On September 20, a U.S. newspaper reporter aboard an aircraft carrier in the North Sea was photographing a carrier take-off in color when he happened to look back down the flight deck and saw a group of pilots and flight deck crew watching something in the sky. He went back to look and there was a silver sphere moving across the sky just behind the fleet of ships. The object appeared to be large, plenty large enough to show up in a photo, so the reporter shot several pictures. They were developed right away and turned out to be excellent. He had gotten the superstructure of the carrier in each one and, judging by the size of the object in each successive photo, one could see that it was moving rapidly.
The intelligence officers aboard the carrier studied the photos. The object looked like a balloon. From its size it was apparent that if it were a balloon, it would have been launched from one of the ships, so the word went out on the TBS radio: "Who launched a balloon?"
The answer came back on the TBS: "Nobody."
Naval Intelligence double-checked, triple-checked and quadruple- checked every ship near the carrier but they could find no one who had launched the UFO.
We kept after the Navy. The pilots and the flight deck crew who saw the UFO had mixed feelings--some were sure that the UFO was a balloon while others were just as sure that it couldn't have been. It was traveling too fast, and although it resembled a balloon in some ways it was far from being identical to the hundreds of balloons that the crew had seen the aerologists launch.
We probably wouldn't have tried so hard to get a definite answer to the Mainbrace photos if it hadn't been for the events that took place during the rest of the operation, I explained to the group of ADC officers.
The day after the photos had been taken six RAF pilots flying a formation of jet fighters over the North Sea saw something coming from the direction of the Mainbrace fleet. It was a shiny, spherical object, and they couldn't recognize it as anything "friendly" so they took after it. But in a minute or two they lost it. When they neared their base, one of the pilots looked back and saw that the UFO was now following him. He turned but the UFO also turned, and again it outdistanced the Meteor in a matter of minutes.
Then on the third consecutive day a UFO showed up near the fleet, this time over Topcliffe Aerodrome in England. A pilot in a Meteor was scrambled and managed to get his jet fairly close to the UFO, close enough to see that the object was "round, silvery, and white" and seemed to "rotate around its vertical
axis and sort of wobble." But before he could close in to get a really good look it was gone.
It was these sightings, I was told by an RAF exchange intelligence officer in the Pentagon, that caused the RAF to officially recognize the UFO.
By the time I'd finished telling about the Mainbrace Sightings, it was after the lunch hour in the club and we were getting some get-the- hell-out-of-here looks from the waiters, who wanted to clean up the dining room. But before I could suggest that we leave, Major Sadowski repeated his original question--the one that started the whole discussion--"Are you holding out on us?"
I gave him an unqualified "No." We wanted more positive proof, and until we had it, UFO's would remain unidentified flying objects and no more.
The horizontal shaking of heads illustrated some of the group's thinking.
We had plans for getting more positive proof, however, and I said that just as soon as we returned to Major Sadowski's office I'd tell them what we contemplated doing.
We moved out onto the sidewalk in front of the club and, after discussing a few more sightings, went back into the security area to Sadowski's office and I laid out our plans.
First of all, in November or December the U.S. was going to shoot the first H-bomb during Project Ivy. Although this was Top Secret at the time, it was about the most poorly kept secret in history-- everybody seemed to know all about it. Some people in the Pentagon had the idea that there were beings, earthly or otherwise, who might be interested in our activities in the Pacific, as they seemed to be in Operation Mainbrace. Consequently Project Blue Book had been directed to get transportation to the test area to set up a reporting net, brief people on how to report, and analyze their reports on the spot.
Secondly, Project Blue Book was working on plans for an extensive system to track UFO's by instruments. Brigadier General Garland, who had been General Samford's Deputy Director for Production and who had been riding herd on the UFO project for General Samford, was now chief at ATIC, having replaced Colonel Dunn, who went to the Air War College. General Garland had long been in favor of trying to get some concrete information, either positive or negative, about the UFO's. This planned tracking system would replace the defraction grid cameras that were still being developed at ATIC.
Thirdly, as soon as we could we were planning to gather together a group of scientists and let them spend a full week or two studying the UFO problem.
When I left ADC, Major Sadowski and crew were satisfied that we weren't