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Le Major Hector Quintanilla admettait l'existence des ovnis Empty

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Ovnis Le Major Hector Quintanilla admettait l'existence des ovnis

Ven 01 Jan 2010, 11:36
UFO-era a footnote to history

January 1, 2010, 12:00 am

Three oddly related items appeared in the Dec. 17 Today in History feature on the Viewpoints page. One item mentioned that in 1903 the Wright brothers of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manpowered airplane flight. Another item notes that in 1957 the Air Force test-fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile. A third item noted: In 1969, the U.S. Air Force closed its Project "Blue Book" by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.

In 1969, I was a senior in high school in Dayton, having grown up a mile away from the southern edge of Wright Field, the oldest section of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The base was at that time, among other things, a Strategic Air Command base and home to a squadron of nuclear armed B-52 bombers. During the most intense Cold War years, they flew in shifts 24 hours a day.

Wright-Patterson was also the home of project "Blue Book," the 17-year study to determine if UFOs were a threat to national security and to scientifically analyze UFO-related data.

In 1963, Maj. Hector Quintanilla came to Dayton as director of the much-maligned program. Some historians believe that he was handed the thankless job as retribution for reluctance to take several positions offered in the escalating Vietnam crisis. Major Q's family moved into base housing near my neighborhood and his son Karl became a classmate and a good friend. His father directed project "Blue Book" until it was shut down in 1969.

Before the project ended, my journalism teacher assigned the class to conduct and write a personal interview. I asked Karl if he thought his father would let me interview him, and I was surprised when the major agreed.

I sat down with Major Q. in his living room where he quietly proceeded to feed me the same old standard Air Force pap that I'm sure he had been required to feed to countless subcommittees, panels and newspapers for the previous six years. No, there were no UFOs; yes, every sighting had been disproved or was faked; absolutely, the Air Force stood by its findings, etc. etc.

Finally, I asked him if he believed that UFOs existed. The major smiled, thought for a few seconds, and said, "OK, but this is off the record. You can't use it." I agreed, put my pen away, and he continued.

"I'm a Catholic. I believe in God, and I believe that God created this universe. It seems to me that one would have to be extremely arrogant and close-minded to think that we are the only intelligent beings out here in this great big universe."

Lt. Col. Quintanilla later retired. In 1975, he wrote a memoir that documented his experience with Project "BlueBook" and his personal beliefs about UFOs. It wasn't published until after his death in 1998.

Harley Campbell is an Ithaca resident.

Info par Christian Macé

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