Doc. 7-2a Report of U.S.A.F. Research
Regarding The Roswell Incident, Jul
REPORT OF AIR FORCE
THE "ROSWELL INCIDENT"
The "Roswell Incident" refers to an event that supposedly happened
in July, 1947, wherein the Army Air Forces (AAF)
allegedly recovered remains of a crashed "flying disc" near Roswell,
New Mexico. In February, 1994, the General Accounting Office
(GAO), acting on the request of a New Mexico Congressman,
initiated an audit to attempt to locate records of such an incident
and to determine if records regarding it were properly handled.
Although the GAO effort was to look at a
number of government agencies, the apparent focus was on the Air
Force. SAF/AAZ, as the Central Point of Contact for the GAO in |
this matter, initiated a systematic search of current Air Force
offices as well as numerous archives and records centers that might
help explain this matter. Research revealed that the "Roswell
Incident" was not even considered a UFO event until the 1978-1980
time frame. Prior to that, the incident was dismissed because the
AAF originally identified the debris recovered as being that of a
Subsequently, various authors wrote a
number of books claiming that, not only was debris from an alien
spacecraft recovered, but also the bodies of the craft's alien
occupants. These claims continue to evolve today i and the Air Force
is now routinely accused of engaging in a "cover-up" of this
supposed j event.
The research located no records at existing Air Force offices that
indicated any "cover-up" by the USAF or any indication of such a
recovery. Consequently, efforts were intensified by Air Force
researchers at numerous locations where records for the period in
question were stored. The records reviewed did not reveal any
increase in operations, security, or any other activity in July,
1947, that indicated any such unusual event may have occurred.
Records were located and thoroughly
explored concerning a then-TOP SECRET balloon project, designed to
attempt to monitor Soviet nuclear tests, known as Project Mogul.
Additionally, several surviving project personnel were located and
interviewed, as was the only surviving person who recovered debris
from the original Roswell site in 1947, and the former officer who
initially identified the wreckage as a balloon.
Comparison of all information developed
or obtained indicated that the material recovered near Roswell was
consistent with a balloon device and most likely from one of the
Mogul balloons that had not been previously recovered.
Air Force research efforts did not
disclose any records of the recovery of any "alien" bodies or
Air Force involvement in the alleged UFO-related incident popularly
known as the "Roswell Incident" began as the result of a January 14,
1994, Washington Post article (Atch 1) which announced Congressman
Steven SchifFs intent to initiate a General 3 Accounting Office
(GAO) effort to resolve this controversial matter.
Having previously been involved in
numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Congressional
requests on "unusual aircraft," to include Unidentified Flying
Objects (UFOs), The Director, Security and Special Program
Oversight, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, (SAF/AAZ)
believed the Air Force would become involved in any GAO effort
involving this subject.
Thus, in late January, 1994, SAF/AAZ directed its
research/declassification team, SAF/AAZD, to attempt to locate any
official records relative to this matter. These initial research
efforts focused on records at the Air Force Historical Research
Agency (AFHRA), Maxwell AFB, AL, the Air Force Safety
Agency (AFSA) at Kirtland AFB, NM and the National
Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
On February 15, 1994, the GAO officially notified Secretary of
Defense William J. Perry that, it was initiating an audit of
the Department of Defense (DoD) policies and
procedures for acquiring, classifying, retaining, and disposing of
official government documents dealing with weather balloon,
aircraft, and similar crash incidents (Atch 2)
This notification was subsequently passed to the Department of
Defense Inspector General who in turn officially notified the
Secretaries of the Services and other affected parties of the audit
in a February 23, 1994, memo (Atch 3). This memorandum indicated
"GAO is anxious to respond to
Representative Scruffs request and to dispel any concerns that
the DoD is being unresponsive."
These were the first official US
Government documents that indicated that the purpose of the GAO was
"crash incidents involving weather
balloons and unknown aircraft, such as UFOs and foreign
aircraft, and (2) the facts involving the reported crash of an
UFO in 1949 (sic, 1947) at Roswell, New Mexico ... (and an)
alleged DoD cover-up."
