August 23, 1955
NICAP describes this event as:
August 23, 1955--Cincinnati, Ohio. SAC jets “dogfight” with UFOs first detected by radar. White spheres and discs observed by Ground Observer Corps. [VIII]1
Section VIII has a one line entry that references section VII, where we find this description by Len Stringfield:
“About midnight, residents throughout the city were jarred by the roar of jets. From S.A.C., Lock- burne AFB, south of Columbus, the Air National Guard jets were alerted, scrambled and were over Cincinnati in 12 minutes. The alert began when three UFOs were sighted and confirmed by radar somewhere between Columbus and Cincinnati.
“In the meantime, Walter Paner, Supt. of Hamilton County GOC, on duty at the Mt. Healthy Post,
phoned the author of the existent alert and relayed the word that jet interceptors were due over the
area. He said the UFOs had been active over Mt. Healthy and could be seen clearly by observers from the tower. In a short time, the jets, at approximately 20,000 feet, were over Cincinnati, but poor visibility prevented me and a visiting friend from Toronto, Canada, from seeing the UFOs which had deployed over a wide area. According to radar, the interlopers had extended 37 miles south, 24 miles north of the city, and as far as 10 miles east of Mt. Healthy.
“A later call from Paner disclosed that a UFO was seen hovering in pendulum-like motions directly over the tower. At about 12:10 a.m., the interceptors made contact, and swooping in, chased the UFO - which disappeared at incredible speed. In the meantime, the Forestville and Loveland GOC Post reported the erratic flights of UFOs to the Air Filter Center describing them as round brilliant white spheres and discs.” 2
Such an event should have quite the file in the Blue Book system but there is no mention of the case at all. Even more astounding is that there is no mention of all this aerial activity in the news media. Stringfield laments this in his book, Situation Red: The UFO siege:
....the Cincinnati newspapers weren’t interested! When I phoned the Enquirer, they shrugged it off. A post reporter took notes, but the story never appeared in print. The Times Star, however, stumbling with promises to send a reporter out to get all the facts, finally, after a conference between reporter and city editor, decided against it.3
Stringfield added that a Cincinnati reporter had contacted the USAF and they had denied the incident had transpired. One would think if these jets were really flying over the city, the news media would have reported it.
Various authors, who like to list these stories in their databases or books often list multiple sources to give the story strength. This is misleading because they tend to cite each other with the real source being the NICAP document, which uses Stringfield as their only source. None of the Ground Observer Corps, pilots, or radar operators mentioned by Stringfield appear to have ever been interviewed.
Because of his abilities to identify UFOs, Stringfield stated that he eventually became a “screening” activity for the Ground Observer Corps (GOC). He would screen the GOC reports before calling the USAF and allowing jets to be scrambled. He received this “appoint- ment” in September 1955 when he received a call from USAF Captain Hugh McKenzie:
...he informed me that the Ground Observer Corps in southwestern Ohio was to be instructed to report UFO activity to me for screening. Screened data , weeding out a good report from a misperception such as a star or aircraft running lights, were then to be called in to the filter center of the Air Defense Command....4
It is interesting to point out that this is less than a month after the August 23rd incident. One can speculate, based on this bit of information, that no UFO report was filed for the event because the GOC made a mistake that night and did not want to record it. It is even possible that, to prevent any future mistakes, the USAF may have selected Stringfield to help prevent the GOC from unnec- essarily sending jet fighters to intercept UFOs that turned out to be nothing more than stars or planets.
Of course, we have to wonder how good Stringfield was at helping out for the next year. I took a look at the Blue Book record and noted that there were approximately 33 UFO reports from southwestern Ohio from September 1955 to December of 1956. None were unidentified and five were insufficient information. The one sighting that involved the GOC was a sighting on July 8, 1956. The only thing that exists for that report is a record card.5 It involved an object that was brighter than a star and was visible for at least
25 minutes. It does not sound like Stringfield helped much on that report due to the lack of information in the file. The source of the report probably was astronomical. About one hour before the report was made, the planet Mars, two months from a very close opposition, rose in the east at magnitude -1.3. At that magnitude, it would have been “brighter than any star” in the sky and a likely stimulus for UFO reports.
Ihave my doubts that the event happened the way Springfield described. Anecdotal stories often are misleading and told in a manner that favors the story-teller’s point of view. One has to remember that a lot of this is hearsay testimony. In my opinion there are several possibilities:
The events transpired EXACTLY as Stringfield described.
The events are an exaggeration of what transpired. It could have been some form of misperception, which resulted in a “scram- ble” of fighter jets but they could not find the targets identified by the GOC and radar. There may not even have been any radar contacts.
Stringfield made this up.
I don’t think Stringfield made it up and I don’t think Stringfield was entirely accurate in telling the story, which makes some form of number 2 the most probable. The bottom line is that the story is anecdotal and hearsay. It cannot be verified and is not good evidence.
Notes and references
Hall, Richard M. (Ed.) The UFO evidence. The National Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). New York: Barnes and Noble. 1997. P. 135.
ibid. P. 65
Stringifeld, Leonard H. Situation Red: The UFO siege. Doubleday and Company, Inc. Garden city, New York. 1977. P. 13
ibid. P. 11
Quelle: SUNlite 5/2016