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Last Updated: June 1, 2008 3:11 PM
 
 

The following article was published in the Dallas Observer April 3rd 2003

A half century later, witnesses insist little green... or maybe brown-men crashed in New Mexico 

It was a snow-covered December in 1995 when President Bill Clinton, visiting Northern Ireland in support of the country's new and fragile peace process, spoke to a large gathering that had arrived for a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The president opted to dismiss politics and keep the mood of his speech light. At one point, he drew laughter as he referred to a letter he'd recently received from a 13-year-old boy in Belfast.

"Ryan," the president said, "in case you're out there, here is your answer: No. As far as I know, no spaceship crashed at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. And if the Air Force recovered any extraterrestrial bodies, they did not tell me."

Such is the widespread and ongoing fascination attached to a legendary event that many believe actually took place on the late J.B. Foster's sheep ranch more than a half-century ago. 
What has transpired since that Independence Day weekend when a "flying saucer" was allegedly recovered by military personnel from Roswell Army Air Field has fueled a debate that continues 56 years later. Is it possible that such an unearthly event really occurred? The question has spawned an industry of books--well more than 100 at last count--and documentary films, inspired popular television shows and sci-fi movies, a prospering museum business in Roswell and insistence by many researchers that an ongoing government cover-up of the historic discovery puts Watergate to shame.

Perhaps Clinton should have visited with Midland's Anne Robbins before giving his answer. The widow of a career military man stationed in Roswell at the time, she might have changed his mind. She would probably have shared the description of the saucer that her husband, Technical Sergeant Ernest Robert Robbins, told her he helped recover long ago and the three small "men"--one dead, one near death and another very much alive--found outside the spaceship.

But we're getting ahead of the story.

Was the arid Lincoln County region actually visited by inhabitants of another world? If so, why has the government refused to admit it? And could it be true, as some now claim, that many modern-day technical advancements--from lasers to fiber optics, integrated circuit chips to Velcro--have evolved from scientific examination and reverse engineering studies of a now hidden spacecraft?

As the story goes, William "Mac" Brazel, who leased the Foster Ranch at the time, was on horseback herding sheep when he happened onto a large field of strewn debris unlike anything he'd ever seen. He would later tell neighbors Floyd and Loretta Proctor it was clearly something that had fallen from the sky; perhaps the cause of the too-loud-to-be-thunder boom he'd heard during the previous night's rainstorm.

Brazel allegedly showed the Proctors some of the pieces he'd collected, metallic but thin as tinfoil. They watched in amazement as he wrinkled one, laid it on a table and saw it immediately smooth to its original shape. And there were the pieces of stick-like material, no heavier than balsa wood, bendable but impossible to break or cut with a knife. On some were what he later compared to Indian petroglyphs, series of strange symbols and pastel-colored drawings.

The neighbors, aware of the flying-saucer mania then sweeping the nation, suggested he tell authorities. Thus, two days later, on the morning of July 7, 1947, Brazel made the 60-mile drive to Roswell and told Chaves County Sheriff George Wilcox of his discovery, showing him several pieces of the strange debris he had collected. Wilcox phoned Major Jesse Marcel at the nearby air base and suggested he might want to speak with the 48-year-old rancher.

After examining the material and hearing Brazel's description of the size of the debris field--three-quarters of a mile long and 200 to 300 feet wide, with a lengthy "gouge" in the ground at its north end--Marcel arranged to meet Brazel at the ranch.

Thereafter the story becomes a blur that historians are still attempting to sort out. According to evidence gathered by numerous researchers--both scientists and laymen collectively calling themselves UFOlogists--a small, elite group of military personnel was assigned to guard the area, collect the debris and take it to the base. There, orders had already been received from Brigadier General Roger Ramey, commanding officer of the 8th Air Force, that everything recovered was to be flown immediately to what would later become Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth.

Still, the story might never have created a worldwide frenzy had the base public information officer, Lieutenant Walter Haut, not issued a startling press release that appeared beneath a banner headline in the next day's edition of the Roswell Daily Record: "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region."

Haut's press release, ordered by Colonel William Blanchard, the base commanding officer, made it clear that something more than pieces of scattered debris had been found. "The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today that the field has come into possession of a flying saucer," it read. The release went on to explain that "Major Marcel and a detail from his department went to the ranch and discovered the disc."

Soon, calls were coming to Haut from news agencies throughout the world.

Now 80 and co-founder of the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, Haut says, "After meeting with Colonel Blanchard in his office and getting the information for the press release, I wrote it and went to town around five that afternoon to deliver it to the radio and newspaper people.

"That done, I went on home and was having dinner when people from all over the world started calling. Finally, about midnight, my wife, who was getting a little unhappy with the flood of calls, just took the phone off the hook and told me we were going to bed."

Then, just as quickly as the excitement had developed, it came to a crashing end with a Fort Worth news conference called by General Ramey the following day. Despite claims by Marcel to investigators years later that the amount of debris loaded onto the B-29 that was flown from Roswell to Fort Worth "was enormous," half filling the huge plane, reporters and photographers who gathered in the general's office were shown only tattered remnants of a weather balloon and given a smiling apology for all the unwarranted excitement. In attendance was Major Marcel, admitting he had been mistaken.

