Robert O. Dean, the retired Army Command Sergeant-Major, and the man behind the tale of “The Assessment,” has died.
Dean burst onto the UFO stage after his retirement from the Army. He told the tale, in several versions, as to how, as a senior NCO in NATO, he had been handed a copy of a document labeled “Cosmic Top Secret.” According to him, while on duty l
ate one night or early one morning, an Air Force colonel noticed that Dean was
having trouble staying awake. The officer dropped a document on his desk,
telling him that this would keep him awake.
|A somewhat pensive Robert Dean.|
This was “The Assessment.” It told of a recovery of a downed flying saucer, and the investigation of it. I have, in the past, reported on this claim, which I find troubling. Dean had said that it was highly classified, and the classification of Cosmic Top Secret seemed to suggest that there was something interstellar about the story.
However, the cosmic part of the classification has nothing to do with the cosmos, but with a label that identifies the document as belonging to NATO, or more accurately, was created at NATO. NATO, therefore, was the classifying authority, and declassification rested in the hands of those at NATO.
And let’s not forget that it seems highly unlikely that a high-ranking Air Force officer would pull a top-secret document from the vault in an effort to keep a sleepy NCO awake. It violates so many rules and regulations that it is not funny. Having served as an intelligence officer in the Air Force, I know that such things are taken seriously. Once the flaw was pointed out, Dean altered the story slightly. You can read my assessment of “The Assessment” and Dean’s tale here:
I did know Dean, somewhat, and I know that he was a little miffed at my portrayal of his tale. He once asked me why I hadn’t talked to him about it, specifically, and in a fit of blatant honesty, I told him I simply didn’t believe it.
The other thing that should be noted here is that Dean did retire as a command sergeant-major, the highest enlisted grade in the Army. Few soldiers reach that pinnacle. To do so is quite the accomplishment. Most soldiers flame out as sergeants first class or master sergeants. A command sergeant-major is often as qualified to run a battalion or brigade as the officer in command. The command sergeant-major knows nearly everything about the unit and is often left to handle much of the administration of it. Responsibility remains with the commanding officer, but the real work is done by the command sergeant-major.
Maybe that was why I was so disappointed in Dean’s tale. He had achieved an important position in the Army, had served honorably for 28 years before retirement, and then had to clutter up all that with “The Assessment” … for which there is no independent corroboration.
For those interested in such things, Dean was born on March 2, 1929. After his military service, he was an emergency services coordinator for Pima County, Arizona, and in 1992, sued his employer for discrimination, claiming that his belief in UFOs caused him to miss a promotion… though it might also have been a case of age discrimination. Whatever the real cause, he supposedly won and was awarded a hundred grand.
He died on October 11, 2018, at the age of 89.