Archive for June, 2012

Alfred Loedding officially fell from favor as a result of his personal belief that many of the flying disc sightings could represent craft of extraterrestrial origin – The 1948 Project Sign Estimate of the Situation Draft

June 1, 2012

Alfred C. Loedding, enquêteur civil en chef duprojet Sign de l’USAF

Who Was Alfred Loedding?

How would news of space invaders affect the public- or the military? UFO belief might destabilize the orderly function of government. John Keel says the “Estimate of the Situation” was a factor in the demise of America’s Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal. He read the document and it blew his mind. Forrestal was placed in a mental hospital after running down the halls of the Pentagon shouting, “We’re being invaded and we can’t stop them!” He was found dead hanging out a window, bed sheets tied around his neck.

Dad stated in the August 26, 1960, “Air Scoop” at Langley Research Center that studies in the field of gravity and the electro-magnetic field may lead to the UFOs propulsion system which set up electronic fields about a body that will give it a repelling or attracting force relative to a suspended system of forces that exists throughout space. Einstein’s Unified Field Theory deals on those relationships. Many sightings state a pulsating, rotating blue ring around the UFOs like an armature in a generator/alternator creating electrical energy. A basic source of energy is the atom itself with the electrons spinning around the nucleus creating a magnetic field.

Copyright @June, 2011

Donald R. Loedding “LARCH”


Donald Loedding clearly remembers the controversy surrounding the rejection of his father’s “Estimate of the Situation” draft to General Vandenberg and the resulting deep disappointment by his father. Donald had the impression that Alfred Loedding, who had been a rising star at Wright Field, officially fell from favor as a result of his personal belief that many of the flying disc sightings could represent craft of extraterrestrial origin. When he personally authored that carefully reached conclusion in the “Estimate” draft, Loedding severely hurt his career.

Researchers know that with the end of 1948 a drastic change took place in Project Sign. The great sense of importance that the Pentagon had previously bestowed on the project suddenly ceased. Dropped almost overnight, it happened in the midst of one of the most unsettling series of UFO sightings over American military bases then to date. By mid-1949 the leaders of the project like Sneider and Loedding would be ousted and, barring a period in the early 1950s, the AMC staff would never again openly talk about the origin of UFOs. Perhaps the extreme conclusions of the Estimate draft and the summary of the Project Sign final report (drawn up in late 1948 by Truettner and Deyarmond, and finished in February 1949) became just too much for the Pentagon to handle. Titled Unidentified Aerial Objects—Project Sign, a great deal can be interpreted by reading between the lines of the passages of that final report.

Even the introductory passages are important because they use some very interesting phrases. In the Foreword, for example, the Rand study is mentioned along with the intent to explore the possibility that some observed objects may represent “spaceships” or “satellite vehicles.” (On July 21st the Pentagon had ordered a study to be made by the Rand Corporation to evaluate that possibility.) 26 This is stunning terminology regarding the Rand study because everyone who would have then read that report knew full well that not only did the United States not possess anything that could attain earth orbit, neither did the Soviets. In fact, it would be nine years before such an event occurred with Sputnik—considered much ahead of its time then.

Wright-Patterson AFB, the complex of organizations located at Dayton, Ohio. Wright Field, the top secret engineering research facility is located at the triangular field on the left. Patterson Field, the actual air force base is separated by a civilian highway and is on the right. Howard McCoy’s Intelligence Division was located right of center in the picture on Patterson Field

Two of the most startling documents discovered in the Sign and Grudge papers are detailed here.