The official version of the Roswell incident thus became that a military weather balloon launched to detect wind velocity and direction at high altitudes had come crashing down on Foster Ranch. End of story. The headline in the next day's Roswell paper was as definitive but not nearly as exciting as the one published the day before: "Gen. Ramey Empties Roswell Saucer." In a more innocent and patriotic time, with World War II still fresh in the public's mind and trust in the government blindly indisputable, the explanation was good enough. For most. For a time.

Anne Robbins, who until now has never spoken publicly on the matter, says what her late husband saw 56 years ago was hardly a downed weather balloon.

Seated in a meeting room at the newly opened Odessa Meteor Crater Museum, the 84-year-old Robbins clearly recalls a July night when her husband received a call to report to the base. She would not see or hear from him for 18 hours. And when she did, he told her bits and pieces of a bizarre story that has puzzled her for a lifetime.

"We had been to a dinner party at the NCO [non-commissioned officers] club on the base," she says, "and didn't get home until 10:30 or 11. We'd already gone to bed but weren't yet asleep when everything outside lit up like it was daylight. It was like that for what seemed like several minutes, and we both assumed that it was probably helicopters from the base with searchlights on."

Soon thereafter, the phone call came to their home and her husband told her he had to report to the base.
"I just assumed that there had been a plane crash somewhere nearby," she says. "But I couldn't figure why my husband, a sheet-metal man who repaired planes, was called in."

She was even more puzzled when he returned home the following evening, his uniform wrinkled and damp. "I asked him what had happened to him, why he was so wet, and he told me he'd had to go through the decontamination tank at the base. I asked, 'In your clothes?' and he said, 'They were what I was wearing when I was out there.'"

Still assuming that he'd been called to the site of a plane crash, she quizzed him further. "He told me, 'Well, I guess you might as well know; it's going to be in the papers. A UFO crashed outside of Roswell.'"

Her response? "I told him he was crazy."

"No," Sergeant Robbins replied, "I'm not." Then he showered and went to bed.

"I don't remember him being particularly shocked or very emotional about it," she says. "In fact, he seemed cool as a cucumber. He just made it clear to me that he wasn't going to talk about it."

The following morning she continued to press for details. "I asked him again if it was really true and he said, yes, it was." When she asked what the UFO looked like, he explained that "if you took two saucers and put them together, that's what it looked like." On the top layer, he told her, there were oblong-shaped windows all the way around the craft. And, no, he said, he had not looked inside the crashed ship.

"I asked him if there was anybody on it. He said, 'I can tell you this much: There were three people. One was dead and two were still alive. I can't tell you anything more.'"

It was not until several days later that Sergeant Robbins finally agreed to drive his wife out to the crash site. By then, all debris had been cleared away and neither a spaceship nor signs of military personnel was evident. "He didn't say much of anything until we got to a place where there was this big burned spot, a perfect circle so black that it was shiny. No normal fire could have made something like that." It was, she says, as if the sand had been melted and turned into a sheet of black glass.

"This," Sergeant Robbins said, "is where I was for 18 hours."

"On the drive home," she says, "I asked him what happened to the spaceship, what happened to the people who were on it. Her husband's reply: "I can't tell you that; don't ask me any more."

It was the last time her husband spoke of "the Roswell incident" until long after he'd retired from the service. Until his death of a heart attack two years ago, he never told his wife who was with him that night or what role he had played.

Following his retirement from the Air Force in 1961, they moved to Saginaw, near Fort Worth, and he worked first for General Dynamics, then LTV, as an aircraft repairman.

"It was years later, when our kids were in high school, that our son Ronald was working on some kind of report on unidentified flying objects and asked his father to tell him about what happened back in Roswell. He didn't say much, basically just what he'd told me years earlier," she says.

"But you know how kids are. Ronald kept asking questions, like what the men found at the crash looked like. Finally, Papa [as she referred to her husband throughout their 57-year marriage] got a pencil and drew this pear-shaped head with large black eyes. Their skin, he said, was brown and they had no nose, no mouth.

"When Ronald asked him what their bodies looked like, all he would say was, 'Son, you don't want to know about that.'"

The Robbins' son, now living in Arizona, could not be reached by the Dallas Observer. "He wouldn't talk to you about it, anyway," his mother insists. Neither of her children, in fact, has ever spoken publicly of their father's alleged involvement in the Roswell incident. "Barbara, my daughter, tells me, 'Daddy's dead, don't bring it up.'"

"All I remember," says Barbara Wattlington, "was Dad saying he was stationed in Roswell and that a UFO crashed there."

The last time Anne Robbins remembers any conversation about the matter was a few years before her husband's death in January 2000, when they sat in their Saginaw living room one evening, watching television. A show whose title she can't recall was on, re-creating the Roswell event and posing the question of whether it was an ageless hoax or the well-hidden truth. "I asked him, 'Was it a hoax?' and all he said was, 'It's the truth. It did land.'

"I asked him, 'Well, if it did, where is it?' He again said he couldn't tell me that." 

Her husband, she says, was never one to embellish or lie; neither prankster nor teller of tall tales. "He was a good, Christian man. He loved the military and his country and never spoke bad about either." No, she says, he would never have made up such a story. Nor, if ordered not to, would he have ever talked of matters he was told to keep secret. "That's just the way he was," she says. "On the day he died, the last thing he told me was that he wanted me to promise to fly the flag in front of our house until I drew my last breath."

