ROSWELL - UFO CRASH - 1947 - PAGE 1
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Military Forces Acting in Great Secrecy
Roswell - The Cover-up
One of the most contentious aspects of the many-faceted UFO enigma is the allegation that a number of flying saucers, together with their occupants, have crash-landed, and have been recovered by the military forces, acting in great secrecy.
Such claims generally are dismissed for lack of proof, yet evidence in some cases is compelling. One series of incidents that seems indisputable - in the sense that several hundred witnesses have testified to it - is among the most thoroughly documented cases on record. Numerous TV documentaries and a film have now appeared as well as several books describing investigations into the so-called Roswell Incident (by William Moore and Charles Berlitz; Stanton Friedman and Don Berliner; Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt; and Karl Pflock). The following is a necessarily abbreviated account of a complex case which
seems to have involved three separate crash sites in New Mexico. One was at Corona; the precise locations of the other two are still in dispute.
The Corona Debris:
During a violent thunderstorm in the first week of July 1947, an unusual aerial vehicle crashed on the J. B. Foster Ranch, south-east of Corona and about 75 miles north-west of Roswell, New Mexico. Early the next morning, ranch manager William `Mac' Brazel discovered a large amount of unusual debris scattered over a wide area. A few days later, Brazel drove into Roswell and alerted Sheriff George Wilcox, who in turn contacted Roswell Army Air Field, home of the elite 509th Bomb Group, the world's first atomic-bomb unit. Major Jesse Marcel, the bomb group's intelligence officer, together with Captain Sheridan Cavitt, a Counter Intelligence Corps officer, accompanied Mac Brazel to the site, where a quantity of wreckage was eventually recovered. Marcel testified that he found an area measuring about three-quarters of a mile long by 200 to 300 feet wide, strewn with a large amount of extremely lightweight, strong material.
"We found some . . . small bits of metal, but mostly we found some material that's hard to describe," Marcel told journalist Bob Pratt in 1979. "I'd never seen anything like that, and I still don't know what it was . . . I lit a cigarette lighter to some of this stuff, and it didn't burn. There were also small, solid members that you could not bend or break, but it didn't look like metal. It looked more like wood. They varied in size . . . perhaps three-eighths of an inch by one quarter of
an inch thick . . . None of them were very long. The largest of these was about 3 feet long, but weightless. You couldn't even tell you had it in your hands - just like you handle balsa wood." Marcel also described having seen unusual two-colour `hieroglyphics' on some of the pieces, as well as parchment-like material which, again, did not burn.
In another interview in 1979, Marcel described how later he tried unsuccessfu1ly to bend or dent a piece of extremely light and thin metal which was about 2 feet long and a foot wide. "I tried to bend the stuff [but) it wouldn't bend," he said. "We even tried making a dent in it with a sixteen-pound sledge hammer. And there was still no dent in it . . . It was possible to Bend this stuff back and forth, even to wrinkle
it, but you could not put a crease in it that would stay . . . I would almost have to describe it as a metal with plastic properties." Marcel was convinced that the material had nothing to do with a weather balloon or radar target.
The area near Corona was sealed off by the military, and a wide search was initiated to recover the remaining debris. An official press statement was released at the Roswell base, authorized by Colonel William Blanchard, Commander of the 509th Bomb Group. "I had a call from Colonel Blanchard, and he told me to report to his office," said Walter Haut, base press officer at the time, during an interview with me. "He
gave me the basic facts that he wanted put into the news release . . . that we had in our possession a flying saucer: A rancher had brought parts of it in to the Sheriff's office, and the material was flown to
General Ramey, who was Commanding General of the Eighth Air Force."
Major Marcel was ordered to load the debris on a B-29 (one of several aircraft said to have been involved in
transporting the materials from Roswell Army Air Field) and fly it to Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) at Dayton, Ohio, for examination. On arrival at an intermediate stop at Fort Worth Army Air Field (later Carswell Air Force Base), Texas (headquarters of the Eighth Air Force), General Roger Ramey took charge. He ordered Marcel and others on the plane not to talk to reporters. A second press statement then was issued which stated that the wreckage wvas nothing more than the remains of a weather balloon and its attached tinfoil radar target, which were prominently displayed at the press conference. Meanwhile, the real wreckage arrived at Wright Field under armed guard; Marcel returned to Roswell, and Brazel was held incommunicado by the military for nearly a week while the crash site was stripped of every scrap of debris.
