Curtis Emerson LeMay (1906 – 1990) was a U.S. Air Force general who became famous for leading a bombing campaign in the Pacific during World War II.
After the war, he served as the leader of the Strategic Air Command, the U.S. military division responsible for most of the country’s nuclear weapons.
In 1945, LeMay was a national hero, celebrated in victory parades and on the cover of Time magazine. Twenty years later, everything had changed. Hollywood and the press vilified him.
He was parodied as the mad general in Dr. Strangelove, longing for a nuclear exchange with the Soviets. In a searing essay, journalist I. F. Stone labeled him the “Caveman in a Jet Bomber.”
At best he was considered a brutish thug; at worst, he was portrayed as demented. Oddly, LeMay never refuted his detractors and even seemed to encourage his negative reputation. During World War II, LeMay helped turn the bombing effort over Europe from an ineffective and costly failure into a success.
For three years, day and night, LeMay concentrated his very capable intellect on the new science of destroying property and killing people with aerial bombing.
In his firebombing campaign over Japan, LeMay ordered the deaths of more civilians than any other military officer in American history—well over 300,000 and perhaps as many as half a million.
“You’ve got to kill people and when you kill enough of them, they stop fighting.”
As Judge Nutter remembered, “Very few people can really tell the truth and most people really don’t want to hear it; he did. So did Sherman. People don’t want to hear that kind of blunt honesty.”
President Truman made certain that the Japanese willingness to surrender in May 1945 was made unacceptable because he and his Secretary-of-State James Byrnes wanted to use the atomic bombs – “as quickly as possible to ‘show results’” in Byrnes’ words – to send a message to the Soviet Union.
So “the Good War” was ended in the Pacific with the “good guys” killing hundreds of thousand Japanese civilians to make a point to the “bad guys,” who have been demonized ever since.
Satan always wears the other’s face.
Many Baby Boomers like to say they grew up with the bomb. They are lucky. They grew up. They got scared. They got to hide under their desks and wax nostalgic about it. Do you remember dog tags? Those 1950s and 1960s? Scary movies?
The children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who died under our bombs on August 6 and 9, 1945 didn’t get to grow up. They couldn’t hide. They just went under. To be accurate: we put them under. Or they were left to smolder for decades in pain and then die. But that it was necessary to save American lives is the lie. It’s always about American lives, as if the owners of the country actually cared about them. But to tender hearts and innocent minds, it’s a magic incantation. Poor us!
Fat Man, Little Boy – how the words echo down the years to the now fat Americans who grew up in the 1950s and who think like little boys and girls about their country’s demonic nature. Innocence – it is wonderful!
We are different now. “We are great because we are good,” that’s what Hillary Clinton told us. The. It seems beyond the grasp of most Americans who need their illusions. Evil is real.
There is simply no way to understand the savage nature of American history without seeing its demonic nature. How else can we redeem ourselves at this late date, possessed as we are by delusions of our own God-blessed goodness?
But average Americans play with innocence. They excite themselves at the thought that with the next election the nation will be “restored” to the right course.
Of course there never was a right course, unless might makes right, which has always been the way of America’s rulers. The Satanic Nature of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – The Greanville Post
(Original Caption) Lt. General Curtis E. LeMay, the new Chief of the Strategic Air Command and Mrs. LeMay relax here in their suite after checking in at the Gotham Hotel on a visit. The general’s new headquarters are at Andrews Air Base.
(Original Caption) American Independent party Presidential candidate George C. Wallace is seen here with his Vice Presidential candidate General Curtis LeMay, at a fundraising dinner.
The mushroom cloud after the bombing of Nagasaki on 09 August 1945, killing more than 73,000 people. Photograph: Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum/EPA
So said Curtis LeMay after America obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki with two atomic bombs in August 1945.
The decision 75 years ago to use atomic bombs was fuelled not by strategy but by sheer inhumanity
LeMay was no bleeding-heart liberal. The US air force chief of staff who had directed the assault over Japan in the final days of the Second World War, he believed in the use of nuclear weapons and thought any action acceptable in the pursuit of victory. Two decades later, he would say of Vietnam that America should “bomb them back into the stone ages”
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, known simply and more commonly as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 satirical black comedy film that satirizes the Cold War fears of a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States.
In Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant and frightening 1964 film, Dr. Strangelove, LeMay is seen in two characters: first the cigar-smoking General Jack D. Ripper, who sends his wing of nuclear armed B-52s against the Soviet Union all on his own because he has become completely paranoid; and then as the George C. Scott’s character, General Buck Turgidson, the head of the Air Force in the Pentagon who, instead of seeing Ripper’s act as a disaster, sees it as an opportunity.
In the famous scene that takes place in the Pentagon War Room, the president asks for Turgidson’s assessment of the situation if the U.S. goes ahead with an all-out nuclear strike.
Turgidson pushes for it, but in a bizarre moment of his own strange reality, he confesses: “Sir, I’m not saying we won’t get our hair mussed, but [we’d lose] no more than 10–20 million killed tops. . . Uh, depending on the breaks.”
In the final scene of the film, the world comes to an end in a long sequence of evocative nuclear explosions to the music of “We’ll Meet Again
LeMay at the controls of a B-17 during the war.
Major General LeMay greets Lt. Col Robert McNamara, an Army Air Forces statistician. Twenty years later, their roles were reversed when McNamara became LeMay’s boss at the Pentagon.
A mother and child sit in the ruins of Hiroshima four months after the bombing.
Alfred Eisenstaedt/Pix Inc./The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
General LeMay may not have had much of a soul, but he was certainly good at finding his enemies’ vulnerabilities.
One thing he noticed quickly about Japanese cities was that they tended to be extremely flammable.
For that reason, he usually used incendiary ammo like napalm in order to firebomb his enemies and make the destruction and civilian death toll that much worse.
While these actions taken together are bad enough, there is hardly any one action of any military that can match the brutality of the firebombing of Tokyo — also known as Operation Meetinghouse.
This campaign was carried out in 1945 on the night of March 9, and set a record for horrendous brutality.
Everything within a one-mile radius of the bomb’s impact site was reduced to rubble.
Children wear masks to combat the pervasive odor of death in the air following the bombing.
The shape of a victim burned into the steps of a bank. The heat and light generated by the bomb was so intense that it changed the shades of roads and buildings, leaving areas “protected” by human bodies closer to their original shades.
Another human shadow seared into bank steps by the bomb.
This image is often confused as the mushroom cloud that appeared over Hiroshima as the bomb exploded, but it’s actually the smoke from the myriad fires raging in the city’s center in Hiroshima’s aftermath.
A Japanese baby sits crying in the rubble.
We mentioned earlier that George Wallace, known for being a bit of a kooky segregationist, had picked General LeMay as his running mate. At first, this was exactly the man he was hoping for:
He would talk tough, shore up Wallace’s credentials to deal with the Vietnam situation, and give him more military support for his segregationist beliefs.
However, despite being a bit out there himself, Wallace started to feel that LeMay was actually hurting their candidacy with a lot of his comments, and likely had a long talk with him, because LeMay later walked some of his comments back partially — although he was still, in general, a very belligerent and aggressive person.
The comments that alarmed Wallace also alarmed the media. LeMay suggested that we should bomb Vietnam back to the stone age, and he also suggested that he would use nuclear weapons against Vietnam “if necessary.”
He felt that nuclear weapons were just another of the many tools of war, and that people shouldn’t be so particularly afraid of them, or afraid of using them — especially on civilian populations. While LeMay would, as we said, try to walk some of it back later, it certainly didn’t appear to help Wallace win the election, as he eventually went on to lose.
It should also be noted that while LeMay may have tried to walk it back, he was not really being very honest with himself.
As a four star general who had a coveted position with the joint chiefs of staff, he actually strongly advised more bombing in Vietnam in general, especially on more civilian populated centers or infrastructure hubs. For LeMay, the same old strategy never got old, and he never put any new tricks in his playboo
General LeMay was one of the most vicious generals in history. But he was also a man like no other, and while he was brutal, he was also no coward. He was quite a skilled bomber pilot himself, and never forgot it even after he rose up through the ranks.
