Area 51 I was there

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I was the commander of area 51 five lives and ever work out there it’s the most famous secret military
base in the world we did accept these
conditions keep your mouth shut your
lives or other lives depend on it no the
men who worked at area 51 tell their
stories for the first time
there’s been an awful lot of
misinformation but it’s been fed by
people’s natural curiosity if you don’t
know what’s going on it might like to
find out
the agency has never and will never ever
omit there is a area 51 in the story
established by the CIA in 1955 to
develop and test America’s most secret
military projects area 51 was named
after a grid number on a map while
officially it doesn’t exist today
satellite images of the Nevada desert
shows seven runways and more than 25
hangars shrouded in secrecy access has
always been highly restricted
but finally the early programs that
started it all are being Declassified
and memories can be brought to light
it was a real Cold War you’re talking
nuclear bombs aimed at every major city
and it’s like two people who’s going to
throw the first punch there are a lot of
times when democracy it just has to give
way to strict control like military so
you can accomplish something that will
allow for your country to survive and
that’s the way we’ve all thought about
it I think
and we had a meeting no pencil paper was
allowed even the pilots did not talk to
each other because nothing was written
down it’s all in her in her heads when
we came into the program we were given a
codename my first name was Kent and the
last name started with C for Collins but
it was colmar c l– l ma her at least
with me I’m not that curious which I
felt was good on the secrecy part of it
I mean if I don’t need to know it I’m
not going to ask I was told don’t bother
ever trying to find your level of
clearance you’ve just been cleared by
the highest groups in Washington DC they
have an apparatus to know what you’re
doing what you’re saying where you’re
going
the base was built around a dry lakebed
known as groom Lake it offered obvious
advantages though he needed a good place
to land that we could land any direction
depending on where the wind came from
and the roundly served that purpose it
was also protected on the mountain reins
around it so it wasn’t very visible
smooth as glass just unbelievable I
could take that staff car out there as
fast as he’d go and it wouldn’t he make
a pump it was just beautiful
groom Lake was very sparse very sparse
we had a bunch of trailers for us to
live in
and we had a all-purpose building where
you eat didn’t have TV didn’t even have
a radio we didn’t have any women there
was one woman who was with the finance
of CIA that came up there and spent one
night
that’s the only one I ever knew well
paradise ranch was the first name that
was given to the establishment they
thought it would soften the blow of the
austerity that was attempt to perhaps
convince people at Wanda’s quite as bad
as it looked
I think the charm of area 51 has had
just had one job to do in anybody that
wasn’t needed didn’t go there probably
didn’t want to go there because you know
wasn’t that grand a vacation spot pretty
pretty tough duty the CIA needed a
certain kind of men to work at area 51
but we kind of self selected to be quiet
warriors the security screening and it
eliminate a fair number of people who
were kind of show off I was in for my
first secrecy clearance and I went to a
movie while my wife went shopping with
my mother I’m in the middle of the movie
in walks this lady young girl bought my
age and in the middle of the movie asked
me if I live in Vegas how long I’ve been
in Vegas and what do I do
she didn’t like my answers within a half
an hour she got up and left and I often
thought how long had she been following
me or was she following me or was she
just one of the Las Vegas girls looking
for a customer I I’ll never know
we were not told what it was going to be
we had no idea we were just told it is
extremely sensitive and it’s not to be
discussed with anybody interviews were
conducted in hotel rooms
this guy had passed everything before
the dashed him we got a black project
back West we’d like for you to work on
would you be interested and you asked
Ron they’d run that by my wife I said
okay do that
when he got back to the motel room they
were gone impacted lil he never saw him
again the fact that he had the ashes a
wife whether not you worked on a secret
project killed him right there he he was
not invited back
area 51 was created for one top-secret
project called aqua tone in 1955 men for
the CIA the air force and a secret
division of Lockheed came to Paradise
ranch to begin work
all they would tell us you really were
going to volunteer for a pig in a poke
and most of the people didn’t take it
