Walt Andrus - MUFON's
International Director
To Retire
By Robert Kolarik
Staff Writer
San Antonio Express-News
It may seem like an alien concept, but Walter H. Andrus Jr. is writing the final chapters of his own version of the X-Files.
After three decades of investigating and chronicling reports of unidentified flying objects, the 78-year-old Seguin resident is retiring as international director of the Mutual UFO Network. With about 4,000 members worldwide, MUFON is the largest civilian UFO organization.
"I've been international director since 1970," Andrus said of heading the group he helped found in 1969. "I retired from the Motorola Corp. when I became 62. I'm just retiring again."
Andrus said his retirement will become effective in July and the MUFON headquarters will move from Seguin to the Denver area.
"John Schuessler, who's the deputy director of administration now, has been chosen as the next international director," Andrus said. "He's a founding member, too."
Andrus, who's scheduled to speak today in San Antonio at the 36th annual National UFO Conference, said he announced his retirement early to give the organization plenty of time to make the move. "This should make things fairly smooth when it comes to the transition," he said.
The Navy veteran said he became interested in UFOs shortly after World War II.
"I had a personal sighting in 1948, when my family and I saw an object (flying over) downtown Phoenix."
His interest in the subject of UFOs continued and Andrus eventually wound up at the helm of MUFON.
"I helped organize MUFON May 31, 1969," he said. "Originally, (the headquarters) was in Quincy, Ill., where I worked at the Motorola plant.
"We started as the Midwest UFO Network and covered the Midwestern states. We (eventually) changed the name because we started having members in South Africa and Europe. But by then, the acronym MUFON was pretty well-known, so we looked around for something that started with M. Mutual does, and it means a group of people working together all over the world."
Andrus, who's a native of Des Moines, Iowa, said his family moved to Seguin in 1975 when Motorola sold its facility in Quincy.
"I could have gone to almost any Motorola plant," he said. "We came down here and visited Seguin and loved the locale. We bought a home and I worked in the plant here in middle management."
During his speech today, Andrus will address "The Disappearance of Frederich Valentich in Australia." He said the case involved the disappearance of a pilot and his airplane in 1978.
"I've heard the tapes of the conversation" between the flier and air traffic controllers, Andrus said. "The last thing you hear is a crunching of metal. (Before that, the pilot) described a big cigar-shaped object. He was at 5,000 feet and it passed over him. ... His last transmission was, 'It's coming back again.'"
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