In a previous article, the idea was explored as to whether the March Crisis had any connections to the UFO story, specifically the "Aztec Incident".
It was contemplated that the several UFO incidents reported between March 5th and the 25th, which culminated in a global Air Defense alert ordered by General Spaatz, may have been due, in part, to the Soviet psychological operations being conducted at that time.
For example, there were sightings made on the 5th, 8th and 9th of March 1948 in Bakersfield, California. Quoting from the Confidential report from the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff Intelligence:
“Subject: Investigation of Flying Discs…On 13 March 1948, two informants, Mr. George L. Buchner, and Mr. H. B. Nix, stated that they observed a flying object which appeared to be consumed in fire, and left a brownish, white plume of smoke, which suddenly stopped and disappeared. Seconds later, what appeared to be a parachute, was seen to be drifting to the east...around 1600 hours on 5 March 1948.”1
Analysts within our own Intelligence Community reasoned that starting World War III might indeed be in the Soviet's interest, to finally break the West's economy, though it would pose a monumental risk to do so.2 In this context, including the Flying Disc incidents in the psychological warfare aspect of the March Crisis was considered. The possibility existed that a device made to appear non-terrestrial, with a design characteristic along the lines of a lifting body, could have, conceivably, been dropped by a balloon or aircraft.
A memo, dated 24 September 1947, explored the flying wing design.3 The memo was addressed to Colonel McCoy, of T-2 Intelligence at Wright Field, as per a telephonic request by Major General George McDonald, and it covered Alfred Loedding’s* plans for his flying disc type aircraft, known as the Loedding Flying Disc. The memo also mentions the Horton Brothers 4, and their designs for a lifting body/flying wing, which began as a propeller driven aircraft, but was later developed into a jet-propelled version.
*Loedding was the First lead investigator for the Flying Saucer program
In the upper right margins of both the first and third pages of this memorandum are hand-written notations, which read: "X-452.1 Airplanes + Misc." In this instance, the X could refer to a file set, but it might also refer to the office of Special Projects, as was operated out of Wright Field, by the Chief of Staff, Intelligence. It could also be both, that is, it was a file created and maintained by the Office of Special Projects. This was the office, along with Air Intelligence, that ran Project: SIGN (Project: XS-304), which was the first “official” flying saucer investigation.
Before this writer had any information on the March Crisis, the March 25th date was the subject of special inquiry. To be fair, Frank Scully never mentioned an exact date for the incident near Aztec in his book Behind the Flying Saucers, and other information seemed to hint at the date being the summer of 1949. Still, two of the witnesses who had no prior knowledge of each other's testimony had claimed 25 March 1948 to be the correct date for the so-called "Aztec Incident." Also, Scully had claimed there were at least three flying saucer crashes or landing incidences.*
* Actor and FBI informant, Bruce Cabot, stated to AF OSI in 1949 that the three took place in New Mexico, Arizona and Maine
The first item on the list of evidence discovered surrounding the March 25th date, by this researcher, was the March 25th directive, by Colonel Riley Ennis, which ordered all military elements to send reliable information on Unconventional Aircraft and Flying Discs to the Army General Staff Corps, Intelligence Division (GSCID), through the Air Material Command headquarters at Wright Field, Ohio. This document directed these investigatory elements to use the code 452.1, with control number A-1917. 5
Though this directive had been found by other UFO researchers previously (see, for example, Project 1947's document master list), it does not appear that they were aware of its significance with regards to the March 25th date. Since the time this directive was found and read, by this writer, several other documents related to this filing system (452.1) have been discovered, such as the 24 September 1947 memorandum mentioned above. In that memorandum 452.1 was associated with the date 9 June 1947, and the phrase Military Attaché, Moscow Ussr. We know from this document that the 452.1 file number was in use in 1947, before the 25 March 1948 directive.
Another memo was found by this writer in the CIA’s files, though it is an Army GSC memo, also authored by Colonel Ennis, and using the 452.1 file code. It was written 2 November 1948, and is addressed to the Director/CIA. The subject of this memo is: Scientific and Technical Intelligence on Aircraft and Weapons.6 It makes no mention of Unconventional Aircraft or Flying Discs, but the 452.1 code tells us that it fell into the Unconventional Aircraft GSC filing system. It is clear, from this memo, that the information requested by the Assistant Director for Reports and Estimates of the CIA, which Colonel Ennis was replying to, dealt with Ground Force Weapons.
Could Colonel Ennis have been replying to the Assistant Director regarding weapons in use that could have brought the disc down? Or perhaps there were questions surrounding some type of defensive weapon that could be used in the future? It had been reported that there was some type of hole in one of the port holes, at the top of the dome, on the disc. It was not clear whether this had a relationship with the downing of the craft. This pontificating about the reasons for the memo is complete conjecture, admittedly. Whatever the reasons were for the inquiry, it was handled via the GSC’s 452.1 Unconventional Aircraft file system.
How long this GSC/ID filing code had been in use is not yet clear. However, since the investigations into strange aerial phenomena were conducted before and during World War II, 7 by the Air Staff of the War Department General Staff (WDGS), which was the USAGSC/ID's predecessor, it is this writer's opinion that the 452.1 system could very well be the filing system designated for these earlier investigations. It is likely that A-1917 is the code for the General Staff, and 452.1 referred to the category of investigating Unknown Aerial Phenomena and Unconventional Aircraft, by the GSC/ID.
