Secrets At Groom Lake Essay

2185 words - 9 pages

Secrets at Groom LakeGroom Lake; or, as it has been most commonly known as for yearsnow, Area 51, has been shrouded in a blanket of secrecy since itsbeginning. Yet, it has been featured in nationwide television, andwritten about in daily newspapers and magazines worldwide. We'veall heard the rumors about extra-terrestrials, we've seen the moviessurrounding the idea of what the world thinks goes on there, but themajority of us really don't have a clue about what it is, where it is, orwhat goes on there. Take me, for instance, I've always had a sliver ofinterest in Area 51. The interest deepened though, when a few years agoI woke up at two o'clock in the morning and listened to a radio show.The topic of this show, Coast to Coast, was, "what goes on at Area 51?"After a few minutes, a man called in and claimed to have worked atArea 51. Following a few initial questions by the host, the man beganto tell his story to America. Before he could though, he screamed andthe line went dead. Now, I don't know what happened there, but whatI do know is that at the time I didn't know that the Groom Lakeinstallation is really a top-secret military air base.In 1955, the CIA had a top secret spy plane design by Skunk Worksnamed project "Angel"; the design was for the legendary LockheedU-2. But what they didn't have was a secure area for testing the planefar away from curious eyes. So Tony Levier, Skunk Works' top testpilot was sent out to scout such a location in the desert Southwest. Thesite he chose was a dry desolated lakebed called Groom Lake. Whichproved to be quite convenient because it was close enough to a big cityfor flying workers in and out of; it was just over the hill from a massivetesting range to be merged into; and right close by to the nation'snuclear testing grounds. The newborn facility was christened"Watertown", while the head of Skunk Works, Kelly Johnson,nicknamed it "Paradise Ranch". And although Area 51's exactlocation is sometimes misconstrued to be Roswell, New Mexico; it isactually only 93 miles northwest of Las Vegas in Nevada. And it was inthis 38,400 acre "paradise" that the best spy plane of its day wasintroduced to the world - the U-2.Running a span of over 47 years, countless (that we know of ) topsecret projects dealing with spy planes have been tested at the GroomLake Air Force Base. The very first plane tested was the celebratedU-2, who's descendants are still to this very day being used forreconnaissance. The purpose for the U-2's design was to be capable offlying reconnaissance missions at a high enough altitude to keep out ofthe range of missiles. Especially over Russian airspace, which wasbecoming more and more difficult. And until May of 1960, the U-2 wasdoing quite a successful job of that when Gary Powers, a U-2 pilot, wasshot down while flying over Sverdlovsk in Russia. The incident becamea serious problem for the United States because President Eisenhowerhad publicly denied that they were flying any "spying" missionsover...

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