but I did and we knew we had to go for
pressure-suit so we knew it was going to
be high-altitude stuff your blood boils
above fifty thousand without having
pressurization so if you were to lose
pressurization just your engine conk out
near about fifty that suit saves you
they selected a manufacturer in Boston
that made the suits up to order they had
to be tailor-made skin-tight so we went
to David Clarke who made brassieres for
Sears I remember her fitted came home
and we went back and fitted again after
his maid couldn’t tell him you know who
we were what we were doing just we need
a pressure suit
when pilots fly higher than men has ever
flown equipment changes are necessary in
this recently Declassified footage ray
Gowdy prepares for a flight inside area
51 the modified MA to partial pressure
suits are personally fitted for each
pilot a loss of only two pounds in the
pilots weight could make the suit
ineffective the men look like nothing
seen on earth and rumours about what was
going on inside area 51 started to
circulate but if so she cried didn’t
know where it was until he got there and
wondered what I got myself into
people on the project didn’t know
everything you know the mechanics for
instance didn’t know what we were doing
in the air that’s that’s how secret it
was
we don’t keep anything out on wheat land
it goes right in a hanger the men were
testing one of the most important
weapons of the Cold War
the u-2 spy plane there was no trainer
there’s no two-seater there was no
simulator the u2 is armed with
high-resolution cameras designed to fly
at 65,000 feet and take photographs from
the edge of the stratosphere as the Cold
War arms race with the Soviet Union
intensified the u2 was America’s best
hope for tracking their rivals growing
nuclear arsenal and it put enormous
demands on pilots where to breathe pure
oxygen to survive at such Heights I’m
sure that some people were excited
because they get sweaty but Haydn’s I
could sleep or I could read a book or
think about what I was going to be doing
because some of the missions were you
know not simple you had to fly a certain
way to get things done
every extra kilogram even wheels could
limit the u2’s ability to fly high it
got all your feel in the wing there’s no
way you’re gonna keep that tip off the
ground so they were only there to keep
the wings off the ground and as soon as
the wings lifted up those would drop out
I used to like to take off just spiral
right up straight
the government’s cover story for the u2
was that it was being used for weather
research though is our cover story yeah
reconnaissance weather squadron if not
conventional aircraft then what did they
see
they’re there to be 58 the YouTube
posted three times the height of regular
Airlines would sometimes pretend spy
civilians windows or observation levels
have said in the mid-1950s both the Cold
War and America’s interest in UFOs were
at their peak I think it was from outer
space but friendly and the silver
colored plane sometimes created
confusion
it was pure aluminum and we said hey we
look like a bright star up there pilots
were told to deny everything
even to aircraft controllers there are
stories about seeing something flying
way above they may have called it in but
they’ll still get nothing other than
evasive stuff we get up along the
Canadian border the ground controller
wanted question my altitude actually he
was pretty accurate and I says no you
got to recalibrate your weapon that’s
not the altitude we’re at
by 1957 unacknowledged u2 flights with a
source of half of all reported UFO
sightings but they were nothing compared
to what will come
area 51 was so remote most workers
commuted weekly from the cities of
Burbank or Las Vegas
usually and other families asleep when I
got up in a bun day morning you get up
drive and you got there early enough to
get the airplane you know that usually
left about 8 o’clock we never even knew
how we were growing it out there the way
all for joke one week they’re fine with
bombs if we can fly the chickens you
know you I was in the cargo bay oh that
flame that you were hitching a ride on
when you got off the Lockheed
Constellation you went through security
and they checked you had to have your
badge and make sure that you’re the
right guy coming in and they did that
routinely they had very very good
security Jim Friedman commuted daily I
had three children and the typical what
is your dad do at school I told them I
repair televisions and my wife she was
so busy raising the children and getting
them ready for school that she really
wasn’t that interested because she knew
I played around with television a lot
he was fine we had a good life even
though sometimes he didn’t come home for
maybe a week but he called you know and
I said that he had to work overtime the
kids special my daughter she says it’s
daddy he had to work overtime