We begin with a letter written by Air Force Intelligence Chief Major General Cabell to the AMC.
Cabell states quite

plainly in that correspondence that the reported incidents of UFO activity are clearly of a real and
concerning nature. He then inquires about Project Sign’s views on the matter. This is somewhat
puzzling considering Cabell must assuredly have been privy to the July Estimate draft. Yet five days
later Colonel McCoy then responds with an even more straightforward answer. He states a
percentage of the phenomenon are admittedly unexplainable and must represent craft of “foreign
origin.” Foreign origin in this case is again used to imply extraterrestrial visitation, although the
possibility of Soviet activity is still not ruled out. Thus even by 1948 many intelligence officers were
forced to either reevaluate a Soviet connection or accept a non-earthly theory. Today, following the
fall of the Soviet Union, this revelation is even more startling as we now know none of those UFO
sightings represented Soviet activity. And certainly no other national power had such technology
then or now. Attitudes on how to handle the press are also discussed in the passages. The following

letters are therefore quoted in full to demonstrate a rare look at how Air Force officials were actually
thinking in the late days of Sign. Such detailed correspondence is very rare in military records:
Actual document provided here


Department of the Air Force
Headquarters, United States Air Force
3 Nov 48
Subject: Flying Object Incidents in the United States
To: Commanding General, Air Materiel Command
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
Dayton, Ohio
1. By letter dated 30 December 1947 from the Director of Research and Development, Headquarters
USAF, your headquarters was required to establish Project “Sign”.
2. The conclusion appears inescapable that some type of flying object has been observed. Identification and
the origin of these objects is not discernible to this headquarters. It is imperative, therefore, that efforts to
determine whether these objects are of domestic or foreign origin must be increased until conclusive
evidence is obtained. The needs of national defense require such evidence in order that appropriate
countermeasures may be taken.
3. In addition to the imperative need for evidence to permit countermeasures, is the necessity of informing
the public as to the status of the problem. To date there has been too little data to present to the public.
The press, however, is about to take it into its own

hands and demand to be told what we do or do not know about the situation. Silence on our part will not
long be acceptable.
4. Request immediate information as to your conclusions to date and your recommendations as to the
information to be given to the press. Your recommendation is requested also as to whether that
information should be offered to the press or withheld until it is actively sought by the press.
Major General, USAF
Director of Intelligence, Office of
Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations

USAF-SAB. The United States Air Forc e’s Scientific Advisory Board in the late 1940’s. Theodore von Karman is at the head of the table. At the near left front is George Valley of MIT, the chief advisor on UFO’s in the relevent period

Actual three page document, click here for first page

Click here for second page

Click here for third page


Basic 1tr fr Hq USAF, 3 Nov 48 to CG, AMC, “Flying Object Incidents in the United States”
1st INd MCIAT/ABD/amb
Hq AMC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. 8 Nov 48
To: Chief of Staff, United States Air Force, Washington 25, D.C., ATTN: AFOIR
1. In attempting to arrive at conclusions as to the nature of unidentified flying object incidents in the
United States, this Command has made a study of approximately 180 such incidents. Data derived from
initial reports have been supplemented by further information obtained from checklists submitted by mail,
from interrogations of other field agencies, and by personal investigation by personnel of this Command in
the case of incidents that seem to indicate the possibility of obtaining particularly significant information.
2. The objects described fall into the following general classifications groups, according to shape or
physical configuration:
a. Flat disc of circular or approximately circular shape.
b. Torpedo or cigar shaped aircraft, with no wings or fins visible in flight.
c. Spherical or balloon shaped objects.
d. Balls of light with no apparent form attached.

