Starting in the 1958, the Air Force's Project Blue Book investigated over 12,000 UFO sightings, before being closed down in 1969. More than 700 of these sightings were labeled as "unidentified."
Retired Col. Robert Friend was assigned to direct the project in order to determine whether UFOs were a national security threat or could give us scientific knowledge.
In the Huffington Post, Lee Speigel (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show) quotes him as saying that "he's spoken to more Air Force pilots than most people will ever meet, and he's heard their stories about strange things they've encountered in the sky-- objects that have come very close to their aircraft. He's had conversations with pilots and military officials who tossed the idea around that some UFOs might be alien in origin."
Friend, now 92, says, "Yes, there were some people who had those opinions. I, for one, think the probability is there."
Col. William Coleman, who was the chief spokesman for Blue Book between 1961 and 1963, had "an encounter" with a "classic flying saucer' over Alabama in 1955 while piloting a B-25 bomber." Speigel quotes him as saying that "the 75-foot-diameter, circular disc got so close to the ground that it left a trail of dust behind it before vanishing in the sky."
Despite the fact that Friend readily admits that the US did not have any vehicle at that time that looked like or could perform the way Coleman described, Speigel quotes him as saying, "Do I believe that we have been visited? No, I don't believe that. And the reason I don't believe it is because I can't conceive of any of the ways in which we could overcome some of these things: How much food would you have to take with you on a trip for 22 years through space? How much fuel would you need? How much oxygen or other things to sustain life do you have to have?"
But he doesn't think we should stop investigating: "I think that anytime there's a possibility of scientific pay dirt from studying these phenomena, that yes, it would be much better if the government or some other agency was to take on these things and to pursue the scientific aspects of it."
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