Member Commentary

A "Not So Major Event"

George Rowles ( writes:

There are undoubtedly many strange events and objects in the skies which frequently defy rational explanation. But the longer I research UFO's and get to know certain methods of non research in this ongoing phenomena the more frightened I become of them then I am of the "conspiratorial government."

I listened to Art Bell September 1, 1999, during Peter Davenport's "major event." Then I went to work. Before the week was over Peter and I were at major odds with each other. I made telephone calls to NORAD's public affairs office at Peterson Field, Colo. Springs and to the Air National Guard in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Davenport with his relationship with the Art Bell show kept hammering away that the Guard was concealing the truth as to why the F-15's were flying night missions and that they were "actually" chasing pursuing these craft as they came in across the coast. Regardless of what the Guard said, and some of it was fouled up, Mr. Davenport continued to castigate the USAF and the Guard public announcements.

What frightens me is that the rational explanation provided by Major Nouis of NORAD public affairs office appeared more down to earth and believable than the manner in which Mr. Davenport and Mr. Bell hammered away about the event on the national radio program. Where was their documented substantiated proof. I even suggested to Mr. Davenport he should file an FOIA request against the Portland ANG.

As a result of my reports, I received 40 e-mails. Thirty were very supportive of the material I provided. Ten were negative and questioning my motivation and about three I would place in the category of hate mail. Mr. Bell and Mr. Rense both used my name on their shows in relationship to sighting and what I had acquired from both the Portland Air Guard and NORAD. Mr. Davenport basically told me that I was deceiving myself for what I had placed out on the Internet.

I was very candid over the fact that the "major event," appeared to be the reentry of an SL-2 Russian rocket booster over the Oregon Coast based on USAF's NORAD press release material. The Portland Guard had night training operations scheduled weeks before that event which happened to coincide with it. The Guard fouled up and said they had announced that in the local press. Later they admitted they dropped the ball and had not. But the operational orders for the night training was posted and "by the way, that material is not classified." Many people had questions as to why the planes were going one way versus another. It's called ignorance of USAF procedures.

When I explained this to Mr. Davenport he became agitated. I explained that I had spend many months training in USAF command posts associated with the old Tactical Air Command and USAF Europe as an active duty personnel/logistics lt. colonel in five successive assignments from 1982 through 1993 . He basically told me that did not matter, that he was a licensed pilot and had grown up on and around USAF bases.

Sadly, that does not give him an insight into the daily operations of a fighter base. When we ufologists go on national radio and TV we had better have our facts straight. Because everytime we make bold generalistic comments, like "very strange events, and you can't trust anything the USAF says," we do the general listening public a very serious disservice and show our own lack of sophistication in investigative techniques.

There "has been" a lot of deception by the government over UFO's. But much of the conspiracy I find existing today in UFO research is self generated by us in ufology. I have e-mailed Mr. Bell a number of times when I felt he was off-base in what he said. After a few exchanges over the alleged Dr. Jonathan Reed story, Mr. Bell came back and told me his program was not investigative journalism, it was for entertainment.

In summary, the September 1, 1999, "major event," in my research and judgment was not so major. The primary event was an SL-2 Russian rocket booster reentering the atmosphere over the Oregon Coast. The Portland ANG was having night time F-15 launches for training purposes which had been prescheduled. They, the Portland Guard, did foul up and did not get the scheduled printed and changed their initial position of saying it had been printed. For this they were deemed liars by some in our community. I have not and will not say that there may not have been other unrelated sightings in the western states that night.

The field of ufology today is getting better, thanks to men like Mr. Bigalow and Mr. Firmage and the thousands of serious volunteers you find in groups like MUFON. But to go out and make sensationalistic comments doesn't do the field of research any good. If your readers have a real sighting event encourage them to notify the national MUFON hotline. We have a structured framework to go out, follow-up and do "on the scene research." It's even a free call at 1-800-UFO-2166.

Someday, and that day may not be to far off, we in all the UFO research groups will need direct cooperative support with the various state and federal governmental agencies. I think we should be professional enough not to go off half cocked with allegations and sensationalistic generalizations which can be picked apart with little effort.

I am not against Mr. Bell or the work Mr. Davenport does. But I am against some of the sighting assessments they come up with. I would really love to have someone prove me wrong.


Jerry Rolwes
MUFON Washington State Director


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