3. Some of the objects sighted have definitely been identified, upon further investigation, as weather or
upper air scientific balloons of some type. A great many of the round or balloon shaped objects indicated
in paragraph 2c above are probably of the same nature, although in most cases, definite confirmation of
that fact has been impossible to obtain.
4. Some of the objects have been identified as being astro-physical in nature. For example, in daylight
sightings, the planet Venus has been reported as a round silvery object at extremely high altitude. Action is
being taken to obtain the services of a prominent astro-physicist as a consultant, to study all of the
incidents to determine whether some can be identified as meteors, planets or other manifestations of astral
5. Arrangements for accomplishing a study of the psychological problems involved in this project are being
made in coordination with the Aero-Medical Laboratory at this Headquarters. The possibility that some of
the sightings are hallucinations, optical illusions or even deliberate hoaxes has been considered.
6. Although explanation of many of the incidents can be obtained from the investigations described above,
there remains a certain number of reports for which no reasonable everyday explanation is available. So
far, no physical evidence of the existence of the unidentified sightings has been obtained. Prominent
scientists, including Dr. Irving Langmuir of the General Electric Company, have been interviewed to
determine whether they could advance any reasonable explanations for characteristics exhibited by the
objects sighted. In an early interview, Dr. Langmuir indicated that these incidents could be explained, but
insufficient data were available at that time on which to base definite conclusions. It is planned to have
another interview with Dr. Langmuir in the near future to review all the data now available, and it is
hoped that he will be able to present some opinion as to the nature of many of the unidentified objects,
particularly those described as “balls of lights.”
7. All information that has been made available to this headquarters indicates that the discs, the cigar
shaped objects, and the “balls of light” are not of domestic origin. Engineering investigation indicates that
disc or wingless aircraft could support themselves in flight by aerodynamic means. It is probable that the
problems of stability and control could also be solved for such aircraft. However, according to current
aerodynamic theory in this country, aircraft with such configurations would have relatively poor climb,
altitude and range characteristics with power plant now in use.
8. The possibility that the reported objects are vehicles from another planet has not been ignored.
However, tangible evidence to support conclusions about such a possibility are completely lacking.

The occurrence of incidents in relation to the approach to the earth of the planets Mercury, Venus and
Mars have been plotted. A periodic variation in the frequency of incidents, which appears to have some
relation to the planet approach curves, is noted, but it may be purely a coincidence.
9. Reference is made to “The Books of Charles Fort” with an introduction by Tiffany Thayer, published
1941, by Henry Holt & Co., New York, N.Y. It appears that similar phenomena have been noted and
reported for the past century or more.
10. In view of the above, the following conclusions are drawn:
a. In the majority of cases reported, observers have actually sighted some type of flying object which they
cannot classify as an aircraft within the limits of their personal experience.
b. There is as yet no conclusive proof that unidentified flying objects, other than those which are known to
be balloons, are real aircraft.
c. Although it is obvious that some types of flying objects have been sighted, the exact nature of those
objects cannot be established until physical evidence, such as that which would result from a crash, has
been obtained.
11. It is not considered advisable to present to the press information on those objects which we cannot yet
identify or about which we cannot present any reasonable conclusions. In the event that they insist on some
kind of a statement, it is suggested that they be informed that many of the objects sighted have been
identified as weather balloons or astral bodies, and that investigation is being .„, pursued to determine
reasonable explanations for the others.
12. A report, summarizing the results obtained from analysis of the data and a technical investigation of
the engineering aspects of the objects described, is nearly complete, and a copy will be forwarded to your
headquarters in the near future.
[Signed H.M. McCoy]
Chief, Intelligence Department
New discoveries continue to be made but we are still no closer to learning why Sign came to
such a dramatic end. Why Alfred Loedding, one of the Air Force’s most brilliant minds, was purged
from UFO investigations by 1949 and from Wright-Patterson entirely by 1951. Important mysteries
are still to be discovered.

Colonel Howard McCoy, Chief of Intelligence AMC-T-2


Secondly, there are the March 1948 minutes of the USAF Scientific Advisory Board. This is a document which was received via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by UFO researcher William LaParl. It is the minutes of the USAF-SAB conference of March 17 and 18 at which matters of interest to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Air Matériel Command (AMC) were discussed. At one point in the meeting, Colonel McCoy is speaking about the various intelligence operations at AMC’s T-2, and says this about his new UFO project:

We have a new project – Project Sign – which may surprise you as a development from the so-called mass hysteria of the past summer when we had all the unidentified flying objects or discs. This can not be laughed off. We have over 300 reports which have not been publicized in the papers from very competent personnel, in many instances – men as capable as Dr. K. D. Wood and practically all Air Force, Airline people with broad experience. We are running down every report. I can’t even tell you how much we would give to have one of those crash in an area so that we could recover whatever they are. [8]

Gen. Nathan Twining, Commander Air Material Command

Once again, McCoy has made a similar statement to the one that he made in the Twining memo, with a similar effect upon Jeffrey (and others who read the paragraph in its isolation). LaParl passed this document on to Jeffrey in the spring of 1996 with understandable concern.

