United States Air Force
The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of the United States. Originally created on 1 August 1907, as a part of the United States Army Signal Corps, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the United States Armed Forces in 1947 with the enactment of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the second youngest branch of the United States Armed Forces[a] and the fourth in order of precedence. The United States Air Force articulates its core missions as air supremacy, global integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.
The United States Air Force (USAF) was established as a separate branch of the United States Armed Forces in 1947, with the enactment of the National Security Act of 1947. The USAF's history can be traced back to August 1907, when it was part of United States Army Signal Corps. Decades later, during World War II, the United States Army Air Forces essentially acted as an independent unit, and Army Air Force personnel led a push to become a separate branch of the United States Armed Forces after the war.<./p>
The United States Air Force (USAF) has a long and intriguing history of investigating unidentified flying objects (UFOs) or flying saucers dating back to 1947.
Project Sign (1948-1949)
In response to the increasing number of UFO sightings, the USAF established Project Sign in 1948. The project aimed to determine if UFOs were a threat to national security and to scientifically analyze UFO data. Project Sign concluded that most sightings could be attributed to conventional explanations, such as misidentifications of known aircraft or natural phenomena. However, a minority of cases remained unexplained.
Project Grudge (1949-1952)
As a successor to Project Sign, Project Grudge continued the investigation of UFO reports. The project took a more skeptical approach, seeking to debunk UFO sightings as misinterpretations or hoaxes. Despite this, some cases still defied explanation. A notable case during this period was the 1952 Washington, D.C. UFO incident, where radar operators and pilots reported multiple UFO sightings over the nation's capital.
Project Blue Book (1952-1969)
Following the public outcry over the Washington, D.C. sightings, the USAF established Project Blue Book in 1952. This project sought to analyze UFO reports systematically and scientifically, and it remains the most well-known of the USAF's UFO investigations. Over its 17-year duration, Project Blue Book examined more than 12,000 UFO reports, with 701 of them remaining unexplained.
The Condon Committee and the End of Project Blue Book (1966-1969)
In 1966, the USAF funded a study by the University of Colorado, led by physicist Dr. Edward Condon, to evaluate the UFO phenomenon objectively. The Condon Committee's 1968 report concluded that UFOs did not represent a threat to national security and that there was no evidence of extraterrestrial technology. Based on this report, the USAF terminated Project Blue Book in 1969 and ceased official investigations into UFOs. The military explained that it was closing the program because no evidence had been found to support the theory of extraterrestrials and most sightings were later found to be natural occurrences or human errors. Of the 12,618 reported UFO sightings through Project Blue Book, there are still 701 that remain a mystery and are "unidentified."
The 1970s and 1980s: Dormant Period
Following the end of Project Blue Book, the USAF's involvement in UFO investigations diminished. The public's fascination with UFOs persisted, but the USAF maintained that UFOs were not a matter of national security or scientific interest. Government documents showing that the CIA was responsible for a public campaign to downplay UFO sightings and investigations were uncovered via Freedom of Information Act requested decades later.
The 1990s: The Roswell Report and Project Mogul
In 1994, the US General Accounting Office (GAO) conducted an inquiry into the Roswell incident, prompted by renewed public interest. In response, the USAF released "The Roswell Report: Fact versus Fiction in the New Mexico Desert," which revealed that the debris recovered in 1947 was from a top-secret Project Mogul balloon, designed to detect Soviet nuclear tests. The report aimed to dispel conspiracy theories surrounding the incident, but many UFO enthusiasts remained unconvinced.