Q: What was Project Blue Book?
A: Project Blue Book was the Air Force project to investigate UFO sightings. It lasted from the 1940s until 1969.
Q: When did you start this job?
A: I started in the Air Force in 1967 after college. I was a fairly new second lieutenant and I was the UFO Project Officer at an Air Force base in southern Oregon. The job was my secondary duty — new second lieutenants often get additional duties. I was responsible for the initial field investigation of UFO sightings.
Q: What did you think when they asked you to do this job? Did you believe in UFOs at the time?
A: I was interested; I’d always been real interested in UFOs. I’ve always tried to be an open-minded skeptic.
Q: How many reports did you get?
A: We would get a report once every few months. Sometimes two or three people would report the same sighting, but that was rare. Usually they reported that they saw a tiny light running across the sky at midnight. In general, it could be accounted for by birds, meteorological phenomena, balloons, aircraft. But a certain number couldn’t be explained. We would only submit a report if the sighting couldn’t be explained. We submitted our reports to the Condon Committee in Colorado.
Q: How long did you hold this job?
A: I did it for a couple of years, and I’m not sure that I submitted more than three reports. The last sighting I remember was reported after Project Blue Book had been terminated. It was reported by two Air Force sergeants and their wives. They had seen what they thought was a UFO landing. They were standing at the bottom of a mountain and they saw the landing a few thousand feet up. So I hiked up there with the sergeant, holding a camera in one hand and a Geiger counter in the other. He led me to where it landed and there was higher than normal background radiation there, but no sign of a landing. I wasn’t sure what the normal count there was, so I had nothing to compare it to. The first picture I took had what looked like small flames coming out of the ground. Which left me amazed, but it’s not really proof. The camera never did that before or since, so it may have just been a strange reaction with the film. But the timing definitely made you think.
Q: What were most people like who reported sightings? Were any of them sort of crazy?
A: They were all serious, reasonably credible people. Once I got a report from a guy who was out hunting who said he was tempted to take a shot at a UFO. Thankfully he didn’t.
Q: After holding this job for a few years, do you believe in UFOs?
A: I’m still very skeptical, though there are still some sightings that haven’t been explained. However the vast majority were explained to the Air Force’s satisfaction, so in 1969 the project was cancelled — I was one of the last UFO project officers left. At the peak of the sightings in the sixties, there were over 1,000 sightings in a year.
I was disappointed to find myself out of the UFO field, but I received another assignment and had to move on anyway, so it wasn’t the kind of thing that would last indefinitely.
Q: Where were people supposed to report UFO sightings once the Air Force closed Project Blue Book?
A: People were told to notify their local law enforcement if they saw UFOs.
Q: Do you think local law enforcement is qualified to do the job?
A: I don’t think that local law enforcement agencies have the motivation or the resources to diligently follow up on UFO reports. Besides, local law enforcement people would probably ask themselves, “If the Air Force doesn’t care about UFO sightings any longer, why should we?”
Q: Did you get UFOs on the brain? Were you always looking for them?
A: Sometimes I would get a call at night and I would go outside to see if I could see what they were seeing.
Q: Did you ever see any UFOs yourself?
A: Once I was with a couple of sergeants out on the road and we saw something peculiar — a light maneuvering in the sky. Later someone else reported it too I think. The job just reinforced my own nature — to be skeptical but keep an open mind. You’re either so gullible that you believe everything or so skeptical you believe nothing. I try to keep a balance between the two.