As he started to take command, he noticed problems with his men. Oftentimes, when they got close to the target, they would veer off and make evasive maneuvers too early to properly get in close and do damage. They were protecting their own safety, but they weren’t putting in enough risks to properly get the mission done.
While General LeMay was disgusted by their cowardice, he also knew that with so many men entirely new to the military, he had to do something to show them that they should not be afraid. Even though he was a general and probably should not have been putting his life directly at risk — and would likely not have been allowed in our present age — he went ahead and led bomber missions from the front, piloting and leading his men into battle.
After several missions like this, and many threats to court martial anyone who dared to be a coward when they got near the target, he was satisfied that his men would no longer cut and run out of fear when the going got tough.
Everyone knew that he would fully go through with the court martial, and they respected his bravery and dedication to duty. Putting his life on the line showed his men that he was not asking them to do anything he would not do, and that had a great effect on them for the rest of the campaign.
OCT 21 1962 Gen. Curtis LeMay and Brig. Gen. James Stewart, the movie star, who is attached to the Air Force Reserve, chat about weatherman’s bad guess. Weather was fine.
(Original Caption) Meeting here while en route to the Able Day Atom Bomb Test at Bikini Atoll are Major General Curtis E. LeMay, cigar chewing Chief of the B-29 attacks on Japan (L), and Aeronautical Engineer and author Major General Alexander P. De Seversky. The latter believes the world is headed towards a new arms race.
15 Minutes: General Curtis Lemay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation
Curtis LeMay (November 15, 1906 – October 1, 1990) was a U.S. Air Force general who became famous for leading a bombing campaign in the Pacific during World War II.
After the war, he served as the leader of the Strategic Air Command, the U.S. military division responsible for most of the country’s nuclear weapons.
LeMay later ran as George Wallace’s running mate in the 1968 presidential election.
- Known For: LeMay was an important U.S. Army Air Corps leader during World War II and led the Strategic Air Command during the early years of the Cold War.
- Born: November 15, 1906 in Columbus, Ohio
- Parents: Erving and Arizona LeMay
- Died: October 1, 1990 at March Air Force Base, California
LeMay briefing officers in England on operations surrounding D-Day, June 1944. The Distinguished Flying Cross that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
The Distinguished Service Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded. The Distinguished Service Cross that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
The Silver Star that Curtis LeMay was awarded. The American Defense Service Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
The American Campaign Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded. The European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
The Asiatic–Pacific Campaign Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded. The World War II Victory Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
The Army of Occupation Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded. The National Defense Service Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded. The Vietnam Service Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
The Distinguished Flying Cross that Curtis LeMay was awarded. The Order of the Patriotic War that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
The Croix de Guerre that Curtis LeMay was awarded. The Order of Aeronautical Merit that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
The Order of the Rising Sun that Curtis LeMay received in 1964. The Order of the Southern Cross that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
Following WWII, General LeMay was dispatched to lead the Air Force in the Korean War. He was very much in favor of the idea of ending the war as quickly as possible and pushed for the use of nuclear weapons.
President Truman was opposed to using nuclear weapons in this conflict but Lemay insisted it was the right way to put an end to the war. Truman was clearly not in favor of his idea and implemented rules on nuclear weapons to never be used without the approval of the President.
“We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea anyway, someway or another, and some in South Korea too.… Over a period of three years or so, we killed off — what — twenty percent of the population of Korea as direct casualties of war, or from starvation and exposure?”
Popperfoto/Popperfoto/Getty ImagesBritish soldiers of the 1st Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment
Keystone/Getty ImagesAustralian soldiers parade past Sydney Town Hall on their way to the Korean War.
Keystone/Getty Images An American soldier sleeps on his ammunition in the Mason area during the Korean war.
Keystone/Getty Images Men of the 187th US Regimental Combat Team prepare to take a ridge position somewhere in Korea.
Keystone/Getty Images Chinese and North Korean officials at Kaesong, where negotiations are held daily to discuss a ceasefire in the Korean War.
