This is Part 8 of the “Roswell Incident” from the ABQjournal.
WHAT THE ROSWELL INCIDENT WAS NOT
An Extraterrestrial Craft
The Air Force research found absolutely no indication that what happened near Roswell in 1947, involved any type of extraterrestrial spacecraft. This, of course, is the crux of this entire matter. “Pro-UFO” persons who obtain a copy of this report, at this point, most probably begin the “cover-up is still on” claims. Nevertheless, the research indicated absolutely no evidence of any kind that a spaceship crashed near Roswell or that any alien occupants were recovered therefrom, in some secret military operation or otherwise. This does not mean, however, that the early Air Force was not concerned about UFOs. However, in the early days, “UFO” meant Unidentified Flying Object, which literally translated as some object in the air that was not readily identifiable. It did not mean, as the term has evolved in today’s language, to equate to alien spaceships. Records from the period reviewed by Air Force researchers as well as those cited by the authors mentioned before, do indicate that the USAF was seriously concerned about the inability to adequately identify unknown flying objects reported in American airspace. All the records, however, indicated that the focus of concern was not on aliens, hostile or otherwise, but on the Soviet Union. Many documents from that period speak to the possibility of developmental secret Soviet aircraft overflying US airspace. This, of course, was of major concern to the fledgling USAF, whose job it was to protect these same skies.
The research revealed only one official AAF document that indicated that there was any activity of any type that pertained to UFOs and Roswell in July, 1947. This was a small section of the July Historical Report for the 509th Bomb Group and Roswell AAF that stated: “The Office of Public Information was quite busy during the month answering inquiries on the ‘flying disc,’ which was reported to be in possession of the 509th Bomb Group. The object turned out to be a radar tracking balloon” (included with Atch I 1). Additionally, this history showed that the 509th Commander, Colonel Blanchard, went on leave on July 8, 1947, which would be a somewhat unusual maneuver for a person involved in the supposed first ever recovery of extraterrestrial materials. (Detractors claim Blanchard did this as a ploy to elude the press and go to the scene to direct the recovery operations). The history and the morning reports also showed that the subsequent activities at Roswell during the month were mostly mundane and not indicative of any unusual high level activity, expenditure of manpower, resources or security.
Likewise, the researchers found no indication of heightened activity anywhere else in the military hierarchy in the July, 1947, message traffic or orders (to include classified traffic). There were no indications and warnings, notice of alerts, or a higher tempo of operational activity reported that would be logically generated if an alien craft, whose intentions were unknown, entered US territory. To believe that such operational and high-level security activity could be conducted solely by relying on unsecured telecommunications or personal contact without creating any records of such activity certainly stretches the imagination of those who have served in the military who know that paperwork of some kind is necessary to accomplish even emergency, highly classified, or sensitive tasks.
An example of activity sometimes cited by pro-UFO writers to illustrate the point that something unusual was going on was the travel of Lt. General Nathan Twining, Commander of the Air Materiel Command, to New Mexico in July, 1947. Actually, records were located indicating that Twining went to the Bomb Commanders’ Course on July 8, along with a number of other general officers, and requested orders to do so a month before, on June 5, 1947 (Atch 14).
Similarly, it has also been alleged that General Hoyt Vandenberg, Deputy Chief of Staff at the time, had been involved directing activity regarding events at Roswell. Activity reports (Atch 15), located in General Vandenberg’s personal papers stored in the Library of Congress, did indicate that on July 7, he was busy with a “flying disc” incident; however this particular incident involved Ellington Field, Texas and the Spokane (Washington) Depot. After much discussion and information gathering on this incident, it was learned to be a hoax. There is no similar mention of his personal interest or involvement in Roswell events except in the newspapers.
The above are but two small examples that indicate that if some event happened that was one of the “watershed happenings” in human history, the US military certainly reacted in an unconcerned and cavalier manner. In an actual case, the military would have had to order thousands of soldiers and airman, not only at Roswell but throughout the US, to act nonchalantly, pretend to conduct and report business as usual, and generate absolutely no paperwork of a suspicious nature, while simultaneously anticipating that twenty years or more into the future people would have available a comprehensive Freedom of Information Act that would give them great leeway to review and explore government documents. The records indicate that none of this happened (or if it did, it was controlled by a security system so efficient and tight that no one, US or otherwise, has been able to duplicate it since. If such a system had been in effect at the time, it would have also been used to protect our atomic secrets from the Soviets, which history has showed obviously was not the case). The records reviewed confirmed that no such sophisticated and efficient security system existed.