Though she insists she has never researched the numerous theories of the Roswell crash presented in the countless books or documentaries, she does admit that she has lingering questions she hopes will one day be answered. "That UFO they found didn't just fly away," she says. "So where is it? And what happened to the people on it? I still say the Air Force knows what happened. Someday, I hope, we might find out the truth."

Two years ago she did get an answer to one question that had long bothered her. "I could never figure out why an airplane repairman would be called out in the middle of the night to participate in the investigation of a crashed UFO," she says. Only after filing her husband's death certificate with military officials in Washington, D.C., did she learn that he had intelligence clearance during his Roswell tenure.

Still, if Anne Robbins had embarked on a thorough study of the massive collection of research done on the fabled Roswell crash, she would not find her husband's name among any of the "witnesses" who have come forward over the years. Yet the sketchy details he gave her generally mesh with most of the reconstructed stories found in the ever-growing volume of literature devoted to the crash investigation.

It was not until 1978, three decades after the brief flurry of interest in the crashed UFO-turned-weather balloon, that Jesse Marcel, the intelligence officer who had been at the center of the original event, came forward with a story far different from the one told attendees of the Carswell news conference.

The material flown from Roswell to Fort Worth was never actually shown to the media, he confided to nuclear physicist-turned-UFO investigator Stanton Friedman. It was, instead, quietly delivered to a research laboratory at Wright-Patterson Army Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Marcel's revised recollections of the 1947 event, along with those of others who had finally chosen to speak out, ultimately appeared in the 1980 book The Roswell Incident co-authored by William Moore and Charles Berlitz, setting off a renewed appetite for information. Soon it came in a virtual flood of eyewitness reports and recollections of family members who, like Anne Robbins, began revealing secrets they had long been told to keep. The Roswell story exploded into the best-known alleged UFO encounter in history.

According to the story now told by researchers, ranging from the serious to those writing for the supermarket tabloids, things far more bizarre had already occurred before Mac Brazel discovered the debris field. Those who have written about the event in the years since suggest a fascinating sequence of events that occurred in the early days of that July:

For several nights, Roswell residents had reportedly seen a strange flying object in the night sky. Though no one would know about it for 30 years, two Franciscan Catholic nuns, working at the local St. Mary's Hospital, even made notations in their diaries that at some time after 11 p.m. on July 4, 1947, they had seen a large flash in the night sky, assuming that it was a plane in distress.

What Roswell AAF radar operator Frank Kaufmann said he saw was even more remarkable. On that same evening he was tracking the strange movement of a mysterious object flying at an incredible rate of speed. Suddenly it began losing altitude and the blip on the radar screen enlarged into a large starburst pattern that suggested an explosion had occurred. It was estimated that the event had occurred somewhere within a 100-mile range northwest of the base and a search team was immediately dispatched.

Jim Ragsdale would later tell of seeing what occurred at much closer range. He and his girlfriend, on a rock-hunting trip, were parked at a secluded campsite on what was known as Boy Scout Mountain, when they saw a flash, then heard a thundering explosion. Within seconds, Ragsdale would later tell researchers, the UFO skipped along the desert not far away, then came to rest at the base of a nearby bluff. Grabbing flashlights, he and his girlfriend made their way to the crash site where he says a saucer-shaped vehicle had come to rest. Not only did he eventually tell of seeing the crashed UFO but the bodies of several "childlike" passengers. After picking up a few pieces of debris from the wreckage, the young couple decided to return to their pickup and wait until daylight for a better look.

When they did return, Ragsdale later wrote in a sworn affidavit, they saw a military convoy arriving and briefly hid to watch before deciding to leave (taking with them pieces of the debris he says they later showed to numerous people in a nearby bar). Had they remained, the story goes, they would have eventually seen the UFO hoisted by crane onto the bed of a flatbed truck and the bodies placed in another military vehicle that was ordered to quickly return to the Roswell base hospital.

The actual crash site, then, had been swept clear by military personnel hours before Mac Brazel rode up on the debris field several miles away. Later, researchers would assume that the craft had apparently first hit on the Foster Ranch, sliding along for a distance, then had briefly managed to become airborne again before crashing.

If the material found in such books as The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell, Crash at Corona, Beyond Roswell, and Alien Contact: Top Secret UFO Files Revealed is to be believed, the interplanetary visit was, in many respects, a pretty poorly kept secret from the get-go. The only problem is, it was years before folks would talk about it.

Yet, before their deaths, numerous people or their descendants recounted anecdotes of involvement in and observations made during the strange event.

For instance, long after his father's death in 1986, Dr. Jesse Marcel Jr., 66, still tells of Major Marcel stopping by the house on an early July morning in 1947 to show him and his mother pieces of the crash debris that he had collected. Eleven years old at the time, Dr. Marcel recalled his father bringing pieces of the downed "flying disc" from his car and spreading them on the kitchen floor. He recalled handling the aluminum foil-like material and seeing the unusual symbols on what he said looked like pieces of black plastic.

Now living in Helena, Montana, Dr. Marcel says the most remarkable memory he has of the pieces his father showed him was of the geometric-like symbols on some of them. "I've always referred to them as I-beams," he says, "though I have no idea what they really were.

"My father was very excited about what they had found," Dr. Marcel says, "and since our house was on the way to the base, he just decided to stop by and show it to us. Then he took it on out to the base."