Carl Mydans./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image Refugees & their belongings fill a train fleeing war ravaged countryside re struggle between communist North Korean and democratic South Korean troops.
A napalm bomb lands on a North Korean factory on May 18th, 1951. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
After World War II, LeMay served as head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, and was responsible for many of the early air raids using napalm and firebombs that claimed many civilian casualties.
“Although the ferocity of the bombing was recognised as racist and unjustified elsewhere in the world,” says Harden, for many Americans it was just another conflict in a distant and poorly understood country, he concludes. Not for nothing is it called the forgotten war.
The result was perhaps three million dead and, the museum recalls, the first US armistice in history signed without a victory. In three years of fighting a single major city changed hands: Kaesong, which is now the last vestige of a once hopeful détente with the South.
Air Force general Curtis LeMay, head of the strategic air command during the Korean War, estimated that the American campaign killed 20 per cent of the population. “We went over there and fought the war and eventually burned down every town in North Korea,” he said.
General Curtis E. LeMay receives the 1965 Thomas D. White national defense award from Major General Robert H. Warren on April 3, 1965.
Curtis E. LeMay 1987
After moving to California, LeMay was approached to challenge incumbent Senator Thomas Kuchel in the 1968 Republican primary. He declined and instead elected to run for vice president under George Wallace on the American Independent Party ticket. Though he had originally supported Richard Nixon, LeMay had become concerned that Nixon would accept nuclear parity with the Soviets and would take a conciliatory approach to Vietnam. LeMay’s association with Wallace was controversial, as the latter was known for his strong support of segregation. After the two were defeated at the polls, LeMay retired from public life and declined further calls to run for office.
LeMay died on October 1, 1990, after a long retirement. He was buried at the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado.
LeMay is best remembered as a military hero who played a major role in the modernization of the U.S. Air Force. For his service and achievements he was awarded numerous medals by the U.S. and other governments, including those of Britain, France, Belgium, and Sweden. LeMay was also inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame.
General Curtis E. LeMay in his Cadillac-Allard sports car. 1956 General Curtis E. LeMay on an African safari with a water buffalo he shot.
Curtis E. LeMay with his wife Helen E. Maitland
Patricia Jane LeMay Lodge
General Curtis E. LeMay at home playing with his dog. General Curtis E. LeMay at home soldering some electrical equipment.
General Curtis E. LeMay wearing Judo garb with expert’s black belt. General Curtis E. LeMay repairing his sports car.
On the night of March 9, 1945, LeMay sent 346 huge B-29 bombers loaded with napalm from the Mariana Islands (Guam, Saipan and Tinian) to Tokyo.
The first planes dropped their incendiaries on the front and back of the target area — like lighting up both ends of a football field at night.
The rest of the planes filled in the middle. More than 16 square miles of Japan’s capital city were gutted, two million people were left homeless, and 100,000 were dead.
It didn’t end there. Washington gave LeMay the green light as his bombers burned 64 more cities.
He used the World Almanac and just went down the list by population. Altogether, an estimated 350,000 people lost their lives.
FDR had accepted a false choice between our ideals and our security when he gave LeMay the go-ahead for the fire-bombing of Tokyo, but lives were saved — American and Japanese. And “no American with a husband, brother or son serving in the military” questioned the methods.
In Europe, the Allied armies of American, British, Canadian and Free French forces were pushing Germany in the west while huge Soviet armies were driving east into Germany. Other Allied troops were pushing northward up through Italy, putting the Nazis into an ever-tighter circle.
In the Pacific, a bloody island-hopping campaign had pushed the Allies to the outer rim of Japan itself. Less than three and a half years after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese homeland was now being bombed.
But the precision bombing campaign that had been ongoing since the summer of 1944, was being put on a side burner while a new and terrible tactic was being tried — firebombing.
On the night of March 9/10, the United States Army Air Forces launched a huge raid of 279 B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers that dropped incendiaries on eastern Tokyo.
By eschewing military targets, and targeting the civilian population of Japan, the raid opened up the great debate over the morality of the U.S.’s actions.
