Just after the onset of World War II, an unidentified flying object
hovered over the city of Los Angeles. The newsworthy event was reported
in the Los Angeles Times. The country was at war and startled residents
thought the object was some kind of secret Japanese aircraft. The police,
air raid wardens and the military swung into action as the following
excerpt from the February 26, 1942 issue of the Times reveals:

Sleepy householders awoke to the dull thud of explosions... "Thunder?
Can't be!" Then: "Air Raid! Come here quick! Look over there...those
searchlights. They've got something...they are blasting in with
anti-aircraft!" Father, mother, children all gathered on the front porch,
congregated in small clusters in the blacked out streets -- against
orders. Babies cried, dogs barked, doors slammed. But the object in the
sky slowly moved on, caught in the center of the lights like the hub of a
bicycle wheel surrounded by gleaming spokes.
[Chilly Throng Watches Shells Bursting in Sky, Marvin Miles]

The antiaircraft artillerymen scored a number of "direct hits" but they
had no effect on the object. However, falling debris from exploded
bombshells killed at least six civilians on the ground. The UFO was not a
secret Japanese aircraft, nor was it a blimp. It did not return fire and
after a half-hour of hovering over west Los Angeles it cruised silently
away. Since it was wartime and there was no history of unidentified
flying objects to turn to, and no knowledgeable investigators to probe
into the event, it was quickly forgotten.

To this day, outside of a handful of UFO buffs, 'the battle over LA'
remains largely unknown. Like so many other compelling cases it gathers
dust among the stacks of UFO files that conceal a tightly guarded mystery
that has continued to proliferate through the intervening decades. Though
the Kenneth Arnold sighting in Washington or the Roswell Incident are
often thought of as the inaugural events of the modern UFO era; the mass
sighting and violent military response over the night skies of LA
preceded them by five years.

The controversy that has swirled around the Roswell Incident has often
obscured the plain facts. The military issued the press release that
flatly stated they had recovered a crashed disc. The headline in the
local paper read, "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell
Region" (Roswell Daily Record, July 8, 1947). Dozens of credible,
military and civilian witnesses have provided eyewitness testimony and
circumstantial evidence giving credence to the initial press release
during repeated investigations.

Several relevant facts are seldom mentioned when the Roswell case is
discussed: 1) The 509th Bomb Group was the only atomic bomb squadron in
the world and their base was not far from the White Sands Testing
Grounds, the site of the first A-bomb test. 2) Two witnesses reported
observing a glowing object race by at about 1,500-foot altitude the night
that the military said that the flying saucer hit the ground. According
to the article cited above,

Mr. and Mrs. Dan Wilmot apparently were the only persons in Roswell who
have seen what they thought was a flying disk.

They were sitting on their porch at 105 South Penn. last Wednesday night
at about ten minutes before ten o'clock when a large glowing object
zoomed out of the sky from the southeast, going in a northwesterly
direction at a high rate of speed^

In appearance it looked oval in shape like two inverted saucers faced
mouth to mouth or like two old fashioned wash bowls placed together in
the same fashion. The entire body glowed as though lights were showing
through from inside, though not like it would be if a light were merely

The reporter noted that Mr. Wilmot was a respected, upstanding citizen
and that he had given his report BEFORE the military press release was
made public. Of course, anyone paying the least bit of attention to this
case knows that the government retracted the original story in spite of
the eyewitness testimony and supporting evidence. They said that the disc
was, in fact, a weather balloon.

Even though the government tried to kill the UFO story, the late 1940s
and early 1950s erupted with repeated flaps. In 1947, UFOs appeared over
American skies increasing to the point that people grew alarmed. Some of
the incidents had serious national security implications. The air space
over the Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility was repeatedly violated. Oak Ridge
was home to the most sophisticated technology in the world and the
facility was highly classified, needless to say, the air space
surrounding it was a strict no-fly zone.

Despite vigilant military supervision Army Intelligence and the FBI
monitored dozens of intrusions over Oak Ridge well into the 1950s.
Similar violations occurred over important research labs and nuclear
facilities, at Los Alamos (the home of the Manhattan Project), Hanford,
and many military bases. All of this was tightly restricted information
at the time. The American public knew nothing about these "sensitive"
cases as they occurred. The data has only surfaced because of the Freedom
of Information Act. However, the number of public sightings and reports
mounted and public pressure was applied prompting the government to
launch several probes into the matter.

Project Sign was the first official investigation of the UFO phenomenon.
The Technical Intelligence Division of the Air Material Command (AMC) at
Wright Field (later Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) in Dayton, Ohio, was
given control of the project and began its work on January 23, 1948. The
conclusions of this military probe were largely negative. The team found
that nearly all sightings could be explained by mass hysteria, hoax,
hallucination or misinterpretation of natural objects.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that this conclusion was arrived at
after General Hoyt Vandenburg had deleted much more positive findings out
of the preliminary report, which he sent back to the team to revise. In
retrospect, what other conclusions could be expected from the Pentagon
given the position they had taken on the Roswell case? In spite of the
negative Sign report, the UFO phenomenon kept coming back to life.