Major Marcel's excitement, however, was quickly muted. "The next day," his son remembers, "he sat down with my mother and me and told us we were never to talk about what he'd shown us. He said, 'Don't think about it. It didn't happen.'"

Today, Dr. Marcel remains convinced that the material his father showed him came from another world.

Then there is the story that the late Sergeant Melvin Brown waited until 1970 to tell his daughters. Retired and living in England, he said that he had been at the crash site in '47 and was assigned to guard the alien bodies as they were being transported back to the base. Though sworn to secrecy, he finally told of being ordered to ride in an "ice-filled truck" that was to take the bodies to a hangar. On the trip, Brown told his daughter Beverly Bean, he had lifted a tarp and seen "two, possibly three bodies."

And there were others who would eventually tell of seeing the alien bodies, including Roswell AAF radar operator Kaufmann, who would later claim to have been among those ordered to the crash site where, he later told researchers Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle, authors of UFO Crash at Roswell, he saw five small aliens, all clearly dead.

Oliver "Pappy" Henderson, a World War II pilot assigned to the Roswell Army Air Field at the time, allegedly told friend Dr. John Kromschroeder during a fishing trip in 1978 that he had flown much of the debris--and the bodies of what he only described as "those little guys"--to Wright-Patterson aboard a C-47. Shortly before his death in 1986, Henderson also told the story to his wife.

In his book, The Day After Roswell, retired Colonel Philip Corso is far more graphic as he writes of a night a sentry urged him to enter an off-limits Wright-Patterson building where more than 30 crates of Henderson's cargo had been stacked against a wall, draped by large tarps. When the sentry pointed to a particular crate he'd already looked in--in clear violation of orders he'd been given --Corso opened it and shined a flashlight on its contents.

"My stomach rolled right up into my throat, and I almost became sick," he writes. "[Inside] was a coffin, but not like any coffin I'd ever seen before. The contents, enclosed in a thick glass container, were submerged in a thick light blue liquid...

"At first I thought it was a dead child they were shipping somewhere. But it was no child. It was a 4-foot human-shaped figure with arms, bizarre-looking four-fingered hands--I didn't see a thumb--thin legs and feet and an oversized incandescent light bulb-shaped head...the eye sockets were oversized and almond-shaped..."

Perhaps the most provocative story came not from a member of the military but, instead, a Roswell mortician named Glenn Dennis. Twenty-two at the time and director of the local Ballard Funeral Home, he told of receiving a telephone call from the base on the afternoon of July 5, 1947, asking if he could provide several "small," hermetically sealed caskets. Thirty minutes later, he would eventually recall to numerous researchers and journalists, he answered a second call, this time with a series of questions about the techniques of embalming and preserving dead bodies and if such processes would alter the chemical contents of blood and tissue. Finally, he reported, he was asked what happened to body tissue after it had been exposed to the elements.

Curious, Dennis says he asked if there was something he could help with and was told the questions were only "for future reference."

Later that day, Dennis recalled, he had driven an injured airman to the base infirmary. While there, he noticed an unusual amount of activity at the base hospital. Encountering a nurse named Naomi Selff in the hallway, she was clearly surprised to see him and warned that "he wasn't supposed to be there and had better leave immediately."

Minutes later, his story went, he was escorted by two military police all the way back to the funeral home.

It was not until the following day that he learned what had been happening. He phoned nurse Selff and they agreed to meet for lunch. Obviously distraught, she told him of seeing three small bodies, two of which were badly mutilated, and of being ordered by attending military doctors to take notes while they conducted their examinations. The stench of the corpses, she allegedly told him, had been almost more than she could stand. Before he returned her to her barrack, Dennis recalled, she drew sketches of the aliens on a prescription pad and gave them to him with a warning that he should "show them to no one."

That, the mortician says, was the last time he ever saw her. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to reach her by phone, he learned several days later that she had suddenly been reassigned to duty in England. Shortly thereafter, he was told that she had died there in a plane crash.

Co-founder of the Roswell museum with Haut, Dennis is currently in poor health and was unable to speak with the Observer about his well-chronicled story.

But for every true believer there are skeptics, researchers who have picked away at the colorful, unimaginable stories in search of their flaws. And they have found many. Among the debunkers is Kal K. Korff, author of The Roswell UFO Crash: What They Don't Want You to Know. He not only questions why so many waited so long to come forward with the stories but points out that many of them are, like that of Anne Robbins, hand-me-down tales allegedly kept secret until the firsthand witnesses were dead.

Korff's questions are valid: Why have some of the reported witness accounts described the downed UFO as "saucer-shaped" while others remember it being "triangular-shaped with small wings?" While most who claimed to have seen the bodies recall there being three, others say they saw as many as five. Some say all were dead, others that one or more was still alive. Descriptions of the color of the small bodies range from gray to brown. How could mortician Haut have "lost" something as important as the drawings he says his nurse friend made and gave to him? And if, in fact, so many civilians collected pieces of the strange-looking debris, why has not a single piece of it ever surfaced?

It was not until 1994 that an Air Force investigation into the aging Roswell affair resulted in an announcement that the material found on the Foster Ranch was, in fact, a crashed high-altitude test balloon that would eventually be able to monitor Soviet nuclear testing. Actually a chain of radar-equipped balloons, it had been launched on July 4, 1947, and was tracked to within 17 miles of the Foster Ranch before disappearing.