The sheer amount of ordnance dropped made it nigh impossible for civilians to escape.
During the raid, much of eastern Tokyo, which was constructed mainly of wood and paper, was completely destroyed. Japanese anti-aircraft defenses were inadequate as were their civil defense and firefighting units.
The Tokyo Raid, known as “Operation Meetinghouse” was the most destructive raid of the war. Over 90,000 people were killed, with some estimates running as high as 100,000, and more than a million Japanese civilians were displaced. Firebombing became the standard for the U.S. bombing campaign against Japan until the end of the war.
Up until January 1945, the U.S. B-29 raids focused on precision-bombing and in targeting vital military facilities, such as aircraft factories, etc. These raids were largely ineffective, due to high winds at altitude, and problems with the bombers themselves.
The previous commander of the bomber command was relieved and General Curtis LeMay was put in charge. LeMay had seen the damage that was done to Germany in the firebombing of both Dresden and Berlin and the massive devastation that these raids had caused.
LeMay had the B-29s fly at very low levels and drop M69 incendiary bomblets, which were extremely effective at starting uncontrollable fires. These were dropped in clusters and when they hit the ground, a fuze would spray napalm from the unit, which was then ignited.
LeMay decided to have the B-29s attack individually rather than in the standard formation and to do so at night. The fuel savings by going low (each of the wings would fly between 5,000 and 7,000 feet) and individually allowed the B-29s to be able to carry more ordnance.
His planners for the raid decided to target a rectangular area in northeastern Tokyo designated as Zone I which measured approximately four miles by three miles. The target area was divided by the Sumida River and included most of Asakusa, Honjo, and Fukagawa Wards. These wards formed part of the Shitamachi district of Tokyo. While there was little of military value in it, it was the most densely populated area of the city.
“You’re going to deliver the biggest firecracker the Japanese have ever seen,” said LeMay. The B-29s began leaving their bases at 5:35 p.m. local time on March 9. It took two hours and 45 minutes for all of the 325 bombers to get airborne. Conditions over Tokyo were clear but there were high winds over the city with gusts ranging as high as 45 to 65 mph.
These winds would prove to be a bigger thorn for the Japanese Civil Defense teams as the fire would spread even more rapidly.
The attack began at 12:08 a.m. on March 10. Pathfinder bombers armed with M-47 napalm bombs marked the target area in an “X” shape for the follow-on bombers to find their targets. The raid lasted two hours and forty minutes. The visibility, which had been so clear at the beginning of the raid, was poor due to the heavy smoke caused by the fires.
A total of 279 bombers reached the target and dropped their bombs, 19 hit secondary targets, and 27 B-29s turned back for a variety of issues. The Japanese air defense of the city was poor. Anti-aircraft fire was mainly directed high above the bomber formations; night fighters were sortied but their defense was poorly coordinated with the ground and they shot down no bombers. Ground-based AAA shot down only 12 bombers but damaged 42 others. Two were so badly damaged that they were eventually scrapped.
However, the damage brought by the incendiaries was devastating. The heat from the fires below caused massive turbulence over the city for the later attacking formations. The smell of burning flesh was so great that some crews had to wear oxygen masks. Many of the bombers were streaked with ashes from the fires, thousands of feet below them.
On the ground, it was a hellish experience. Within 30 minutes of the start of the attack, the fires had raged out of control. The Japanese Civil Defense units and fire departments gave up trying to fight the massive fires and tried to get the civilian population out of the affected areas. But the strong winds whipped the blazes into a firestorm that consumed nearly the entire northeastern part of Tokyo. Over 600 first responders and 96 fire trucks were consumed in the blaze.
A victim of the Hiroshima bombing lies in a makeshift hospital.
National Archives and Records Administration
Civilians who opted to remain in their homes stood no chance and were consumed. The radio broadcasts urged the population to flee, but for most, it was too late. One group consisting of hundreds of civilians was racing across a bridge towards safety when a bomber dropped an entire load of incendiaries right on top of them. They were instantly burned to death. Some people who made it to the canals died when the fires sucked the oxygen right out of the air and they suffocated.