An entrance meeting of potentially
concerned parties was held in the offices of the DoD Inspector
General on February 28, 1994. During this meeting it was learned
that, while the audit officially would be reviewing the records of a
number of DoD (and possibly other Executive Branch entities), the
bulk of the effort would be focused on Air Force records and
The audit was officially given the GAO
code 701034, and entitled "Records Management Procedures Dealing
With Weather Balloon, Unknown Aircraft, and Similar Crash Incidents."
Although this official title appeared rather broad, there was no
misunderstanding that the real purpose was to attempt to locate
records and/or information on the "Roswell Incident."
This incident, explained later in more
detail, generally dealt with the claim that in July of 1947, the
US Army Air Forces (USAAF) recovered a flying saucer and
/or its alien occupants which supposedly crashed near Roswell, New
Mexico. When the USAAF ultimately became the United States Air
Force (USAF) in September, 1947, the USAF inherited
equipment, personnel, records, policies, and procedures from the AAF.
In this particular case, the Air Force also inherited the allegation
that it had "covered up" the "Roswell Incident" and has continued to
do so for the next 47 years.
Within the Air Force, the Office of the Administrative Assistant
to the Secretary of the Air Force (SAF/AA) is responsible
both for information management procedures (SAF/AAI)
and security policy and oversight (SAF/AAZ).
Because of this organization, SAF/AA was
the logical entity to assist the GAO in its audit and SAF/AAZ was
officially named as the Central Point of Contact for this endeavor (Atch
4). Subsequently, the then Administrative Assistant, Mr. Robert J.
McCormick, issued a tasking memorandum dated March 1, 1994 (Atch 5),
to a number of current Air Staff and Secretariat offices that might
possibly have records related to such an incident if, indeed,
something had actually occurred.
This search for records was purposely
limited to Air Force records and systems since:
The Air Force had no authority
to compel other agencies to review their records
The Air Force would have no way
to monitor the completeness of their efforts if they did
the overall effort was the task
and responsibility of the GAO - not the Air Force
During the in-briefing process with GAO,
it was learned that this audit was, indeed, generated at the
specific request of Congressman Steven Schiff of New Mexico.
Earlier, Congressman Schiff had written to the Department of Defense
Legislative Liaison Office for information on the "Roswell Incident"
and had been advised that it was part of the former UFO "Project
Bluebook" that had previously been turned over to NARA by
the Air Force.
Congressman Schiff subsequently
learned from NARA that, although they did, indeed, have the
"Bluebook" materials, the "Roswell Incident" was not part of that
report. Congressman Schiff, apparently perceiving that he had been
"stonewalled" by the DoD, then generated the request for the
It is within this context that the following research and assistance
efforts were conducted in support of the GAO.
This report is intended to stand as the
final official Air Force response regarding this matter.
INCIDENT" - WHAT WAS ORIGINALLY REPORTED IN 1947
The modern preoccupation with what ultimately came to be called
Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) actually began in
June, 1947. Although some pro-UFO researchers argue that sightings
UFOs go back to Biblical times,
most researchers will not dispute that anything in UFO history can
compare with the phenomenon that began in 1947.
What was later characterized as "the UFO
Wave of 1947" began with 16 alleged sightings that occurred between
May 17 and July 12, 1947, (although some researchers claim there
were as many as 800 sightings during that period). Interestingly,
the "Roswell Incident" was not considered one of these 1947 events
until the 1978-1980 time frame.
There is no dispute, however, that
something happened near Roswell in July, 1947, since it was reported
in a number of contemporary newspaper articles; the most famous of
which were the July 8 and July 9 editions of the Roswell Daily
The July 8 edition reported,
"RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On
Ranch In Roswell Region," while the next day's edition reported,
"Ramey Empties Roswell Saucer" and "Harassed Rancher Who Located
'Saucer' Sorry He Told About It."
The first story reported that the
Intelligence Officer of the 509th Bomb Group, stationed at Roswell
AAF, Major Jesse A. Marcel, had recovered a "flying disc"
from the range lands of an unidentified rancher in the vicinity of
Roswell and that the disc had been "flown to higher headquarters."
That same story also reported that a Roswell couple claimed to have
seen a large unidentified object fly by their home on July 2, 1947.
The July 9 edition of the paper noted that Brigadier General
Roger Ramey, Commander of the Eighth Air Force at Forth Worth,
Texas, stated that upon examination the debris recovered by Marcel
was determined to be a weather balloon.