Above: Colonel Howard McCoy, Colonel William Clingerman, Alfred Loedding, and Albert Deyarmond were key members of Project Sign.

Colonel William Clingerman, Chief of the Intelligence Analysis Division Under Howard McCoy

But Loedding, along with Garrett, would by the end of 1947 become supporters of an extraterrestrial hypothesis for the origin of the flying disc phenomenon. Loedding’s excitement over the disc sightings, in fact, stimulated a movement to have many of the Pentagon’s UFO files transferred to Wright Field in September of 1947. Beyond that no one will ever know the full influence of Alfred Loedding, but his personal papers do characterize him as the “initiator of Project Sign.” Certainly it is fair to speculate that he may have been a key figure pushing for the establishment of such an investigation because he was the man being used as a liaison between Washington and Dayton. Having talked to Loedding’s brother and son, it is the belief of these authors that Alfred Loedding may have suggested the code name of Sign [8].

Albert Deyarmond also did important liaison work with the Pentagon. In fact, research conducted by researcher Wendy Connors indicates Deyarmond may have been the main Pentagon contact, but not until mid 1948. This could have been a result of the fact that Deyarmond had been a very close friend and wartime companion of Colonel McCoy. During the war Deyarmond and McCoy along with Colonel Harold Watson were all key figures in the operation to recover secret German technology. After the war Deyarmond assisted Colonel McCoy in building a technical data base at Wright Field from German documents.

Deyarmond, like all the Sign staff, was well versed in many disciplines. Deyarmond did not officially join the Sign team until May of 1948 because he had taken a job at the Ryan Aeronautical Company in San Diego from December 1946 to April 1948. He had left active service at the end of 1946 due to minor health problems but retained his rank as a reserve officer. It is believed McCoy requested Deyarmond’s return to active duty to help with the saucer investigation as early as July 1947, but his health prevented it. McCoy, however, finally got Deyarmond on the team by 1948 as a civilian employee. His influence in the project’s later work is very evident. Like Loedding, he was a gifted engineer and also had an aptitude for missile aerodynamics. Yet, Deyarmond was not as outwardly vocal on the possibility of an extraterrestrial connection to UFOs as Loedding.

That belief in an extraterrestrial connection seems to have become a very touchy subject. Surprisingly, it was not because of the fantastic nature of such a theory but the politics within the Air Force itself. It is important to keep in mind that there were many different people within Air Force Intelligence who affected military policy on UFOs. Individuals gravitated to groups which formed factions, not just within the Pentagon but Dayton too.

General Hoyt Vandenburg, USAF Chief of Staff

(Project) Sign was given the specific task of conducting an intelligence analysis of the flying-disk incidents, and, when reasonably confident that it had something to say, writing an Estimate of the Situation on the nature and potential seriousness of any enemy threat involved. Inspired by an accumulation of odd reports that seemed generally valid to them, and centered on the famous Chiles-Whitted case that sent them into a frenzy, the main project members felt it reasonable to transmit to USAF headquarters an Estimate concluding that the flying disks were extraterrestrial. This happened in either late September or early October of 1948.

Capt. Edward Ruppelt, who headed the project from 1951 to 1953, said that the document went all the way to the chief of staff ’ s off ice (Gen. Hoyt Vandenburg) before it was batted back down as unacceptable.

In intelligence, if you have something to say about some vital problem you write a report that is known as an “Estimate of the Situation.” A few days after the DC-3 was buzzed, the people at ATIC decided that the time had arrived to make an Estimate of the Situation. The situation was the UFO’s; the estimate was that they were interplanetary!
It was a rather thick document with a black cover and it was printed on legal sized paper. Stamped across the front were the words TOP SECRET.
It contained the Air Force’s analysis of many of the incidents I have told you about plus many similar ones. All of them had come from scientists, pilots, and other equally credible observers, and each one was an unknown.
The document pointed out that the reports hadn’t actually started with the Arnold Incident. Belated reports from a weather observer in Richmond, Virginia, who observed a “silver disk” through his theodolite telescope; an F47 pilot and three pilots in his formation who saw a “silver flying wing,” and the English “ghost airplanes” that had been picked up on radar early in 1947 proved this point. Although reports on them were not received until after the Arnold sighting, these incidents all had taken place earlier.
When the estimate was completed, typed, and approved, it started up through channels to higher command echelons. It drew considerable comment but no one stopped it on its way up.


