Thursday, August 15, 2019

Another Part of the Levelland Investigation

I have been reviewing the Levelland landing with its electromagnetic effects. I have said that an Air Force NCO conducted a one-day investigation and that was it. I have reported that the Air Force made a number of points about the case including that while Donald Keyhoe of NICAP claimed nine witnesses, there were only three. Interestingly, the claim of three witnesses is contradicted in the Blue Book file that contains interviews with a half dozen witnesses and information about others. In fact, in an undated and unsigned summary of the case, the Blue Book file says, “A mysterious object, whose shape was described variously as ranging from round to oval, and predominantly bluish-white in color was observed by six persons [emphasis added] near the town of Levelland, Texas.”

In all, I have found witnesses, on the record in 1957, at thirteen separate locations with multiple witnesses at several of those. And I haven’t even counted the law enforcement officers who had sightings. This, as noted in an earlier post, included the sheriff and the fire marshal.

As confirmed by several sources, we all know that Staff Sergeant Norman Barth made an investigation that lasted part of one day. He interviewed a few of the witnesses. He was hung up on the weather at the time of the sightings, believing that weather had an influence. Ultimately, he and the Air Force, would latch onto ball lightning as the culprit though ball lightning is not a viable explanation.

In fact, a report signed by Captain George T. Gregory, who was the chief of Blue Book at the time, made the case for ball lightning, apparently unaware that ball lightning is a short-lived phenomenon, and the it is rarely, if ever larger than a foot or two in diameter. In the Air Force report on this, also found in the Blue Book files, they say ball lightning is only about eight inches in diameter.

Smyer, Texas, on the same road that many of the sightings took
place in November 1957. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.
But there is another problem with this case. According to a document in the Blue Book files, Major Daniel R. Kester, the Reese Air Force Base Provost Marshal, visited the “alleged scene in conjunction with local civil authorities. Negative results.” There was a handwritten note next to that notation that said, “They did not see anything unusual.”

So, while Barth takes the heat for his most of a day investigation with a notation that he failed to locate some of the witnesses, there was another “investigation” going on. I put that in quotes because I can find nothing more about this meeting between the Air Force “top cop” in the area, and the civilian law enforcement representatives.

I’m not sure what Kester would have expected to find in those locations since there is no indication of where they went and what they looked at. I was at the locations in 2012, some 55 years after the fact, and I saw nothing unusual (of course, I didn’t expect to find anything).

I did notice that some of the documents in the file had, at one time, been classified. That would have restricted access to those with the proper clearances and a need to know. That would not have included reporters who had neither the clearances nor the need to know.

While Barth apparently didn’t spend a lot of time investigating the case, though he was commended for his thorough investigation, the Provost Marshal, also conducted an investigation. I find nothing to tell me what he learned, though he must have written some kind of a report about the “meeting.”

For those keeping score at home, I seriously doubt that his report would be in the files at Reese AFB at this late date. Once the investigation was completed, the records would have been kept for a specified period of time and then destroyed, if classified and just thrown out if not. I did the same thing with classified documents while I was serving as an intelligence officer. We destroyed those things that had no more relevance to our operation but were still classified and we threw out those that weren’t classified when we no longer needed them.


Bob Koford said...

Dear Kevin,

Thank you for posting your most recent articles dealing with the Levelland cases. I enjoyed reading them.

Presently I have been going over the letter by Lt. Col. Donald Dessert (July 1963) to the Honorable Carl Vinson, generally in response to NICAP's constant encouragement to write their Congressmen about the USAF handling of the UFO program.

What is most strikingly obvious in the letter, in my opinion, is the clear evidence of either the right hand not having a clue about the left hand or that the Air Force was indeed involved in a cover-up of the actual truth regarding what they knew about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.

Lt. Colonel Dessert was an officer within the Office of the Chief of Staff/Intelligence (AFCIN) in which was housed the Office of the Assistant for National Indications, HQ USAF (AFNIN). To me this is the real proof of the seriousness actually afforded SOME of the sightings of UAP, at that time. To this day both AFCIN and AFNIN are seemingly discussed by AF personnel as being only unrermarkable references to AF Intelligence, when I can prove that this is NOT the case. In fact, AFNIN was the AF office which dealt directly with the CIA regarding the National Indications Center and our Advanced Reconnaissance System (ARS). Since 1950, the Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff/Intelligence (in actuality AFNIN) was directly connected to the National Indications or "Watch" Committee (NIC) as the Deputy Director was always chosen from AFNIN.

The letter (actually said to have been in response to a Private John P. Speights) for example, claims that the Air Force had no records of pilots being tasked to intercept UAP, referencing a particular case where an AF pilot simply misidentified Venus to promote the idea that pilots make mistakes constantly.

This alone was a patently false sentence, unless it was a purposefull "fudging" of the facts, i.e., that in reality the files resided in fact with Air Defense Command.

The letter also uses Dr. Menzel as another reference. This would have to have been evidence of absolute desperation on the part of Colonel Dessert, in that previously, Dr. Menzel's ideas had been scoffed at by AF brass.

In short, I believe there are many cases which patently disprove what is said in the letter and the Levelland cases are just some examples.

Thank you again,
Best regards,

purrlgurrl said...

You seem to be the only person in Ufology who understands that neither the military nor the federal government keep all records in perpetuity. They are routinely destroyed when no longer needed. As a federal contractor I shredded defunct files all the time. Everyone in the Department did. More was destroyed than was ever kept.

There's nothing at all nefarious or suspicious about records being destroyed. There's not the space, the resources, nor the funding to maintain files forever. However, the lack of records is always (I mean ALWAYS) an automatic assumption of a conspiratorial cover-up. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just as corporations can't afford to keep every shred of paper or electronic file ever produced, neither can the military or government.