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(originally published Dec 2010)

Interplanetary UFO


Over six decades ago, the leaders who commanded our nation's Army had reached a stunning conclusion about the unknown vehicles that were flying with impunity over the world's skies. Based on their studies and observations, they had determined that some of these vehicles were in fact arriving from other planets. These UFO files have been confirmed as authentic by the US Government. Decades later however, they remain secret and unavailable to the public. The distinguished military leaders that have been implicated in this hidden UFO project include such historical figures as General Douglas MacArthur, General George C. Marshall, and General Charles A. Willoughby.



Some thirty years ago the late researcher Richard Hall (who was associated with the UFO civilian research groups MUFON and NICAP) had become aware of the existence of a US Army military unit that was active in the 1940s and 1950s. Through his research and sources he had determined that the name of this study unit was the "Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit" or IPU. Ultimately the US Government itself would be forced to agree that they too had "institutional memory" of such UFO studies that were conducted by this illusive Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit.


On September 6 1980, Hall filed a formal request under FOIA to the US Army. His was the first-ever FOIA requesting details on the IPU. Hall received a reply from the Office of the Chief of Staff for Intelligence. The next two significant FOIA requests came in the following years. Former researcher William Steinman received somewhat more detailed answers about the IPU from the same office on May 16, 1984. Still later, on March 12, 1987, the Army responded to author and researcher Timothy Good's request for additional information on the Unit.


These eye-opening documents are available for review here:

US Army patch

The US Army has made some rather startling official admissions about the IPU. We learn from information that has been collectively culled from these three documents that:

  • The US Army confirms that within their Department of Counterintelligence there was in fact an "Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit" or IPU


  • The IPU was "disestablished" in the late 1950's


  • The IPU records were "surrendered" to the Air Force (AFOSI) in conjunction with Project Blue Book (confirming that the IPU dealt with the UFO phenomenon)

  • The unit was an "in-house project" as an "interest item" for an unnamed Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence


  • The unit (they claim) lacked formal "function, mission or authority"


  • It is only through "institutional memory" that the Army knows of the IPU's existence


The Army's sparse responses to these researchers are disingenuous and internally inconsistent. And it was only after repeated inquiries over many years that the Army offered these tacit admissions about the IPU. They concur that there was an IPU – but they minimize its import and claim that they essentially know nothing more about it. They contradict themselves on this by revealing that the files did relate to UFOs (as they indicate that they were released to the Air Force's Project Blue Book). But they do not say under whose auspices this was done, nor how they know this to be so. And they tell us when the unit was "disestablished", but they will not indicate just how they know this to be true. They somehow know when the IPU ended, but they offer nothing about when it was established.


They said that it is through "institutional memory" that they know of the IPU. Their use of the phrase "institutional memory" is more than curious. "Institutional memory" is defined as the "facts, concepts and experiences that are held by a group of people over time." It transcends any one person – and it also requires the ongoing transmission of information within a group. The Army essentially admits that there are those within its ranks who remembered or had knowledge of the IPU.


So just who is it within the US Army and Air Force who knows about the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit? What was said about the IPU – and who said it? The Army isn't saying.


And there are other very serious inconsistencies found in their FOIA replies about the IPU. Though they maintain that the IPU files were given to the Air Force's Project Blue Book, strangely there is no mention whatsoever of the IPU within the Blue Book archives! Moreover, former Blue Book Spokesperson Col. Bill Coleman, when questioned, said of the IPU that he had "never heard of it." And AFOSI itself has never released IPU files, though the Army maintains that is where they reside.


And the very term "Unit" in military parlance always reflects the involvement of more that one official. So there was necessarily a group of such Army officials that considered the phenomenon to originate off-planet, not simply one individual as the Army implies.


It took FOIA requests spanning over a decade to obtain any substantial details on IPU from the Army. It was not until the 1990's (see below) that the government then claimed that the IPU records were "destroyed." It took working through several different responders to FOIA requests to eke out "tidbits" of information about the IPU. And even then these tidbits were parsed out in increments. Officials ultimately resorted to having to say that the IPU records were just "gone."


It is now abundantly clear that the government is not being completely forthcoming about the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit. The Army and the Air Force are pawning off responsibility for the IPU records on each other. It is evident that this obfuscation is purposeful and deliberate: If they were truthful and open, they would have to admit that from very early on, our nation's military and intelligence leaders had concluded that UFOs were from other planets.



The civilian UFO research organization CUFON got "cookie cutter" responses to their dogged FOIA efforts to learn more about the IPU. They began an effort to locate records on the IPU in 1992. Five years later (in 1997) they reported that they had filed 20 FOIA requests and follow-up letters to the Army and related organizations. They determined that no matter what new information or additional sources that they provided about the Unit – and no matter what Agency they sent FOIA requests to – they were receiving back identically-worded, canned replies. They concluded that valid record searches were not being made and that this was in violation of FOIA law. Somehow these government agencies had collaborated together to develop standardized FOIA replies to requests about the IPU. The government was now apparently exasperated and no longer even attempted to offer direct responses to specific questions about the IPU.