While the people on Project Sign were pondering over Lieutenant Gorman’s dogfight with the UFO – at the time they weren’t even considering the balloon angle – the Top Secret Estimate of the Situation was working its way up into the higher echelons of the Air Force. It got to the late General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, then Chief of Staff, before it was batted back down. The general wouldn’t buy interplanetary vehicles. The report lacked proof. A group from ATIC went to the Pentagon to bolster their position but had no luck, the Chief of Staff just couldn’t be convinced.
The estimate died a quick death. Some months later it was completely declassified and relegated to the incinerator. A few copies, one of which I saw, were kept as mementos of the golden days of the UFO’s.
The top Air Force command’s refusal to buy the interplanetary theory didn’t have any immediate effect upon the morale of Project Sign because the reports were getting better.


By the end of 1948, Project Sign had received several hundred UFO reports. Of these, 167 had been saved as good reports. About three dozen were “Unknown.” Even though the UFO reports were getting better and more numerous, the enthusiasm over the interplanetary idea was cooling off. The same people who had fought to go to Godman AFB to talk to Colonel Hix and his UFO observers in January now had to be prodded when a sighting needed investigating. More and more work was being pushed off onto the other investigative organization that was helping ATIC. The kickback on the Top Secret Estimate of the Situation was beginning to dampen a lot of enthusiasms. It was definitely a bear market for UFO’s.


The anti saucer faction was born because of an old psychological trait, people don’t like to be losers. To be a loser makes one feel inferior and incompetent. On September 23, 1947, when the chief of ATIC sent a letter to the Commanding General of the Army Air Forces stating that UFO’s were real, intelligence committed themselves. They had to prove it. They tried for a year and a half with no success. Officers on top began to get

anxious and the press began to get anxious. They wanted an answer. Intelligence had tried one answer, the then Top Secret Estimate of the Situation that “proved” that UFO’s were real, but it was kicked back. The people on the UFO project began to think maybe the brass didn’t consider them too sharp so they tried a new hypothesis: UFO’s don’t exist.

General Charles Cabell, Chief of Intelligence Under Hoyt Vandenburg

In the following case an Army Air Force security officer out of Tinker Field, Oklahoma, made a report and later the incident was reinvestigated by the FBI. This particular sighting impressed the military due to the reliability of the witness, Byron Savage. A businessman and private pilot from Oklahoma City, Savage observed sometime on or about May 17th to the 21st a shiny disc-like object flying over the city. It was dusk, at the time of the sighting as Savage and his wife had just started to walk out to their car. At first he commented to his wife that a big white plane was coming over. He continued to watch the craft because it soon became evident that this thing was no ordinary aircraft. The object was as big as six B-29 bombers! It flew between 10,000 and 18,000 feet toward the northwest at a speed estimated at more than three times that of a jet, which in those days flew about 500 miles per hour. The disc reportedly made no noise except for a very faint “swishing sound.” It passed over in a matter of fifteen to twenty seconds and had the appearance of a “perfectly round and flat” frosty white elliptical object. 8 Savage stated to

FBI investigators that “he was sure this object was not a meteor and in his opinion it must be radically built and powered, probably atomic.” 9 This was one of the first reports that ended up in Wright Field’s (later the Blue Book) records, when Loedding began gathering all the paperwork he could on the flying disc mystery.

Theodore von Karman, Professor of Aeronautics at Cal Tech in the late 40’s

Both Loedding and von Karman were heavily involved with the study and assessment of captured German military aviation technology.

Uploaded by  on Mar 6, 2010