oh so I didn’t know anything
it’s a strange daily routine you go home
at night the wife’s is how did your day
go today and you’re non-committal it
wasn’t bad I got a few TVs fixed I mean
no one is going to say all honey we just
got the radar cross-section of the most
secret aircraft in the world down to
Annette’s am behind yeah right sure now
what did you do today nothing you can’t
even talk about it let us face without
panic the reality of our time the fact
that atom bombs may someday be dropped
on our city this insistence on total
secrecy was fueled by Cold War paranoia
and the widespread fear or the Soviet
Union might destroy the United States
each side was suspicious the other and
they were afraid are going to be wiped
out by a nuclear first strike no-one was
trusted not even the test pilots at area
51 in 1963 Ken Collins crashed his plane
on a training mission
probably a week later they said well
okay would you agree to be hypnotized so
we can establish whether or not these
may have forgotten something I said
absolutely so they got this my term
high-powered shrink from Boston come out
but he couldn’t hypnotize me it’s just
sort of sit there like you know he was
talk to me like you were and I thought
I’m just still just as like I’m always
been and then he just couldn’t do it it
just didn’t happen a few days later
Lockheed flight surgeon call me up
nieces whoa would you agree to have
sodium pentathol and I said yeah said
I’d be happy to do that I told my wife I
said well I’m going down to Lockheed
have to go to work she this Sunday you
never go to work on Sunday I said well
this is special and she’s okay
about 6 o’clock that night these guys
bring me home
well I’m still under the influence of
the sodium chemical and they pour me in
the chair in the living room and said
goodbye and walked out and that’s all
they said my wife and they didn’t say a
word to her said your cars here it gives
the keys and she was sort of here today
because she thought I was out drinking
with the guys but all in all at the end
of it it established that what I said
was everything that I’d told him was a
factual when such a bomb burst at or
near the ground the government race to
develop edible food weddings and it
chose to put its secret base area 51
alongside its nuclear testing I love
slaughtering Karen that was smack dab in
the middle of the nuclear test facility
hurry up in Nevada
and nobody was anxious to go out there
and I think that privacy was very
important to getting the job done and
doing so in a good deal of secrecy but
was more than 450 nuclear explosions
taking place between 1955 and 1968 the
location had its drawbacks when they
were firing nuclear explosions there of
course we’re always notified we have to
evacuate one time it took almost two
weeks because of weather mostly winds
and all that being wrong and we had to
wear radiation badges to make sure we
were still clean though I was standing
out on the runway for some reason and
there was a blast coming off in Yucca
Flats and I actually saw a wave pattern
in the ground coming towards me it
actually went up and down up and down
this was a hundr ground explosion it’s
just unbelievable that these big circles
would actually drop down on the ground
driven by Cold War pressures the u.s.
worried that area 51’s founding project
the u2 was already becoming vulnerable
to Soviet missiles
the plan was to have a manned aircraft
successor to the YouTube with far less
vulnerability and with greater
capability very few people at the agency
at CIA knew about it
in the late 1950s area51 had a new
top-secret project I started in 1958
working on what was called a oxcart
about 1960 I was notified that I had
been selected for a some kind of
astronaut program it was an aircraft to
be proposed to the CIA that would fly at
very high altitudes about 17 miles up
the original intent was to make it go as
fast and as high as we can make it and
as difficult for radars to detect as
possible we were going so fast if you’re
in California of you’re flying north
south and and you’re making a turn at
speed at all altitude you won’t stay in
the state of California
here’s that fast that we just brought
you up in the Cold War information was
as powerful as weapons the oxcart was
designed to be america’s ultimate spy
tool the world’s first stealth plane it
flew fast and high enough to outrun
missiles
thousands worked on the plane inside
Lockheed’s facility in Burbank
California
but despite this scale of production the
project remains secret the oxcart
Clarence was specialty clearance of its
own and it was about as high as you
could get the aircraft had to have the
ability to withstand temperatures caused
by air friction flying through the
atmosphere at 2,000 miles an hour the
oxcart 93% was titanium a material that
no one had ever made an airplane oh if
you want a lot of titanium to make a