Incredibly – after years of others trying to get even an admission that there were IPU records – CUFON received a reply from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) claiming that the IPU material "had been destroyed" at some point in the past. However the Air Force could not (or would not) say who destroyed the files or why – and they did not offer any authority or source to CUFON for making such a claim. And this contradicts the findings of another researcher (see below) who found that the records were never marked "destroyed." And of course it contradicts the earliest FOIA responses about the IPU that hedged about "if any" records existed. It is of course inconceivable that such documents by such high-ranking military men would simply be destroyed without proper authority and without direct orders.



The Defense Central Index of Investigations (DCII) is a very little-known arm of the US Department of Defense. It is an "automated control index" that identifies and reports on investigations that have been conducted by all of the Department of Defense investigative agencies. This military and intelligence data center is one of the most complex and comprehensive in existence.


By the early 1980s, the late researcher John Frick of Melbourne, FL had become aware of a computer printout that was generated by the DCII that had related some historical UFO sightings and investigations, including those made under General Douglas MacArthur's command. The listing of sightings had curiously ended the very year that MacArthur had left the South West Pacific Area Command. The first line of the short printout read: "01 INTERPLANETARY PHENOMENON UNIT" and the column which shows "DESTROYED" has been left blank.

Frick expanded on this in an article that appeared in the August 7, 1982 edition of The News World, the predecessor paper to the New York Tribune. His research had shown that in 1945, General MacArthur began an unusual project. He and others had started to compile and analyze reports of unidentified objects in areas under his command that were flying in the

skies over the Philippines and Japan. MacArthur's UFO investigations may have continued through 1951 or later. Frick also indicated that MacArthur himself had a sighting at Clark Field in the Philippines, of what MacArthur was certain was an alien vehicle. MacArthur had determined that some of these anomalous flying objects were of interplanetary origin. The IPU project – and MacArthur and his colleagues' conclusions – had unfortunately been censored and they likely never made their way to Truman.


Frick indicated that one of his sources, the former AFOSI Agent Rudolph M. Schellhammer (now deceased), revealed to him that MacArthur's IPU files were transferred in 1962 to AFOSI. This author has confirmed that Rudolph Schellhammer was indeed a deep-cover AFOSI agent, in consulting with the Association of Former OSI Special Agents. The organization is a highly selective society of former Top-Secret-cleared agents that numbers just 114 members. Schellhammer was inducted into their Hall of Fame.


Remarkably, General MacArthur is quoted in 1955 in The New York Times, speaking to a university audience: "The nations of the world will have to unite – for the next war will be an interplanetary war. The nations of the earth must someday make a common front against attack from people from other planets." MacArthur expressed a very similar sentiment in remarks that he delivered when speaking at West Point Military Academy in 1962.


MacArthur's use of the word "interplanetary" is very telling in light of the fact that it is the very name of this alleged project, the "Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit." He continues with this "interplanetary" clue with the use of his extraordinary phrase "people from other planets." Was he hinting to history about his involvement in the suppressed "Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit"?


The Army claimed that the IPU was an "interest item" for an unnamed "Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence" within the Army. General Douglas MacArthur's Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence was Colonel Charles A. Willoughby. Willoughby was later made Chief of MacArthur's Intelligence Staff. Willoughby and MacArthur were close for decades and Willoughby was ultimately elevated to the rank of Major General.


General Willoughby was at one time acquainted with Army Colonel Philip Corso, controversial Roswell embellisher. Perhaps Corso "picked up" some shreds of truth about the Roswell UFO crash from Willoughby and later enlarged on them. Willoughby was also known to have personally investigated UFO incidents long after he left the Army in the early 1950's and had retired to Naples, FL.


Was MacArthur working in tandem with Willoughby – or was Willoughby perhaps used as "cover" by MacArthur for his own UFO studies? This may be why a FOIA response from the Army to one researcher alluded to the IPU being associated with an unnamed "Army Assistant Director of Intelligence" during the time period. It is on purpose that they did not mention Willoughby by name, nor his boss, General Douglas MacArthur himself.


And author and researcher Timothy Good states that his sources had indicated that the IPU was actually not under the direct command of General Douglas MacArthur – but rather by someone from even higher headquarters. Good contends that it was in fact MacArthur's immediate superior General George C. Marshall (the Chief of Staff of the Army and later US Secretary of Defense) that had directed MacArthur's interplanetary UFO studies.



These US Army studies on the UFO phenomenon may have been (as the Army suggests today) a "private affair" amongst high-ranking military and intelligence leaders. Perhaps such a "revealing" designation as the "Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit" was only "privately" used – and was only very selectively ever mentioned. It is possible that this was the concealed, "in-house" term for the project and that it referred to a body of studies and files that were less suggestively named – but that had nonetheless determined that the nature of the phenomenon was interplanetary. Whatever the case, the unit's work remains hidden.

Even today the US Army and Air Force is suppressing the release of these early UFO studies. It is vital that they be made public. They have not been "destroyed"

as is now claimed. We must know on what basis our early military and intelligence leaders had concluded that the unknown vehicles traversing the skies were piloted by the unearthly.


A more "direct" method is being taken by this author to ascertain the truth about the Army's secret studies that will not be using further FOIA requests. It is hoped that this fresh approach to unraveling the IPU mystery will reveal just why these eminent warriors had determined that some UFOs had arrived from another world.

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