by Bruce Maccabee
[April 15, 1996] -- Roswell is dead. That's what you will be hearing soon thanks to a new document recently obtained by researcher Bill LaParl. This document is the minutes of a meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Air Force on 17-18 March 1948. The SAB was (is) a high level advisory committee that was set up by the (then) newly formed Air Force to provide evaluations of existing science and technology programs and to propose new ones. The meeting consisted mostly of presentations or briefings by people working in these various programs. The presentations were not of a technical nature, although some details of the technologies were mentioned, but rather of an organizational or bureaucratic nature, such as how successful a program might have been or how to improve its efficiency, how to improve the morale or the workers. The board was formed under the authority of General Hoyt Vandenburg, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and was chaired by Dr. Theodore von Karman. The meeting was held at the classified Secret level.
The March 1948 meeting would be of little interest to ufologists except for one thing: as a part of the discussion of technical intelligence activities at Wright Field (Wright Patterson Air Force Base) the presenter, Col. Howard McCoy, mentioned Project Sign. To put this brief mention into perspective, note that out of some 260 pages of transcript about 34 were devoted to a discussion to the acquisition and use of technical intelligence. One third of a page contains the discussion of Project Sign, which had been set up about two months earlier at the Air Materiel Command (at Wright Field) under the direction of General Craigie (who attended this Board meeting).
Col. McCoy, who was the director of intelligence at the AMC, interjected the following statements into what otherwise could be called a "plain vanilla" briefing on technical intelligence activities:
"We have a new project -- Project Sign -- which may surprise you as a devlopment from the so-called mass hysteria of the past summer when we had all the unidentified flying objects or discs. This can't be laughed off. We have over 300 reports which haven't been publicized in the papers from very competent personnel, in many instances -- men as capable as Dr. K. D. Wood, and practically all Air Force, Airline people with broad experience. We are running down every report. I can't even tell you how much we would give to have one of those crash in an area so that we could recover whatever they are."
After making this brief statement, McCoy went on to other "plain vanilla" intelligence activities.
So, there you have it.... from the guy who should know.... he hopes one will crash, with the implication that none has crashed. ROSWELL IS DEAD.
However, this statement, far from absolving the Air Force, is a double edged sword. One edge, the Roswell edge, is dull. The other edge, the number of sightings he mentioned, is sharp... and it cuts into the Air Force's claim that all sightings that were collected are in the Project Blue Book microfilm record. First, let's sample the dull edge.
McCoy expressed a desire for one of these to crash. This could mean (a) none had crashed, (b) there was a crash but he didn't know about it or (c) there was a crash and he knew about it, but he lied about it! Option (a) is, of course, a no-brainer... and unfortunately that's the option that has been grabbed up by the people who are looking for easy solutions to explain Roswell. Option (b) can't be ruled out. The technical intelligence branch, T-2, which McCoy headed (and is mentioned in General Twining's famous letter of Sept. 23, 1947 where he said saucers were real and not visionary or fictitious and recommended a special project) might not have been cut in on the Roswell information since they had no need-to-know in order to carry out the assigned duty, which was to collect and run down the sighting reports. Option (c) is even more cover-up oriented. Clearly not everyone, if anyone, on the SAB had a need-to-know for information related to crashed flying saucers. We may assume that such information would have been held only at the very highest levels of security classification. Hence, speaking at the Secret level, McCoy couldn't have mentioned crashed information if he did know it. In fact, he might even have lied at the direction of higher-ups in order to intentionally mislead any of the SAB members who might get nosy if they thought there really was hard evidence.
Clearly this situation regarding Roswell can only be resolved when we get the complete history, including formerly Top Secret material that has not yet been released. (I am sure that there is some!) Until then.... Long Live Roswell.
Now let's turn to the sharp edge of the sword... McCoy's statement that as of March, 1948, Project Sign had "over 300 reports that haven't been published in the papers from very competent personnel..." It is easy to see the discrepacy here when this number is compared with the master list in the Project Blue Book catalogue: that list shows a "paltry" 135 or so sighting reports before the March meeting. That means that OVER 165 REPORTS ARE MISSING FROM THE FILE!!! The ones that are in the file are quite impressive... but this discovery raises the question of whether or not the missing 165 (or more) WERE EVEN MORE IMPRESSIVE. Where are these sighting reports? Were they removed from the sighting file before the file was turned over to Project Grudge when Sign ended in early 1949?
About 5 months later, according to Capt E. J. Ruppelt, the legendary "Estimate of the Situation" was written by Air Technical Intelligence, quite probably by Col. McCoy and others working with him. According to Ruppelt, it proposed that flying saucers were ET craft. This claim was based on sighting reports, according to Ruppelt. Unfortunately there is no copy of that document still in existence. Hence we cannot determine whether or not any of the missing 165 (or more) were used in that Estimate.
Almost two years after McCoy's statement -- and long after McCoy had been directed to leave the saucer project -- Project Grudge, the successor to Project Sign, claimed to have analyzed and explained 244 sightings collected in 1947 and 1948. However, this number of sightings does not include the missing 165 (or more) (nor does it include most of the sightings in 1949).
Hence we are left with a real mystery... WERE THE BEST SIGHTINGS REMOVED FROM THE RECORDS TO PREVENT THE SUCCESSORS TO PROJECT SIGN FROM LEARNING ABOUT THE BEST TESTIMONIAL EVIDENCE?
Col. Taylor provided us with a clue to a sighting that is not in the Blue Book record, the sighting by Dr. K. D. Wood. (Dr. Wood, born 1898, was a professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Colorado from 1944-1967. He is listed in Who's Who for 1972.) Unfortunately, there is no information on Dr. Wood's sighting.
"This cannot be laughed off.." said Col. Taylor. He was right. No one should be laughing.
Original file name: CNI - Bruce M.AFSAB mtg 4.11
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