Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. (born Leslie Lynch
King, Jr.; July 14, 1913 December 26, 2006) was
the 38th President of the United States, serving from
1974 to 1977, and prior to this, was the 40th Vice President
of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974. He was
the first person appointed to the Vice Presidency under
the terms of the 25th Amendment, after Spiro Agnew resigned.
When he became president upon Richard Nixon's resignation
on August 9, 1974, he became the first and to date only
person to have served as both Vice President and President
of the United States without being elected by the Electoral
College. Before ascending to the Vice Presidency, Ford
served nearly 25 years as the Representative from Michigan's
5th congressional district, eight of them as the Republican
38th President of the United States
President, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, marking a
move toward détente in the Cold War. With the conquest
of South Vietnam by North Vietnam nine months into his
presidency, U.S. involvement in Vietnam essentially ended.
Domestically, Ford presided over the worst economy in
the four decades since the Great Depression, with growing
inflation and a recession during his tenure. One of his
more controversial acts was to grant a presidential pardon
to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate
scandal. During Ford's incumbency, foreign policy was
characterized in procedural terms by the increased role
Congress began to play, and by the corresponding curb
on the powers of the President. In 1976, Ford defeated
Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination, but narrowly
lost the presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
his years as president, Ford remained active in the Republican
Party. After experiencing health problems, Ford died in
his home on December 26, 2006. Ford lived longer than
any other U.S. president, living 93 years and 165 days,
while his 895-day presidency remains the shortest of all
presidents who did not die in office.
early 1966, Fords home state of Michigan experienced
a variety of fascinating UFO sightings. These incidents,
regrettably, became popularly known as the "swamp
gas" sightings, although former Air Force consultant
J. Allen Hynek only intended marsh gas as a probable explanation
for reports in a couple of areas.
then a Michigan congressman and Minority Leader of the
House of Representatives, became outraged with the Air
Forces investigation of the reports. In addition,
his office was deluged with letters, telegrams and phone
calls from anxious constituents and UFO observers who
demanded that the official investigation should itself
March 25, 1966, the first of two important Ford press
releases appeared. The minority leader was calling for
a full Congressional UFO inquiry. On March 28, yet another
press release surfaced; attached was a copy of a letter
Ford was sending to the Chairman of the House Science
and Astronautics Committee, and the House Armed Services
Fords wishes were unmistakably clear. He wanted
a Congressional inquiry, and quickly.
Michigan Congressman got his wish. On April 5, 1966, Congress
held an open hearing on UFOs, an unprecedented move. While
the hearing failed to accomplish as much as it might have,
it produced an Air Force promise that arrangements would
be made for an impartial, civilian investigation.
October 7, 1966, the Air Force announced that the University
of Colorado would undertake an open-ended UFO study, free
of government influence.
the May 14, 1968 issue of Look Magazine, author John G.
Fuller exposed the Colorado University "investigation"
as the farce that it actually was. Fuller, leaving no
room for doubt, listed so much evidence of the absurdities
and ever-present negative attitude of the supposedly open-minded
Project Director (the late Dr. Edward U. Condon), that
a total waste of over a half million tax dollars was obvious.
Look piece, entitled "Flying Saucer Fiasco,"
also included a statement by the then-Director of the
National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena
(a civilian UFO agency), Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe (USMC,
ret.). Keyhoe announced that NICAP would no longer support
Colorado's work because of its apparent bias against the
Ford was familiar with the Look article and he, like many
disillusioned Americans, fully realized that the UFO investigation
he worked so diligently to get was in serious trouble.