patrol would thus know when to look for the UFO and begin to sight on it. While the radio man was reporting, the instrument man on the team would line up the UFO and begin to call out the angles of elevation and azimuth. The timer would call out the time; the recorder would write all of this down. The command post, upon hearing the report of the UFO, would call the next patrol and tell them. They too would try to pick it up.
Here was an excellent opportunity to get some concrete data on at least one type of UFO. It was something that should have been done from the start. Speeds, altitudes, and sizes that are estimated just by looking at a UFO are miserably inaccurate. But if you could accurately establish that some type of object was traveling 30,000 miles an hour--or even 3,000 miles an hour--through our atmosphere, the UFO story would be the biggest story since the Creation.
The plan seemed foolproof and had the full support of every man who was to participate. For the first time in history every GI wanted to get on the patrols. The plan was quickly written up as a field order, approved, and mimeographed. Since the Air Force had the prime responsibility for the UFO investigation, it was decided that the plan should be quickly co-ordinated with the Air Force, so a copy was rushed to them. Time was critical because every group of nightly reports might be the last. Everything was ready to roll the minute the Air Force said "Go."
The Air Force didn't O.K. the plan. I don't know where the plan was killed, or who killed it, but it was killed. Its death caused two reactions.
Many people thought that the plan was killed so that too many people wouldn't find out the truth about UFO's. Others thought somebody was just plain stupid. Neither was true. The answer was simply that the official attitude toward UFO's had drastically changed in the past few months. They didn't exist, they couldn't exist. It was the belief at ATIC that the one last mystery, the green fireballs, had been solved a few days before at Los Alamos. The fireballs were meteors and Project Twinkle would prove it. Any further investigation by the Army would be a waste of time and effort.
This drastic change in official attitude is as difficult to explain as it was difficult for many people who knew what was going on inside Project Sign to believe. I use the words "official attitude" because at this time UFO's had become as controversial a subject as they are today. All through intelligence
circles people had chosen sides and the two UFO factions that exist today were born.
On one side was the faction that still believed in flying saucers. These people, come hell or high water, were hanging on to their original ideas.
Some thought that the UFO's were interplanetary spaceships. Others weren't quite as bold andjust believed that a good deal more should be known about the UFO's before they were so completely written off. These people weren't a bunch of nuts or crackpots either. They ranged down through the ranks from generals and top-grade civilians. On the outside their views were backed up by civilian scientists.
On the other side were those who didn't believe in flying saucers. At one time many of them had been believers. When the UFO reports were pouring in back in 1947 and 1948, they were just as sure that the UFO's were real as the people they were now scoffing at. But they had changed their minds. Some of them had changed their minds because they had seriously studied the UFO reports and just couldn't see any evidence that the UFO's were real. But many of them could see the "I don't believe" band wagon pulling out in front and just jumped on.
This change in the operating policy of the UFO project was so pronounced that I, like so many other people, wondered if there was a hidden reason for the change. Was it actually an attempt to go underground--to make the project more secretive? Was it an effort to cover up the fact that UFO's were proven to be interplanetary and that this should be withheld from the public at all cost to prevent a mass panic? The UFO files are full of references to the near mass panic of October 30, 1938, when Orson Welles presented his now famous "The War of the Worlds" broadcast.
This period of "mind changing" bothered me. Here were people deciding that there was nothing to this UFO business right at a time when the reports seemed to be getting better. From what I could see, if there was any mind changing to be done it should have been the other way, skeptics should have been changing to believers.
Maybe I was just playing the front man to a big cover-up. I didn't like it because if somebody up above me knew that UFO's were really spacecraft, I could make a big fool out of myself if the truth came out. I checked into this thoroughly. I spent a lot of time talking to people who had worked on Project Grudge.
The anti-saucer faction was born because of an old psychological trait, people don't like to be losers. To be a loser makes one feel inferior and incompetent.
On September 23, 1947, when the chief of ATIC sent a letter to the Commanding General of the Army Air Forces stating that UFO's were real, intelligence committed themselves. They had to prove it. They tried for a year and a half with no success. Officers on top began to get anxious and the press began to get anxious. They wanted an answer.