The wreckage was described as a,
"..bundle of tinfoil, broken wood
beams, and rubber remnants of a balloon ..."
The additional story of the "harassed
rancher" identified him as WW. Brazel of Lincoln County, New
Mexico. He claimed that he and his son, Vernon, found the material
on June 14, 1947, when they "came upon a large area of bright
wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, a rather tough paper,
He picked up some of the debris on July
"..the next day he first heard about
the flying discs and wondered if what he had found might have
been the remnants of one of these."
Brazel subsequently went to Roswell on
July 7 and contacted the Sheriff, who apparently notified Major
Marcel. Major Marcel and "a man in plain clothes" then accompanied
Brazel home to pick up the rest of the pieces.
The article further related that Brazel
thought that the material:
."..might have been as large as a
table top. The balloon which held it up, if that is how it
worked, must have been about 12 feet long, he felt, measuring
the distance by the size of the room in which he sat. The rubber
was smoky gray in color and scattered over an area about 200
yards in diameter. When the debris was gathered up the tinfoil,
paper, tape, and sticks made a bundle about three feet long and
7 or 8 inches thick, while the rubber made a bundle about 18 or
20 inches long and about 8 inches thick. In all, he estimated,
the entire lot would have weighed maybe five pounds.
There was no sign of any metal in
the area which might have been used for an engine and no sign of
any propellers of any kind. Although at least one paper fin had
been glued onto some of the tinfoil. There were no words to be
found anywhere on the instrument although there were letters on
some of the parts. Considerable scotch tape and some tape with
flowers printed upon it had been used in the construction. No
string or wire were to be found but there were some eyelets in
the paper to indicate that some sort of attachment may have been
Brazel said that he had previously
found two weather balloons on the ranch, but that what he found
this time did not in any way resemble either of these."
EVOLUTION OF THE
EVENT FROM 1947 TO THE PRESENT
General Ramey's press conference and rancher Brazel's statement
effectively ended this as a UFO-related matter until 1978, although
some UFO researchers argue that there were several obtuse references
to it in 1950's era literature. Roswell, for example, is not
referred to in the official USAF investigation of UFOs reported in
Project Bluebook or its predecessors, Project Sign and Project
Grudge, which ran from 1948-1969 (which Congressman Schiff
subsequently learned when he made his original inquiry).
In 1978, an article appeared in a tabloid newspaper, the National
Inquirer, which reported the former intelligence officer, Marcel,
claimed that he had recovered UFO debris near j Roswell in 1947.
Also in 1978, a UFO researcher, Stanton Friedman, met with Marcel
and began investigating the claims that the material Marcel handled
was from a crashed UFO.
Similarly, two authors, William L.
Moore and Charles Berlitz, also engaged in research which
led them to publish a book, The Roswell Incident in 1980. In
this book j they reported they interviewed a number of persons who
claimed to have been present at Roswell in 1947 and professed to be
either first or second hand witnesses to strange events that
supposedly occurred. Since 1978-1980, other UFO researchers, most
notably Donald Schmitt and Kevin Randle, claim to have
located and interviewed even more persons with supposed knowledge of
unusual happenings at Roswell. These included both civilian and
former military persons.
Additionally, the Robert Stack-hosted television show
"Unsolved Mysteries" devoted a large portion of one show to a
"re-creation" of the supposed Roswell events. Numerous other
television shows have done likewise, particularly during the last
several years and a made-for-TV movie on the subject is due to be
released this summer.
The overall thrust of these articles,
books and shows is that the "Roswell Incident" was actually the
crash of a craft from another world, the US Government recovered it,
and has been "covering up" this fact from the American public since
1947, using a combination of disinformation, ridicule, and threats
of bodily harm, to do so. Generally, the US Air Force bears the
brunt of these accusations.
From the rather benign description of the "event" and the recovery
of some material as described in the original newspaper accounts,
the "Roswell Incident" has since grown to mythical (if not mystical)
proportions in the eyes and minds of some researchers, portions of
the media and at least part of the American public. There are also
now several major variations of the "Roswell story."
For example, it was originally reported
that there was only recovery of debris from one site. This has since
grown from a minimal amount of debris recovered from a small area to
airplane loads of debris from multiple huge "debris fields."
