The Real “Roswell Incident” Part Eight


Professor Moore, the on-scene Project Engineer, gave detailed information concerning his team’s efforts. He recalled that radar targets were used for tracking balloons because they did not have all the necessary equipment when they first arrived in New Mexico. Some of the early, developmental radar targets were manufactured by a toy or novelty company. These targets were made up of aluminum “foil” or foil-backed paper, balsa wood beams that were coated in an “Elmer’s-type” glue to enhance their durability, acetate and/or cloth reinforcing tape, single strand and braided nylon twine, brass eyelets and swivels to form a multi-faced reflector somewhat similar in construction to a box kite (see photographs, Atch 26). Some of these targets were also assembled with purplish-pink tape with symbols on it (see drawing by Moore with Atch 2 1).

According to the log summary (Atch 27) of the NYU group, Flight A through Flight 7 (November 20, 1946-July 2, 1947) were made with neoprene meteorological balloons (as opposed to the later flights made with polyethylene balloons). Professor Moore stated that the neoprene balloons were susceptible to degradation in the sunlight, turning from a milky white to a dark brown. He described finding remains of balloon trains with reflectors and payloads that had landed in the desert: the ruptured and shredded neoprene would “almost look like dark gray or black flakes or ashes after exposure to the sun for only a few days. The plasticizers and antioxidants in the neoprene would emit a peculiar acrid odor and the balloon material and radar target material would be scattered after returning to earth depending on the surface winds.” Upon review of the local newspaper photographs from General Ramey’s press conference in 1947 and descriptions in popular books by individuals who supposedly handled the debris recovered on the ranch, Professor Moore opined that the material was most likely the shredded remains of a multi-neoprene balloon train with multiple radar reflectors. The material and a “black box,” described by Cavitt, was, in Moore’s scientific opinion, most probably from Flight 4, a “service flight” that included a cylindrical metal sonobuoy and portions of a weather instrument housed in a box, which was unlike typical weather radiosondes which were made of cardboard. Additionally, a copy of a professional journal maintained at the time by A.P. Crary, provided to the Air Force by his widow, showed that Flight 4 was launched on June 4, 1947, but was not recovered by the NYU group. It is very probable that this TOP SECRET project balloon train (Flight 4), made up of unclassified components; came to rest some miles northwest of Roswell, NM, became shredded in the surface winds and was ultimately found by the rancher, Brazel, ten days later. This possibility was supported by the observations of Lt Col Cavitt (Atch 17-18), the only living eyewitness to the actual debris field and the material found. Lt Col Cavitt described a small area of debris which appeared, “to resemble bamboo type square sticks one quarter to one half inch square, that were very light, as well as some sort of metallic reflecting material that was also very light … I remember recognizing this material as being consistent with a weather balloon.”

Concerning the initial announcement, “RAAF Captures Flying Disc,” research failed to locate any documented evidence as to why that statement was made. However, on July 10, 1947, following the Ramey press conference, the Alamogordo News published an article with photographs demonstrating multiple balloons and targets at the same location as the NYU group operated from at Alamogordo AAF. Professor Moore expressed surprise at seeing this since his, was the only balloon test group in the area. He stated, “It appears that there was some type of umbrella cover story to protect our work with Mogul ” Although the Air Force did not find documented evidence that Gen. Ramey was directed to espouse a weather balloon in his press conference, he may have done so because he was either aware of Project Mogul and was trying to deflect interest from it, or he readily perceived the material to be a weather balloon based on the identification from his weather officer, Irving Newton. In either case, the materials recovered by the AAF in July, 1947, were not readily recognizable as anything special (only the purpose was special) and the recovered debris itself was unclassified. Additionally, the press dropped its interest in the matter as quickly as they had jumped on it. Hence, there would be no particular reason to further document what quickly became a “non-event.”

The interview with Colonel Trakowski (Atch 23-24) also proved valuable information. Trakowski provided specific details on Project Mogul and described how the security for the program was set up, as he was formerly the TOP SECRET Control Officer for the program. He further related that many of the original radar targets that were produced around the end of World War II were fabricated by toy or novelty companies using a purplish-pink tape with flower and heart symbols on it. Trakowski also recounted a conversation that he had with his friend, and superior military officer in his chain of command, Colonel Marcellus Duffy, in July, 1947. Duffy, formerly had Trakowski’s position on Mogul, but had subsequently been transferred to Wright Field. He stated: .”..Colonel Duffy called me on the telephone from Wright Field and gave me a story about a fellow that had come in from New Mexico, woke him up in the middle of the night or some such thing with a handful of debris, and wanted him, Colonel Duffy, to identify it. … He just said ‘it sure looks like some of the stuff you’ve been launching at Alamogordo and he described it, and I said ‘yes, I think it is.’ Certainly Colonel Duffy knew enough about radar targets, radiosondes, balloon-borne weather devices. He was intimately familiar with all that apparatus.”

Attempts were made to locate Colonel Duffy but it was ascertained that he had died. I-Es widow explained that, although he had amassed a large amount of personal papers relating to his Air Force activities, she had recently disposed of these items. Likewise, it was learned that A.P. Crary was also deceased; however his surviving spouse had a number of his papers from his balloon testing days, including his professional journal from the period in question. She provided the Air Force researchers with this material. It is discussed in more detail within Atch 32. Overall, it helps fill in gaps of the Mogul story.

During the period the Air Force conducted this research, it was discovered that several others had also discovered the possibility that the “Roswell Incident” may have been generated by the recovery of a Project Mogul balloon device. These persons included Professor Charles B. Moore, Robert Todd, and coincidentally, Karl Pflock, a researcher who is married to a staffer who works for Congressman Schiff. Some of these persons provided suggestions as to where documentation might be located in various archives, histories and libraries. A review of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests revealed that Robert Todd, particularly, had become aware of Project Mogul several years ago and had doggedly obtained from the Air Force, through the FOIA, a large amount of material pertaining to it; long before the AAZD researchers independently seized on the same possibility.

Most interestingly, as this report was being written, Pflock published his own report of this matter under the auspices of FUFOR, entitled “Roswell in Perspective” (1994). Pflock concluded from his research that the Brazel Ranch debris originally reported as a “flying disc” was probably debris from a Mogul balloon; however, there was a simultaneous incident that occurred not far away, that caused an alien craft to crash and that the AAF subsequently recovered three alien bodies therefrom. Air Force research did not locate any information to corroborate that this incredible coincidence occurred, however.

In order to provide a more detailed discussion of the specifics of Project Mogul and how it appeared to be directly responsible for the “Roswell Incident,” a SAF/AAZD researcher prepared a more detailed discussion on the balloon project which is appended to this report as Atch 32.