Known as a CBS Evening News Anchor for many years, Walter Chronkite became a part of many American families as he brought us the news in a straight-forward and fair manner.
No matter how he felt personally, you never saw that during his broadcast. He did this all before cable TV became such a big part of viewing, so for many he was more then just a Reporter.
Walter Chronkite became a trusted friend of almost all who viewed his work. In the 1950s Chronkite was part of a pool of News Reporters brought out to a small South Pacific island to watch the test of a new Air Force missile. After a short inspection of the new system by the reporters, they were lead to an area a safe distance from the launch site.
The missile was mounted on a specially built launcher that was attached to a cement base. It was obvious that the area had been quickly built just for the test. The details about the missile were going to be given to the reporters in he form of hand-out sheets and press releases after the test.
As the test was ready to proceed, Chronkite mentioned that photography of the event by the press was forbidden' They would have to give verbal descriptions so everyone was writing as fast as they could. As Air Force guards walked around the perimeter of the test area with guard dogs and the news reporters watched, the missile was fired-up and about to be released. Just then, a large disc-type UFO appeared on the scene!
Chronkite guessed that the object was about 50-60 feet in diameter, a dull grey color and had no visible means of propulsion' Because the noise of activity around him and the missile engine was so loud, he couldn't tell whether the disc made any noise. He did not notice any noise coming directly from the object.
As Air Force guards ran toward the object with their dogs, the disc hovered about 30 feet off of the ground. It suddenly sent out a blue beam of light, which struck the missile, a guard and a dog all at the same time! The missile was frozen in mid-air about 70 feet from the launcher, as it had taken off. A guard was frozen in mid-step and a dog frozen in mid-air as it had jumped at the disc. Chronkite reminded me that this all happened within the space of about five minutes or less.
Suddenly, the missile exploded! After that, the disc vanished. The guard and dog looked all right, but were quickly taken away by medical personnel always present at tests in case anyone would be injured. At the same time, guards rapidly ushered the reporters into a concrete observation bunker. After about thirty minutes of sitting in that hot box, they were brought out into the air again and addressed by an Air Force Colonel.
The officer told them, "It was all part of the test." Obviously making it up as he went along, the Colonel said that the event was "staged" to test media reaction to UFOs. He reinforced the usual line to the reporters that Flying Saucers were probably not extra-terrestrial, but people were actually seeing secret planes being tested by the Air Force. This test was designed to show the media how "shocking" it could be to suddenly view a new technology.
Well, Chronkite was certain that what he viewed was a "new technology" but he was also sure it was not an Earthly one! He didn't believe the Air Force explanation then, and he didn't believe it as he told me the story. After the event reporters were told that since it was a test of media reaction to new technology, they could not report on it! But, they would be compensated later with exclusive stories on new Air Force projects (a promise that was never kept).
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