When the explanation failed to satisfy many "believers," the Air Force released yet another report in '97, this one titled The Roswell Report--Case Closed, in which it attempted to answer the lingering question of the "bodies" allegedly seen at the crash site. What the so-called witnesses had seen, according to the report, were nothing more than crash-test dummies that were part of a military experiment in parachute and ejector seat designs.

That, too, failed to satisfy those determined that the governmental cover-up continued. Such tests, several military researchers argued, had not even begun until the mid-'50s.

"The reason the interest in the Roswell case remains and, in fact, seems to grow," says Mark Rodeghier, scientific director of the Chicago-based Center for UFO Studies, "is the fact the government has never given a reasonable explanation of what occurred that summer of 1947."

Thus it continues, an unexplained event that has turned into an industry. What happened or didn't happen 56 years ago has lured 1.3 million to the International UFO Museum and Research Center since it opened in 1992. A guided tour of the desolate "crash site" is now available. Then, there was the long-lost film of the "autopsy" of one of the Roswell aliens that was shown on television worldwide before being discounted as fake, and a stream of new books and articles that continues to flow. 
Clearly, the public loves the mystery. According to a recent poll, a large percentage of the U.S. population continues to believe something unworldly occurred that July on the Foster Ranch.

Walter Haut, one of the few major figures in the long-ago story still living, is among them. "I'm sure," he says, "that over the years much of the story has been exaggerated. But, yes, I believe that something happened out there in 1947." And he's not speaking of a weather balloon crash.


Update: 19th November 2003

The following article appeared in the Roswell Daily Record. 

UFO debris site monument unveiled

Andrew Poertner
Record Managing Editor

As dawn broke on the second day of Roswell’s UFO Festival, a small band of UFO enthusiasts slipped away from the throngs of tourists to attend a monument dedication at the origin of the Roswell Incident.On a rocky hilltop about 65 miles north of the city, 23 people stepped out of their vehicles Saturday morning and took a mental journey into the past. Attendees of the invitation-only ceremony at the Corona “debris field” found the dusty landscape fertile ground for the imagination.

Among those attending were representatives from the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, UFO investigators, a film crew from the Sci-Fi Channel and descendants of Mack Brazel, the rancher who discovered the debris which the military initially reported to the media as the wreckage of a flying saucer.

“This is where they picked up Mogul Balloon No. 4 ... or the bodies. Depending on what you believe,” said Paul Davids, executive producer of the 1994 movie “Roswell.”

Julie Shuster, UFO Museum director, said the monument is a tribute to the people who came forward to report what they saw in the fields north of the city and in Roswell more than a half century ago.

“The monument is to honor the people involved in the 1947 incident,” she said. “There were a lot of people involved ... it’s affected so many people’s lives. It’s to say that we know what you sacrificed.”

Shuster said those involved in the incident ended up having their reputations damaged, their lives disrupted and spending far more time than they could ever have expected addressing the event.

Don Schmitt, author and UFO investigator, conducted the stone monument’s unveiling. In his brief address, he recognized the Brazel family members present and offered them his sympathy for having to cope with the attacks the family has suffered over the years. Schmitt said Brazel was merely trying to be a good citizen by reporting what he had found. He said neither Brazel nor his family have ever tried to make money or gain fame from the incident. He challenged anyone to show that the family has ever benefited in any way from the incident.

“They were not trying to capitalize on it,” said Schmitt.

His remarks complete, Schmitt unveiled the monument. The text engraved on it’s surface reads:

“In July of the year 1947 a craft of unknown origin spread debris over this site. Witnesses would report materials of unearthly nature.

“In September of the year 2002 the Sci-Fi Channel brought scientists from the University of New Mexico to search this ground for evidence of that fateful night.

“Be it observed, that whatever the true nature of what has respectfully become known as the Roswell Incident, humankind has been forever drawn to the stars. Dedicated July 5, 2003.”

Capturing the event alongside cameras and camcorders was a video camera from the Sci-Fi Channel, which has been continuing its search for physical evidence at the location.

“We’re just thrilled that we could be part of this,” said Larry Landsman, director of special projects for the Sci-Fi Channel.

Although the ceremony was a predominantly somber event, there were light-hearted moments amidst the formality. Arriving at the site, Davids tossed what appeared to be a homemade silver disc near the monument and shouted, “There it is!”

Many of the attendees used the opportunity to reflect on the Roswell Incident and said visiting the site served to drive home that whether it was a balloon or an alien spacecraft, the debris field is a real place and something did happen. And regardless of what happened, it has sparked the curiosity of countless people to wonder if mankind is alone in the universe.