A news leak via press wire from Albuquerque describing this fantastic story was interrupted and the radio station in question, and another, were warned not to continue the broadcast: `ATTENTION ALBUQUERQUE: CEASE TRANSMISSION. REPEAT. CEASE TRANSMISSION. NATIONAL SECURITY ITEM. DO NOT TRANSMIT. STAND BY . . .'
It has been suggested that at least some of the wreckage found near Corona could have come from a Top Secret project to develop a means of detecting and monitoring Soviet nuclear weapons - code-named Project Mogul - which conducted its operations from Alamogordo Army Air Field, New Mexico, in June and July 1947, using high-altitude balloon arrays and attached instrument packages. Flight 7, for instance, which lifted off on 2 July - when the unidentified aircraft is reported as having
crashed near Corona - incorporated twenty meteorological balloons (to support the various devices attached). The array measured about 450 feet from top to bottom. All that was recovered at the landing-site - 31 miles east of Alamogordo in the Sacramento Mountains - was `one balloon neck'. On 3 July, another array of balloons (Flight 8) - made of then new polyethylene material - touched down about 20 miles west-north-west of the Alamogordo base and last was seen dragging north across the desert. Nothing ever was recovered. Although there is no proof that these balloons (and others in the Mogul series) came down in the Corona area, it is certainly possible that one of them - or at least some of the materials - did.
In his book Roswell in Perspective, Karl Pflock, a former CIA officer whose background in government induded a position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Deputy Director) for Operational Test and Evaluation, states his belief that one or more of these balloon arrays was responsible for the debris found near Corona (a conclusion shared by the Air Force in its 1994 report, to be discussed later). More recent
research suggests that Mogul Flight 4, launched on 4 June 1947, was the one most likely to have come down in the vicinity of Corona. (Pflock remains open- minded, however, to the probability that alien or unusual bodies were recovered elsewhere.) He correlates descriptions of the unknown debris with the known materials used in the Mogul arrays, induding the testimony of Dr Jesse Marcel Jr (Major Marcel's son) who handled some of the Corona wreckage collected by his father. In an affidavit, Jesse Jr reported that the debris included:
. . . 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 [of] a purple-violet hue, and it had an embossed appearance. The figures were
composed of curved, geometric shapes. It had noresemblance to Russian, Japanese or any other foreign
language. It resembled hieroglyphics, but it had no animal-like characters
As Pflock points out, materials used in the construction of Project Mogul's instrument packages included aluminium foil laminated on to a tough white or brown paper or tough aluminium-coated paper, struts of hardened balsawood, Bakelite, and clear or whitish sticky tape, about 2 inches wide, with `pink and purple flower-like figures on it'. Mac Brazel's daughter, Bessie, who helped her father collect some of the
debris on their ranch, recalls that:
The debris looked like pieces of a large balloon which had burst . . . Most of it was a kind of double-sided material, foil-like on one side and rubbery-like on the other . . . the foil more silvery than the rubber. Sticks, like kite sticks, were attached to some of the pieces with a whitish tape . . . about two or three inches wide and had flower-like designs on it . . .
It is evident from the foregoing that at least some of the wreckage recovered on Mac Brazel's ranch may have been of man-made origin, though it is impossible to reconcile this explanation with all the facts. Major Marcel, it should be noted, was familiar with balloon debris and was convinced that the material he handled was unfamiliar, in that it was impossible to dent or burn, and that, no matter what was done to it, the foil-like metal always returned to its original shape. Such materials hardly relate to Mogul.
Currently the State Surgeon of Montana and a colonel with the Montana Air National Guard (flying helicopters), Jesse Jr disputes the contention that the debris he handled was from a Mogul balloon or instrument package. `The Mogul device apparently was a lot of metal foil with white paper backing to strengthen it,' he said in 1995. `The material I saw was metal foil, but did not have the white paper backing.' Lieutenant McAndrew - the Air Force's principal researcher for the 1994 report, who interviewed Dr Marcel after the Air Force had prepared its report, also said that the debris included tape with flowery figures written across it. `Well, I didn't see any tape,' said Dr Marcel. `And there was supposed to be some balsa wood struts with the Mogul device, but I didn't see any balsa wood. I saw metal struts, not balsa wood struts, and the writing I saw was on the metal strut itself, not on tape.'
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