deal with the Soviet Union how the CIA
got that stuff out of Russia as far as I
know is still secret today I don’t know
how they did it don’t know who did it
but we did get titanium material we
needed
when the oxcart prototype was ready the
government needed to move it to area 51
from its production line in California
if it was round they would put it in a
square box if it was square they’d put
it in a round box it’s too long and the
lanes were too broad so the sections
were separated and hauled all the way
from Burbank to the groom lakeside you
don’t want it wide trailer going down a
busy highway so you would do this
surreptitiously no one’s around
the required cooperation from California
Highway Patrol and Nevada Highway Patrol
the CIA and I have no idea how many
others the path up there had to be
cleared they had to cut trees away
regrade they dirt on the sides of the
freeway or so that they could clear the
boxes they didn’t have to know what was
in the boxes but they had to know it was
something that had to be protected and
kept secret
so it was a rather enormous operation
just to get them up there to the groom
lake facility
ken Collins was one of the first pilots
to see the oxcart
after it arrived at area 51
I went up to the area the operations
officer up there said that would you
like to see what you’re going to fly I
said absolutely and we walked over to
the hangar and windows up topper just
the whole place that emitted any light
you can see back in the shadows this
long beautiful airplane just amazing
first thing you’d think is a spaceship
inside area 51 nearly 2,000 workers had
a single goal to complete the ultimate
black project there’s a lot of things
that people really don’t need to know
and this is why area 51 is such a
mythical situation because they don’t
know what’s going on
area 51 just had one purpose and that
was to get oxcart through development
and into operation overseas much about
oxcart has been classified for decades
more is known about its successor the
iconic sr-71 blackbird
but today lips is of the oxcart are
finally coming to light
Oh
oxcart was the world’s first stealth
claim designed to be nearly impossible
for enemies to detect on radar the test
that I was involved in involved an
oxcart flying over at radar station and
the basic idea was to find out if they
could fly over without being detected I
went into the radar control building to
watch what would happen when they thing
went over well I was standing there and
nobody could see much happening all of a
sudden it sounded like a ladder or
something fell over on the roof what it
was was a shock wave from the airplane
they had not seen it on the radars it
certainly seemed like it was doing his
job the oxcart could fly coast to coast
in 70 minutes but its sole purpose was
to spy these images take it over North
Korea were released by the CIA and have
never been seen publicly they reveal how
well the oxcart could photograph objects
on the ground ninety thousand feet below
while traveling at 2,000 miles an hour
this camera was going in an airplane
that was going to be going at Mach 3 the
resolution was 12 inches that’s 1 foot
if you think about object on the ground
and and put a grid on it with 12-inch
squares a little bit like linoleum
squares and each one of those squares is
either black or white or gray object
that was 12 inches on a side could be
clearly identified as an object although
you couldn’t tell what its internal
structure was but if you’re taking a
picture of a tank he probably got you
know 500 dots and that pretty well
defines the tank but at the height of
the Cold War the men at area 51 were the
only ones with powerful cameras
the Russians had anywhere from four to
six what we called ashcans
we had a satellite tracking setup and we
were alerted to the time when the
satellite was supposed to pass over so
as they were approaching our area we
would shut everything down we had their
huge food sheds we called them and if a
plane happen to be out in the open
wild satellite was coming over the
horizon that was cruising into their
building but workers sometimes needed to
leave a model of the oxcart on a pylon
so they could test its stealth
properties and with the Soviets spying
from above this presented a problem
if you got a plane up on a pylon it was
pretty hard to disguise it from
satellites there were people in the
security department that felt that we
couldn’t let them have a peek so we had
no way of handling situation but taking
the mock-up down off of the pole putting
it away in a hangar and then taking it
back out and putting it back up that
made the job very difficult very
difficult to start working on the
aircraft and then have to run it back
into the hangar and then pull it out and
then put it in and then pull it out it
gets to be quite a hassle despite
efforts to hide the secret aircraft