Update: 21st December 2003

Brig. Gen. Arthur E. Exon – His evidence

Gen. Exon has been the highest ranking military officer to come out and say directly that Roswell was the crash of a spacecraft and that alien bodies were recovered. (Click here for Exon's biography on the Air Force biographical Web site of their generals.) Exon was another inconvenient, high-ranking witness, like Brig. Gen. Thomas Dubose , that Air Force debunkers wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Even though his statements on Roswell had been published before the Air Force began its investigation in 1994, Exon was never interviewed and completely ignored by AF investigators.
 In 1947 Exon was a Lt.-Colonel stationed at Wright Field at the time of the Roswell crash and heard of the incident at that time. He said he also flew over the area of the crash some months later.>From 1964-66 he was the Commanding Officer of Wright-Patterson AFB, where crash material was taken in 1947. He said other UFO-related field operations were staged at W-P during his tenure. Teams of men would fly in from Washington on an investigation. W-P would supply them with planes and crews for their operations.
From 1955 to 1960, he was a colonel stationed at the Pentagon. He said he was aware of a UFO controlling committee made up primarily of very high-ranking military officers and intelligence people. His nickname for this group was "The Unholy Thirteen".
Exon's knowledge of the Roswell events was primarily second-hand. Except for his later fly-over the crash area and the later operations out of W-P when he was C/O, Exon disclaimed direct knowledge. He said he never saw the actual Roswell crash material, but was told the result of testing by other personnel involved. Likewise for the recovery and shipment of bodies. How the Roswell crash would have been handled and how it would have been covered up seems to be largely speculative, based on his knowledge of how the government and military chain of command would have functioned under the circumstances. And seemingly he know only indirectly of the UFO control group while he was at the Pentagon.

Sources of the following material
R&S: UFO Crash at Roswell, 1991 &The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell, 1994, by Kevin Randle &Donald Schmitt (Based on phone and personal interviews from July 1989 - July 1990)

RUCU: Roswell UFO Crash Update; Kevin Randle, 1995; transcript of interview,
June 18, 1990

TS/M: Top Secret Majic, Stanton Friedman, 1996; (based on interviews 1989 - 1991) New!

Breakthrough: Breathrough-- The Next Step; Whitley Strieber, 1995

Confirmation: Confirmation--The Hard Evidence of Aliens Among Us; Whitley
Strieber, 1998

What Roswell Was

(RUCU)
"...They knew they had something new in their hands. The metal and material was unknown to anyone I talked to. Whatever they found, I never heard what the results were. A couple of guys thought it might be Russian, but the overall consensus was that the pieces were from space. ...Roswell was the recovery of a craft from space."

(Confirmation, p. 250)
Among the things that Exon was very specific about was that everybody "from Truman on down" had known about the Roswell incident from the day it happened, and that it was known to be an alien spacecraft "almost as soon as we got on the scene."

(Breakthrough, p. 275-276)
When I originally spoke with General Exon [in 1991] after being introduced to him by my uncle, he was quite straightforward about the fact that he felt that the Roswell debris was extraterrestrial and that the issues it raised had been debated in the White House. In interviews for public attribution that he agreed to later [in 1994], he was much more guarded.

[Note: Strieber's "uncle" was Col. Edward Strieber, who had spent much of his career at Wright-Patterson AFB. Strieber then wrote (Breakthrough), "My uncle informed me that he had knowledge of the Majestic project. He spoke of the delivery of alien materials, artifacts, and biological remains to Wright Field from the Roswell Army Air Base in the summer of 1947. He felt sure that the existence of these materials and what to do about them had been debated at the highest levels of the government. ...In 1991, after I had written Majestic , my uncle put me into contact with a general -- an old and trusted friend of his -- who knew even more. The general, Arthur Exon, is the cousin of Senator Exon..."]

Anomalous Roswell Debris

(R&S)
"We heard the material was coming to Wright Field. [Testing was done in the various labs.] Everything from chemical analysis, stress tests, compression tests, flexing. It was brought into our material evaluation labs. I don't know how it arrived, but the boys who tested it said it was very unusual."

"[Some of it] could be easily ripped or changed... There were other parts of it that were very thin but awfully strong and couldn't be dented with heavy hammers... It was flexible to a degree... Some of it was flimsy and was tougher than hell, and the other was almost like foil but strong. It had them pretty puzzled.

(RUCU)
"...couldn't be easily ripped or changed ...you could change it. You could wad it up, you could change the shape, but it was still there and ... there were other parts of it that were very thin but awfully strong and couldn't be dented with heavy hammers and stuff like that... which at the time were causing some people some concern... again, say it was a shape of some kind, you could grab this end and bend it, but it would come right back. It was flexible to a  degree."

"I think the full range of testing was possible. Everything from chemical analysis, and resist chemicals, stress tests, compression tests, flexing... I don't know, at that time, if it was titanium or some other metal... or if it was something they knew about and the processing was something different."


 

Bodies

(R&S)
"There was another location where ... apparently the main body of the spacecraft was ... where they did say there were bodies ... They were all found, apparently, outside the craft itself but were in fairly good condition. In other words, they weren't broken up a lot"

"That's my information [that the bodies went to Wright Field]. But one of them went to the mortuary outfit ... I think at that time it was in Denver. But the strongest information was that they were brought to Wright-Pat."

The Crash Sites

(R&S)
"[It was] probably part of the same accident, but [there were] two distinct  sites. One assuming that the thing, as I understand it, as I remember flying the area later, that the damage to the vehicle seemed to be coming from the southeast to the northwest, but it could have been going in the opposite direction, but it doesn't seem likely. So the farther northwest pieces found on the ranch, those pieces were mostly metal. ...I remember auto tracks leading to the pivotal sites and obvious gouges in the terrain."

Covering It Up

(R&S)
Exon also knew something of the cover-up, especially the one originated at Roswell. Because he knew Blanchard [Roswell C/O], he said, "Blanchard's leave was a screen. It was his duty to go to the site and make a determination."