The firestorm didn’t burn out until the next morning. Over a million people were displaced. The Japanese government didn’t even attempt to restore services to some parts of the city after the raid. More than 79,000 bodies were recovered and most were buried in mass graves. The Tokyo Fire Department gave the total number of casualties as 97,000 dead and 125,000 wounded, although historians 40 years later would argue that the death toll was probably twice that. The firebombing of Tokyo killed more people than the atomic bombs at Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
A group of children and adults left homeless warm their hands over a fire on the outskirts of Hiroshima. Alfred Eisenstaedt/Pix Inc./The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
A total of 267,171 buildings were destroyed, a quarter of all of the buildings in Tokyo. This raid and the others that quickly followed proved to be a big blow to the morale of the Japanese people, who realized that what the government was saying about the war and what was actually happening was vastly different.
The ruins of the city one month after the bombing. Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images
The war would continue for another five months. And Japan wouldn’t surrender until the second atomic bomb was dropped. Thousands more, on both sides, would lose their lives before this happened. A Night of Terror worse than the Atomic bombs: The Tokyo Firebombing (sofrep.com)
A survivor whose skin had been burned in a pattern corresponding with that of the kimono she’d been wearing at the time of the blast.
National Archives and Records Administration
A young Japanese boy stands with a shovel on a street that’s still devastated a full year after the bombing.
A woman cleans up amid the rubble.
An elderly survivor of the blast lies covered with flies in a hospital set up in what was a bank.
CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
The atomic cloud rises 20,000 feet above Hiroshima just after the bomb was dropped.
National Archives and Records Administration
The radiation burns of a Hiroshima survivor.
National Museum of Health and Medicine
The city lies in ruins just days after the bombing.
The April 25, 1988, issue of The New Yorker carried an interview with retired Air Force Reserve Major General and former US Senator from Arizona Barry Goldwater, who said he repeatedly asked his friend General LeMay if he (Goldwater) might have access to the secret “Blue Room” at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, alleged by numerous Goldwater constituents to contain UFO evidence.
According to Goldwater, an angry LeMay gave him “holy hell” and said, “Not only can’t you get into it but don’t you ever mention it to me again.”The New Yorker (April 25, 1988)
To UFO buffs, Gen. LeMay is best known for his role in the anecdote that Senator Barry Goldwater told. Here’s a version of it in a Goldwater letter from April 22, 1980.
Many years ago when I first heard that the Air Force was putting together what materials they could on unidentified flying objects, I asked General Curtis Lemay if I might visit the room at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where these items are stored. He told me in no uncertain terms that I could not visit it and, furthermore, that he could not visit it either. After that I just left it alone and forgot about it. However, I believe that the material has now been spread around into different archives of the Air Force. (File 1980-3 at PresidentialUFO.com)
By 1994, the story was expanded to include Goldwater wanting to know about a captured alien spaceship.
“I called Curtis LeMay and I said, ‘General, I know we have a room at Wright-Patterson where you put all this secret stuff. Could I go in there?’ I’ve never heard him get mad, but he got madder’n Hell at me, cussed me out, and said, ‘Don’t ever ask me that question again!’” Larry King show, 19994, CNN
Second-hand stories are not as good as direct quotes, but over his many years of service, Gen. LeMay didn’t say much about UFOs. What little he did say is worth looking at carefully. An indirect, but on-the-record passage from Saturday Evening Post, May 7, 1949 “What You Can Believe About Flying Saucers” (Conclusion) by Sidney Shalett:
“Lt. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, now the tough-minded Strategic Air Command boss, was particularly rough on saucer reports when he headed up the Air Force’s research-and-development program at the height of the scare.
He put his weather expert on the trail, and substantial proof was uncovered that one out of six of the then current crop of reports could be traced to a certain type of aluminum-covered radar-target balloon then in wide use.
LeMay said nothing for publication, but soon thereafter, when a certain lieutenant colonel gave out a lulu of a story on how he, too, had seen flying saucers, the general rebuked him blisteringly by telegram … and sent it collect.”
