July 28, 1952
Jet fighters of the Eastern Interceptor Command today were maintaining a 24-hour alert for "flying saucers" over the Alexandria vicinity.
The order was issued after radar operators at the CAA Air Route Traffic Control Center at National Airport sighted the mysterious objects Saturday night- the second time in eight days.
The Air Force said two jets pursued "between four and twelve" of the elusive objects Saturday night, but the pilots reported they were unable to get any closer than seven miles before the saucers disappeared.
One pilot said he saw "a steady white light" about ten miles east of Mt. Vernon. His supersonic jet, traveling at a speed of more then 600 miles per hour, was outdistanced when he sought to overtake the object.
Initial appearance of the objects was reported at 8:08 p.m. EDT Saturday. Two jets from the 142nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron, at Newcastle, Del., zoomed into action and scouted the area in relays until 2:20 a.m.
Radar operators at Andrews Air Force Base just across the Potomac River from Alexandria reported a "long series of sightings on and off until midnight."
Between seven and twelve of the fiery discs had been picked up by the radar equipment at National Airport last week. Radar experts said the instruments are not infallible but normally don't show something that isn't there.
Radar will not usually register something without substance such as light but will pick up birds and dense cloud formations. A CAA spokesman said, however, that the mysterious objects recorded definite "blips" on the radar screen similar to those given off by aircraft.
Meanwhile, the Air force clamped a tight lid of secrecy on investigations being made by the military. Information gathered on the local sightings is being sent to a special saucer center at Wright Field, Dayton Ohio, where all such reports are evaluated.
Capt. E.J. Ruppelt, who heads the special saucer investigation crew, said at Dayton last night that most of the saucer information is highly classified and added that many of the reports he received are spurious.
This was believed to be the first time that the Air force, in the past skeptical of the saucers' existence, has acknowledged them to the point of giving Interceptor pursuit.
Col. Jack C. West, commander of the 142nd Squadron, said his jets are ready now to go in the action again "at a moment's notice."
CHICAGO - Several scientists, still stumped for an explanation of "Flying Saucers," are convinced that the mysterious objects really exist.
One expert said they may be space ships from another planet.
Reports of fast traveling extremely light objects over Washington during the weekend gave weight to the theory that the "saucers" are real, according to some experts.
"I definitely believe the objects sighted over Washington were not someone's imagination," said R. L. Farnsworth, president of the U.S. Rocket Society, a reputable organization devoted to the study of rocket travel.
Farnsworth said, "There is a possibility" they are interplanetary space ships. He added there is no way for him to know, with certainty what the objects were.
"Interplanetary space travel is definitely possible," he said. We know there is vegetation on the planet of Mars, and this could be an indication that there is life on that planet.
Dr. J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer at Ohio State University, said he thinks the persons who reported seeing the "saucers" were not just letting their imaginations get the best of them.
He said he was convinced these persons saw something- "some type of object or phenomena."
But Hynek said it "highly improbable" that the "saucers" come from another planet.
"there would be to vast a distance and to much of an engineering problem involved," he said.
One scientist, who asked that his name be withheld, speculated that the "saucers" might be experimental aircraft developed by the U.S.
If this is the case, he said, It's time the government quit playing jokes on the people."
The same scientist said he thought it was "slightly fishy" that many of the reports came from the general area of Washington and the atomic proving grounds in New Mexico.