Col. Frank Milani and The Ground Observer Corps

Col. Frank Milani's public statement about Air Force UFO policy on the WFBR broadcast did not reveal that he had made requests for information on UFOs from the Air Force. The situation concerning the positions of Civil Defense, the Ground Observer Corps, the Air Force and UFO investigations in the area was barely touched upon by Col. Milani.

Friday, July 9, 1954

Wilmington, Delaware Wilmington Morning News

100 Mystery Flying Objects Spotted Here

Air Force Permits Ground Observer Corps To Release
Data on Phenomena Sighted In Past 2 Years

Confirmed Elsewhere

More than 100 "unidentified flying objects" – many of which have been confirmed by the U. S. Air Force at the Baltimore Filter Center – have been sighted over Wilmington within the last two years, it was revealed yesterday for the first time.

The revelation was made by Mrs. Elizabeth C. Bacon, supervisor of the Ground Observer Corps, a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, after permission had been granted by the Baltimore Filter Center and by Lt. Col. D. Preston Lee, director of the State Office of Civil Defense, to release the two year "log" of the corps here.

Prior to this, reports made by observers at the GOC headquarters, Ninth and Rodney Streets, had been relayed promptly to the filter center in Baltimore. The Air Force then digested the reports, and advised the local GOC headquarters, but the publication of the accounts was restricted to the Air Force, CD, and similar groups.

Mrs. Bacon said that the Air Force and CD authorities felt that releasing the reports to the public might "give people the idea that we were indulging in fantasies."

Ninety-eight per cent of the UFOs sighted have been observed at night the log shows. A typical log entry is the following:

"July 5 (the most recent) – Southwest of post (Ninth and Rodney Streets), flying southeast, a slow blinking, greenish light with a fast moving object, at 9:39 p.m. Air Force (filter center) said it [was] still trying to find it. It appeared the way the Air Force talked that they knew about it. 9:40 – Air Force confirmed it as. [unidentified?]"   The report was signed by two members of the GOC, Robert O'Connor and Frank Garosi.

A June 14 report contains the following account:

"A bright light southwest of the observation post (hovering). (Confirmed by Air Force.) Watched for 20 minutes and reported to filter center. Air Force told observers to keep constant watch. Object 70 miles from Wilmington and 15 miles in the air. Thought to have been one which hovered over Washington June 12. Baltimore Filter Center had it on radarscope for over two hours."  The report was signed by Salvatore Pingue, an observer.

The log also brings to light the so-called "mother ship," a mysterious object described as "long, cigar-shaped," which is supposed to have been sighted over Wilmington April 18, 1954 at about, 11:15 a. m.

The so-called "mother ship" was sighted by Miss Margaret J. Curran, a ground observer, and was described as flying at a high rate of speed toward the northwest.

Mrs. Bacon explained that the UFOs reported by the GOC, many of which have been confirmed by the U. S. Air Force, are not the only type brought to her attention.

She explained that imaginative people call her home, at 2135 Faulkland Road, Stony Crest, "any time of night or day," reporting such things as "flashing lights" and the popular flying saucers.

"One woman was so worked up that she told me over the telephone she had sighted a hammer and sickle in the sky. I just couldn't believe that," the GOC head explained laughingly.

In the case of observers sighting authentic phenomena or any mysterious flying object, the information is immediately relayed to the Baltimore Filter Center.

According to Keyhoe, the release of the Wilmington GOC log had been a ploy, since the Filter Center logs were classified while the GOC post logs were not. Soon other newsmen in other areas were requesting GOC logs. Their requests were denied. However, from time to time information from GOC logs got into the press. Newsmen looking for confirmation of a UFO story would sometimes be able to get the local GOC post to divulge if their observers had seen anything unusual, and sometimes GOC sightings made it into the press (Hall, UFO Evidence, pages 65-66 and Gross, UFO History series).

GOC logs were never again released in the same manner as they were in July of 1954. Long after the Ground Observer Corps had been disbanded, requests for GOC and Filter Center logs continued to be denied, with neither FOIA requests nor appeals directly to officials bringing any results.

Lest anyone think that the Wilmington GOC logs were unique, there are other examples such as the GOC log in the Columbus Filter Center extracted by Don Berliner in the early 1950s:

(also page 65 in The UFO Evidence, Volume 1) or this article from the Los Angeles Times:

13 September, 1956

Los Angeles, California Times

Phone Calls No Gag:
Flying Saucer Sighters Won't Let Him Sleep

Jack Lyman never saw a flying saucer.

