27242. Civilians, Not Military Investigate UFOs
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON -- Mass suicide in San Diego has rekindled
interest in UFOs, but people should not look to the Pentagon
for answers. The military no longer serves as the nation's
Thirty-nine Heaven's Gate cult members reportedly
believed they were leaving their earthly bodies to reawaken
aboard a UFO traveling in the Hale-Bopp comet's wake. In the
past, investigating UFOs was up to the U.S. Air Force.
From 1947 to 1969, Project Blue Book at Wright-
Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, investigated 12,618
sightings. All but 701 were explained. The reminder were
categorized as "unidentified" because they involved sketchy
reports that could not be nailed down, said Pentagon
spokesman Ken Bacon.
The public was often skeptical of Air Force
explanations attributing UFO sightings to swamp gas, weather
balloons or other natural phenomena. Pentagon officials
repeatedly denied allegations the military had evidence of
extraterrestrial visits. A 1950s report from Roswell, N.M.,
for example, claimed military officials had recovered alien
corpses from a UFO crash site.
These allegations simply are not true, Bacon said at a
recent Pentagon press briefing. "We cannot substantiate the
existence of UFOs, and we are not harboring the remains of
UFOs," he said. "I can't be more clear about it than that."
After investigating UFO reports for more than two
decades, Air Force officials reached three conclusions: No
UFO reported, investigated or evaluated was ever a threat to
national security; none of the unidentified sightings
represented technological developments or principles beyond
the range of modern scientific knowledge; and there was no
evidence unidentified sightings were extraterrestrial
Finding no national security threat and no evidence of
extraterrestrial visits, Air Force officials terminated
Project Blue Book. "It just was not a good way to use
taxpayers' money," Bacon said. UFO reports are now routed to
private organizations, he said.