The following article was provided
by Philip Mantle, eminent U.K. Ufologist.
interview with Dr Jesse Marcel jnr
from the London Times of July 9th, l947, mentioning
the ‘flying disk’.
(Click on all images for full view)
early July 1947, something crashed in the high desert
outside of Roswell, New Mexico. Sheep rancher Mac Brazel
discovered some strange metallic debris on his land.
Not knowing what it was he eventually took some of this
debris into Roswell and reported it to the Sheriff’s
Office. They in turn contacted Roswell Army Air Force
who housed the 509th Bomb Wing, the only atomic
bomb wing in the world at that time. RAAF despatched
two men to Roswell to look at his strange debris. One
of these was base intelligence officer Major Jesse Marcel.
Major Marcel drove out to the ranch in question and recovered
some of this material. On his way back to base he stopped
at his home in the early hours of the morning. He awake
his wife and his son, 11 year-old Jesse Marcel jnr.
Brazel, the rancher who first discovered the wreckage near
Marcel spread some of the recovered material on the kitchen
floor of his house and Jesse jnr was most intrigued by
it. Little did either of them know then that they were
to become involved in what has become known as the Roswell
Incident. Major Marcel passed away in the l980’s,
but not before he had told his story. Over the weekend
of October 20th and 21st 2007,
UFO DATA magazine held it’s annual conference.
This years theme was the 60th anniversary
of the Roswell Incident. In the UK for the first time
was the now Dr Jesse Marcel jnr, the son of Major Jesse
Marcel. He was the keynote speaker at the event and I
had the pleasure of his company for the day on October
24th. During this beautiful autumn day
I took the opportunity to show Dr Marcel some of the
unique countryside of North Yorkshire, the Yorkshire
Dales National Park and one of its many historic attractions
at Bolton Abbey in Wharfedale. After a day in the autumn
sun I took the time to interview Dr Marcel about his
recollections of that morning back in l947.
Jesse Marcel, RAAF Intelligence Officer holding the ‘switched’ balloon
Jesse Marcel jnr (JM).
Just tell me a little bit about yourself. Who is Dr Jesse Marcel
Well, my dad was the air base intelligence officer in Roswell,
New Mexico. I went to grade school in Roswell. When my dad
left the military we moved to Louisiana where I graduated high
school. I went to under graduate school and then to Louisiana
state school of medicine and graduated in l961.
I believe you also served in the armed forces yourself.
Yes I did. I joined the US Navy and toured the Western Pacific,
was involved in the Cuban missile crisis at one time. I was
in Japan, China and Vietnam. I went through specialist training
the naval hospital where I became a specialist in ear, nose
and throat. I stayed ten tears in the navy. After that I moved
to Helena, Montana.
I believe you continued in the reserves after that.
The National Guard. I joined then in 1972 I believe. I went
to flight school for helicopters and became flight surgeon.
I finally retired in l996.
I believe you did retire but I understand you were still on
active duty just recently.
Yes, I retired on my 60th birthday. However with
the conflict in Iraq I was called up again for active duty
as a flight surgeon and I saw 13 months in Iraq in a helicopter
squadron. I saw much of Iraq from a Black Hawk helicopter.
As a young Jesse Marcel, how old were you when the incident
in Roswell took place,
I was 11 years old at that time.
What date was this.
It was early July 1947, I’m not sure of the exact date.
It was early July, l947.
Could you just recount the events again of that morning of
early July, l947.
As I said, my dad was the base intelligence officer. It was
his job to investigate certain events. He was called out to
a ranch northwest of Roswell to pick up some debris from something
that had crashed on the ranch land. And it just so happened
that our house was on the way back to the base, when he was
bringing the material in. He realised the unusual nature of
this (material). So he came in the house, woke up my mother
and myself to look at this debris he had found in the desert
just outside of Roswell. He had already pre-positioned this
material on the kitchen floor. He said, “look at this”,
he said, "I think this is the remains of a flying saucer”.
So what did this debris look like.
Actually there were three kinds of debris. There was
a lot of foil-like debris, looked almost like today’s
aluminium kitchen foil. Some beams that had some very
strange writing or symbols on it. And some black plastic
like material. The beams were the most intriguing part
of the whole thing with the symbols.
So was it you who first identified these symbols on the
beams or did your father point them out to you.
Well I like to think I did but I’m not sure. My
mother said that she pointed them out but I like to think
and I-beam reconstruction. Courtesy Paul Davids.
What did the beams look like, what were these symbols.
These were like small I-beams, 12 to 18 inches long. They were
about three eights of an inch across. The symbols were just
like geometric forms printed on the inside of the I-beam. They
had a very distinctive colour of purple or violet. They were
solid and not line drawings, they were solid.
Did your father comment on them at all.
He said something about maybe seeing writing from another civilisation.
So how long did you view this material for.
For probably about 15 to 20 minutes in total. And then I helped
him box it back up and put it into a l942 Buick. Then I’m
not sure if he took off back to base that night or waited until
the next morning. But he did take it back to the base at that
So were you aware of the excitement in the town at that time
when the RAAF issued its press release stating they had material
from a crashed disk.
