Biography[ edit ] Early life and career[ edit ] Ruppelt was born and raised in Iowa. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II , and served with distinction as a decorated bombardier : he was awarded "five battle stars , two theater combat ribbons, three Air Medals , and two Distinguished Flying Crosses ". He attended Iowa State College where, in , he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering. Shortly after finishing his education, Ruppelt was called back to active military duties after the Korean War began. Though he was initially scheduled to stay with Blue Book for only a few months, when Project Grudge was upgraded in status in late and renamed Project Blue Book, Ruppelt then a captain was kept on as director. Allen Hynek thought that Ruppelt did his best, only to see his efforts stymied.
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A book that would never win any literary awards, yet which is so unique and illuminating and without peer in its subject field that reading it is profoundly satisfying and creates a cherished memory. His Report At first, it looks like a dirty gnarly relic, but upon closer inspection that long-lost thing turns out to be made of solid karat gold.
Because it was written so long ago, 60 years ago, by an author who was already dead by , before even I was born, I imagined most of the vast array of books written since had long surpassed it or had scavenged it clean of its meat. I was very wrong on all counts. When Capt. Ruppelt was promoted to head the U. Ruppelt headed it for barely more than two years, but in that period he brought a seriously objective attitude, scientific rigor and improved administrative efficiency to the task, during a time in which some of the most famous UFO cases of all time transpired the Lubbock Lights, the Washington, D.
We also get a sense of a very harried man, thrust into controversy within an agency engaged in a schizophrenic war with itself about how to confront a subject with broad and potentially frightening implications during a time when the United States had a clear territorial and technological enemy, the Soviet Union, and was faced with possibly an even more profoundly uncontrollable force.
The book neither reads like a dry report nor like a work of novelistic flourish. It is something in between. It is clunky and jagged and thrashes about like a stubborn animal, but that, it seems is the nature of a subject that is so enigmatic and unwilling to easily give up its secrets. There are times when you love Ruppelt for his unexpected moments of knowing humor and his jabs at military bureaucracy.
Ruppelt is a military square with a wiseacre bent, and his use of World War II-era vernacular is charming. The man had a thankless job. People who believed that UFOS were from outer space were never satisfied with his work, and people who thought all UFOS were natural or human-devised phenomena were not happy either.
That, he argued, was in no way provable. Whatever you may think of that position is almost irrelevant to the real value of this book. The book is also historically valuable because the original records of many of the cases Ruppelt discusses were literally trashed.
Ruppelt represented a living memory of records that no longer existed. And when someone takes the time and the trouble to document a part of our history that no one else has and sets it down for posterity, that earns my special respect. The book is not without controversy, though, and that is mainly due to the issuance of a second edition in that added three new chapters in which Ruppelt, for all intents and purposes, contradicts much of what he said in the original edition and thoroughly debunks all UFOS.
Conspiracy theories abound in UFO circles as to why he did this, the most prominent assertion being that Ruppelt -- who was literally on his deathbed at the time, about to succumb to his second heart attack -- was strong-armed by the government into repudiating his work and the legitimacy of UFOs. The book is a masterpiece, in spite of itself.
Edward J. Ruppelt
The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects