ROSWELL: 52 YEARS OF UNANSWERED QUESTIONS 

By Donald R. Schmitt & Thomas J. Carey

How could such a monumental event as a UFO crash in 1947 be kept a secret so long? Surely the real story would have leaked before now, as has seemingly happened to every government secret in the past 25 years. President Nixon himself, with all his powers and resources, wasn’t able to prevent reporters Woodward and Bernstein from uncovering the Watergate conspiracy.

Secrets surely do leak, but some secrets don’t for long periods of time. Consider these instances:

  1. The F-117 Stealth fighter was developed in secret and was flying for almost a decade while the public was told the aircraft was still on the drawing board.
  2. Project Ultra, the Allied World War II project that allowed us to break the codes of the Germans and thereby hasten their defeat, was a secret for 30 years until revealed in the 1970s.
  3. Radiation experiments by the U.S. government on their own personnel during and after WWII were kept secret until the last five years.
  4. Only recently have the numerous military accidental deaths from nuclear devices been disclosed, not because of a desire by the government to admit the truth, but because of the dedicated probing of civilian organizations.
  5. Mind-control experiments by the CIA on unsuspecting citizens 30 years ago were kept secret until the past few years.
  6. Charles B. Moore of Project Mogul fame never knew the name of the secret project he was working on until 1992!

So it is certainly true that the government can keep secrets; but to what lengths are public officials prepared to go to enact a cover-up? Consider this one instance from an event that occurred during World War II. The Boeing Airplane Company was secretly developing the B-29 bomber for the Army Air Force at its main plant near Seattle. On February 18, 1943, a prototype B-29 caught on fire during a test flight and crashed in Seattle onto a meat packing plant. The plane actually passed over downtown Seattle during its rapid descent. All members of the crew died, along with several employees of the plant and some of the firemen who fought the blaze that engulfed the plane and plant.

Thousands of people saw the plane coming down and the subsequent fire and rescue efforts. Did the story of the crash of a secret aircraft go out over the wires that same day, with accounts from these many witnesses? Although it seems unlikely, the FBI succeeded in preventing any but the most garbled information from leaking out. FBI agents went so far as to intercept all copies of City Transit Weekly, an employee newsletter that carried photos of the plane taken by a Seattle city bus driver.

So the government does keep secrets, and it will take extreme measures to protect those secrets in matters of national security. Could the Roswell event have been sufficiently important to warrant such treatment? We think so, and so must have two men, both now deceased, whom we have interviewed.

The Provost Marshal at the Roswell base, the equivalent of the chief of police, was in charge of all security at the crash site in 1947. When we located and then contacted Col. Edwin Easley in late 1989, it was the first time anyone had extensively questioned him about what had occurred. The Provost Marshal did not tell us the weather balloon cover story, nor did he give us a true account of the Roswell recovery. Instead, he told us that he considered himself still sworn to secrecy about the event—after 43 years! “I can’t talk about it,” was all that Easley kept repeating.

The second officer we interviewed was an agent in the Counter-Intelligence Corps, Lt. Colonel Sheridan Cavitt. He accompanied another intelligence officer, Major Jesse Marcel, on the initial trip to the debris site and, we believe, wrote a report on the incident for his superiors in Washington. At first, this intelligence agent refused to admit that he was stationed at Roswell in early July 1947 or that the event had occurred at all. There had been no newspaper story, no fuss, not even the recovery of a weather balloon. After much prodding, he was willing to admit to the U.S. Air Force only that a weather balloon came down and was recovered, but that was as far as he would go. He admits no other personal involvement, even though other reliable sources give him a central role. Now he is considered the number one participant/witness for the Air Force, endorsing their Mogul balloon theory.

We admire how seriously these gentlemen took their oaths of secrecy for almost 50 years, but we must raise this question: Why the need to conceal the recovery of a Mogul weather balloon after more then 50 years?

The government cover-up extends to the public records of the Air Force UFO investigation as well. Those records were released in 1976, and the file on Roswell contains but a single press clipping. No letters, no notes, no investigative forms, no official weather balloon explanation, nothing but that lone clipping. The file for the recovery of an identical weather balloon in Circleville, Ohio, at the same time as the Roswell event, contains far more documentation on its particulars. Where is the documentation that should be in the Roswell file? Historical Roswell AFB records have also disappeared without a trace according to the GAO investigation.

The evidence presented here establishes that the Roswell crash was one of those events that had to be kept secret by whatever means were necessary. Files and notes were confiscated from reporters, radio stations were warned not to air stories, a phony story was concocted, and men were sworn to secrecy. Many of these tactics today would be termed civil rights violations.

As you can well imagine, it has not been an easy task to reconstruct what actually occurred in July of 1947. Many of the men (and the few women) involved are now dead, and those living are quite elderly. Human memory does not record events with complete accuracy, especially after years have elapsed. As Kevin Tierney has explained in his book How to Be A Witness, when someone has been asked to recount his memory of an event several times, “For the most part what he says will be the same, but there will generally be minor discrepancies between his recollection on one occasion and the next.” This is certainly true for the accounts we have gathered concerning Roswell, and the natural errors that creep into an individual’s memory mean that some inconsistencies exist in the testimony you will read. Nevertheless, the general pattern of events we have recorded from essentially all the witnesses does fit one consistent picture.

As those above the age of five at the time of President Kennedy’s assassination can relate, the moment when they first learned of that gruesome event is permanently etched in their minds—a snapshot memory. Several of the Roswell witnesses have compared their memories of the 1947 event to that of the assassination: The Roswell memories are vivid and detailed, despite the passage of 50 years.

Government secrecy is not always something evil and unjustified. We understand and support the practice of secrecy as it applies to certain types of information. Some information should remain hidden, such as nuclear firing codes, covert military activity, undercover police investigations, and information regarding intelligence work. But records documenting the recovery of a Mogul balloon hardly merit such treatment. And Project Mogul was a failed experiment.

What could have happened so long ago at Roswell to cause former intelligence officers to abide by their oaths of secrecy today, even though previous accounts of the recovery have been published and broadcast? What kind of event required such high levels of security that the intelligence officer who participated in the initial recovery of the debris, and who was entrusted with the task of taking some of the debris to higher levels of command, was not allowed to read the written report upon his return? What caused the military to place the ranch manager who reported finding the debris under house arrest? Why have the military records of men involved with the debris disappeared?

Unfortunately, we face the same problem that other researchers face—lack of physical evidence. While it is generally accepted that all efforts by civilian researchers have yielded no tangible evidence, it is also true that Roswell may have indeed established that “nuts and bolts” evidence. But still the question remains, who is telling the truth—the officials who deny that physical proof, or the hundreds of witnesses who stand in total opposition to that position?

And if the Roswell incident is indeed what hundreds of credible witnesses swear it was, the enigma of UFOs is no longer spurious or abstruse. Answers, though known only by a select few, are still being withheld. However, we can now, in total confidence and conviction, direct the public to the undeniable source of the proof. Proof that would enable us to finally lift the veil of secrecy that surrounds Roswell. With all of that as a precursor, put aside all political agenda, all preconceived opinions, all bias, and consider the following:

  • If the debris originated from a top-secret test, why was there no recovery or search operation underway until rancher Mac Brazel reported the debris to Sheriff George Wilcox one day after the find on Sunday, July 6? An aerial search over open range and high desert would have taken but a few hours to locate any downed object. This has been confirmed by retired military officers, who were involved in actual search-and-rescue missions in New Mexico. We, too, have flown private planes over the Brazel site demonstrating the panoramic field of vision. Given that the debris field was three-quarters of a mile long, a search and recovery team could have located it long before Brazel did.
  • Weather balloons had fallen onto Brazel’s ranch on a number of occasions, and he turned them in for the rewards offered. Such devices always carried instructions and return policies which usually included the name of the manufacturer and location of the launch site. In 1945, he reported finding the remains of a Japanese balloon bomb. This time, however, he reportedly was angry because of the large amount of debris. His frightened sheep would not cross the pasture due to the vast coverage of the material. It is interesting to note that weather balloons are still dropping on the ranch. The current owners store them in an old feed storage silo. One particularly large balloon, about 20 feet in diameter, took one man approximately two minutes to retrieve. He had no trouble identifying it.
  • After personally examining samples of the material, why did Brazel’s neighbors encourage him to report the crash for the $3,000 reward reported by the press for physical evidence of a flying disc and not for the standard $5 balloon reward?
  • How did the highly trained and experienced military officers of the famous 509th atomic bomb wing, the first and only nuclear strike force in the world at that time, mistake a conventional weather instrument for an object they all, without exception, concluded to be an actual “flying saucer?” Skeptics who believe that it was a special radar-reflecting balloon from Project Mogul have said that the civilians, the base commander, Col. William Blanchard, the head of intelligence, Marcel, and all the other officers at Roswell were unfamiliar with such specialized equipment. Marcel, however, had a radar interpretation officer assigned to his office. He would have been able to recognize the balloon, even if the others were fooled. Even considering Mogul, balloon materials consisting of Neoprene rubber, reflective foil, wooden sticks, masking tape, and balling twine still comprised such a device—materials easily identifiable by even a child.
  • What type of balloon and instrument package could scatter debris over an area three-quarters of a mile long and create a 500-foot long/10-foot wide gouge in the tough high desert country of New Mexico which consists of little topsoil and mostly shale and slate stone?
  • What type of balloon would fill Marcel’s 1942 Buick convertible, and Cavitt’s jeep carryall truck and still require 50 to 60 troops with wheelbarrows and trucks two days to complete the cleanup?
  • Why did the military check the site for possible radiation if the downed object was nothing more than a common weather/Mogul balloon? After he was found at the home of Walt Whitmore Sr., majority owner of radio station KGFL in Roswell, on the morning of Tuesday, July 8, why was Brazel held in detention at the base for another seven days? According to Brazel, he was not allowed to place any outside calls, not even to his wife. He was also forced to undergo a physical examination. His family and neighbors remember how he later complained how he had been asked the same questions “over and over again,” and that he described the experience by saying he “was in jail.”
  • Why did the Secretary of the Federal Communications Commission, a Mr. Slowie in Washington, D.C., personally call Whitmore at KGFL and threaten removal of his broadcasting license if the station continued airing reports of the incident? Why would the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico, also call Whitmore and persuade him to comply with the FCC order? *
  • Why the need for extreme security measures at the crash site of a downed meteorological instrument? Measures such as: armed guards surrounding the inner gouge area, another cordon around the perimeter, riflemen posted on the surrounding hills, and MPs stationed on the outlying roads from Saturday, July 5, through at least Thursday, the 10th.
  • Why was Bud Payne, a hired hand on one of the neighboring ranches, physically removed from the Brazel ranch during the military occupation of the site? As Payne was attempting to round up a stray cow, a military jeep roared up to him and MPs physically forced him off the ranch.
  • Why were there seven confirmed (possibly eight) flights to transport the remains of a balloon? Most of the wreckage was flown out under high security July 5–10 . . . rather extreme treatment even within the confines of the top security base in the world at that time.
  • If the object was nothing more than a weather balloon, or even a Project Mogul device, why would Colonel Blanchard set up operations at the recovery site? As the commanding officer of the 509th Bomb Group, Blanchard would have had more important duties.
  • Why was farmer Sherman Campbell and the local sheriff in Circleville, Ohio, able to immediately identify the Rawin (Mogul) target device that crashed there on July 5, while no one in Roswell could? In fact, the Campbell family was even permitted to keep the balloon the Air Force currently claims was so secret.
