It seems that when you begin to spin lies, and when you provide interviews about those lies, you have an obligation to keep the information straight. If you say the event took place in 1948, then you can’t move it to 1950 or to 1955 without someone noticing. And you should know what type of military aircraft were available in the inventory in 1948 so that you don’t claim to have been flying something that wouldn’t appear for years. (I might point out that you should also remember the type of aircraft you were flying and I base this on my own experiences as a military pilot.) If you’re going to tell a good story, you should make sure that you have enough facts straight so that it can’t be broken apart quickly and easily, when people begin to investigate.
What brought this on?
Well, I just was given a transcript of an interview with Robert Willingham and his claim to have seen a crashed flying saucer. It is dated May 1978 and provides us with still another version of his story, or rather a modified version of that story.
According to it, in May 1978, he was a lieutenant colonel (an O5 in the military vernacular) in the Air Force, or so he said. Actually, as I have pointed out time and again, he was in the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the Air Force. It is made up of civilians who receive no real compensation for their service and are a vital part of the country’s search and rescue component, but who are not part of the Air Force or the Air Force Reserve.
The important point is that he was claiming to be a lieutenant colonel in 1978, because in a later interview given to the American Legion, he said that he was promoted to full colonel (O6) when he retired. That article, entitled, “Robert B. Willingham marks 60th year in American Legion,” said, “He did return to Archer City in 1980, on disability leave, when his mother became ill. He was a Lt. Colonel at the time, but President Johnson made him a full colonel after retirement.”
Lyndon Johnson wasn’t president after 1978 (or 1969 for that matter if you count the days prior to Nixon’s inauguration) and in fact had died in 1973. There is no way that Willingham could have been promoted to colonel by Johnson. The idea of President Johnson promoting someone appeared in one of the novels by W.E.B. Griffin. I don’t know if that is where Willingham got the idea, but it just doesn’t work the way Willingham said... or Griffin for that matter.
That 1978 interview provides another clue. They are talking about the analysis to the piece of metal that Willingham said that he had recovered at the crash site. He said that he had taken it to a lab in Hagerstown, Maryland for analysis. He claimed that he had given it to a Marine major who worked there. When he tried to learn what the major had found, he was told the man did work there but he couldn’t follow up on it. According to Willingham, that was because “we were getting ready to go to Korea...”
While nowhere in the interview do they discuss an actual date for the crash, this puts it before Willingham claimed he went to Korea, and in other interviews, he suggested he served there at the beginning of the war, or in 1950. So, while Willingham claims that Todd Zechel came up with the December 6, 1950 date, the fact is that Willingham himself came up with both the 1948 date and the later 1954 date.
I could go on because in this interview Willingham claims he was flying a F-94, but these weren’t in the inventory in 1948 or 1950... He talks about the UFO being confirmed by radar on the DEW Line, but it didn’t exist in 1948 or 1950.
But this is becoming overkill. Clearly the story has evolved, contains elements that are impossible given the timing, and is littered with contradictions. This 1978 interview, which was clearly coached given the questions and wording of the answers, proves that there is little truth in the December 6, 1950 crash or any other that Willingham claims to have seen. I hope this will end it, but given the nature of UFOlogy, I know that it won’t. Nothing ever dies in UFOlogy, it’s just repeated endlessly.