Military panel: ‘Closely-held’ U.S. agency has investigated UFOs for years

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By Antonio Huneeus

The special event, “Military UFOs: Secrets Revealed,” held last Saturday September 22 at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, turned out to be a very interesting program. This was part of an ongoing series of lectures attached to their new exhibit, “Area 51: Myth or Reality,” and the goal was to present a number of military officers who were involved in official UFO investigations in the past. The museum—a mainstream institution linked to the Smithsonian—must be congratulated for taking this step, and let’s hope that other similar organizations will show the same courage.

The military UFO panel: (left to right): moderator Alan Palmer, Col. Robert Friend, Col. Bill Coleman, Col. Charles Halt, Nick Pope. / Antonio Huneeus

The panel of speakers was composed by two of the last surviving members of the Air Force’s famous Project Blue Book, both now in their nineties. Col. Robert Friend directed the project between 1958 and 1963, and Col. Bill Coleman was the Chief Spokesperson for Blue Book between 1961 and 1963.  …

Col. Bill Coleman … began his talk by describing a UFO sighting experienced in 1955 while piloting a B-25. The UFO descended from a height of 20,000 feet and “we got right down to the treetops and I closed in on it very rapidly,” said Coleman. Grant Cameron of PresidentialUFO.com has unearthed a much earlier description of this incident from June 1978 at the Merv Griffin TV talk show. Coleman was promoting then the release of the Jack Webb’s Project UFO TV series, based on the Blue Book files. Coleman made the following description of the object in that interview: “It was about 60 feet in diameter and 10 or 11 feet thick through the center. It had what looked like a titanium-type finish (silver gray). I pulled up and made a hard turn that put it out of sight for roughly four seconds. We whipped back to pull up alongside of it and it wasn’t there. I zoomed up to 1500 feet. `There it is!’ I said. It was about 2 miles in front of us going across a field leaving a dusty trail behind it. I guessed its speed at about 170 MPH.” …

Col. Charles Halt was always a reluctant witness who didn’t really want to become part of ufological subculture. Although he eventually appeared over the years in many events, including two press conferences at Washington’s National Press Club and also at our own International UFO Congress in 2011, he was always a cautious man who restricted his commentary strictly to his key role in the Rendlesham affair. That’s why I was surprised when he told me during a brief conversation we had outside the museum before the panel of speakers started, that he was now certain that there was a secret government UFO investigation that would basically survey and scoop any significant piece of evidence collected by other military or intelligence agencies. Moreover, he believed this project was not inside an official U.S. government agency, but rather conducted by a private company subcontractor, so that it wouldn’t be subjected to possible Congressional inquiries or FOIA requests. Although he certainly can’t prove any of this, it makes perfect sense as a logical scenario, and the allegation has more weight if you know Halt’s cautious personality.

When Halt told me all this privately, I thought that maybe he was speaking off-the-record, so I was doubly surprised when he repeated in totally unambiguous terms exactly the same thing at the panel: “I’ve heard many people say that it’s time for the government to appoint an agency to investigate. Folks, there is an agency, a very close-held, compartmentalized agency that’s been investigating this for years.” Halt also told me during our conversation that there was an effort going on to prepare the public to accept the existence of UFOs. Again, the allegation of a long-term conditioning program is not a new idea, it has been floating around for many years and even decades, but it’s not the type of thing you would have expected to hear from Col. Halt in the past.

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