Concerning the cover-up, Exon pointed out that there were no secret balloon or weather devices that could account for the debris. The lab men and officers at Wright Field, because it was their job, would have known if the debris fit into those categories. The balloon explanation was ready-made. "Blanchard could have cared less about a weather balloon," said Exon.

"I know that at the time the sightings happened, it was to General Ramey ... and he, along with the people at Roswell, decided to change the story while they got their act together and got the information into the Pentagon and into the president."

According to Exon, the instant they understood the nature of the find, Ramey would have alerted the chief of staff, Dwight Eisenhower. Once they had the information in Washington, control of the operation would have come from the Pentagon. The men at Roswell would have been tasked with the clean-up because they were there, on site, but the responsibility for the clean-up would have moved up the chain of command and into the Pentagon and the White House..

According to Exon, the outgrowth of this was a top secret committee to study the phenomenon and the debris found at Roswell. An oversight committee was formed; its responsibility would be to protect the data, to control access to it, and to design studies to exploit it; a small group with control, a secondary group made up of aides, assistants, and staff from the first group, and then a third level where actual testing was done.

...Exon was sure that the material, at least some of it, would still be housed at Wright-Patterson. There would be reports, probably filed in the Foreign Technology Building, that would describe everything learned in the last forty-plus years. There would be photographs, from the debris filed and the crash site, of the bodies and of the autopsies, filed away. Everything needed to prove that Roswell represented the crash of an extraterrestrial spacecraft would be found, if those reports were ever to be released.



UFO Control Group -- "The Unholy Thirteen", "MJ-12"

(R&S)
[Note that some of the following names of those allegedly involved are obviously speculative]

...the most surprising revelation was the acknowledgement of an official group that controlled access to the wreckage, bodies, and information about the crash. He referred to them as the Unholy Thirteen, only because he didn't know the actual name of the group. (And, after studying what he said, it seems that the name, Majestic Twelve, does not fit. Majestic Twelve, or MJ-12, was allegedly the group created to study the Roswell material, according to a briefing document released in the late 1980s. There is no evidence that the document is authentic.)

According to Exon, once the nature of the crash at Roswell was understood, the information would have been passed up the chain of command. Ramey probably called the Army Chief of Staff, Dwight Eisenhower.

The General identified others on the committee, men who held high positions in the government. Carl Spaatz, the head of the Army Air force in July, 1947, who became the first Chief of Staff of the Air force in September, 1947, was mentioned as a committee member.

Exon named several others, including James Forrestal in his role as Secretary of War (later Defense), Stuart Symington, at that time the Under Secretary of War for Air, and President Truman. Given the nature of the crash and the preliminary conclusions being drawn, the president had to be included.

..."I just know there was a top intelligence echelon represented and the President's office was represented and the Secretary of Defense's office was represented and these people stayed on it in key positions even though they might have moved out."

One thing that Exon made clear was that no elected officials, outside the President, were ever included as a member of the top echelon. Elected officials were excluded from knowing anything about it.

...Additional names were not supplied for the remaining members, but he knew which offices were represented. These included the head of the CIA in the fall of 1947, Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter. Exon said there were representatives of the military intelligence community. Nathan F. Twining, as the head of the Air Materiel Command, would be another obvious choice.

There were other men who may have had a major role. Brigadier General Roger Ramey eventually left the Eighth Air Force, moving to Washington and duties in the Pentagon. In 1952, Major General Roger Ramey, Deputy Chief (of Staff) for Operations, was involved in UFO research. (See section on Ramey and UFOs , including Ramey being called the AF "saucer man" in 1952.)
Ramey's inclusion would have been natural. He was involved almost from the beginning, had managed to bury the story with the balloon explanation, and the bodies did transit Fort Worth Army Air Field. (See section on the unusual B29 flight with large crate. See also Ramey's telegram message of shipping the "aviators in the disc" to the 8th AAF flight surgeon.)

Major General John Samford, the Chief of Air Intelligence, might not have been an original member of the team, but by 1952 may have held one of the second echelon seats.

(RUCU)
"... Stuart Symington, who was Secretary of Defense [actually Sec. of the Air Force], Carl Spaatz [A.F. Chief of Staff until 1948] ...all these guys at the top of government. They were the ones who knew the most about Roswell, New Mexico. They were involved in what to do about the residue from that -- those two findings" [two distinct crash sites].

"In the '55 time period [when Exon was at the Pentagon], there was also the story that whatever happened, whatever was found at Roswell was still closely held and probably would be held until these fellows I mentioned had died so they wouldn't be embarrassed or they wouldn't have to explain why they covered it up. ...until the original thirteen died off and I don't think anyone is going to release anything [until] the last one's gone."

(Breakthrough, p. 249)
In 1991, after I had written Majestic , my uncle put me into contact with a general -- an old and trusted friend of his -- who knew even more. This general, Arthur Exon, is the cousin of Senator Exon, who himself has been interested over the years in UFO-related subjects. The general appeared to me to have more knowledge of the debates my uncle had referred to, and seemed to think that President Truman, Secretary Forestall, and others had been involved.