Likewise, the relatively simple description of sticks, paper, tape
and tinfoil has since grown to exotic metals with hieroglyphics and
fiber optic-like materials.
Most versions now claim that there were
two crash sites where debris was recovered; and at the second site,
alleged bodies of extraterrestrial aliens were supposedly retrieved.
The number of these "alien bodies" recovered also varied. These
claims are further complicated by the fact that UFO researchers are
not in agreement among themselves as to exactly where these recovery
sites were located or even the dates of the alleged crash(es).
Consistently, however, the AAF was accused of securing these sites,
recovering all the material therefrom, keeping locals away, and
returning the recovered wreckage (and bodies) to Roswell under
extremely tight security for further processing and later
Once back at Roswell AAF, it is generally alleged that special
measures were taken to notify higher headquarters and arrangements
made to have recovered materials shipped to other locations for
analysis. These locations include Ft. Worth, Texas, the home of the
Eighth Air Force Headquarters; possibly Sandia Base (now Kirtland
AFB), New Mexico; possibly Andrews AAF, Maryland, and always to
Wright Field, now known as Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
The latter location was the home of
"T-2" which later became known as the Air Technical Intelligence
Center (ATIC) and the Air Materiel Command (AMC),
and would, in fact, be a logical location to study unknown materials
from whatever origin. Most of the Roswell stories that contain the
recovery of alien bodies also show them being shipped to Wright
Field Once the material and bodies were dispersed for further
analysis and/or exploitation, the government in general, and the
Army Air Forces in particular, then engaged in covering up all
information relating to the alleged crash and recovery, including
the use of security oaths to military persons and the use of
coercion (including alleged death threats) to others.
This, as theorized by some UFO
researchers, has allowed the government to keep the fact that there
is intelligent extraterrestrial life from the American public for 47
years. It also supposedly allowed the US Government to exploit
recovered extraterrestrial materials by reverse engineering them,
ultimately providing such things as fiber optic and stealth
The "death threats," oaths, and other
forms of coercion alleged to have been meted out by the Army Air
Forces personnel to keep people from talking have apparently not
been very effective, as several hundred people are claimed to have
come forward (without harm) with some knowledge of the "Roswell
Incident" during interviews with non-government researchers and the
Adding some measure of credibility to the claims that have arisen
since 1978 is the apparent depth of research of some of the authors
and the extent of their efforts. Their claims are lessened somewhat,
however, by the fact that almost all their information came from
verbal reports many years after the alleged incident occurred.
Many of the persons interviewed were, in
fact, stationed at, or lived near Roswell during the time in
question, and a number of them claim military service. Most,
however, related their stories in their older years, well after the
fact. In other cases, the information provided is second or
third-hand, having been passed through a friend or relative after
the principal had died. What is uniquely lacking in the entire
exploration and exploitation of the "Roswell Incident" is official
positive documentary or physical evidence of any kind that supports
the claims of those who allege that something unusual happened.
Conversely, there has never been any
previous documentary evidence produced by those who would debunk the
incident to show that something did not happen; although logic
dictates that bureaucracies do not spend time documenting
STRATEGY AND METHODOLOGY
To insure senior Air Force leadership that there were no hidden or
overlooked files that might relate to the "Roswell Incident;" and to
provide the GAO with the best and most complete information
available, SAF/AAZ constructed a strategy based on direct tasking
from the Office of the Secretary, to elicit information from those
functional offices and organizations where such information might
logically be contained.
This included directing searches at
current offices where special or unusual projects might be carried
out, as well as historical organizations, archives, and records
centers over which the Air Force exerted some degree of control.
Researchers did not, however, go to the US Army to review historical
records in areas such as missile launches from White Sands, or to
the Department of Energy to determine if its forerunner, the Atomic
Energy Commission, had any records of nuclear-related incidents that
might have occurred at or near Roswell in 1947.
To do so would have encroached on GAO's
charter in this matter.
What Air Force researchers did do, however, was to search for
records still under Air Force control pertaining to these subject
In order to determine parameters for the most productive search of
records, a review was first conducted of the major works regarding
the "Roswell Incident" available in the popular literature.
