This is an interesting story, and it does warrant further investigation.
"Spaceships or Mirages over Washington National Airport, 1952?"
The Fund for UFO Research's (FUFOR) latest offering gives Ufologists access to two important historical documents about the events over Washington,
D. C. during the 1952 UFO wave.
"Minutes of the Press Conference Held by Major General John A. Samford, Director of US Air Force Intelligence 27 July 1952" has generally not been
available. Along with MG Samford, the USAF Director of Intelligence, participating in the press conference were Major General Roger M. Ramey, Director
of Operations, USAF, COL Donald L. Bower, Technical Analysis Div., ATIC, CPT Roy L. James, Electronic Branch, ATIC, CPT Edward J. Ruppelt, Aerial
Phenomena Branch, ATIC, and Mr. Burgoyne L. Griffing, Electronics Branch, ATIC.
Statements by Stamford and the others shows that they did not have the complete story at their fingertips. The questions from the press were pointed
and inquiring. Stamford uttered his famous line about "creditable people reporting incredible things." Attendence at this press conference was the
highest since World War II.
During the rather long press conference, MG Samford, in many answers, made carefully qualified remarks. His comments distilled down by the press in
large headlines reported the conference as a debunking session. While there is not question that the Air Force wanted to regain control of the
situation, the conference was not the complete debunking session that was later reported.
CPT Ruppelt, in his private papers, would later record Samford's disappointment with the press and especially Keyhoe. Ruppelt speculated that the
latter was the cause of later withholding of UFO information.
It will be obvious from the text that Samford, Ramey, and the others were not well prepared to handle specific questions about the Washington, D. C.
sightings. It is my impression that the temperature inversion explanation was just being floated as a trail balloon to give the Air Force a respite
from constant press inquiries. Later, the explanation would be carved in stone.
The second paper prepared by the USAF Environmental Technical Application Center (ETAC) in April 1969 examined the inversion explanation in detail.
UFO proponents will be shocked at the paper's conclusion.
"Report #6112, Qulantitative Aspects of Mirages" by 1LT Frederick V. Menkello consulted a long list of publications on optics and UFOs. The Foreign
Technology Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, requested this report from ETAC.
ETAC placed the following disclaimer on the report which almost invited further studies: "This report addresses a specific problem and is not
intended to have application beyond that problem. We recommend that any questions on this or related problems be referred to USAF ETAC for further
[Edited on 23-9-2003 by quaneeri]