I was searching the web the other night and came across an interview with a man I had written about in the past. He was not pleased with my assessment of his tale and wondered why I had not contacted him before I posted it. I was a little disturbed by his comments and then realized that I was suggesting he had been less than candid about his UFO involvement and he certainly had the right to feel annoyed. Of course, I believed then what I written and I have seen nothing in the last several years to change that opinion.
The point is that I find myself in a similar position today. I have been researching, for the last year, a story told by a man who claimed to be a retired Air Force colonel. Based on his supposed high rank, I accepted the story he told as authentic. I believed that a man who had obtained high military rank wouldn’t be lying about something like this... but that was before Philip Corso entered the picture and proved me wrong.
In this case, however, the man had not been a high-ranking Air Force officer as claimed and the only record of military service I could find was a short period starting in December 1945 and ending in January 1947. This would technically make him a veteran of World War II, though he entered the service after the surrenders of Germany and Japan. The war wasn’t declared officially over until some time in 1946.
He claimed that he had been an Air Force fighter pilot, but I could find no record to substantiate this, and if he wasn’t a fighter pilot, then his tale of a UFO crash was no longer credible. He had been, according to him, flying a chase plane during some kind of a bomber mission when he saw the UFO. But if he wasn’t a fighter pilot, then the reason for him being where he claimed to be was eliminated and his tale collapsed.
I did learn that he had a long association with the Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the Air Force, but that is a civilian, volunteer organization. I don’t know if Air Force personnel, who can also serve in the CAP, receive retirement points for that service. If so, I suppose he could claim some kind of lengthy Air Force service, but the truth is, he wasn’t in the Air Force as claimed, nor in the Air Force Reserve, so the point is moot.
According to documentation, he rose to lieutenant colonel in the CAP, but again, that is not the same as being a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. When questioned about his service, he provided several photographs and documents, but all of them related to the Civil Air Patrol. I have never seen a picture of him in an Air Force uniform, though it is clear from the photographs supplied that he was attempting to mask his CAP service by making alterations to the uniform.
I have since been given some documents that suggest service in the Air Force, but these came from the man, and I have been unable to verify their authenticity. I believe one of them to be a forgery and not a very clever one at that.
So, who is this guy you ask? This is where the trouble arises. In 2005 the US Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act which makes it a crime to wear ribbons or medals not earned. I have two pictures of him and in each he is wearing medals for which I can find no documentation. He is wearing an officer’s uniform and he is claiming to have served in the Air Force, either on active duty or the reserve long enough to have earned a pension. He claims it was denied because he talked to civilians about UFOs.
To identify this man now, who is 84 and whose health isn’t all that great, would be to bring addition attention and pressure to him. This is something that I’m not sure I want to do...
On the other hand, I understand the anger of veterans toward those who didn’t serve, or served in a limited way but who claim great things. One estimate, published in Military History magazine this month suggests there are 26 million people claiming to be veterans who are not. Thousands have received veteran benefits to which they were not entitled, taking money from the veterans who had earned it. I have seen men, and a few women, interviewed about their service, making claims that then tarnish the reputations of all of us who did serve.
But this guy is old, sick, and his family is not nearby. At the moment, nothing is gained by identifying him, at least in my mind. His story, however, does have a great impact on some avenues of UFO research, and that will be explored a little later.