These works included:
The Roswell Incident. (1980) by
William Moore and Charles Berlitz
Crashed Saucers: Evidence in
Search of Proof (1985) by Moore
The UFO Crash at Roswell. (1991)
by Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt
The I Truth About the UFO Crash
at Roswell, (1994) also by Randle and Schmitt
The Roswell Report: A Historical
Perspective, (1991), George M. Eberhart, Editor
The Roswell Events (1993)
compiled by Fred Whiting
Crash at Corona (1992) by
Stanton T. Friedman and Don Berliner,
...as well as numerous other articles
written by a combination of the above and other researchers.
Collectively, the above represent the
"pro" UFO writers who allege that the government is engaged in a
conspiracy. There are no specific books written entirely on the
theme that nothing happened at Roswell. However, Curtis Peebles
in Watch the Skies! (1994) discussed the development of the
UFO story and growth of subsequent claims as a phenomenon.
There has also been serious research as
well as a number of detailed articles written by so-called
"debunkers" of Roswell and other incidents, most notably Philip
J. Klass who writes The Skeptical Inquirer newsletter,
and Robert Todd, a private researcher. The concerns and
claims of all the above authors and others were considered in
conducting the USAF records search.
It was also decided, particularly after a review of the above
popular literature, that no specific attempt would be made to try to
refute, point by point, the numerous claims made in the various
publications. Many of these claims appear to be hearsay,
undocumented, taken out of context, self-serving, or otherwise
dubious. Additionally, many of the above authors are not even in
agreement over various claims.
Most notable of the confusing and now
ever-changing claims is the controversy over the date(s) of the
alleged incident, the exact location(s) of the purported debris and
the extent of the wreckage. Such discrepancies in claims made the
search much more difficult by greatly expanding the volume of
records that had to be searched.
An example of trying to deal with questionable claims is illustrated
by the following example: One of the popular books mentioned that
was reviewed claimed that the writers had submitted the names and
serial numbers of "over two dozen" personnel stationed at Roswell in
July, 1947, to the Veterans Administration and the Defense
Department to confirm their military service.
They then listed eleven of these persons
by name and asked the question:
"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 Roswell
Army Air Field."
That claim sounded serious so SAF/AAZD
was tasked to check these eleven names in the Personnel Records
Center in St. Louis. Using only the names (since the authors did not
list the serial numbers) the researcher quickly found records
readily identifiable with eight of these persons. The other three
had such common names that there could have been multiple
possibilities. Interestingly, one of the listed "missing" persons
had a casualty report in his records reflecting that he died in
1951, while the writers claimed to have interviewed him (or a person
of the exact same name) in 1990.
While the historical document search was in progress, it was decided
to attempt to locate and interview several persons identified as
still living who could possibly answer questions generated by the
This had never been officially done
before, although most of the persons contacted reported that they
had also been contacted in the past by some of the listed authors or
other private researchers. In order to counter possible future
arguments that the persons interviewed were still "covering up"
material because of prior security oaths, the interviewees were
provided with authorization from either the Secretary of the Air
Force or the Senior Security Official of the Air Force that would
officially allow discussion of classified information, if
applicable, or free them from any prior restriction in discussing
the matter, if such existed.
Again, the focus was on interviewing
persons that could address specific issues raised by research and no
consideration was given to try and locate every alleged witness
claimed to have been contacted by the various authors. For example,
one of the interviewees thought vital to obtain an official signed,
sworn statement from was Sheridan Cavitt, Lt Col, USAF
(Retired) who is the last living member of the three persons
universally acknowledged to have recovered material from the Foster
Others were also interviewed as
information developed (discussed in detail later). Additionally, in
some cases survivors' of deceased persons were also contacted in an
attempt to locate various records thought to have been in the
custody of the deceased.
Even though Air Force research originally started in January, 1994,
the first official Air Force-wide tasking was directed by the March
1, 1994, memorandum from SAF/AA, (Atch 5) and was addressed to those
current Air Staff elements that would be the likely repository for
any records, particularly if there was anything of an extraordinary
nature involved. This meant that the search was not limited to
unclassified materials, but also would include records of the
highest classification and compartmentalization
The specific Air Staff/Secretariat offices queried included the
SAF/AAI, Directorate of
SAF/AQL, Directorate of
Electronics and Special Programs
AF/SE, Air Force Safety
AF/HO, Air Force Historian
AF/IN, Air Force Intelligence
(including Air Force Intelligence Agency—AFIA, and the
National Air Intelligence Center, NAIC)
AF/XOW, Directorate of Weather
(added later) The Air Force
Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI)
In addition to the above Air Staff and
Secretariat offices, SAF/AAZ also reviewed appropriate classified
records for any tie-in to this matter.