intelligence agents discovered that the
Soviet Union had a drawing of the plane
and had found a way to detect oxcart
most of the testing that we did in a
daylight radiation from the Sun would
heat up everything except the shadow if
we left the mock-up stationary for a
half an hour or so it might leave a
shadow that an infrared camera could
pick up soon the bed at area 51 were
intentionally devising fakes for the
Soviets to discover are you the if red
satellite for coming over and we would
draw the outline of a primary zotti
plane and from one of the hangars
most um without a cardboard just for the
sad like out there would have a couple
haters in the rear end of it that make
it receive a signature as well as the
plane is ended we always want them to
think we had something that they didn’t
and they sure spend a lot of time and
money to try to figure out what it was
in Washington ghost-like object start
across the radar screen ever see a
receptionist designed to protect expert
food the rumors about area 54 jet
fighters spend several hours chasing the
objects plotted on the radar scope we
flew
2,850 missions out of groom lake very 51
then no one knew about the plane did not
exist and naturally the sunlight just
right it would be spotted and it would
become a genuine UFO sighting general
Sanford Air Force intelligence director
confirms of the objects are not secret
American weapons and reiterates the Air
Force’s obligation to investigate
yessuh during the era that the Air Force
are doing Project Blue Book
investigating UFO sightings they started
investigating all sudden edge run up
there against walls security was there
whoa that’s a top-secret mission you got
to make a cover story and forget it
happen we have received and analyzed
between one in 2000 report so Project
Blue Book the poor guys they would have
to manufacture a story to explain that
siding with all due respect of the Air
Force I believe that some of them will
prove to be of interplanetary origin air
traffic controllers at the FAA had to be
cautioned not to report something moving
that fast in American airspace for fear
of alarming people airline pilots were a
big troublemaker they would see the
Blackbird climbing
they’d be an 80,000 feet in the air
lines were it 45 and they would call
down and say you know they’d be yelling
over the air but they’d see him and the
passengers would see him
the FBI would meet him that whatever
Airport they were landing it and they’d
just make him sign inadvertent exposure
that they wouldn’t reveal but what they
had just seen but when things went
disastrously wrong at area 51 the cover
of Machine wented a high gear
despite the secrecy surrounding the
oxcart clues from an early mishap are
finally coming to light decades later it
was lo out to subsonic engine test we
had problems with getting the engine to
accelerate out to Mach 3
we flew north out of the area and got up
to 25,000 feet I headed south and we
started getting into the weather
something just wasn’t feeling right
losing airspeed but it wasn’t indicated
person they’re playing pitched up went
up got inverted and went into a flat and
said but spin you just can’t recover
so I thought I’d better reject so I
ejected down cuz I was upside down
ken made the right decision and punched
out
what an interim minor then was he’d like
held it you know I have to bail out of
that good airplane
he landed somewhere out near Wendover
Utah I landed and collapsed shoot I
figured I was going to need that because
I was going to probably out there
overnight and for survival and I would
use that to sleep in
my checklist that come apart and I’m
starting to look and picking up some of
the pages they’re all classified the
stamped secret the papers that I had
picked up I just stuck in my pocket I
guess when a pickup truck come bouncing
over across the desert three guys were
in the truck I was amazed to see him
they said hey come on get in there we’ll
take you over to your airplane and I
said no that’s an F 105 and that was our
story that we had I send this got a
nuclear weapon on board I said you
better get in here
we’re leaving we’re not gonna stay so I
jumped in front with them in the in the
front there forms in the cab
and I don’t know where they thought they
were going to go over the bomb went off
you know it’s a probably Kosovo wouldn’t
have made any difference
after Colin’s admonition after his white
lie I don’t think they were very anxious
to go take a hard look at it
we did have a phone number that we call
her you know emergency kind of thing in
they made a ten-cent call and identified
myself and that was that’s all they
needed to know and I told him where I
was
that gave the agency about two days to
go out and scrape up the pieces and
clean up the mess otherwise it might
have been a County Fair
this is the first time photos of the
government effort to sanitize the crash
