Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Maj. Dewey J. Fournet: The Man Who Knew Too Much But Not Enough

"On the other hand, I'm positive that the public was frequently fed misleading statistics and examples of reports that were atypical, intended only to make the subject appear to be entirely asinine." -- Dewey J. Fournet, Jr.

Dewey J. Fournet, Jr. at last found time to answer my list of questions (see), and his razor-sharp responses reminded me of his importance to the U.S. government UFO investigation in the early fifties. I think we tend to hear more about Al Chop and Capt. Edward Ruppelt when famous UFO incidents of those years come to mind, but, all things considered, Maj. Fournet ran the show. The true chain of command for Project Blue Book (see chart from "U.F.O." movie publicity photo) clearly indicates Fournet's role (though it would have been nice if those responsible for painting signs for the movie knew how to spell "liaison"). Too bad he never wrote the intended book he mentions in his cover letter (see); his memoir could have been far more than substantial.

Fournet's gradual acceptance of UFOs as a legitimate subject for study wasn't quite as clear-cut as Chop's feeling that perhaps an extraterrestrial intelligence was responsible, but Fournet did come to believe that something disturbing was afoot, and that its unknown identity demanded military cognizance and scientific investigation. In re-reading Fournet's 1976 answers, I find sections where his words almost seem dismissive of the UFO subject, but then he follows up with rock-solid thinking portraying him as anything but. I only knew Dewey (since deceased) through correspondence, but I immediately had the impression that he was an absolutely no-nonsense man and I've no doubts that he treated his role as a military intelligence officer with utter conviction.

Like Chop, Fournet wanted an all-out scientific investigation and, also like Chop, knew from the get-go that the Colorado University UFO project was a disaster. Both men had worked with the UFO organization NICAP in an effort to focus public and congressional attention on the serious matter of UFOs, but ultimately each departed NICAP and abandoned their attempts because misinformation and unscrupulous people associating themselves with the UFO field created contempt and ridicule amongst many of the very scientists and congressional members whose expertise and influence were so desperately needed.