(TS/M) [Added Nov. 1, 2002]
(pp. 128-130) ...In the summer of 1991, Randle and Schmitt were claiming that Exon knew there was a control group (which they called the "Unholy 13") for Roswell, knew who the members of that group were, and had direct firsthand involvement with the crashed saucer. They claimed that Exon told them the members of the control group included Stewart Symington, then Secretary of the Air Force; Carl Spaatz, first chief of staff of the Air Force; General Eisenhower, then Army chief of staff; General Ramey, head of the 8th Air Force; and others. None of the people they mentioned were on the MJ-12 briefing list.

[After a MUFON conference in July 1991] ...I wrote a generally negative review of the [Randle/Schmitt] book for the MUFON Journal... published in the September 1991 issue... When I finished the review, I decided to give General Exon a call. ..He had not seen Randle and Schmitt's book, and so I read him portions of his supposed testimony from the volume. He politely but firmly indicated that Randle and Schmitt had attributed considerably more to him than he had said. He had no firsthand involvement with Roswell, although he had heard lots of scuttlebutt from people he trusted. He had been at Wright Field in July 1947, when the Roswell wreckage had been brought there. He had heard stories while he was base commander (not even as commander did he have a need-to-know for all activities there) and also during a stint at the Pentagon.

(p. 41) ...I interviewed General Arthur E. Exon, commander of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the mid-1960s. He had heard a lot of scuttlebutt about crashed saucers and aliens while stationed at Wright Field in 1947, as commander of the base in 1964 and 1965, and later while on assignment at the Pentagon. I met with him and we had several telephone conversations. He could find no reason to quarrel with the three primary MJ-12 documents or the list of original members. [as opposed to an "Unholy 13" UFO control group attributed to him by Randle &Schmitt]

Other recoveries or UFO investigations by Special Teams from Washington Centered out of Wright-Patterson

(RUCU)
"...We would make an airplane available [at Wright-Patterson AFB] ... T-39s, twin jets, and lots of times we sent a 240, Convair 240 with a crew, and they would go and these guys would do their business and they'd sit [at] an air base someplace and cool it until the guys came back. They'd come back, drop them off, and go about their business. [The teams] would be eight and sometimes it would be fifteen. ...They would come from Washington, D.C."

"And they'd ask for an airplane tomorrow morning and that would give the guys a chance to get there by commercial airline, to meet them. The airplane would take off at such and such a time. Sometimes they'd be gone for three days and sometimes they'd be gone for a week. I know they went out to Montana and Wyoming and the northwest states a number of times in a year and a half that I recall. There probably were other places. They went to Arizona once or twice."

"... Our contact was a man, a telephone number. He'd call and he'd set the airplanes up. I just knew there was an investigative team. There probably was a name but I ...don't recall that there was."

Exon Intimidated?

(Breakthrough (p. 275)
[Interview, Dec. 2, 1994, with a high-level, unidentified Congressional staffer looking into the UFO question and Roswell. Exon had held discussions with a few cleared Congressional staff members during the Congressional Roswell investigation by the General Accounting Office in 1994-95.]

[Staffer] "General Exon is afraid. He was afraid he was being monitored at that point. He was probably afraid his whole house was bugged."

[Strieber] When I originally spoke with General Exon [in 1991] after being introduced to him by my uncle, he was quite straightforward about the fact that he felt that the Roswell debris was extraterrestrial and that the issues it raised had been debated in the White House. In interviews for public attribution that he agreed to later, he was much more guarded.

 

Exon Disclaimer of Direct Knowledge

(RUCU -- Letter to Kevin Randle, Nov. 24, 1991)
"I'm sorry that a portion of my interview has given you trouble. I will acknowledge that the quick quote does have me saying that my flights later, much later verified the direction of possible flight of the object. I remember auto tracks leading to pivotal sites and obvious gouges in terrain.

"Further, you both likely recall on many occasions during my visits with you in person and on the phone when you wanted me to meet others that I did not know anything first hand . Although I believe you did quote me accurately, I do believe that in your writings you gave more credence and impression of personal &direct knowledge than my recordings would indicate on their own ! I felt that throughout the portions where my name was used the quotes were O.K. but authoritative emphasis was yours. I want to say that so far your use of my name and discussions have not given me any problem. So let's leave it at that. I did enjoy your and Donald's efforts in digging to who knows what!Art


The Roswell UFO Crash: 
What They Don't Want You to Know

Dark Object: The World's Only Government-Documented UFO Crash

 

July 2004, Roswell Dig Finds Nothing

WIRELESS FLASH REPORTS -- In an ending similar to that of Geraldo Riviera's Al Capone vault special, a team of investigators who dug up a field near Roswell, New Mexico, found no evidence to prove the 1947 UFO crash. The team of amateur archaeologists and UFO investigators, who were backed by the Sci-Fi Channel and the University of New Mexico, document their search in the new book, "The Roswell Dig Diaries" (Pocket Books).

UFO investigator, Donald R. Schmidt, says that some of the items recovered are still being tested at the University of New Mexico. But the important thing was to prove that a UFO had made a gouge in the area they were excavating, and, unfortunately, they didn't turn up any material which suggested that was the case. While Schmidt is planning to go back to the site, he knows that the odds are against him finding anything more due to 30 mph winds, sudden rainstorms, and animals stealing fragments. 2004-07-14 - Wireless Flash Weird News

Please Note: General Exxon and other military personnel have indicated this is not the crash site. It is located northwest of Corona.

 

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