This is continuation of the ABQjournal.
SEARCH STRATEGY AND METHODOLOGY
To insure senior Air Force leadership that there were no hidden or overlooked files that might relate to the “Roswell Incident;” and to provide the GAO with the best and most complete information available, SAF/AAZ constructed a strategy based on direct tasking from the Office of the Secretary, to elicit information from those functional offices and organizations where such information might logically be contained. This included directing searches at current offices where special or unusual projects might be carried out, as well as historical organizations, archives, and records centers over which the Air Force exerted some degree of control. Researchers did not, however, go to the US Army to review historical records in areas such as missile launches from White Sands, or to the Department of Energy to determine if its forerunner, the Atomic Energy Commission, had any records of nuclear-related incidents that might have occurred at or near Roswell in 1947. To do so would have encroached on GAO’s charter in this matter. What Air Force researchers did do, however, was to search for records still under Air Force control pertaining to these subject areas.
In order to determine parameters for the most productive search of records, a review was first conducted of the major works regarding the “Roswell Incident” available in the popular literature. These works included: The Roswell Incident, (1980) by William Moore and Charles Berlitz; “Crashed Saucers: Evidence in Search of Proof,” (1985) by Moore; The UFO Crash at Roswell, (I 99 1) by Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt; The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell, (1994) also by Randle and Schmitt; The Roswell Report: A Historical Perspective, (1991), George M. Eberhart, Editor; “The Roswell Events,” (1993) compiled by Fred Whiting- Crash at Corona (1992) by Stanton T. Friedman and Don Berliner, as well as numerous other articles written by a combination of the above and other researchers. Collectively, the above represent the “pro” UFO writers who allege that the government is engaged in a conspiracy. There are no specific books written entirely on the theme that nothing happened at Roswell. However, Curtis Peebles in Watch the Skies! (1994) discussed the development of the UFO story and growth of subsequent claims as a phenomenon. There has also been serious research as well as a number of detailed articles written by so-called “debunkers” of Roswell and other incidents, most notably Philip J. Klass who writes The Skeptical Inquirer newsletter, and Robert Todd, a private researcher. The concerns and claims of all the above authors and others were considered in conducting the USAF records search.
It was also decided, particularly after a review of the above popular literature, that no specific attempt would be made to try to refute, point by point, the numerous claims made in the various publications. Many of these claims appear to be hearsay, undocumented, taken out of context, self-serving, or otherwise dubious. Additionally, many of the above authors are not even in agreement over various claims. Most notable of the confusing and now ever-changing claims is the controversy over the date(s) of the alleged incident, the exact location(s) of the purported debris and the extent of the wreckage. Such discrepancies in claims made the search much more difficult by greatly expanding the volume of records that had to be searched.
An example of trying to deal with questionable claims is illustrated by the following example: One of the popular books mentioned that was reviewed claimed that the writers had submitted the names and serial numbers of “over two dozen” personnel stationed at Roswell in July, 1947, to the Veterans Administration and the Defense Department to confirm their military service. They then listed eleven of these persons by name and asked the question “Why does neither the Defense Department nor the Veteran’s Administration have records of any of these men when we can document that each served at Roswell Army Air Field.” That claim sounded serious so SAF/AAZD was tasked to check these eleven names in the Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. Using only the names (since the authors did not list the serial numbers) the researcher quickly found records readily identifiable with eight of these persons. The other three had such common names that there could have been multiple possibilities. Interestingly, one of the listed “missing” persons had a casualty report in his records reflecting that he died in 195 1, while the writers claimed to have interviewed him (or a person of the exact same name) in 1990.