In other words, the Army had an on-going investigation into Unconventional Aircraft long before the Air Force had even been created, and it used the filing system designated as 452.1. One of the most intriguing aspects to Colonel Ennis’s March 25th directive is that it is cited in later unknown object reports. This in fact continued for several years.8
In Paul N. Edward’s The Closed World(© 1996 Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Lt. General Ennis C. Whitehead (Air Force Commander/ Far East Division) is credited as having a significant effect on the decision by General Spaatz to order the 24-hour a day Air Defense alert, which began on the 25th.9 But as is noted, the directive by Colonel Ennis, issued on the same day, had to do with Unconventional Aircraft and Flying Discs.
On what is perhaps a side-note, this writer had investigated another strange incident which seemed to have affected the air defense establishment, or its beginnings. Located within the so-called “Blue Book” files, there resides a case which occurred on 12 October 1947.10 It consisted of reports of a silvery cylindrical object impacting just across the border of the United States, in Mexico. It is brought up here because of its possible connections with Air Defense alertness. In The Emerging Shield, by Kenneth Schaffel, which is a comprehensive history of Air Defense put together for the Air Force Office of History, the author notes, on page 72, the following details:
“In mid-October 1947, Vandenburg went to Mitchel Field to discuss the (Air Defense) situation with Stratemeyer*, and then invited him to Washington where, on October 23, he briefed major Air Force leaders. His audience included Symington, Spaatz, and key members of the Air Staff, including Norstad, just assigned as Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations after his tour on the War Department General Staff. This meeting proved an important event in the story of postwar air defense. Vandenburg achieved success in clearing the way for Stratemeyer to initiate air defense operations.”Though the 12 October incident was played down, in the Air Force UFO files, as being something not significant, there is no doubt that it temporarily created a burst of memos, up until 24 October, when the subject was dropped very suddenly. Whether it was connected to the 12 October incident or not, the October meeting at Mitchel Field removed the blockage to getting a comprehensive United States air defense system in place. This is noted here to demonstrate the commonalities between how the air defense alert was raised on 25 March 1948, coinciding with a reported landing of a disc in New Mexico, and a potential impact in Mexico that seemed to possibly have been used as a catalyst for jump starting our air defense program, in October 1947.
Whether one dismisses the Aztec Incident as a hoax, or not, the fact remains that something did indeed occur, on 25 March 1948, that reverberated for years afterward. If it was not the landing of a disc on a mesa in New Mexico, as certain witnesses have described, then it was something of equal importance. It was also something not openly discussed.
*Lt. General George Stratemeyer was Commander, Air Defense Command (ADC), located at Mitchel Field, New York
1. see: http://www.bluebookarchive.org ; MAXW-PBB3-627 and associated documents
2. see: Central Intelligence Agency Library, document number CIA-RDP72-00121A000; Note on the "March War Scare" of 1948, Enclosure B: Dissent of the Intelligence Organization Department of the Air Force, page 27, "...it is in deeping (sic) with Soviet thinking to conclude that another World War may do the final job of wrecking our economy, thereby ending the last major opposition to Soviet Communist expansion, and it may well be to their advantage to get it started."
3. see: http://www.bluebookarchive.org ; NARA-PBB85-49; 24 September 1947, Subject "Flying Disc"
4. see: http://www.bluebookarchive.org ;documents NARA-PBB87-172 through 192; Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, A Briefing by the Air Technical Intelligence Center Wright Patterson Air Force Base Dayton, Ohio, Prepared 1 April 1952
5. Department of the Army General Staff, United States Army Intelligence Division Washington 25, D.C.; GSCID 452.1; 25 March 1948, Subject: Unconventional Aircraft
6. see: Central Intelligence Agency FOIA Library, document number CIA-RDP75-00662R000; SECRET Department of the Army General Staff, United States Army, Washington 25, D.C., CSGID 452.1, 2 November 1948; Subject: Scientific and Technical Intelligence on Aircraft and Weapons
7.see: for instance, Strange Company, ©2007 by Keith Chester
8. For example: 1 October 1948, referencing a September sighting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “…Reference is made to Control no. A-1917, as requested in letter, Intelligence Division, GSCID 452.1, 25 March 1948, subject, “Unconventional Aircraft.”; letter from Headquarters Orlando Airbase, references a January, 1949 sighting. “…In compliance with Air Defense Command Letter 200-1, Headquarters Air Defense Command, Mitchel Air Force Base, New York, dated 25 March 1948, the following report of information on “Flying Discs” is submitted; Headquarters Fourth Army, in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is dated 15 March, 1949, in regards to a sighting in New Mexico 8 March 1949. “…Reference letter Intelligence Division, GSUSA, GSCID 452.1, 25 March 1948, Subj. “Unconventional Aircraft,” and to Control No. A-1917”; 25 April 1950, and is still referring to the same letter, although in the upper left corner there is a new, other control number reference: ALFOB-I, which stands for Air Letter Flying Objects- Intelligence. “…1. In compliance with letter, Department of the Army, GSUSA, GSCID 452.1, dated 25 March 1948, subject: Unconventional Aircraft, control number A-1917,…”.
9. see: A Closed World, by Paul N. Edwards, ©1996 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Page 88, “The alert lasted nearly a month, until it was suddenly canceled in mid-April”
10. see: http://www.bluebookarchive.org document NARA-PBB2-291 and accompanying documents;, ”DATE: 14 October 1947…Request all available information regarding unidentified Flaming object reported to have crashed into Samalayuca Mountains of Mexico…”