With regards to highly classified
records, it should be noted that any programs that employ enhanced
security measures or controls are known as a Special Access
Programs (SAPs). The authority for such programs comes
from Executive Order 12356 and flows from the Department of Defense
to the Services via DoD Directive 5205.7.
These programs are implemented in the
Air Force by Policy Directive 16-7, and Air Force Instruction
16-701. These directives contain detailed requirements for
controlling and reporting, in a very strict manner, all SAPs. This
includes a report from the Secretary of the Air Force to the
Secretary of Defense (and ultimately to Congress) on all SAPs
submitted for approval, and a certification that there are no
"SAP-like" programs being operated. These reporting requirements are
stipulated in public law.
It followed then, that if the Air Force had recovered some type of
extraterrestrial spacecraft and/or bodies and was exploiting this
for scientific and technology purposes, then such a program would be
operated as a SAP. SAF/AAZ, the Central Office for all Air Force
SAPs, has knowledge of, and security oversight over, all SAPs. SAF/AAZ
categorically stated that no such Special Access Program(s) exists
that pertain to extraterrestrial spacecraft/aliens.
Likewise, the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff, who
head the Special Program Oversight Committee which oversees
all sensitive programs in the Air Force, had no knowledge of the
existence of any such program involving, or relating to the events
at Roswell or the alleged technology that supposedly resulted
Besides the obvious irregularity and
illegality of keeping such information from the most senior Air
Force officials, it would also be illogical, since these officials
are responsible for obtaining funding for operations, research,
development, and security. Without funding such a program,
operation, or organization could not exist. Even to keep such a fact
"covered-up" in some sort of passive "caretaker status" would
involve money. More importantly, it would involve people and create
The aforementioned March 1, 1994, SAF/AA tasking generated negative
responses (Atch 6-12) from all recipients; i.e. all offices reported
that they had no information that would explain the incident.
Consequently, these negative responses led to an increase in the
already on-going historical research at records centers and
The extensive archival and records center search was systematically
carried out at by the SAF/AAZD Declassification Review Team. This
team is composed entirely of Air Force Reserve personnel who have
extensive training and experience in large scale review of records.
(Previous efforts include the Southeast Asia Declassification
Review, declassification of POW7MIA records, and the review of the
Gulf War Air Power Survey records).
The team members all had the requisite
security clearances for classified information and had the authority
of the Secretary of the Air Force to declassify any classified
record they found that might be related to Roswell.
SAF/AAZD conducted reviews at a number
of locations, including:
the National Archives in
the National Personnel Records
Center, St. Louis, MO
the National Archives, Suitland
the National Records Center,
Naval Research Laboratory,
Federal Records Center, Ft
the INSCOM Archives, Ft. Meade,
National Air and Space Museum,
Air Force Historical Research
Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL
Center for Air Force History,
Boiling AFB, DC
Phillips Laboratory, Hanscom
AFB, MA and Kirtland AFB, NM
Rome Laboratory, Griffiss AFB,
the Library of Congress,
A listing of the specific record areas
searched is appended as Atch 13.
The areas included all those subject
areas logically believed to possibly contain any reference to
activities at Roswell AAF during the period of time in question. It
is anticipated that detractors from this effort will complain that,
"they did not search record group x
, box y, or reel z, etc.; that's where the real records are!"
Such complaints are unavoidable and
there is no possible way that the millions of records under Air
Force control could be searched page by page. The team endeavored to
make logical searches in those places where records would likely be
They were assisted in this task by
archivists, historians, and records management specialists,
including experienced persons who have continually worked in Army
and Air Force records systems since 1943. The team also searched
some record areas that were recommended by serious private
researchers such as Robert Todd, who had independently obtained
almost encyclopedic knowledge of the complexities of Air Force
records systems, particularly as related to this subject area.
