Sunday, December 18, 2011

Early interaction between the RAAF and the USAF

Hi all

One of the things which has always intrigued me is the interaction between the RAAF and USAF, regarding the early flying saucer phenomenon. I wondered what early connections there were between the two? The earliest one is able to go back in official Australian government UFO files is to 1951,

In the USA, in the early 1950's, the USAF was running Project Blue Book under Captain Edward J Ruppelt. "In January 1953 a CIA-sponsored group of scientists known as the Robertson panel concluded that flying saucers probably did no represent any form of foreign technology and posed no threat to national security."  (Bullard, T E. 2010. The Myth and Mystery of UFOs. University Press of Kansas. Lawrence KS. p.57.) Ruppelt left Blue Book in 1953. See also click here.

With the above in mind:

You would think that the USAF in 1953, would therefore not be interested at all in collecting reports from foreign countries such as Australia. However, in the National Archives of Australia (NAA) on file series A703 control symbol 554/1/30 Part 1, digital version pages 299-300, I found a two page memo from Lt. Col. George A Uhrich, Assistant Air Attache of the US embassy, to the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI-Australia) dated 20 July 1953. (As an aside, the NAA holds a file at file series A1838 control symbol 1500/1/1/36 "Diplomatic Representatives - USA Uhrich, G. A. Assistant Air Attache 1951-1954.")

In summary, the memo, which is labelled "confidential" and referenced as AA-120-53 and addressed to Wing Commander R.A. G. Ellen, is a request for Australian flying saucer sightings to be forwarded to the USA. Dated 20 July 1953, it discloses that there was a previous correspondence from DAFI (not located by me) dated 6 July 1953. It shows that Uhrich visited the Wing Commander in person on 18 May at DAFI and that "...my headquarters is very interested in receiving reports of all unusual sightings not only in this area, but all over the world." There then follows a very lengthy list of the data points which they would like. The memo closes "Any help you can give me in making this information available to my headquarters will be sincerely appreciated and will be treated in strict accordance with the security classification you attach to it."

Did DAFI forward any reports?

File 554/1/30 Part 1 is silent on this question. However, other sources reveal that at least three reports turned up in the USA.

(1) 22/23 Nov 1953 Woomera ,Sth Aust. RAAF papers located in US Project Blue Book files ref 8/110/2/WRA - courtesy of Jan Aldrich of Project 1947.

(2) 15 Jan 1954 Mallala, Sth Aust. USAF Project Blue Book card - courtesy of Jan Aldrich of Project 1947.

(3) 17 Jan 1954 St Morris, Adelaide, Sth Aust. USAF Project Blue Book card - courtesy of Jan Aldrich of Project 1947.

So, it does appear that DAFI did forward some 1953 and 1954 Australia UFO reports to the US which ended up in Project Blue Book files.

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