Los Angeles Times
August 30, 1949
By Marvin Miles
Times Staff Representative
WHITE SANDS, PROVING GROUND, N.M., Aug. 29--Flying saucers--or at least mysterious "objects"--have been sighted by service personnel at this vital center of America's upper air research.
I talked with three men, two senior officers and an enlisted technician, who reported seeing strange objects in the sky, one as recently as last Friday during preparation for a high-altitude missile flight.
In all fairness, it must be pointed out that other officers and engineers at White Sands scoff at the reports and put them down to imagination, weather balloons, dual images in high powered optical equipment, or possibly distant planes reflecting sunlight.
Yet the man who gave these reports presumably are familiar with such possibilities and well acquainted with the appearance of balloons and planes and the quixotic results of staring at a fixed point in the sky for long moments.
One officer believes, sincerely, that the objects seen are space ships and declared that a ballistic formula applied to one observation through a photo theodolite showed the "ship" was 35 to 40 miles high--an "egg-shaped" craft of fantastic size and traveling at incredible speeds of three to four miles a second!
The observer in this case, he said, was tracking a balloon into the upper air when the object swept across the balloon's path and cavorted for some 10 seconds--taking turns up to 22 times the force of gravity--before it disappeared. It had no visible means of propulsion.
The enlisted technician reported seeing an object at 3:35 p.m., last June 14, as he was tracking the course of a V-2 test rocket in a 20-power elevation telescope, an instrument that can follow a missile to altitudes of 100 miles or more.
"I don't know what it was, but I had never seen anything like it before," he told me. "It seemed to be metallic, but I couldn't tell its size, its speed or its altitude. It would be impossible unless you knew one of the three factors."
He added he had informed his superiors of the incident and was told the next morning he had seen a "disk."
A check of one officer elicited the response: "It was probably a weather balloon," but he declared the enlisted technician is considered "a reliable man."
Last Friday's object was seen by a senior officer shortly after 11 a.m. and reported to the unit commander. The observer was preparing for a missile firing and scanning the skies through binoculars. "I don't know what it was, but it came out of the north in a shallow dive and turned west. No, I wouldn't guess at speed or size." He hastened to explain he is a "skeptic."
These reports tend to take the "flying saucer" question out of the realm of housewives' stories and the tales of air transport pilots. Still they have actually proved nothing--merely added to the mystery.