Trying to assuage mounting public anxiety the military ordered another
investigation, the next one was named Project GRUDGE. It produced the
same conclusions that its predecessor had arrived at. Even though UFOs
had been officially declared as nothing more than phantasms or cases of
mistaken identity they kept on coming and coming. After a huge flap in
1952, the public clamored for another investigation. By this point the
CIA had its oars in the water and President Truman wanted to get the UFO
matter off his desk. Out of this maelstrom came the Robertson Panel and
Project Blue Book.

Examples of credible early cases:

Early in the 1952 UFO wave two discs approached and paced a B-36 bomber
in the vicinity of Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona. On May 1, 1952,
Major Rudy Pestalozzi, a base intelligence officer, along with an airman,
looked up as a B-36 flew overhead and saw two shiny discs overtake the
bomber, slow to its speed and position themselves alongside.

On the evening of November 23, 1953, Lt. Felix E. Moncla. Jr., a veteran
at age 26, was the pilot of a Northrup F-89C "Scorpion" jet interceptor
scrambled into the air after a report from Kinross Air Force Base near
Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, alerted the 433rd Fighter Interceptor
Squadron at Truax Field in Madison, Wisconsin to an intrusion by an
object recorded on the radar screen. The Scorpion was dispatched to
investigate the mysterious radar "blip." Second Lt. Robert L. Wilson, 22,
flew with Moncla acting as the flight radar observer.

The pair chased the UFO as the radar operator at the base monitored the
two blips. The ground radar operator watched in horror as the pilot
caught up with the unidentified craft and the two blips merged. Search
and rescue parties were dispatched to comb the area but no remains of the
airmen or their jet were ever found.

In 1964, patrolman Lonnie Zamora had a close encounter in broad daylight
near Soccoro, New Mexico. As he approached what he thought was an
overturned truck he was startled to see two very small figures near an
object that he next thought was some kind of experimental military
aircraft. The figures were dressed in overalls, when they looked at him
he realized they were not human and that the craft was not of secret U.S.
military design. When the UFO departed Zamora found the impressions of
the craft's landing gear embedded into the ground.

As the years rolled by reports poured in from airline pilots, highway
patrolmen, county sheriffs and military personnel including a helicopter
crew involved in a close encounter. Average citizens also continued to
report seeing strange, luminous objects performing aerial feats over the
skies of America. The Blue Book team analyzed thousands of cases
conducting interviews with many highly credible witnesses. Nevertheless,
the team eventually concluded that UFOs posed no threat to national
security. No surprise that they remained consistent with previous results
since a departure would have been embarrassing.

Dr. J. Allen Hynek was a consultant to the Air Force in astronomy for
over two decades, from 1948 to 1969, having been involved in Projects
Sign and Blue Book. No one had more first hand contact with the data than
Hynek, who had been a firm skeptic in 1948. In an interview conducted
before his death in 1984, he summed up his experience with the various
'official' investigations.

"They were under instruction from the Pentagon, following the Robertson
Panel of 1953, that the whole subject had to be debunked, period, no
question about it. That was the prevailing attitude. The panel was
convened by the CIA, and I sat in on it, but I was not asked to sign the
resolution. Had I been asked, I would not have signed it, because they
took a completely negative attitude about everything."

After decades of scientifically studying the phenomenon, the astronomer
changed his attitude. Two things impacted him: 1) the military's
unscientific bias and desire to explain every case in terms of mistaken
identity and/or natural phenomena and 2) The high caliber of many
witnesses. As a result of this change Hynek formed a post-Blue Book group
(CUFOS), still in existence, to conduct independent research.

In 1982, the longest and most intense UFO flap began. Thousands of
residents of the Hudson Valley would eventually report seeing a V-shaped
UFO by 1989 when the flap ceased. The case was virtually ignored by the
mass media and federal law enforcement officials. Hynek became an active
investigator into the Hudson Valley case until his untimely demise. His
final essay contained scathing comments about the failure of American
institutions to uphold their positions of public trust:

"It would appear that we really have TWO astounding stories, rather than
just one... different but related... and equally incomprehensible: the
story of the low-flying luminous Boomerang (in itself which could rank
high in the annals of science fiction... if it were science fiction!) and
the second, a totally unaccountable dereliction of duty (and there seems
to be no other word for it), a complete indifference to accountability."

Nothing has changed since the astronomer penned these words 20 years ago.
UFOs continue to be seen, people report being abducted, photos and video
footage have been recorded, and the French and Canadian governments are
certain that the Pentagon is hiding a deep, dark secret. Though it has
been buried over and over again, the phenomenon will not die! Is it not
high time by now to get serious about uncovering the truth?