Two military celebrities were invited as guests of honor to festivities in Tucson, Arizona, Curtis LeMay and General Roger Ramey, famous in ufology for being involved in a 1947 New Mexico flying saucer misidentification case.
|LeMay, (L) and Ramey|
Top Officers Of Air Force Tucson Guests
Two of the U. S. air force’s top officers, Lt. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay and Maj. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, fly into Tucson today for a weekend as special guests of Davis-Monthan base and the Tucson Chamber of Commerce…
Highlights of their visit include… a box of honor at La’ Fiesta de los Vaqueros (Tucson Rodeo) Sunday afternoon.”
|La’ Fiesta de los Vaqueros|
Eight years later, a comment made that weekend by Gen. LeMay on flying saucers was resurrected, in a story titled, “Maybe There Is A Santa Claus?” Summarized here from Loren Gross’ UFOs: A History 1958 March – April:
The Arizona Daily Star printed: “When, in an interview here in Tucson, Sen. Barry Goldwater said he believed in flying saucers, he presumed something that his boss in the Air Force, Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Curtis Le May, former chief of the Strategic Air Force, once denied in an interview in Tucson a few years ago.
At that time, when General Le May was asked if he thought there was such a thing as flying saucers, his answer to the Arizona Daily Star was: ‘Of course I do, they were first discovered by the Egyptians more than 2,000 years ago.’
He then went on to explain that every incident of flying saucers had been investigated by the Air Force, and that in each case a reasonable explanation was found that completely discredited the existence of any such things as flying saucers.” (Arizona Daily Star, April 11, 1958)
That is one of the most confusing articles we’ve ever seen on UFOs, but further research reveals it to be a seriously mangled misquote of what LeMay had said. Closer to the truth is the Associated Press story run at the time in the Arizona Republic, Monday, February 27, 1950, Page 4, and rerun the next day, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 1950, Page 12
Gen. Curtis LeMay, asked what he thought about flying saucers, replied:
“The best information in my opinion on them is to be found in a book written by an Englishman explaining numerous such mysteries. He says that the first flying saucers were seen in Egypt about the year 3,000 B. C.”
The article closes with some more of his comments, clarifying his position:
LeMay said the air force took the matter seriously enough to make a thorough scientific investigation at Wright Field, Dayton, O. This investigation, he said, showed that there was some other explanation, like a weather balloon or a meteor, where the witnesses were telling the truth. “And,” he added, “some other witnesses were just lying in giving their testimony.”
|Arizona Republic, Feb. 28, 1950|
Interesting quote, but despite the fact that almost any mention of saucers was newsworthy, it didn’t catch on at the time.
LeMay wasn’t prepared for a press conference, and may have just been speaking off the top of his head. There were no (non-fiction) books published on flying saucers until later in 1950, and it was even later before skeptical ones appeared. It’s most likely he used the phrase “flying saucer” in the generic context as an aerial anomaly. However, the “explaining such mysteries” part is odd, too, since most books on weird things were more about exploitation than explanation.
Major Donald Keyhoe’s famous article “The Flying Saucers are Real” in TRUE Magazine dated January 1950 suggested that saucers had been coming here for centuries, and that was evidence they were real, spacecraft here to observe us.
“… True found that such reports have been recorded for more than 175 years… Advocates of the ‘long observation’ theory believe that only a few round trips by space visitors have been made in the past, because of the travel time required.”
LeMay’s quote seems intended to say just the opposite, that people have been seeing unknown things in the sky since at least as far back as 3,000 B.C., meteors, comets and other natural occurrences. LeMay was saying, the flying saucers are not real.
Whose Book did LeMay cite?
The last part of LeMay’s remarks about the Air Force saying there was standard policy, but not the part about Egypt. There’s no reference in the Project Blue Book files to anything similar. What book? “ … written by an Englishman explaining numerous such mysteries.”
There was a piece in a 1947 science fiction magazine published by Ray Palmer that connected Egypt with saucers. It’s an interesting footnote, but not connected to LeMay’s comment. The artwork for the story carried the blurb, “Will the ancient gods of Egypt and other lost civilizations come back in time to avert an atom war?” From “Son of the Sun.” by Millen Cooke (as Alexander Blade) illustrated by James Settles.
