Many famous names were quoted. The late General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, then Chief of Staff of the Air Force, had seen a flying saucer but it was just a reflection on the windshield of his B-17. General Lauris Norstad's UFO was a reflection of a star on a cloud, and
General Curtis E. Le May found out that one out of six UFO's was a balloon; Colonel McCoy, then chief of ATIC, had seen lots of UFO's. All were reflections from distant airplanes. In other words,
nobody who is anybody in the Air Force believes in flying saucers.
Figures in the top echelons of the military had spoken.
A few hoaxes and crackpot reports rounded out Mr. Shallet's article.
The reaction to the article wasn't what the Air Force and ATIC expected. They had thought that the public would read the article and toss it, and all thoughts of
UFO's, into the trash can. But they didn't. Within a few days the frequency of UFO reports hit an all- time high. People, both military and civilian, evidently didn't
much care what Generals Vandenberg, Norstad, Le May, or Colonel McCoy thought; they didn't believe what they were seeing were hallucinations, reflections, or balloons.
What they were seeing were UFO's, whatever UFO's might be.
I heard many times from ex-Project Grudge people that Shallet had "crossed" them, he'd vaguely mentioned that there might be a case for the UFO. This made
A few days after the last installment of the Post article the Air Force gave out a long and detailed press release completely debunking UFO's, but this had no
effect. It only seemed to add to the confusion.
The one thing that Shallet's article accomplished was to plant a seed of doubt in many people's minds. Was the Air Force telling the truth about UFO's? The public and
a large percentage of the military didn't know what was going on behind ATIC's barbed-wire fence but they did know that a lot of reliable people had seen UFO's.
Airline pilots are considered responsible people--airline pilots had seen UFO's. Experienced military pilots and ground officers are responsible people--they'd seen
UFO's. Scientists, doctors, lawyers, merchants, and plain old Joe Doakes had seen UFO's, and their friends knew that they were responsible people. Somehow these facts
and the tone of the Post article didn't quite jibe, and when things don't jibe, people get suspicious.
In those people who had a good idea of what was going on behind ATIC's barbed wire, the newspaper reporters and writers with the "usually reliable sources,"
the Post article planted a bigger seed of doubt. Why the sudden change in policy they wondered? If UFO's were so serious a few months ago, why the sudden debunking?
Maybe Shallet's story was a put-up job for the Air Force. Maybe the security had been tightened. Their sources of information