The Fort Monmouth U̳F̳O̳ sightings of 1951 involved several U̳F̳O̳s that were tracked on radar. Interestingly, the U̳F̳O̳s were witnessed by pilots, signal operators, and other military officials. However, things go beyond the sightings, since the unexpected mysterious sightings unraveled the secrets and failures of Project Grudge. This project was specifically formulated by the U.S Air force to conduct investigations that were associated with enigmatic U̳F̳O̳ Sightings.
The project was officially closed in December 1949, however, it continued to operate until late 1951, around the time of the Fort Monmouth U̳F̳O̳ sightings. Soon after, U̳F̳O̳ sightings, whether coincidence or not, were probed in complete secrecy. The U̳F̳O̳ event observed in Fort Monmouth is one of the most thorough and credible U̳F̳O̳ sightings ever documented. The events of September 1951 are among the most significant in history, and they continue to be of interest to academics over seven decades later.
Two U̳F̳O̳ Sighted Within 17 Minutes
At 11:18 a.m. on September 10, 1951, at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, a student radar operator for the Army Signal Corps, Eugene Clark, spotted something odd on his radar display. The unidentified object moved so quickly that the automated setup mode could not keep up. Several visiting high-ranking officials were standing just behind his station when the strange item appeared on the screen.
The object traveled across the northeast coast of the United States in a few seconds. It was going at a speed of at least 700 miles per hour, according to estimates. The mysterious object vanished from the radar screen in the vicinity of Sandy Hook and in close proximity to New York City. Then, at 11:35 am, seventeen minutes later, a visual sighting occurred just south of Sandy Hook. In addition, the witnesses were two T-33 Jet pilots of the United States Air Force.
Lieutenant Wilbert Rogers, the jet’s pilot, and Major Edw̳a̳r̳d Ballard Jr., who was in the back seat, were flying at a height of 20,000 feet above Point Pleasant, New Jersey while heading north. They were on route to Sandy Hook when they intercepted the unidentified object.
They pursued the object for more than thirty miles, which, according to their estimations, was traveling at speeds exceeding 900 miles per hour. Rogers subsequently said, “I don’t know whether it was a flying saucer, but it was definitely something I’d never seen before.” Both he and Ballard were certain they had observed something ex̳t̳r̳a̳t̳e̳r̳r̳e̳s̳t̳r̳i̳a̳l̳.
When first sighted, I would judge that it was between 5 and 8,000 feet over Sandy Hook (New Jersey). It appeared to be descending when I first saw it at Sandy Hook and appeared to level out in-flight just north of Red Bank, New Jersey, and continued on at the same altitude until it disappeared. At the point of our first sighting of the object, I started a descending 360-degree turn to the left from 20,000 feet to 17,000 feet, gaining airspeed from 450 mph to 550 mph on a course paralleling that of the object until it was lost from sight.
In our training and daily practice as intercept pilots, we must note accurately the times at which the object of the interception is first sighted. I did this automatically when I first sighted the object over Sandy Hook and noted the time to be approximately 1135 EDT, 10 September 1951. Although we were on a direct course for the destination at Mitchell AFB (Long Island) at 20,000 feet at the time of the sighting, I was so amazed at the speed of the object that I immediately started the turn to the left and waited for Major Ballard to get through with the radio conversation he was having so I could point the object to his attention, and we both watched it make a 90-degree turn to the left and kept it under observation together while it covered approximately 20 miles and disappeared out to sea. The object appeared to be banking as its course described a radual 90-degree turn to the left.”
More Fort Monmouth U̳F̳O̳ Sightings
A second sighting happened hours after the event on the morning of September 10th. Ruppelt’s report indicates that around 3:15 pm, the radar control center at Fort Monmouth received an eager, almost urgent contact from headquarters. They were instructed to capture a target in the same location where the enigmatic object had previously gone. And they were instructed to “quickly capture the unidentified object.”
When the U̳F̳O̳ was finally detected, it was “moving slowly at 93,000 feet.” In addition, they dispatched many cops outside to try visual identification. Surprisingly, the U̳F̳O̳ was seen as a “silver speck” in the afternoon sky. In his report, Ruppelt posed the question:
What flies eighteen miles above the Earth?
The next day, two further radar sightings occurred. Due to their speeds, neither could be followed automatically. Both the objects “Climb, level off, climb again, (and then) go into a dive. It climbed again, and it went almost straight up.”
Certainly not a trait attributable to any known conventional aircraft of the era. Or even today, for that matter. Similar to the morning sightings of the 10th September 1951 the second sighting was of a considerably slower-moving object that stayed visible for many minutes before vanishing.
The Response To The Sightings
When the Fort Monmouth U̳F̳O̳ sightings, Grudge, the Air Force’s official U̳F̳O̳ project was off the plate by the anti-U̳F̳O̳ sentiments prevalent at the Air Technical Intelligence Centre (ATIC), which oversaw Grudge and was encouraged by ATIC’s chief General Harold Watson. Watson and Grudge chief James Rodgers were telling the head of Air Force Intelligence at the P̳e̳n̳t̳a̳g̳o̳n̳, Major General Charles Cabell, that a genuine, if the discreet, inquiry was ongoing. In fact, however, every tip received by Grudge was instantly mocked and discarded without conducting any further investigation in order to reassure the P̳e̳n̳t̳a̳g̳o̳n̳ that everything was under control.