Well you know, I was busy riding my bicycle and did not pay
any attention to what the town folk were saying and I did not
see the newspaper.
So your father was away for a few days.
When he took the material to the base he was gone for
a period of time, I’m not sure how long it was.
My understanding is he was ordered by Colonel Blanchard,
the base commander, to fly the debris to Fort Worth Army
Air Field, where General Ramey the 8th Air
Force commander could view the wreckage. I’m not
sure exactly how long he was gone but I do know that
he sat my mother and myself down and told us never to
talk about this again. To treat it as a non-event, it
did not happen, period.
So when was it that you learned that the official explanation
had been put out that it wasn’t a flying saucer
but it was instead a weather balloon.
You know I’m not exactly sure when I learned that,
it might have been years later, because I just put it
out of my mind, I did not think about it.
Did you talk to your friends about it.
No. It was a taboo subject.
Memo on the Roswell UFO crash.
So in the intervening years, it wasn’t until l978
that your father was contacted by UFO researcher Stanton
Friedman. Did your father talk about it in those intervening
years at all.
You know, we would briefly mention it to each other.
Like at the grocery checkout stand, you see these sensation
newspapers with headlines like ‘I was captured
by a Venusian’, and we’d kind of look at
each other as if to say ‘we know the real story’.
And of course there is another witness, it’s your
mother. What did she make of all of this.
Well you know, she was a housewife of the 1940’s. She
did not say a whole lot, her place was in the kitchen so-to-speak.
So she never really talked much about it. Of course I was out
of the house by the time Stanton Friedman started interviewing
my dad. I was practicing medicine in Helena, Montana at that
Stanton Friedman, the first civilian
UFO researcher to interview Major Jesse Marcel and to put
the Roswell case into the public domain. Copyright Philip
So you were out of the way.
Yes, out of the way. Out of the loop.
Now it’s quite some time since your father passed away.
Did he add anything further to the story in those last few
years when his story became known.
Well I called him weekly on Sundays I guess it was. We would
briefly talk about this to confirm our memories of this, what
did it look like, and he confirmed what I recollected it looked
like. And I remember one of the last conversations I had with
him was he had just gone out to Roswell at the behest of one
the TV stations in New Orleans. And they went out to the debris
field and when I talked to him and I jokingly said to him “ was
any of it left out there” and his words were “no,
the vacuumed that place up a long time ago”.
Tell us a little bit more about your father. He was a career
military man. For example, what did he do during World War
Well he was with the 509th bomb group, which was
the unit that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan. He did a lot
of training with them; he was the intelligence officer for
that unit. They were a handpicked group. They were not fly-by-night
people at all, so was qualified for that. He was out in the
Western Pacific during the war, and then later in preparation
for the dropping of the atomic bomb drops on Japan he was at
Tinian where the B29’s took off from to drop the bombs
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Prior to this incident at Roswell happening in l947, the official
explanation is that your father and others, misidentified a
weather balloon with a radar reflector attached to it. Was
your father qualified to comment on what balloon and radar
target would look like.
He was very qualified as he had gone through radar school a
short time before that and was well acquainted with what radar
targets and weather balloons looked like. And the equipment
that went with them so he knew that what he was looking at
was not a weather balloon or radar target and I can confirm
So if we are to believe the official explanation, for the sake
of argument. It was a weather balloon and your father misidentified
it. On his military record was he ever he reprimanded, was
a demoted, was he promoted sideways so-to-speak.
No, I’ve seen his military record and his officer evaluation
reports and they were always of the highest quality. He was
well respected, well respected as a highly trained individual
and he was never reprimanded or suffered any kind of any degradation
because of his so-called misidentification, period.
And later in his carer, what was his final rank.
He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
So in actual fact he was promoted.
Yes he was promoted over and above from where he was in Roswell.
So where did your father finish his military career.
He was in Washington, not at the Pentagon at an office in town,
and I never knew where that was, so he finished his career
in Washington DC. He resigned from the Air Force as wanted
to return to Louisiana. I think he had had enough of the military
life and was maybe a little disheartened with what was going
on at that time with the Korean War and he wanted to go home.
So you have just lectured at the UFO DATA magazine’s
annual conference. Now one of the tings you talked about was
the fact that you were invited to the Capitol Building some
time afterwards, now could you tell us a little bit more about
I was busy at my office at home in Helena and my secretary
came and said there’s a gentleman on the line that wants
to talk to you. I said I couldn’t right now as I’m
seeing a patient could you please take a number. And she came
back and said that he insisted on talking to you right now.
So I got on the phone and yes what can I do for you. He said
well I understand that you’ll be going to Washington
DC to a meeting and I replied that was right. He said that
when I got there he wanted to talk to me about the Roswell
thing. So he said when you get there I want you to call me.
So when I got to Washington and I’d checked in to my
motel, there was a message from him already on the phone, so
he knew where I was staying. He wanted to meet the next day
in the Capitol Building, room number 228. So I walked up to
the Capitol Building and introduced myself to him, he was a
very nice individual. He says we need to talk about Roswell.
