While scouring Max Miller’s booklet, Flying Saucers: Fact or Fiction [Trend Books, 1957], pictured here, I found a segment on the 1952 NATO military exercise called Operation Mainbrace:
You can read about the operation via this Wikipedia link:
And a wonderfully thorough exegesis by Brit folklorist David Clarke of some UFO aspects that allegedly happened during the exercise here:
In the Miller book, Chapter Six, on Page 75, Miller offers commentary from Edward Ruppelt’s The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects wherein Captain Ruppelt reports that an American press photographer, Wallace Litwin, who was taking color photographs of the operation while aboard the USS Franklin Roosevelt when he and some of the crew spotted “ … a silver sphere moving across the sky just behind a fleet of ships.”
Ruppelt wrote, “The object appeared to be large enough to show up in a photo, so the reporter took several pictures” that were developed right away and turned out to be excellent. [Litwin] had gotten the superstructure of the carrier in each one and judging by the size of the object in each successive photo, one could see that it was moving rapidly.”
The consensus, at the time, was that the object was a balloon, but “Naval Intelligence (which I think is where one will find more about the UFO phenomenon than in the Air Force files), double-checked, triple-checked and quadruple-checked every ship near the carrier, but they could find no one who had launched the UFO [meaning the balloon I assume].
[Italics are my commentary, not Ruppelt’s.]
Miller writes, “For some reason these three priceless, authenticated color photographs of an unidentified object – in action – have never been published. Why?”
I recall, vaguely, a photograph of an ill-defined light source in the clouds being passed around the UFO community as one of the photos taken by Litwin.
A YouTube video of The History Channel’s take, with UFO hunter/researcher Bill Birnes, on the Mainbrace exercise and the photos may be seen here:
I’m not particularly impressed by the photos