  • Why was the debris of a weather balloon, as identified by Warrant Officer Irving Newton, displayed in Brigadier General Roger Ramey’s office different from that of a Mogul balloon device? The new Air Force theory describes painted floral symbols on masking tape used to reinforce the radar kite in an effort to explain hieroglyphic-like characters on I-beam structures as portrayed by witnesses. Even under high magnification none are evident in the photographs taken in Ramey’s office at Fort Worth (Carswell) Army Air Field in Texas.
  • Why did Ramey’s Chief of Staff Colonel Thomas J. DuBose (who is pictured with Ramey in two of the weather balloon photos) sign a sworn affidavit in 1990 attesting to switching the balloon wreckage for the genuine material? “It was a cover story . . . to get the press off of Ramey’s back.”
  • Contrary to Ramey announcing to reporters the weather balloon explanation along with his cancellation of debris being flown to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, why did the FBI refute the General’s claims in a telex which was sent at 6:17 p.m. CST the same day of the press conference on July 8? “...But that telephonic conversation between their office and [Wright Field] had not borne out this belief. Disc and balloon being transported to Wright Field by special plane for examination.”
  • Why did a special photo team from Washington, D.C., under the command of Col. Anton Hansen, arrive at Roswell to photograph the recovery and record the subsequent events? Against standard operating procedure, the 3rd Photo Lab at the Roswell base was never called in to photograph the crash site or the material.
  • Why were two Secret Service agents by the names McCann and Devinnes dispatched from Washington to represent the president in Roswell during the incident?
  • Why were there unknown doctors and nurses observed at the Roswell base hospital at the time of the incident as noted by nurse Rosemary McMannis?
  • If the recovery was of nothing more unusual that a Mogul balloon, photographed in Ramey’s office by the news media on July 8, why did the military, on July 9, tour the various news media in Roswell retrieving copies of Walter Haut’s press release? If there was nothing to the story, why did the military search radio station KGFL, taking everything that related to the crash, including the documents that newsman Frank Joyce tried to hide?
  • Why did the U.S. military, like a scene from a 1950’s sci-fi movie, surround the Roswell Sheriff s Office just to retrieve a small box of debris that Brazel had left there days earlier?
  • Why did the Pentagon contact Muroc (Edwards) Army Air Field in California inquiring as to any missing Northrop flying wings within days of the crash north of Roswell? Muroc responded “negative.” Due to jet engine conversion, none were operational in 1947. Eyewitnesses reported the recovered craft at Roswell was wing-shaped, not saucer.
  • There was reportedly talk at the base during the recovery concerning “bodies” involved in the crash. Rumors circulated through the town of Roswell about one of the crew still alive. One day after the first press release, the Army and Navy, as reported by the Associated Press, moved to “Shut down the rumors.” The Air Force now maintains that no such “talk” concerning bodies took place. Why?
  • Secrecy oaths would not have been required for the recovery of a weather balloon, or any other conventional device, unless it was a highly classified subject. Why were the men involved taken into a conference room in groups of 10–12 and verbally sworn to protect the truth concerning what actually happened? Others at Roswell and Fort Worth were ordered not to discuss it, or ever bring it up again.
  • Ed Reese, in charge of the now declassified Project Blue Book files at the National Archives, told us that he too was surprised that Roswell is not included in the Blue Book system with all other explained reports. Why is the most highly publicized UFO case of all time strangely absent?
  • Neighbors of Mac Brazel, including Loretta Proctor and her son Norris, reported that Brazel returned from his detention driving a new pick-up truck. According to Norris Proctor, Brazel, who had been “dirt poor,” suddenly had money to buy a new house in Tularosa, a meat locker in Las Cruces, and property in Colorado. Robert Wolf, also a good friend of Brazel, recounted how he observed him with a new truck at the Mitchell Feed and Granary in Roswell within months of the incident. Was Brazel paid the reward for the physical evidence of a flying saucer?
  • The daughter of Melvin Brown reported that her father, who had seen the bodies the day they were recovered, along with the MPs at the crash site, were paid off. She said that a special trust account was established in Roswell for the guards. Why would there be payoffs to maintain secrecy of a weather balloon? A handwritten note with the account number was supplied by Brown just days before he died. Attempts to locate such a fund have been unsuccessful.
  • There are two, possibly three sites involved with the crash at Roswell. First is the debris field. Thirty miles to the southeast where the remains of the craft and crew were located is the second. A few miles to the northwest of the debris site was apparently a touchdown point of baked soil and fused sand which was first seen by Chaves County deputies and then by Lewis R. Rickett and Dr. Lincoln LaPaz. How is it possible that a balloon and array train could be responsible for sites such as these?
  • Pieces of small wreckage Brazel’s son Bill Jr. had managed to collect were confiscated by the military in 1949. Why was the military still monitoring the situation two years later? This was almost two years after Mogul had been declassified. Why were search teams still dispatched from the base at Roswell through the end of 1947, through 1948, and into 1949 to recover remaining debris at the sites specifically after heavy rainfalls as described by Major Charles McGee?
  • If the Roswell device was nothing more than a weather balloon, why bring in LaPaz, a noted expert in the discovery and recovery of meteorites? LaPaz had worked on dozens of classified government projects, including the ultra-classified Manhattan Project. If it was nothing more unusual than a balloon, why would the Pentagon assign him to determine the speed and trajectory of the downed device two months after the crash?
  • In 1952, Major Ellis Boldra, an engineer stationed at Roswell, discovered a one-foot-square section of debris locked in a safe in the engineering office. It displayed the same extraordinary characteristics described by 1947 witnesses including the memory capabilities. Why did Washington D.C. dispatch a special courier to retrieve the material immediately after news leaked out about its discovery in Roswell?
  • At our request, retired Navy Seal officer Charles Mascovich submitted the names and documented series numbers of over two dozen military personnel stationed at Roswell in July 1947 to both the Defense Department and the Veteran’s Administration for further confirmation of military service. The list included Charles E. Hanshaw, James W. Hundley, William J. Cardell, Lee J. Mulliner, Melvin E. Brown, Ernest O. Powell, Clyde M. Robertson, Cecil T. Yoakum, Harold T. Hastings, Edward M. Sager, and Donald E. Carroll. 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 the Roswell Army Air Field?
  • If there was nothing to the Roswell case other than a misidentification of a weather balloon, why have witnesses, on their deathbeds, denied that? Melvin E. Brown spent the last four days of his life telling his family that it wasn’t a weather balloon. Why was the dying archaeologist/geologist at St. Petersburg Hospital in Florida telling the nurses she had seen the bodies and then warning them about government reprisal? Roswell base Provost Marshal Edwin Easley, base Adjutant Patrick Saunders, and 393 Squadron pilot O.W. “Pappy” Henderson also gave deathbed testimony confirming the “flying saucer” crash and the recovery of bodies. And there are others more recent.
  • The unusual qualities of the material described to date by two dozen known eyewitnesses are consistent in every detail. In appearance, tensile strength, apparent weightlessness, memory characteristics, uninterpretable symbology, fiber-optic and plastic-like, metallic composition, its physical make-up would be difficult to duplicate even by today’s standards. Why do none of the first-hand witnesses describe common materials from a weather balloon? And more importantly, why were none of these individuals interviewed by the Air Force for their 1994 Roswell Report?
  • In an unprecedented reaction by then Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, why did he refuse to respond to three separate letters of request for the release of the Roswell files from Congressman Steve Shiff of New Mexico in 1993? Why did Congressman Shiff also receive denials from the Air Force, the Pentagon, and the National Security Council for similar requests?
  • And if Mogul was as highly classified as the Air Force maintains, which evidently led to the misidentification in Roswell, how is it that they invited the press to photograph this missing, top-secret balloon in Ramey’s office and promote the publication of seven different pictures in practically every major newspaper throughout the country? And why would they blow the entire project (with pictures) in the Alamogordo News of July 10, 1947?
  • Concerning the 1997 Air Force book titled Roswell Report—Case Closed that proposed the “crash dummy” explanation, given that the very earliest such tests took place six years after the 1947 incident, why didn’t the Air Force consider that none of the first-hand witnesses to the bodies remained in the service or were still in New Mexico at the time of such crash-dummy tests?
  • Each description of the bodies by the witnesses from Roswell is consistent. Interestingly, they do not resemble what have been commonly described by witnesses in reported UFO occupant cases as well as the alleged abduction accounts. This would tend to rule out contamination from such sources. And why were none of these witnesses ever interviewed by the Air Force for any of their recent reports?
  • Why would the United States military resort to gross civil-rights violations, i.e., physical intimidation and death threats to such civilians asFrankie Rowe, Tommy Thomson, Frank Joyce, Judd Roberts, Walt Whitmore Sr., Pete and Ruben Anaya, John McBoyle, and George Wilcox? And why were their threats extended to even the witness’s children to insure their silence about the recovery of simply a weather balloon? Project Mogul was declassified within two days of the reported balloon explanation on July 10, 1947; still the threats continued for years after the incident.
  • And finally, why do retired members of the military today in 1999, years after the Air Force Project Mogul and Crash Dummy Reports, still refuse to break their oaths of secrecy concerning the Roswell incident?

