by Leslie Kean
In September 1947, Lt. General Nathan
Twining, Commander of Air Material Command at Wright Patterson
Air Force Base, wrote an opinion concerning "Flying Discs" to Brig.
George Schulgen, Chief of the Air Intelligence
Requirements Division at the Pentagon.
"The phenomena is something real and
not visionary or fictitious…
The reported operating
characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, maneuverability
(particularly in roll), and action which must be considered
evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and
radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects
are controlled either manually, automatically or remotely."
He described the objects as metallic or
light-reflecting, circular or elliptical with a flat bottom and
domed top, and usually silent.
Twining stated that "due
consideration must be given" to,
"the lack of physical evidence in
the shape of crash recovered exhibits which would undeniably prove
the existence of these objects."
He recommended that Army Air
"a priority, security classification
and Code Name for a detailed study of this matter…"
In 1953, the Air Defense Command created
the 4602d Air Intelligence Service Squadron (AISS) and assigned it
to the official investigations of UFOs.
The squadron was
headquartered at Ent Air Force Base, CO and soon moved to Fort
Belvoir, VA with field units throughout the country. All UFO reports
were to go through the 4602d AISS prior to any transmission to
Project Blue Book, a public relations project with no access to
reports above the Secret level.
The 4602d AISS dealt with more
sensitive cases of national security concern requiring a higher
classification. Thus, many UFO reports bypassed Blue Book
In 1954, Air Force Regulation 200-2 ("Unidentified Flying Objects
Reporting") stated that the Air Defense Command has,
"a direct interest in the facts
pertaining to UFOBs" and will conduct all field investigations,
"to determine the identity of any UFOB."
It stated that the ADC will investigate
the reports through the 4602d AISS, a highly mobile unit composed of,
"specialists trained for field collection and investigation of
matters of air intelligence interest."
The document outlined
collection responsibilities for this unit.
According to an Air Force Intelligence Letter ("Betz Memo")
of 13 Nov 1961, the 4602d had three peacetime functions:
UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS (UFO) -
A program for investigation of reliably reported unidentified
flying objects within the United States.
PROJECT MOONDUST - A specialized
aspect of the U.S. Air Force's over-all material of the
exploitation program to locate, recover, and deliver descended
foreign space vehicles.
OPERATION BLUE FLY – [A unit] to
facilitate expeditious delivery to the Foreign Technological
Division (FTD) of Moon Dust and other items of great technical
The memo stated that all three functions
"employment of qualified field
intelligence personnel on a quick reaction basis to recover or
perform field exploitation of unidentified flying objects, or
known Soviet/Bloc aerospace vehicles, weapons systems, and/or
residual components of such equipment."
A classified 1969 Air Force
document terminating Project Blue Book ("Bolender Memo") made
it clear that existing operations would continue to investigate
UFOs even though the Air Force was closing Blue Book.
established that UFO reports affecting national security,
"are made in accordance with JANAP
146 or Air Force Manual 55-11, and are not part of the Blue
Book system" and that "the defense function could be
performed within the framework established for intelligence and
It stated that "reports of UFOs
which could affect national security would continue to be
handled through the standard Air Force procedures designed for
As far as the public was concerned,
the termination of Project Blue Book meant the end of the Air
Force investigation into UFOs.
The Air Force stated publicly two
months after the issuance of the classified Bolender Memo
that the continuation of Project Blue Book could not be justified on
the grounds of national security, since no UFO has ever presented a
threat to national security. The Air Force misinformed the public
by not acknowledging its continuing, secret investigation of UFOs
independent of Blue Book, and its very real national security
Ongoing efforts to retrieve fallen objects are described in a 1970
State Department telegram to its embassies and consulates around the
world requesting that they post any "reports or sightings of entry
into atmosphere or landing of 'space debris'." (Quotes around "space
debris" are throughout.)
The offices are instructed to follow leads
"as expeditiously as possible" without informing the local
government or making public comment.
"Recovery ofany material from such
space debris would [be of] great scientific interest to USG,"
the telegram states.
A 1973 Secret State Department Airgram
"the designator 'MOONDUST' is used in cases
involving the examination of non-US space objects and objects of
Beginning in 1989, Sergeant
Clifford E. Stone,
US Army ret., of New Mexico wrote to fourteen intelligence agencies
for records on Project Moon Dust and Operation Blue Fly
under the Freedom of Information Act.
Many of the documents cited
here were obtained through his efforts.
The responses from numerous agencies were inconsistent and evasive.
In 1990, the U.S. Air Force told Stone,
"we do not have any records
responsive to your request."
The U.S. Air Force Intelligence
"we have made a thorough search of our records
and found none responsive to your request."
Four months later,
the Air Force reversed their initial position stating,
"we have two records responsive to
your request. However, they are exempt from disclosure because
the information is properly classified."
The Defense Intelligence Agency stated
that information pertaining to Project Moondust is classified and
that the agency located no records on "Project Bluefly."
Fifteen months later, the DIA acknowledged that the State
Department had eight DIA documents, but that two were not
releasable. (There are numerous references in Moon Dust
documents to DIA participation
In a 1991 letter, the Air Force told Stone,
"we can neither confirm nor deny the
existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request
regarding Projects or Operations known as Blue Fly,
On Stone's behalf, New Mexico
Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici agreed to
make inquiries to the Air Force about Project Moon Dust and
Operation Blue Fly.
