November 17, 1997
"Nearly thirty years ago, my Supervising Sergeant called me aside and informed me that there was a technical problem in a highly-classified area elsewhere on the Air Base. At that time, all systems were expanding to support increased military efforts for the Viet Nam War. As a part of that, it was my job to support and maintain highly-classified Intelligence and Reconnaissance-related Electronic Photographic Systems, recently installed in a new Top Secret facility on the Base. Our unit was under the command of the Director of Intelligence at Headquarters SAC, Tactical Air Command, Langley Field, Virginia.
My Supervisor stated that the Lunar Orbiter program had encountered a problem with an Electronic Photographic Contact Printer, identical to equipment that was utilized in the darkrooms of our own Unit. This was the first Lunar Orbiter program, the purpose of which was to bring back the first close-up pictures of the surface of the Moon. These photos would later be utilized to select an appropriate landing site for the first manned landing on the Moon, in 1969. As the only Electronics Repairman on the Base with a Cryptologic Security Clearance, a step above Top Secret, I was being loaned to the project to see if I could resolve the system problem. More than excited at the prospect of helping out and possibly having a chance to view the first close up photos of the surface of the Moon, I was briefed on security, and gathered the appropriate equipment and tools for the task.
Driving across the Base on the perimeter access road that skirted the flat dusty fields and long runways in the distance, I noticed an experimental Helicopter hovering fly-like in the air just above and to the south of the massive arching metal-grey hanger, one of the largest on the base that housed the Lunar Orbiter project.
Upon entering the hanger, I was asked to present my Top Secret Identity Badge, in exchange for their internal higher-level Identity Badge; this was to be worn around the neck on a chain. Another guard escorted me through a series of security doors to an expansive open area within the hanger. Large black fabric curtains hung from a metal grid suspended from the ceiling. These, in effect, cordoned off various working areas within the larger space. Passing through one of the draped areas, I entered a large open space where people in small groups stood talking quietly, with a sense of seriousness and concern. I was immediately struck by the number of people who were present, who appeared to be civilians, and also some scientists from other countries. With a bit of instant shock and judgement, I thought to my self, why are they here? I had a very strange feeling - a feeling that something is off here, something is not quite right.
I was introduced to a man dressed in civilian clothes and a lab coat, the head of the project, a Dr. Collie, I believe. In a very gracious and reserved manner, bringing to mind an image of Sherlock Holmes, he softly conveyed to me that the equipment in question was holding up the processing of the first close-up photographs of the surface of the Moon and also delaying the release of photos to be provided for study and release to the world, and how grateful the program staff would be if there was anything that I could do.
An Airman escorted me into a darkroom. Inside, another young Airman assembled strips of high resolution 35mm film into what is called a mosaic. He was placing side-by-side successively numbered photographic scans of the lunar surface, which had been transmitted back to earth from the Lunar Orbiter. Each surface scan covered a narrow band of terrain, and successive orbits around the Moon were required to assemble a complete photographic image of the Lunar terrain.
The mosaic negative created by that process was then placed into a Resolution Enhancing Contact Printer. Photographic paper was placed on top of the negative, and an exposure begun. The negative was scanned by an electron light beam generated by a large Cathode Ray Tube, similar to the tube in a black and white Televison set. The light beam was picked up by a photo-multiplier tube and, through a feedback loop, modulated by the various changes in density of the photographic negative, enhancing the contrast, brightness and resolution of the image in the process. The resulting 9.5 inch by 18 inch high resolution contact print was then examined by a photographic interpreter or scientist, who viewed the images under a microscopic type viewer, analyzing the features and terrain of the Lunar landscape.
Left alone in the faint red light of the darkroom with the Airman and equipment, much of which I had never seen before, I began to question the technician, attempting to discern what the problem might be with the ailing contact printer. After a few minutes of investigation, it was clear that there was a problem with the electronic control circuitry, which was comprised of several small plug-in circuit modules. Having no spare parts on hand, it was clear that I would have to trouble-shoot each module on a component-by-component basis, a very tedious and time consuming process at best. This was something that could not be done in the faint red light of a darkroom. The unit would have to be removed from the darkroom and taken into a more appropriate space to allow for the accomplishment of the task.
Talking with the Airman on the other side of the room, questions floated into my head. I was curious and fascinated with the whole process. How were the signals from the Lunar Orbiter transmitted to the lab? How where they converted into images on photographic film? How were the images correlated and aligned into the final mosaic negative. I knew these were all questions that I should not ask, and yet, at the same time, I was alone with an Airman who was as obviously as enthusiastic as I was about his job.
Under normal operating conditions, many other people would have been in the lab, part of the assembly line of production. But, here we were all alone, so I began to ask all those questions. After about thirty minutes of technical discussion and a complete rundown on all the steps in the process, the Airman turned to me and said candidly, "You know they've discovered a base on the back side of the Moon!". I said, "What do you mean?", and again he said, "They have discovered a base on the Moon!" and, surrepticiously, at the same time dropped a photograph in front of me. There it was, a mosaic print of the surface of the Moon, with some sort of geometric structures clearly visible. Scrutinizing the image, I could see spheres and towers. My first thought was, "Whose base is it?" Then I realized the full implication: it was not anyone of this earth.
I did not dwell on the photograph - I quickly took it in visually and moved away in case someone else should enter the lab. I knew that I had been given a gift, information that I should not have seen. With my *position* being that of a dutiful Airman, I asked no further questions and went about my business, quietly thinking to myself that I couldn't wait to hear about this on the News in the next few days! I told myself, do whatever you can to get this thing fixed...so the world can see this and hear about it!
Two days of labors paid off - a tiny diode on one of the circuit cards had shorted. Replacing the defective component, I was as surprised as anyone that I had found the problem. Dr. Collie was more than pleased and offered several of the first photographs of the Lunar surface to me in appreciation of my efforts. As he autographed some of the prints for me, I longed to ask more questions about the Moon Base, but knew that that was forbidden, and that I would have to wait for the evening News for the answers, along with the rest of the world.
Now, here it is more than thirty years later, and I am still waiting to hear the report on the Evening News of what was found on the back side of the Moon.
I feel that it is my moral obligation to take the risk *of coming* forward with this information at this time, especially after a recent request by Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who has asked that those who have information which could help shed light on the ongoing cover-up of an Extraterrestrial Presence by the Military and Government come forward with that information."