scene have been revealed
well they had two of our survival guys
that were part of the security team and
later on they got on to horseback and
they’d go back and forth and sort of
ploughshare to see if they got anything
that was left laying there that was
classified between the cover story and
the remote location the cleanup was good
enough to keep the crash site secret for
decades it was described as having been
on f-105 crash no planes crash all the
time or on military bases it went away
50 years later aerospace historian Peter
Merlin has found the crash site the
government tried to erase from history
now we’re getting into the real debris
field as part of the effort to sanitize
the crash site the larger pieces were
cut up with a blowtorch and flown to
area 51 in a big cargo plan he searched
the desert for years using information
from declassified documents the secret
memorandum was Declassified by the CIA
says all traces of 123 been removed from
the crash scene my experience with crash
sites however is that there’s always
something left
this piece here part of the wing
structure the a was for the a12 w4 wing
and 667 was the drawing number this one
is from the interior of the cockpit
skunkworks inspection stamp
this is the impact crater there’s
titanium all over the place
whoa here’s a big chunk this is some
thick titanium right here is where the
aft fuselage is struck the ground on
either side you’ll find a depression
from the engine to cells it’s one right
here I’m standing in the middle of an
engine nacelle depression this would be
similar to what would happen today if a
secret aircraft from area 51 were to be
lost off ranch they would probably
implement the same kind of security
restrictions they would also use a cover
story
McCarran Airport Las Vegas the present
day a private hangar for a marked Jets
every weekday workers continue to make
the same commute to area 51 that’s taken
place since the days of the u2 and
oxcart these early programs changed area
51 into a permanent home for America’s
black projects but you go back look at
all the records there’s never been a
flat room like nothing that was as it
seems and the mystery continues today
the annual black military budget is tens
of billions of dollars at the highest
level in US history but even those who
once sacrificed so much for area 51 and
no longer in on the secrets
I wish I knew what they were doing but I
don’t know I’ve even heard that dairy 51
is a cover story for a much more secret
area I don’t know I can’t confirm that
either I have no idea I wish I knew the
secrecy and cover-ups continue to fuel
rumors there are a lot of situations
people cannot know that they’re not true
so I think there’s been an awful lot of
misinformation but it’s been fed by
people’s natural curiosity if you don’t
know what’s going on it might like to
find out often even the wildest
speculation contains threads of truth
they have all these underground chambers
they claim we’ve got out there and
tunnels that reach all the way to Las
Vegas and this you know absolutely
nothing like that
at the Deuter test and we’d go
underground because of the brown nibs
radioactive but nothing nothing at the
area
and those the busines that has been in
recent years that we have gained all
this speed and technology out of the
reverse engineering the alien craft this
is the true story we did reverse
engineer things out there it was a
Russian MIG 21 and we’ve got it hit in
1968 and we tore it apart see how the
Russians built it then put it back
together with fluid
even the conspiracy theory that the
government staged the moon landing at
area 51 has a slight basis in fact
lonely accommodation grounds we attach
our land rover that we sent to the moon
we tested all of these life support
systems the astronauts came out here and
trained the atomic bomb craters so
that’s probably where some of those
crazy shorts come from I think when
people signed on to oxcart or YouTube
they agreed that it might never be
revealed and so people said hey look
it’s kind of a family secret we’re happy
to go to the grave with it
it was an honor very much an honor to
have a job with that much trust but in
me as a you might say a country boy a
lot of trust was was put on people like
me that worked out there
a lot of people dedicated their lives
some families broke up because they
never knew what their husbands if there
were husbands were gonna come home at
night it wasn’t just a job we are given
some tasks to accomplish and we believed
in it and we did the best we could
I’m just glad it turned out the way it
did
but when it comes to what went on at
area 51 the only thing we know for sure
is that we’ll never know everything I’m
telling you about 5% over what went on
I’ve only told you part of the story
seriously I have to be honest
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