Rich Reynolds and Chris Jay, over at the RR Group blog (www.rrrgroup.blogspot.com), chastised ufologists today for ignoring the possibility that the US Navy and Army might also have been involved in the UFO phenomenon, and secret projects run under their auspices may have been responsible for some (all?) UFO sightings, particularly in the early days of the phenomenon.
Ignoring for the moment that all ufologists - a diverse group if ever there was one - are lumped into one pile by Rich and Chris (many ufologists, I suspect, could care less about Roswell, or the history of the phenomenon), their contention is flat out wrong. Ufologists have not, as Rich and Chris suggest, restricted their attention to the efforts of the Air Force with respect to UFOs, including as a possible explanation for sightings. Neither has the media.
For example, this article from the New York Times, 4 April 1950, puts forward the notion (first reported in US News and World Report) that UFOs (or "flying saucers" as they were called then) were the result of top secret Navy research and development programs, some stemming back as far as 1942.
So, was it the United States Navy?
If it was, however, someone seems to have forgotten to tell Secretary of the Navy Dan Kimball, and Admiral Arthur Radford, who had their own, still unexplained, sighting in 1952 while flying - in separate planes - over the Pacific Ocean (on their way to Hawaii). They were both at a loss to explain what they saw, and certainly didn't write it off as "just another one of our experimental craft."
Still, my point isn't that the Navy shouldn't be looked at as a source of possible explanations for UFO sightings / reports of crashed saucers, but rather that ufology has been well aware of the Navy's potential role for decades now, even as they have been unable to pin it down. If Rich and Chris have something to offer with respect to the latter, then good for them, and I look forward to reading it when they make it available.
Who knows - it may actually be something that no-one has ever seen before (in which case I'll be the first to applaud)?
But I think they would be better served making their case, and not using the Navy angle as a cover to take another gratuitous shot at ufologists, and, by extension, ufology. There's plenty of legitimate reasons to question ufology, without accusing it of a dereliction that is simply not the case.