So I said okay. But at any rate he asked me if I wanted to
talk in a secure room. I said no, I’m not going to say
anything I haven’t already said many times before. He
said well I might tell you something so we are going to talk
in a secure room. Okay. So we got in the elevator and went
down many levels below the capitol Building to where there’s
a group of very nicely furnished meeting rooms for very high-ranking
people. He had a book on Roswell pre-positioned on the desk
there, and he pointed to the book and he said, “This
is not fiction”. I said well I know it’s not fiction
and when are you guys going to tell everybody about that. He
said if it was up to him he’d have told everyone years
ago but it was not up to him
So who was this man. Was he a government official.
His name was Dick D’Amato. He described himself as being
with the NSA or the NSC. So I told him what I know about the
Roswell affair. And he said that’s right. He asked me
if I’d ever been threatened by anyone. I told him no
I had not. He said he knew people that had been threatened.
So he wrote his name down on a piece of paper and his telephone
number. So he said if I was ever threatened to just give him
a call. But I’ve never had to do that.
In recent years there’s been attempts to slur your fathers
good name. If you can’t destroy the message then shoot
the messenger. What do you have to say about that.
Well you know, I just take it as part of the territory, you
know I know there’s going to be people, for their own
agenda, want to destroy any notion of UFOs or flying saucers
or Roswell. I just take it as part of the territory.
Now down the years I dare say you’ve spoken to others
involved in the incident at the time. Is there anyone that
stands out among the crowd whose testimony you find most compelling.
I guess there would be Bill Brazel, the rancher’s son,
who picked up a piece of the wreckage up before it was vacuumed
up. He put it in his saddlebag and some time later in a bar
in Corona he got drunk and talked about having a pie of it.
Then a couple of days later he had a knock on his door and
they wanted the piece back.
Did Bill Brazel describe this material to you. Did it have
any unusual properties.
It was described as a foil (material), just like I’d
People have said it was some kind of memory metal. Did Bill
Brazel mention this.
He did not but my dad did. He mentioned that if you folded
it up it would unfold. I myself did not witness that.
Did your father also tell you about the unbreakability of the
He related one event where one of the men in his office took
a larger piece that I did not see, and tried to dent it with
a sledgehammer and could not make any permanent marking on
it with a 12-pound sledgehammer.
Now we’ve just gone past the 60th anniversary
of the Roswell event and you have published your own book ‘The
Roswell Legacy’. Tell me a little bit about the book
and why you have decided to publish it now.
Well I am getting on a little in years and there’s not
many people like me left that had direct knowledge of this
event. So I just wanted to get into print, my story, my thoughts
and why I think that the events at Roswell were a real UFO
from some place else. I just wanted to get that down while
I still could.
Right, especially if you get called back into active service
Well I started writing the book while in Iraq. Reminders of
your mortality are everywhere there. One night a mortar hit
nearby. So you didn’t sleep with your flak jacket on
but after that I started putting my laptop in my flak jacket
to protect it. If we got hit at least the book would survive.
Now you’ve called the book ‘THE ROSWELL LEGACY’.
Now in your opinion what is the legacy of Roswell Incident.
The legacy is to acknowledge the fact that we are not alone
in this universe. That there are other civilisations out there
and more importantly is that they know how to get here from
there, so they are more advanced. And I think one of the messages
is that they are more advanced than we are so they have probably
survived their own nuclear adolescence. So the message is if
that others can survive this and warfare then maybe we can
So one last thing. The United States Air Force official position
still remains that the crash at Roswell was a balloon, or even
Project Mogul, which is still just a balloon. What do you say
Well a balloon is a balloon is a balloon. Project Mogul’s
mission was top secret but the material they used was just
off-the-shelf material, radar targets and balloons. There was
no difference just the mission that was different.
Now you’ve seen you father’s photographs taken
at Fort Worth just after the incident. He is holding this wreckage
on the floor.
No, it definitely was not. You know that’s what is funny
about this whole thing. If you look at my dad’s face
when he’s holding up this obvious radar target. He face
is like ‘you’ve got to be kidding me, this is not
the real stuff, they switched it’.
So what would you say to anyone who doubts the extraterrestrial
idea of the crash at Roswell.
Stay tuned and look to the skies because they are out there.
Dr Jesse Marcel, thank you very much.
must say that it was a real pleasure to spend the day
with Dr Jesse Marcel jnr and to be able to take time
for an interview with him. Irrespective of your thoughts
on what happened at Roswell you cannot doubt the honesty
and sincerity of this man. I would heartily recommend
you add The Roswell Legacy to your book collection and
you can order a copy online at: www.theroswelllegacy.com.
Jesse Marcel jnr at Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales. Copyright
Jesse Marcel jnr with his book ‘The Roswell Legacy.
Copyright Philip Mantle
Mantle is an international author, lecturer and broadcaster
on the subject of UFOs. He can be contacted at: email@example.com