And They're Still Flying
Four years have passed since the first seventeen chapters of this book were written. During this period hundreds of unidentified flying objects have been seen and reported to the Air Force. Pilots, with thousands of hours of flying time are still reporting them; radar operators, experts in their field, are still tracking them; and crews on the missile test ranges are photographing them.
UFO's are not just a fad.
The Air Force's Project Blue Book is still very active. Not a week passes that one of the many teams of its nation wide investigation net is not in the field investigating a new UFO report.
To pick up the history of the UFO the best place to start is Cincinnati, Ohio, in the late summer of 1955. For some unknown reason, one of those mysterious factors of the UFO, reports from this Hamilton County city suddenly began to pick up. Mass hysteria, the old crutch, wasn't a factor because neither the press, the radio nor TV was even mentioning the words "flying saucer."
The reports weren't much in terms of quality. Some lady would see a "bobbing white light"; or a man, putting his car away, would see a "star jump." These reports, usually passed on to the Air Force through the Air Defense Command's Ground Observer Corps, merely went on the UFO plotting board as a statistic.
But before long, in a matter of a week or two, the mass of reports began to draw some official attention because the Ground Observer Corps spotters themselves began to make UFO reports. At times during the middle of August the telephone lines from the GOC observation posts in Hamilton County (greater Cincinnati) to the filter center in Columbus would be jammed. Now, even the most cynical Air Force types were be-grudgingly raising their eyebrows. These GOC observers were about as close to " experts" as you can get. Many had spent hundreds of hours scanning the skies since the GOC went into the operation in 1952 to close the gaps in our radar net. Many held awards for meritorious service. They weren't crackpots.
But still the cynics held out. This was really nothing new. The Project Blue Book files were full of similar incidents. In 1947 there had been a rash of reports from the Pacific Northwest; in 1948 there had been a similar outbreak at
Edwards Air Force Base, the supersecret test center in the Mojave Desert of California; in 1949 the sightings centered in the midwest. None had panned out to be anything.
Then came the clincher.
On the night of August 23rd, shortly before midnight, reports of a UFO began to come in from the Mt. Healthy GOC observation post northwest of Cincinnati. Almost simultaneously, Air Defense Command radar picked up a target in that area. A minute or two later the Forestville and Loveland GOC posts, also in Hamilton County, made sightings. Now, three UFO's, described as brilliant white spheres, swinging in a pendulum-like motion, were on the ADC plotting boards- confirmed by radar. All pretext of ignoring the UFO's was dropped and at 11:58P.M., F-84's of the Ohio Air National Guard were scrambled. They were over Cincinnati at 12:10A.M. and made contact. Boring in at 20,000 feet, at 100% power, they closed but the UFO's left them as if they were standing still.
The battle in the Cincinnati sector was on.
Almost every night more UFO's were reported by the GOC. Attempts were made to scramble interceptors but there were no more radar contacts and a jet interceptor without ground guidance is worthless.
At the height of this activity it was decided that more information was needed by the Air Defense Command. Maybe from a mass of data something, some kind of clue, could be sifted out. The answer: establish a special UFO reporting post. The man to operate this post was tailor-made.
On September 9, Major Hugh McKenzie of the Columbus Filter Center contacted Leonard H. Stringfield in Cincinnati. Stringfield, besides being a very public minded citizen, was also known as a level-headed "saucer expert." Sooner or later, usually sooner, he heard about every UFO sighting in Hamilton County. He was given a code, "Foxtrot Kilo 3-0 Blue," which provided him with an open telephone line to the ADC Filter Center in Columbus. He was in business but he didn't have to build up a clientele--it was there.
For the next few months Stringfield did yeoman duty as Cincinnati's one-man UFO center by sifting out the wheat from the chaff and passing the wheat on to the Air Force. As he told me the other day, half his nights were spent in his backyard clad in shorts and binoculars. Fortunately his neighbors were broad-minded and the UFO's picked relatively warm nights to appear.
Most of the reports Stringfield received were duds. He lost track of the number. The green, red, blue, gold and white; discs, triangles, squares and footballs which hovered, streaked, zigzagged and jerked, turned out to be Venus, Jupiter, Arcturus and an occasional jet. A fiery orange satellite which