Area 51, A History and Update

Dennis Balthaser's Editorial for November 2002

Searching for the Truth

(Always Telling the Truth, Means Never Having to Remember Anything)


Area 51, A History and Update:

For a place that doesn't officially exist, Area 51 has been referred to by a lot of names over the years. Some of those names included; GroomLake, Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Watertown Strip, the Box, the Pig Farm and several others. Many people do not know how or when Area 51 came into existence in the Nevada desert some 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas Nevada. Most people believe it was a military base, when in fact it was originally opened by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency).

President Truman through the National Security Act of 1947 set up both the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency. Back then, the Director of the CIA answered directly to the President. In 1949 the CIA Act was passed which stipulated that not only would the CIA's activities be classified but that it's budget would also be classified. The U. S. Government could also deny any responsibility for the CIA's activities should they be exposed.

After World War II the United States was very concerned about whether the Soviet Union had developed an atomic bomb. One way to find out would be to over fly the Soviet Union in a high altitude aircraft equipped with cameras. Lockheed's Kelly Johnson designed such an aircraft and went directly to the CIA with it. Normally such aircraft would have been test flown at Edwards Air Force Base, but with the security required for such a top-secret project as this, it was decided to look for a new secure site somewhere in the Southwest. A dozen sites were looked at before deciding on Groom Lake, Nevada, adjacent to the Nevada Test site. The area which was previously controlled by the Atomic Energy Commission for testing atomic weapons was expanded to include Groom Lake and by July 1955 the CIA had its secret base. A fake construction firm "CLJ" was formed to oversee the construction on the base mostly done by sub-contractors to build hangars, a mile long runway, ramps, control tower, mess hall and other required structures.

The airplane designed by Kelly was known as the "Aquatone" by the CIA, and as "Angel" by Lockheed. The first prototype was called "Article 341", and flown to Groom Lake in a transport plane on July 24, 1955. Eventually that aircraft became known as the U-2.

The thing to remember about the inception of Area 51 is that it was not an Air Force base, but rather that Lockheed and the CIA were in charge, not the military. Pilots were recruited from the F-84 pilots with top-secret clearances from SAC bases. If they became U-2 pilots they resigned from the Air Force and became CIA employees.

The first mission over the Soviet Union took place on July 4, 1956, and the missions were quite effective due to their speed and high altitude capabilities, until May 1, 1960 when Francis Gary Powers was shot down by a Soviet missile, captured and forced to confess to spying. That same day the first American spy satellite film was retrieved which showed more information about the Soviet Union than all the previous U-2 flights combined. The satellites however did not put an end to spy planes developed and test flown at Area 51.

With Project Oxcart, which eventually became the SR-71, a longer runway was needed and in fact a small town was built for the support personnel assigned there.

The Stealth project began in 1973 and was referred to as "Project Harvey". Because of the flat surfaces on the plane to reflect radar away from their source, such as the appearance of facets on a diamond, Lockheed named the project "the Hopeless Diamond". It was renamed "Have Blue" when the prototypes began arriving at Area 51 in 1977 for testing.

Other aircraft that have been test flown at Area 51 include the A-10, A-12, B-1 and the B-2. Captured foreign aircraft are also flown there such as the MIG-21. Under development and being test flown there today are such names as the TR-3A Black Manta, the Pumpkin Seed and the Aurora. Within the last few years, contrails have been seen that leave a trail that look like "doughnuts on a rope" which is believed to be a pulsating propulsion system, possibly from the Aurora.

Several researchers have indicated that the crashed saucer from Roswell, originally taken to Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio in 1947, may be at Area 51 today. Other reports indicate that Area 51 has as many as 22 levels below ground and the secret base was brought to the forefront involving UFOs when Bob Lazar claimed to have been there to back engineer a UFO propulsion system in another area of the base known as S-4 at Papoose Lake. No real evidence of this has come to light and Lazar has been seriously questioned on his credibility.

Like Lt Col. Corso, co-author of "the Day After Roswell" whom I met on three separate occasions, and several of the Roswell witnesses, Lazar is one of those types that I'd like to believe, but cannot without a significantly more amount of verification of his claims. Credibility, verification and validity remain the cornerstones of UFO research.

Rumors have been rampant for sometime that the base is or has moved. That's just not true, as one of my sources has recently informed me that a new gigantic water storage tank has recently been constructed at Area 51. Employees are moved around from base to base when their projects are completed, so the number of employees at the base varies from time to time depending on what projects are being done there. Daytime stealth is one of things we believe currently being tested at the base. If successful it would make the surface of an aircraft appear invisible by taking on the appearance of the background.

Each year the President of the United States issues a Presidential Determination pertaining to classified information concerning the Air Force's Operating Location near Groom Lake, Nevada. Basically that determination states that "information concerning activities at Groom Lake have been properly determined to be classified, and disclosure would be harmful to National Security. Continued protection of this information is therefore in the paramount interest of the United States".

As a tax payer who has helped pay for the base over the years, I certainly would be disturbed if the base were shut down or moved, particularly after being lied to about it's existence in the first place for many years. I do have very mixed emotions about Area 51 however, as I look at it as a "catch 22" situation. As a world leader our country needs a location to test newly developed aircraft and other technology, because we certainly don't want our advisories knowing what we're developing, but if alien craft or beings are being kept there, I think we deserve to know it. Because of the governments past record I am highly suspicious that they are hiding something other than the development of new aircraft. As recently as 1995 the Department of the Interior withdrew 4000 acres of BLM land from public access creating an even larger buffer zone to prevent the public from seeing any activities at Groom Lake. This means the area of land incorporated into Area 51 is now the size of Connecticut and the restricted airspace above the base, encloses almost a thousand square miles.

Security at the base continues to be some of the most stringent of anywhere in the world. I have been told that security is handled by ASI (not Wackenhut anymore) and in addition to the white Grand Cherokees we have heard about for years, they now use Ford and Chevy pickup trucks also. Highly sophisticated sensing devices are still in place as well, using camera's, motion detectors and sensor's that can determine the difference between human and animal odors and perspiration. F-16's and black un-marked helicopter gun ships fly around the perimeter of the base to keep the curious out. The signs posted still say "the use of deadly force is authorized" and they mean what they say.

So for those of you that have thought that our government can't keep secrets, I've just presented you with a few examples of some secrets they have kept at least at Area 51. The base (with a land area the size of the state of Connecticut) existed under the control of the CIA for some 25 or 30 years before anything public was acknowledged about it's existence. Today we are told that a base exists there, but nothing else. We found out about the stealth F-117 during the Gulf War in 1991, whereas it had been test flown at Area 51 in 1977 under the name "Have Blue" and it's development had begun in 1973.

With the other projects going on at Area 51 including radioactive projects, and the fact that as a taxpayer I'm helping to fund these projects, I feel you and I have every right to be suspicious and should continue to seek whatever information we can about what is taking place at this base.

I highly recommend web site to anyone with an interest in Area 51.

Dennis G. Balthaser
Web site:

[UFOINFO thanks Dennis G. Balthaser for granting permission to use this editorial]

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