This week I had the opportunity of interview former Air Force officer Carmon Marano who had been on the staff of Project Blue Book. How do I know? First, Ben Moss sent me a picture that showed the Blue Book Staff and he is the lieutenant standing, more or less, behind Hector Quintanilla. Second, in reviewing the UFO sightings from Minot Air Force Base in 1968 I found a number of memos for the record that he had written. Finally, of course, he said exactly that and unlike so many others who have said they were part of Blue Book, we can actually prove it with him. You can listen to the interview here:
This provided us with the opportunity to learn a little about the internal workings of Blue Book at the end of its existence. The University of Colorado study, known as the Condon Committee that was going on at the time, seemed to have sucked some of the life out of Blue Book. What I found interesting was his comment, when asked about how they acquired their cases, said that most of them came from around Wright-Patterson Air Force, which is Dayton, Ohio, and from the surrounding two or three states. At the end they weren’t getting many reports from other areas and a quick survey of the master index from Project Blue Book confirmed this. A large number of the cases were from Ohio. Sure, there were cases from other parts of the country and the world, but most of them came from
Ohio. This was something I hadn’t noticed.
|The Project Blue Book Staff|
I also asked about some of the cases that were unidentified. He seemed to suggest that the majority of the cases they received had mundane explanations. He did mention one from around the Miami area that involved a couple of ministers in a private plane. I understood that he was talking about something that happened nearly fifty years ago, but this simulated my curiosity. I thought it would be easy to find, so I started looking through the Blue Book master index but then noticed, in 1968, there was a gap. Somehow the pages from the end of August through November were missing.
In Project Blue Book – Exposed, I published a long list of all the unidentified cases. It took almost a whole minute to find this particular sighting. Although that contained just the bare bones of the report it was more than enough for me to find the details in the Blue Book files. According to the project card:
A light doing acrobatics near Ocala [Florida] for 15 minutes [September 15, 1968] but did not gain on it. Light rose and quickly disappeared among stars. Almost immediately a second but white light was seen under the haze above Ocala. This rapidly came toward them on collision course and pilots thought it was a sidewinder [missile]. Light made a sharp 90 [degree] turn and then disappeared. Third part of observation came when they approached Miami. Palm Beach Center informed them their radar had object following them, asked them to make a 360 [degree] turn. Pilot thought he identified light but was not certain. The most significant part of observation was the “sidewinder collision” part. Pilots would probably not have reported total incident had it not been for the seeming near collision with light.
The project file contains a couple of transcripts, both of them of Dr. Allen Hynek interviewing Air Force officers who interviewed the pilots. They do note that the lights were in sight for quite a while, about fifteen minutes, and that they did perform various maneuvers. There is some discussion about the radar sighting as well. The one thing I did notice was that there were passengers in the plane but they had the cabin lights on and were reading so they didn’t see anything.
So we learned something about the internal workings of Blue Book, were treated to some discussion of various cases, and found out how all those files came into the hands of Rob Mercer of the Miami Valley UFO Society. Rob will be on the show on November 16.
Next week: John Shirley
Topic: UFOs and skepticism.