WHAT THE “ROSWELL INCIDENT” WAS
As previously discussed, what was originally reported to have been recovered was a balloon of some sort, usually described as a “weather balloon,” although the majority of the wreckage that was ultimately displayed by General Ramey and Major Marcel in the famous photos (Atch 16) in Ft. Worth, was that of a radar target normally suspended from balloons. This radar target, discussed in more detail later, was certainly consistent with the description of July 9 newspaper article which discussed “tinfoil, paper, tape, and sticks.” Additionally, the description of the “flying disc” was consistent with a document routinely used by most pro-UFO writers to indicate a conspiracy in progress–the telegram from the Dallas FBI office of July 8, 1947. This document quoted in part states: .”..The disc is hexagonal in shape and was suspended from a balloon by a cable, which balloon was approximately twenty feet in diameter. …the object found resembles a high altitude weather balloon with a radar reflector. …disc and balloon being transported…”
Similarly, while conducting the popular literature review, one of the documents reviewed was a paper entitled “The Roswell Events” edited by Fred Whiting, and sponsored by the Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR). Although it was not the original intention to comment on what commercial authors interpreted or claimed that other persons supposedly said, this particular document was different because it contained actual copies of apparently authentic sworn affidavits received from a number of persons who claimed to have some knowledge of the Roswell event. Although many of the persons who provided these affidavits to the FUFOR researchers also expressed opinions that they thought there was something extraterrestrial about this incident, a number of them actually described materials that sounded suspiciously like wreckage from balloons. These included the following:
Jesse A. Marcel, NM (son of the late Major Jesse Marcel; 11 years old at the time of the incident). Affidavit dated May 6, 1991. ” … There were three categories of debris: a thick, foil like metallic gray substance; a brittle, brownish-black plastic-like material, like Bakelite; and there were fragments of what appeared to be I-beams. On the inner surface of the I-beam, there appeared to be a type of writing. This writing was a purple-violet hue, and it had an embossed appearance. The figures were composed of curved, geometric shapes. It had no resemblance to Russian, Japanese or any other foreign language. It resembled hieroglyphics, but it had no animal-like characters ……
Loretta Proctor (former neighbor of rancher W.W. Brazel). Affidavit dated May 5, 199 1. .”..Brazel came to my ranch and showed my husband and me a piece of material he said came from a large pile of debris on the property he managed. The piece he brought was brown in color, similar to plastic…’Mac’ said the other material on the property looked like aluminum foil. It was very flexible and wouldn’t crush or bum. There was also something he described as tape which had printing on it. The color of the printing was a kind of purple…”
Bessie Brazel Schreiber (daughter of W.W. Brazel; 14 years old at the time of the incident). Affidavit dated September 22, 1993. .”..The debris looked like pieces of a large balloon which had burst. The pieces were small, the largest I remember measuring about the same as the diameter of a basketball. Most of it was a kind of double-sided material, foil-like on one side and rubber-like on the other. Both sides were grayish silver in color, the foil more silvery than the rubber. Sticks, like kite sticks, were attached to some of the pieces with a whitish tape. The tape was about two or three inches wide and had flowerlike designs on it. The ‘flowers’ were faint, a variety of pastel colors, and reminded me of Japanese paintings in which the flowers are not all connected. I do not recall any other types of material or markings, nor do I remember seeing gouges in the ground or any other signs that anything may have hit the ground hard. The foil-rubber material could not be tom like ordinary aluminum foil can be tom…”
Sally Strickland Tadolini (neighbor of WW Brazel; nine years old in 1947). Affidavit dated September 27, 1993. “.. What Bill showed us was a piece of what I still think as fabric. It was something like aluminum foil, something like satin, something like welltanned leather in its toughness, yet was not precisely like any one of those materials. …It was about the thickness of very fine kidskin glove leather and a dull metallic grayish silver, one side slightly darker than the other. I do not remember it having any design or embossing on it…”
Robert R. Porter (B-29 flight Engineer stationed at Roswell in 1947). Affidavit dated June 7, 1991 ” On this occasion, I was a member of the crew which flew parts of what we were told was a flying saucer to Fort Worth. The people on board included … and Maj Jesse Marcel. Capt. William E. Anderson said it was from a flying saucer. After we arrived, the material was transferred to a B-25. I was told they were going to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. I was involved in loading the B-29 with the material, which was wrapped in packages with wrapping paper. One of the pieces was triangle-shaped, about 2 1/2 feet across the bottom. The rest were in small packages, about the size of a shoe box. The brown paper was held with tape. The material was extremely lightweight. When I picked it up, it was just like picking up an empty package. We loaded the triangle shaped package and three shoe box-sized packages into the plane. All of the packages could have fit into the trunk of a car. …When we came back from lunch, they told us they had transferred the material to a B-25. They told us the material was a weather balloon, but I’m certain it wasn’t a weather balloon…”
In addition to those persons above still living who claim to have seen or examined the original material found on the Brazel Ranch, there is one additional person who was universally acknowledged to have been involved in its recovery, Sheridan Cavitt, Lt Col, USAF, (Ret) . Cavitt is credited in all claims of having accompanied Major Marcel to the ranch to recover the debris, sometimes along with his Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) subordinate, William Rickett, who, like Marcel, is deceased. Although there does not appear to be much dispute that Cavitt was involved in the material recovery, other claims about him prevail in the popular literature. He is sometimes portrayed as a closed-mouth (or sometimes even sinister) conspirator who was one of the early individuals who kept the “secret of Roswell” from getting out. Other things about him have been alleged, including the claim that he wrote a report of the incident at the time that has never surfaced.