Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Doing the Air Force Shuffle

Remember, I'm a teenager in 1965, so maybe my typin' skills ain't so good, you know what I mean? That, added to the fact that I've scanned a carbon copy, makes for a so-so version of a letter I clickity-clacked out on my trusty old manual typewriter. Now that I've self-exonerated, here's the story:

In July of 1964 -- three months after the famous Socorro, NM UFO incident, as a point of reference in time -- four boys camping out in Syracuse saw three objects high in the sky, each displaying a single red light. The story was prominently written up in The Syracuse Herald-Journal of July 15, 1964, the same date as the sighting.

Now, in this particular case, I didn't care a proverbial hill of beans (I don't even know what that means, for gosh sakes) whether these boys saw three jets, three balloons equipped with flashlights or simply experienced mass hallucinations induced by nocturnal bat droppings. Distant lights in a darkened sky are so hard to pin down.

The problem is, each boy reported three objects -- yet a local Air Force spokesman threw out the explanation that they probably saw a satellite. One satellite.

For reasons I don't remember, I didn't get around to checking this incident out until the next year, and three letters shown here illustrate the path followed. On March 15, 1965 I wrote the Air Force facility at Hancock Field, and in a response two days later from Maj. George Potter, director of information, I was rebuffed in typical official fashion and informed that my letter would be forwarded to Washington. In September, an Air Force representative in Washington replied and informed me the Air Force had no record of a July 15, 1964 incident -- rather difficult to swallow, considering that a local Air Force spokesman had a role in explaining -- badly explaining -- the sighting. No records in Washington? Whatever important or trivial things four boys saw in those early morning hours, reported immediately in a major newspaper which stimulated even more publicity, you can bet there existed an official report, and the Dept. of the Air Force in D.C. must have been fully and routinely informed. Couldn't they just acknowledge the report?