Friday, September 21, 2007

APRO and Turmoil in 1968

As 1967 slowly evolved into 1968, with the Vietnam Era still a pressure-cooker in progress, my thoughts and time became increasingly consumed with the stark reality that I was going to be drafted into the military. After exploring enlistment possibilities, I would enter the Air Force in June of '68, exactly a year after high school graduation. College courses in the meantime had become something to occupy the days, so I attended one class at a time, barely completing a second before leaving for four Air Force years.

1968 also turned out to be a year notable for UFO reports in Central NY, and I became involved in convincing witnesses to complete report forms for NICAP and APRO. Unfortunately, fallout from the Ithaca and Newfield, NY UFO reports and controversy continued.

Today, I've posted four more letters from APRO, this time received from both Coral and Jim Lorenzen, from January through June of 1968. You will immediately note numerous blank spaces in the body of these letters, and these occur because I've deleted all references to the troublemakers, the fraudulent UFO "investigators" who caused so much friction in the Newfield situation and caused me to get dragged into assisting the Air Force covertly (wow, that still sounds weird). The State of NY, by the way, was instrumental in putting these bad guys out of business, so it's not as if their names aren't easy to obtain.

Historically, the APRO letters serve another purpose. As you can see, in one letter reference is made to the fact that some good people involved with the Colorado UFO investigation have either resigned or have been fired. In another letter, one of the Lorenzens makes it clear that the whole miserable Colorado project is falling apart -- unwelcome news, particularly because APRO, like NICAP, labored to provide extensive UFO evidence to the study, now all for naught (look for an old paperback book entitled UFOs: Yes! by former project member Dr. David Saunders, one of the "good guys" who left the Colorado project).

The other subject of interest in these letters is Coral's request that I might be able to provide information while in the Air Force, as do "a few" servicemen who report regularly to APRO from Southeast Asia. There were UFO reports known to originate in Vietnam, and apparently APRO remained focused on the potential for credible information from military members. In fact, as I type this I'm pulling out a snippet of something in my old files about a '68 Vietnam report involving a fast-moving UFO over the U.S. Marine base at Dong Ha. An airborne helicopter crew watched the thing and, according to the pilot, "My gunners were scared to death and radioed, 'Let's get out of here!'. . .I never believed in these UFO stories before, but I do now."