In response to a letter from Senator Bingaman
in 1992, the Air Force told the Senator that, "there is no Project
Moon Dust or Operation Blue Fly. These missions have never existed."
When the Senator responded with documents challenging this, the Air
Force "amended" it's previous statement, acknowledging the existence
and function of Moon Dust and Blue Fly with regards to
In 1994, Senator Domenici requested eleven Air Force
documents pertaining to Moon Dust and Blue Fly that were in State
Department files but were denied Stone in 1991. (At that
time, the Air Force had not been willing to "confirm nor deny the
existence or non existence" of these documents.)
The Air Force
responded in December of 1994 that,
"the projects, as such no longer
exist, nor do their files. Classified reports that existed, if
any, presumably were destroyed."
Yet the Air Force informed a New Jersey citizen in 1998, in response
to an independent request on Project Moon Dust and
Operation Blue Fly, that,
"the information relating Project Moon
Dust remain classified" and is being withheld.
This contradicts the
earlier statement by the same office that the files did not exist
and were likely destroyed.
Why did the US Air Force state
that the documents had been destroyed when they were
requested by a US Senator?
Why did it tell a second Senator
that Moon Dust and Blue Fly never existed?
Why the great concern about
releasing information concerning fallen space debris
collected decades ago?
In a letter dated February 28, 1994, New
Mexico Congressman Joe Skeen told Stone that the,
"House Government Operations
Committee has taken an interest in this matter…Congressional
hearings may be held on this matter later this session."
Skeen said he would also share Stone's
report with the House Intelligence Committee.
In April 1997, the Air Force acknowledged to Stone
that Operation Blue Fly's mission included,
"space objects and unidentified
flying objects (UFOs) if any were reported available for
It goes on to state that no Soviet Bloc
planes were ever downed in the US, and,
"no UFOs were ever reported downed
or recovered in the United States or anywhere else."
These statements are patently false.
Air Force Intelligence files show that Operation Blue Fly was
assigned to the intelligence exploitation of a Soviet-built Cuban
helicopter in Florida.
More importantly with respect to UFOs,
official documents released through FOIA directly contradict
the 1997 Air Force statement.
In 1965, a three-man team was sent
to recover an object of unknown origin reported downed in
Kecksburg, PA. (Witnesses state an object was recovered; the
Air Force says nothing was found.)
In August 1967, an object described
as a satellite crashed and was recovered in the Sudan
under Moon Dust. (The description on the DIA
document released by the State Department does not fit that of a
In 1968, Project Moon Dust
recovered four unknown objects in Nepal.
Also in 1968, a "dome-shaped object"
with no identification marks was retrieved underwater off Cape
Town, South Africa. The metal object had been subjected
to extreme heat and showed no signs of corrosion. NASA
determined it was made of "almost pure aluminum" and stated that
the NASA analysis of the sample and photographs "does not
otherwise provide a clue as to its origin or function
although it is possible it is a space object of US origin."
In 1970, Moon Dust
investigated a metal sphere that fell "with three loud
explosions and then burned for five days" in South America.
It had "ports" which had been melted closed.
A May 1970 State Department document
describes a fallen, unidentified object in Bolivia,
depicted in the newspapers as metal and egg-shaped. The
Department expresses a desire to assist the Bolivian Air Force
in the investigation. "The general region had more than its
share of reports of UFOs this past week," the document
It says that Panama and
Paraguay checked with appropriate government agencies and
"no direct correlation with known space objects that may
have reentered the earth's atmosphere near May 6 can be
All the documents on the above events
represent raw, unprocessed field intelligence data.
however, is not privy to the final determinations of these
investigations. Where are the finalized intelligence products? Where
are the recovered fragments?
Our government will not disclose what these objects were. In fact,
the Air Force denies these events ever happened, even though
official documents show otherwise. What is the purpose in keeping
this information classified? The search for this information must
pick up where Sgt. Stone, Senators Domenici and
Bingaman, and Congressman Skeen left off.
The Kecksburg incident is an
ideal focal point for further inquiry into Moon Dust and
Blue Fly, since it is already well documented. The object fell
on American soil. There were witnesses to the object on the ground
and its removal by an Army vehicle. Countless others saw the Army
cordon off the area, blocking access.
Project Blue Book files state that no object was found in
They also acknowledge that no space debris entered
our atmosphere that day and that "aluminum type" fragments were
retrieved in Michigan. (Where are they now?). It is likely
that Blue book was not informed about the retrieval of this
object since it would have been classified higher than Secret.
short, the documentation shows that the United States Air Force has
continued to conduct a highly classified UFO investigation program
in conjunction with other government agencies.
Under this program, Project Moon Dust and Operation Blue
Fly have recovered objects of unknown origin. We, as citizens,
have been denied knowledge of what they were. Physical evidence in
the possession of the U.S. Government could shed light on the UFO
question as would nothing else.
The Kecksburg case also has
the potential to generate more documentation on Project Moon Dust
and Operation Blue Fly, which hold the key to other cases involving
downed objects of unknown origin.