THE LEGACY OF CAPTAIN EDWARD J. RUPPELT


Undoubtedly Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt was the most prominent Director of the Project Blue Book.

Ruppelt was born and raised in Iowa. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during, and served with distinction as a decorated bombardier: He was awarded "five battle stars, two theater combat ribbons, three Air Medals, and two  Distinguished Flying Crosses".

After the war, Ruppelt was released into the Army reserves. He attended Iowa State College where, in 1951, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Shortly after finishing his education, Ruppelt was called back to active military duties after the Korean War began.

He was assigned to the Air Technical Intelligence Center headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. [biographical data are taken from Wikipedia].

Being at the ATIC, Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Robert Rosengarten asked Ruppelt to take over the Project Blue Book, created after the dissolved Project Grudge.

Ruppelt stood there from 1951 until late 1953, the period during which he accumulated a vast experience dealing with the reports on "flying saucers" that he replaced by the more technical name of Unidentified Flying Object U.F.O. pronounced as You-Foe, because essentially, the “unidentified” were any airplane or missile that didn’t belong to the United States, therefore from the enemy, at the time, the Soviet Union.

Writer Jerome Clark, who belongs to the “J.Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies” said that “Most observers of Blue Book agree that the Ruppelt years comprised the project's golden age.”

That is why the ideas and criteria developed by Capt. Ruppelt have to be considered extremely important and they are inherently relevant.

In 1956 Ruppelt wrote a book based on his experience during the years of the Project Blue Book.

The title of his work was: “The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects”, published by Doubleday & Company, Inc. Garden City, New York, 1956, 315 pages.

This book has known many editions in which Ruppelt added to the original version another three chapters, which extend the work to a total of 20 chapters.

In those three final chapters, Ruppelt says many very important things that for the investigators that apply science and for the people seriously interested in the UFO subject, constitute his most valuable legacy.

I have a publication under the title “The Uncensored Truth About UFOS”, (Baltimore, Maryland, 2012, 590 pages) which contains the 20 chapters written by Ruppelt and an eyesore written by someone named Chet Dembeck.

From this book, I rescue what was written by Ruppelt.

On page 513 [Chapter 18] Ruppelt wrote:

“More manpower, better techniques, and just plain old experience have allowed the Air Force to continually lower de percentage of “unknowns” from 20%, while I was in charge of Project Blue Book, to less than 1%, today.”

Note: We were not wrong at CIOVI when we said that –after the investigation-- the percentage of non-identified was of 0.5 to a 1 %.

On page 535 [Chapter 20]:

"During the past four years, the most frequent question I've been asked is: '"what do you personally think? Do unidentified flying objects exist or don't they?'

I’m positive they don’t”

. . . . . .

“Since I left the Air Force the Age of the Satellite has arrived and we're in it. Along with this new era came the long-range radars, the satellite tracking cameras, and the other instruments that would have picked up any type of "spaceship" coming into our atmosphere.

None of this instrumentation has ever given any indications of any type of unknown vehicle entering the earth’s atmosphere.

I checked this with the Department of Defense and I checked this through friends associated with tracking projects. In both cases, the results were completely negative.”

Page 536:

“Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the director of MOONWATHCH wrote to me: ‘I can quite safely say that we have no record of ever having received from our MOONWATCH teams any reports of sightings of unidentified object which had any characteristics different from those of an orbiting satellite, a slow meteor, or of a suspected plane mistaken for a satellite.”

Page 537:

“We soon learned that everyone is an experienced observer as long as what he sees is familiar to him. As soon as he sees something unfamiliar it’s a UFO.”

"Pilots probably come as close to falling into this category as anyone since they do spend a lot of time looking around the sky. But even those who can rattle off the names and locations of stars, planets, and constellations don't know about a few relatively rare astronomical phenomena."

"While on the subject of meteors, if most people realized the meteors can have a flat trajectory, they can go from horizon to horizon, they can travel in "formation" (groups), and they can be seen in daylight (as "large silver discs"), the work of UFO investigators would be lighter."

Page 539:

“Birds, bees, bugs, airplanes, planets, stars, balloons, and a host of other common everyday objects become UFO’s the instant they are viewed under other than normal situations.”

"Radar is no better than the radar observer and the radar observer has a mind. And where there's a mind there is the same old trouble......For months a temperature inversion may cause 50 to 75 targets to appear on the radarscope. The operator has learned to recognize hem and knows that they are caused by weather. They are not UFO's. But overnight something changes and now this same temperature inversion causes only one or two targets. The operator isn't used to seeing this and the targets are now UFO's"

“It is interesting to note that, to my knowledge, there has never been a radar sighting classed as “unknown” when radarscope photos were taken.”

Page 547:

"I will go a step further than the Air Force, however, and quote from a letter from ex-Lieutenant Andy Flues, once an investigator for Project Blue Book. Flues' statement sums up my beliefs and, I'm quite sure, the beliefs of everyone who has ever worked on Projects Sign, Grudge, or Blue Book.

Flues wrote: Even taking into consideration the highly qualified backgrounds of some of the people who made sightings, there was not one single case which, upon the closest analysis, could not be logically explained in terms of some common object or phenomenon."

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These are not the words of anyone. These are the words of Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt who lived during the most dramatic and intense time of the Air Force investigation in the United States.

Milton W. Hourcade
Iowa City, July 5, 2020.

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