian life with separation orders in hand.
The UFO's must have known that I was leaving because the day I found out that officers with my specialty, technical intelligence, were no longer on the critical list
and that I could soon get out of the service, they really put on a show. The show they put on is still the best UFO report in the Air Force files.
I first heard about the sighting about two o'clock on the morning of August 13, 1953, when Max Futch called me from ATIC. A few minutes before a wire had come in
carrying a priority just under that reserved for flashing the word the U.S. has been attacked. Max had been called over to ATIC by the OD to see the report, and he
thought that I should see it. I was a little hesitant to get dressed and go out to the base, so I asked Max what he thought about the report. His classic answer will
go down in UFO history, "Captain," Max said in his slow, pure Louisiana drawl, "you know that for a year I've read every flying saucer report that's
come in and that I never really believed in the things." Then he hesitated and added, so fast that I could hardly understand him, "But you should read this
wire." The speed with which he uttered this last statement was in itself enough to convince me. When Max talked fast, something was important.
A half hour later I was at ATIC--just in time to get a call from the Pentagon. Someone else had gotten out of bed to read his copy of the wire. I used the emergency
orders that I always kept in my desk and caught the first airliner out of Dayton to Rapid City, South Dakota. I didn't call the 4602nd because I wanted to investigate
this one personally. I talked to everyone involved in the incident and pieced together an amazing story.
Shortly after dark on the night of the twelfth, the Air Defense Command radar station at Ellsworth AFB, just east of Rapid City, had received a call from the local
Ground Observer Corps filter center. A lady spotter at Black Hawk, about 10 miles west of Ellsworth, had reported an extremely bright light low on the horizon, off to
the northeast. The radar had been scanning an area to the west, working a jet fighter in some practice patrols, but when they got the report they moved the sector scan
to the northeast quadrant. There was a target exactly