He never hopes to see one.

But he can tell you he'd rather see some than hear about them all through the night.

Lyman, 35, a television writer, first got involved with the plates from space when he had a telephone put in his apartment at 6231 Afton Place.

And So It Started

"I want to report a flying saucer," said a strange voice.

"So report it," growled Lyman.

And hung up.

Then it rang again. And again.

"It began to drive me nuts," Lyman said yesterday.

"It went on for a week. I was seeing flying saucers in my sleep – what sleep I got."

Not a Gag at All

He thought it was a cruel gag at first, but finally he decided to check with the telephone company. The telephone people spun some dials and came up with the answer.

Lyman's new number was still listed in the directory as that of the Ground Observer Corps of Hollywood. That number had recently been disconnected, it was explained, and reassigned to Lyman.

So if you see a flying saucer, don't call Lyman.

Call the Pasadena Air Defense Filter Center.

They're used to it.

Finally, Colonel Frank Milani's appearance on the WFBR radio special broadcast, "Unidentified Flying Objects", did not go unnoticed:

Thursday June 10, 1954

The Washington, D.C. Daily News

[Keyhoe's handwritten note across top of article "AF--->ans to---->Milani"]


That Was No Saucer the Air Force Tossed at Civil Defense

By Evert Clarke

That unidentified object flying thru the air is the book that the Air Force has just thrown at Baltimore's Civil Defense Director, Col. Frank Milani

It should be made clear that Col. Milani threw first.

In a radio speech yesterday, he demanded that the Air Force "lessen the secrecy surrounding Unidentified Flying Objects (flying saucers) or provide adequate reasons why this cannot be done."


An Air Force man at the Pentagon – who shall be unidentified here except as Capt. A – said there is no secrecy. [Major Keyhoe's note: ask Clark if "White". Keyhoe is referring to Captain Bob White, Air Force spokesman for UFOs during this period.]

There may not even be any objects, he said.

He was annoyed, but careful.

"On that, I would say we have not to date found anything that would substantiate an official statement as to whether saucers exist or not," he said.

Then he got so annoyed he dropped the Pentagonese. He sounded harried.

"People are forever writing letters accusing us of covering up the fact that flying saucers are from outer space," he said. "I have a stack of them on my desk right now..." (He meant letters, we guess.)


He said authors of two recent books accused the Air Force of the same thing.

"Those characters have got a lot of people upset," he said. "They talk about secret papers and secret files – well our position remains the same.

"We don't confirm or deny. We CAN'T. We've found nothing to prove there are any saucers, and if people want to say they're up there, we can't prove they aren't....we're trying to stay out of the controversy."

Col. Milani said in his speech:

"At the present time we have no way of determining the origin of saucers. We have not been officially informed by the Air Force that they exist.

"However, until such time as it is proven that they do not exist, then certain problems must be faced by civil defense authorities."


"Oh, what is he talking about!" Capt. A said. "The only thing he ought to be worried about is an invasion, and nobody seems to be really upset about any invasion of flying saucers or unidentified flying objects from outer space."

"Certainly if there was anything flying around in the air that was a danger to the U.S., we'd be doing something about it."

Col. Milani said Civil Defense was given to understand that any unidentified flying objects which might exist were not hostile – and then it found out that reports on such objects were classified military information.

"As far as a classified file on flying saucers kept to prevent mass panic, there is none," Capt A. said positively.

How about a classified file kept for any reason other than to prevent mass panic?

"Just a minute," Captain A. said.

At this point he called in another saucer man, who shall be identified only as Capt. B.

Capt B. said nothing is classified but the names of people who report "sightings and information that might show what our capabilities are – where our planes took off and how long it took them to reach the objective, and so on."

Capt A, who seemed calmer now that reinforcements had arrived said:

"We get so many requests to see our files that we have put a policy on of not letting people go out to Wright-Patterson Base (in Dayton, O., where Air Force Technical Intelligence keeps saucer reports).

"We don't have enough people and we can't let the ones we have be interrupted all the time."

Then the Air Force was really hiding nothing from Civil Defense officials?

"NO!" said Capt A, heating up again. "They can get anything they want–"

He paused a moment and then he added:

"Anything we've got."

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