Area 51 In Mainstream
Newspaper Article
By Thomas Hargrove
The Detroit News
Scripps Howard News Service
From Gerry Lovell <>
From UFO UpDates - Toronto <>
LAS VEGAS -- Many people who believe in UFO's also believe "Area 51" is where the Air Force keeps its stockpile of captured flying saucers.
And maybe an autopsied alien body or two.
Others believe the military base in the southern Nevada desert is the testing grounds for America's most secret military machines, everything from the F-117 stealth fighter to electro-magnetic pulse weapons that would make Buck Rogers nervous.
What is certain is that there is something out there in that moonscape property north of Las Vegas. Officially designated the "Nellis Air Force Bombing and Gunnery Range" on Nevada maps, the federally protected territory in Nye, Lincoln and Clark counties covers an area equal to Rhode Island and Connecticut combined.
And more than 1,850 federal civilian workers are employed in mostly well-compensated jobs at several ultra-high-security facilities in and near the range, according to a Scripps Howard News Service analysis of government payroll records maintained by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
"This really is one of the last big secret military bases in the United States. It used to be that the Air Force tried to pretend that Area 51 didn't exist at all," said Jeff Moag, a researcher for the National Security News Service based in Washington.
The Air Force last year conceded the existence of the base and its position along dried-up Groom Lake when it released a publication that suggested experimental Cold War-era aircraft could have been mistaken for flying saucers.
At a Pentagon press briefing, Air Force Col. John Hanes was asked about Area 51.
"If you are talking about Groom Lake, Nevada ... quite frankly, I have no knowledge or expertise in the matter," Hanes said. "I understand there are classified things that go on there. And that's all I have to say about it."
Whatever they do in the Nellis Bombing Range, they continue to do it under the Clinton administration.
There were exactly 2,000 civilian employees of the departments of Defense, Army, Navy, Air Force and Energy in the Nellis Bombing Range area as of Sept. 30, 1992.
Five years later, and despite massive job layoffs ordered by President Clinton, there were 1,851 employees still working there.
Among the most popular occupations for this workforce are "miscellaneous administration," "secretary," "general engineering," "general physical sciences" and "management programing."
The average salary for the Department of Energy personnel last year was nearly $59,000 a year, well above average for a federal employee. The payroll for all of the civilian workers in the area totaled $80.6 million.