When Life writer Bob Ginna visited Wright-Paterson in April 1951 and spotted the project’s obvious flaws, Watson was compelled to relocate fellow U̳F̳O̳ Rodgers to a different position inside Air Material Command (AMC) intelligence at the facility. Lieutenant Jerry Cummings was put in his place by Watson. Rodger’s supervisor, Lieutenant Colonel N. R. Rosengarten, was brought in to replace the former leader of ATIC’s Aircraft and Missiles Branch.
Yet Rodgers and another Watson supporter, radar specialist Captain Roy James, maintained their attempts to dissuade serious inquiry, apparently with Watson’s approval. When Watson’s chief of intelligence analysis, Colonel Bruno Feiling, received a comprehensive description of the Fort Monmouth incident, he delivered the information to James, not Rosengarten and Cummings, and Rodgers promptly reviewed it.
Lieutenant Colonel Rosengarten soon learned that a serious U̳F̳O̳ case had not been brought to his notice, despite the fact that he was responsible for processing such reports. He objected to Feiling, who handed him a copy of the document. Cummings proceeded to face James and Rodgers after Rosengarten had shown him the copy. General Watson had approved their impromptu solution for the P̳e̳n̳t̳a̳g̳o̳n̳.
“The whole outfit was a bunch of young impressionable kids and the T-33 crew had seen a reflection.”
Due to the discrepancy, an argument broke out in Feiling’s office. Cabell was immediately called. Cabell’s assistant, who handled the phone, expressed disbelief that a team of investigators had not yet arrived in Monmouth.
Cummings and Rosengarten traveled to New Jersey hours later. The two policemen spent the whole day interrogating all concerned parties, including the T-33’s pilot and passenger. They believed the object they saw was being controlled mentally. The two ATIC officials then traveled to Washington to personally brief General Major Cabell.
Once there, they were presented to high-ranking military personnel as well as two representatives of Republic Aircraft, including Robert Johnson, who was there to speak on behalf of a group of academics and businessmen who believed the Air Force’s handling of UFO affairs left much to be desired. Cabell requested that Cummings outline what had transpired inside the project. According to Ruppelt’s secretly recorded account:
“Jerry told me that he looked at Rosy ( Rosengarten) and got the OK sign, so he cut loose. He told how every report was taken as a huge joke; that at the personal direction of Watson, Rodgers, Watson’s #1 stooge, was doing everything to degrade the quality of the reports; and how the only analysis consisted of Rodgers’s trying to think up new and original explanations that hadn’t been sent to Washington before. Rodgers couldn’t even find half of the reports.”
Cabell was highly disappointed when he got to know about the failures of Project Grudge. At one point of time, he legit shouted:
“Who in hell has been giving me all these reports that every decent flying saucer sighting is being investigated? I’ve been lied to! I’ve been lied to! I want an open mind. “In fact, I order an open mind. Anyone that doesn’t have an open mind can get out, now.”
Cummings and Rosengarten came right back to Wright-Patterson with instructions to recognize the UFO project, which, following Cummings’s retirement, went to Ruppelt shortly afterward. Ruppelt was assigned the task to examine Soviet air power information, and he had been observing the progress of the UFO project from the same office as Rodgers. What he had seen had failed to impress him.
In Grudge’s Special Report No. 1 (December 28, 1951), the T-33 sighting is “possibly” attributed to an “Evans Signal Laboratory balloon launch.”
“The two officers said that we were nuts. They found several holes in our analysis.”
Grudge presented his opinion on the first tracking on the eleventh:
“The first radar tracking was possibly due to the operator’s being exited. A weather balloon was responsible”.
Grudge’s identification was based solely on a phone call from Air Force Intelligence. “How the identification was determined is unknown,” Grudge acknowledged with disarming candor. The last radar tracking is still not known and Grudge speculated that:
“It was very possible that it was due to anomalous propagation and/or the student operators’ thoughts that there was a great deal of activity of unusual objects in the area.”
Similar UFOs Spotted Right After A Year
On the afternoon of July 29, 1952, in Passaic, New Jersey, local citizen George Stock photographed an almost similar object to that reported by the two pilots of the T-33 aircraft. He captured a total of five photos as the aircraft glided serenely above.
The spacecraft was disc-shaped with a raised dome at the top and middle. George described the object as solid and metallic, with a semi-transparent dome that was partially projected. The outer appearance was blue-grey, and intriguingly, it was completely quiet. At the time of the sightings, which happened at about 4:30 pm, the eyewitness was accompanied by a friend. They estimate the height of the craft to be around 200 feet. After traveling (relatively) slowly, it came to a halt and lingered for many seconds. Then, abruptly, and similar to several other tales, the craft flew off at tremendous speed.
Are Fort Monmouth ufo sightings a mere coincidence, some sort of a hoax, or a pattern? Let us know what are your views on the mysterious Project Grudge and Fort Monmouth UFO incident.