This page highlights anecdotes of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (UFO jargon). I had met or rubbed shoulders with some prominent personalities in my time. This one singles out Ernie Fitzgerald, probably the most famous and controversial federal government whistleblower in history. I was a great fan of his.
While working in Washington DC in the early 1960s I was invited by Bill Farenholt GS-14, a mutual friend to visit him at the Pentagon. Bill and I were branch chiefs, Office Chief of Finance, Comptroller of the Army. We took the DOD bus from the Forrestal Building in downtown DC across the Potomac River Bridge to the Pentagon where his office was located in the attic, secreted by huge heating/cooling ducts under stifling heat. It seemed like we were visiting hell as beads of perspiration poured out of us. Ernie had been exiled there by his bosses for "talking too much" during a Senate committee hearing on Air Force C5A cost overruns. It was appalling to see such a high-ranking government official so shabbily treated for telling the truth. I was anxious to see him and savored the thought of meeting someone whose story had hit the front page of the Washington Post and other national news media. He was being ridiculed and punished for his frank testimony before a Congressional Committee for which he had been subpoenaed. He had taken an oath of office to act in the public interest. He was ethically bound to tell the truth.
Entering his office, we found a lone secretary (reading a newspaper). She explained he was out and would be back shortly. It wasn't long after that President Nixon ordered him fired for insubordination. He was reinstated upon appeal and given back pay and benefits because the firing was determined illegal.
Several years later as President of a local chapter of the Federal Government Accountants Association (FGAA), I had invited him to speak to us on ethics in government.