Public apathy often causes an inconsistent approach to important issues. Certainly, an event such as Roswell would have profound ramifications on our way of viewing the universe and humanity’s place in it. It is because of this potential impact on our lives that it deserves to be discussed openly and honestly.

It is time that government officials acknowledge their responsibility for their actions—and their failure. No one can question the rational motivation and benign intent behind withholding, at first, the truth. Until the true nature of the Roswell wreckage was identified, it was the duty of government officials and military officers to safeguard national security through whatever means they believed prudent, including absolute secrecy and denial of the facts. But they have fallen short. Absolute secrecy has not been maintained, and the complete truth must be told. No longer should half-truths, rumors, and innuendo take center stage in the public forum. The whole story must be revealed before the last of the witnesses takes it to the grave.

The facts have been presented for your consideration. Our investigation has led us to a conclusion we would present in any court of law, or, if possible, before Congress. In fact, many of our main witnesses are willing to give congressional depositions. We are confident that you, too, will demand a complete account. But without sufficient public support, this is unlikely to happen.

The Roswell case rests on a wealth of circumstantial evidence which we have attempted to present in a scientific and objective manner. We welcome any conventional explanation for these events that disapproves, with solid evidence, what we have outlined. As evidenced in the past, we have time and time again demonstrated our willingness to thoroughly examine such alternative possibilities. We also believe that we have exhausted all such solutions to the event.

However, until such proof is forthcoming, we will continue to present the facts as we have discovered them. We will continue to believe that Roswell represents the recovery of an unidentified flying object by the United States government. This conclusion is supported legally by the “preponderance of evidence” doctrine and scientifically by “Ockham’s Law” of parsimony. To paraphrase the old Sherlock Holmes axiom, “when all possible explanations have been ruled out, whatever remains, however impossible, must be the truth.”

Sadly, the United States military maintains its official policy of stall and delay until the few remaining witnesses soon depart with the remainder of the real story. Still, it is the military who possesses the true physical evidence. Strategically, by denying the witnesses, they have attempted to bury their tracks. But fortunately for a growing number of courageous witnesses who have chosen to defy officialdom, we have a much clearer picture of what truly happened outside of Roswell, New Mexico on that stormy night of July 4, 1947.

Let us not forget that the “secret keepers” are now up to their fourth official explanation. Ironically, as a Pentagon spokesman addressed media questions following the “crash dummy” press conference in June 1997, when asked what the military response would be should the public not accept their latest Roswell scenario. “Well, then I’m afraid we’ll be here again in ten years offering another explanation.” To quote the late Beatle, John Lennon, “Just give me some truth.”

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