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June 16, 2021 37 mins
Ep. 55 — A fighter pilot and great-granddaughter of a SciFi pioneer sees a UFO and connects with the vast community of UFO believers / Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich, U.S. Navy (retired). Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich was going about her business this spring, getting ready to retire from active duty as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US. Then she got an unexpected feeler from 60 Minutes, the CBS television show. The U.S. Government was preparing to release a report on Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs. Would Dietrich be willing to go on the show and talk about the strange sight that she and her four teammates had seen up in the air during a training mission back in 2004, the producer asked. Dietrich thought hard about it and decided that taxpayers needed to know more about the videos (now unclassified) that had been captured that day —  videos that you all may have seen on the news over the past few weeks. That decision to go public and help remove the stigma associated with reporting strange sightings has put the introverted and media-shy Dietrich in the spotlight. It has also connected her to many UFO believers via social media - a strange spot for someone to be in for someone who is not a science fiction fan, despite a rich family history in science fiction writing. Read the Transcript Download the PDF Chitra Ragavan: US Navy Lieutenant Commander Alex Dietrich was going about her business this spring, getting ready to retire from active duty as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US. Then she got an unexpected feeler from 60 Minutes, the CBS television show. The US government was preparing to release a report on unidentified flying objects, or UFO's. Would Dietrich be willing to go on the show and talk about the strange site that she and her four teammates had seen up in the air during a training mission back in 2004? The 60 Minutes producer asked. Hello, everyone I'm Chitra Raghavan, and this is When it Mattered. Chitra Ragavan: Dietrich thought hard about it and decided that taxpayers needed to know more about the videos, now unclassified that had been captured that day, videos that you all may have seen on the news over the past few weeks. That decision to go public and help remove the stigma associated with reporting strange sightings, or inexplicable phenomena, has put the introverted and media shy Dietrich in the spotlight. It has also connected her to legions of UFO believers on social media, a rather strange spot for someone to be in who is not a science fiction fan, despite a rich family history in science fiction writing. Chitra Ragavan: Joining me is retired Lieutenant Commander Alex Dietrich. She served as an F/A-18F strike fighter pilot from the VFA-41 “Black Aces” of Lemoore, California. Dietrich retired from the US Navy after 20 years of service, having logged more than 1,250 hours and 375 carrier arrested landings. She served two combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Dietrich is now serving at the National Center for Atmospheric Research on their talent learning and development team, with a mission of science and service to society. Alex, welcome to When it Mattered. Alex Dietrich: Thank you. Chitra Ragavan: Why did you decide to join the Navy and become a fighter pilot? It's a rather non-traditional career, pretty formidable barriers and a daunting challenge, in addition to putting your life on the line in service of your country? Alex Dietrich: Well, I would say that I was a typical teenager. I went to an atypical high school, it was the Illinois Math and Science Academy, but I had the typical teenage angst, and I wanted to have fun, I wanted to have an adventure. And so when college counselors and teachers were asking me what I wanted to do, I had to declare a major for college and I had to take all of these standardized tests, I said, "Oh,
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