When Friend was assigned as the director of Project Blue Book
from 1958 to 1963, his job was to determine if UFOs posed a risk to U.S. national security, and if there should be scientific studies into the existence of UFOs.
Friend told the Huffington Post
"When I first took over the program, I wrote two staff studies, and in both instances, I recommended that [UFOs] be put into another agency which would give them full scientific investigations and analyses."
Friend was trying to get the UFO issue moved to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA, but was unsuccessful.
Friend, along with several others, spoke at the Smithsonian-affiliated National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas in a special lecture entitled "Military UFOs: Secrets Revealed.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Halt also spoke at the lecture. Halt is most famous for his involvement in the UFO investigation in Rendlesham Forest
, a UFO siting case that boasts of a large number of "highly credible" witnesses on two separate nights. Halt led a team of military-security investigators to Rendlesham Forest because they believed it to be a UFO landing site in England. Once there, they identified lights and bright flashes near a former military testing site. Halt made an audio tape
of the investigation and sent a written transcript
to the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence.
During his portion of the lecture, Halt addressed the long standing accusation that the U.S. government has been involved in a massive cover-up of a secret agency whose sole purpose is to deal with evidence and information about UFOs and alien visitors,
“I’m firmly convinced there’s an agency, and there is an effort to suppress.”
He told the Las Vegas Sun
“I’ve heard many people say that it’s time for the government to appoint an agency to investigate. “Folks, there is an agency, a very close-held, compartmentalized agency, that’s been investigating this for years, and there’s a very active role played by many of our intelligence agencies that probably don’t even know the details of what happens once they collect the data and forward it."
Former chief spokesman for Project Blue Book, Air Force Col. Bill Coleman, told
attendees of his own encounter with a UFO while piloting a B-25 bomber:
"We were moving at maximum continuous power for the B-25, about 300 miles an hour, and we got right down to the treetops and I closed in on it very rapidly. I said I was going to overtake it -- 'Hang on and put your seat belts on' -- and I made a hard 90-degree bank to try and pull up alongside of [the UFO] and it wasn't there. I zoomed up about 1,500 feet, and then I could see the object right on the deck over a freshly plowed field moving at a pretty good speed, and it [was trailing] two vortexes."
When Project Blue Book closed in 1969 it concluded
"UFOs posed no security threat to the nation, nor did they display any technological abilities "beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge."
Friend does not agree with that conclusion. After having perhaps hundreds of conversations with pilots and military officials who tossed the idea around that some UFOs might be alien in origin, he believes there is life in outer space, saying:
"Yes, there were some people who had those opinions. I, for one, also believe that the probability of there being life elsewhere in this big cosmos is just absolutely out of this world -- I think the probability is there."
those attending the lecture:
"UFO sightings are real, and you will not be ridiculed by any honest organization that investigates it. Just come forward, quote your case and allow people to investigate what they can to make some determination about what it is that you've seen. In the future, just remember that we're on your side."