Egypt? Many early flying saucer articles looked back a few centuries comparing other aerial mysteries to saucers, and a few even connected them to the Bible, like the wheel described in the Book of Ezekiel. In fact, that’s the only reference to ancient times in Edward J. Ruppelt,’s 1956 on the AF’s investigation, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects:
“Did UFO reports actually start in 1947? We had spent a great deal of time trying to resolve this question. Old newspaper files, journals, and books that we found in the Library of Congress contained many reports of odd things being seen in the sky as far back as Biblical times. The old Negro spiritual says, ‘Ezekiel saw a wheel ‘way up in the middle of the air.’ We couldn’t substantiate Ezekiel’s sighting because many of the very old reports of odd things observed in the sky could be explained as natural phenomena that weren’t fully understood in those days.”
Asking around, I’ve gotten a number of suspects, but most authors didn’t fit the timing; only books published prior to Feb. 1950 could work. What follows are the best candidates located that remain as possibilities.
In May of 1948 RAND was separated from Douglas Aircraft and became its own operating entity. Among RAND’s earliest government reports was the release of the enigmatically titled, “Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship.”
LeMay expressed deep interest and concern about the flying saucer phenomena. More than this, LeMay himself was a keeper of the purported 1947 Roswell UFO crash debris.
This was revealed in a stunningly candid interview with the late U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater. Goldwater (a former U.S. Presidential Candidate, Major General and Command Pilot) was General LeMay’s professional associate and close friend. LeMay’s UFO involvement was related by Goldwater in a live worldwide broadcast with CNN’s Larry King in 1994. The USAF had just issued its report that debunked the Roswell crash of 1947 as a Mogul balloon. Goldwater (who died just a few years later) informed King that he knew the truth to be far different.
He knew this, he explained, because in the 1960’s he had approached LeMay about the crashed UFO issue. Goldwater – who no doubt himself held the highest security clearances – told Larry King:
“I think at Wright-Patterson, if you could get into certain places, you’ll find what the Air Force and the government knows about UFOs. Reportedly, a spaceship landed. It was all hushed up. I called Curtis LeMay and I said, ‘General, I know we have a room at Wright-Patterson where you put all of this secret stuff. Could I go in there? I’ve never heard General LeMay get mad, but he got madder than hell at me, cussed me out and said, ‘Don’t ever ask me that question again!” Goldwater never did. https://www.ufoexplorations.com/deep-secrets-of-ufo-think-tank
The Air Medal that Curtis LeMay was awarded.
General and Vice-Presidential candidate Curtis LeMay holds hands with his running-mate American politician George Wallace, the American Independent Party candidate for the United States presidency, at a campaign rally during the 1968 United States presidential race at Madison Square Garden on October 25, 1968.
Wars of aggression are one of the defining characteristics of the United States of America, the country having been at war for about 235 of its 245 years as a nation.
During the past 200 years, there remain only three insignificant nations that the US has not invaded, destroyed, sanctioned, bankrupted, interfered grotesquely with in elections, launched massive terrorist or biological attacks against, or otherwise brutalized.
Americans (and others) may be surprised to learn that the US has never installed a democratic government in any country, anywhere, ever.
Instead , in more than 50 instances, the US has forcibly overthrown a peaceful and legitimate government and installed a brutal psychopathic killer-dictator.
US military is a bigger polluter than as many as 140 countries
“We sent Marines into Lebanon, and you only have to go to Lebanon, to Syria or to Jordan to witness first-hand the intense hatred among many people for the United States because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers – women and children and farmers and housewives – in those villages around Beirut. As a result of that, we became kind of a Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful”. Former US President Jimmy Carter
American Political & Military Leaders are Psychopaths…
American Air Force general who implemented a controversial strategic bombing campaign in the Pacific theater of World War II. He later served as Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, from 1961 to 1965.
Curtis LeMay also known as Curtis Emerson LeMay, Old Iron Pants, The Demon, Bombs Away LeMay, The Big Cigar