Not surprisingly, the research team found the usual number of
problems in many of the records centers (particularly St. Louis)
with misfiling, lost or misplaced documents, mismarking of
documents, or the breaking up of record groups over the years and
refilling in different systems. This included, for example, a small
amount of missing "decimal files" from the 509th Bomb Group at
Roswell that covered the years 1945-1949, that were marked on
the index as "destroyed."
The researchers noted that there was no
pattern to any anomalies found and that most discrepancies were
minor and consistent with what they had found in the past on similar
ROSWELL INCIDENT WAS NOT
Before discussing specific positive results that these efforts
revealed, it is first appropriate to discuss those things, as
indicated by information available to the Air Force, that the
"Roswell Incident" was not:
An Airplane Crash
Of all the things that
are documented and tracked within the Air Force, among the most
detailed and scrupulous are airplane crashes. In fact, records
of air crashes go back to the first years of military flight.
Safety records and reports are available for all crashes that
involved serious damage, injury, death, or a combination of
These records also include incidents
involving experimental or classified aircraft. USAF records
showed that between June 24, 1947, and July 28, 1947, there were
five crashes in New Mexico alone, involving A-26C, P-51N, C-82A,
P-80A and PQ-14B aircraft; however, none of these were on the
date(s) in question nor in the area(s) in question.
One of the additional areas specifically set forth by GAO in its
efforts was to deal with how the Air Force (and others)
specifically documented ."..weather balloon...and other crash
In this area, the search efforts
revealed that there are no air safety records pertaining to
weather balloon crashes (all weather balloons "crash" sooner or
later); however, there are provisions for generating reports of
"crashes" as ground safety incidents in the unlikely chance that
a balloon injures someone or causes damage.
However, such records are only
maintained for five years.
A Missile Crash
A crashed or errant
missile, usually described as a captured German V-2 or one of
its variants, is sometimes set forth as a possible explanation
for the debris recovered near Roswell. Since much of this
testing done at nearby White Sands was secret at the time, it
would be logical to assume that the government would handle any
missile mishap under tight security, particularly if the mishap
occurred on private land.
From the records reviewed by the Air
Force, however, there was nothing located to suggest that this
was the case. Although the bulk of remaining testing records are
under the control of the US Army, the subject has also been very
well documented over the years within Air Force records. There
would be no reason to keep such information classified today.
The USAF found no indicators or even
hints that a missile was involved in this matter.
A Nuclear Accident
One of the areas
considered was that whatever happened near Roswell may have
involved nuclear weapons. This was a logical area of concern
since the 509th Bomb Group was the only military unit in the
world at the time that had access to nuclear weapons. Again,
reviews of available records gave no indication that this was
the case. A number of records still classified TOP SECRET and
SECRET-RESTRICTED DATA having to do with nuclear weapons were
located in the Federal Records Center in St. Louis, MO.
These records, which pertained to
the 509th, had nothing to do with any activities that could have
been misinterpreted as the "Roswell Incident." Also, any records
of a nuclear-related incident would have been inherited by the
Department of Energy (DOE), and, had one occurred,
it is likely DOE would have publicly reported it as part of its
recent declassification and public release efforts
There were no ancillary records in
Air Force files to indicate the potential existence of such
records within DOE channels, however.
An Extraterrestrial Craft
The Air Force research
found absolutely no indication that what happened near Roswell
in 1947, involved any type of extraterrestrial spacecraft. This,
of course, is the crux of this entire matter.
"Pro-UFO" persons who obtain a copy
of this report, at this point, most probably begin the "cover-up
is still on" claims. Nevertheless, the research indicated
absolutely no evidence of any kind that a spaceship crashed near
Roswell or that any alien occupants were recovered therefrom, in
some secret military operation or otherwise.
This does not mean, however, that
the early Air Force was not concerned about UFOs. However, in
the early days, "UFO" meant Unidentified Flying Object,
which literally translated as some object in the air that was
not readily identifiable. It did not mean, as the term has
evolved in today's language, to equate to alien spaceships.
Records from the period reviewed by Air Force researchers as
well as those cited by the authors mentioned before, do indicate
that the USAF was seriously concerned about the inability to
adequately identify unknown flying objects reported in American
All the records, however, indicated
that the focus of concern was not on aliens, hostile or
otherwise, but on the Soviet Union. Many documents from that
period speak to the possibility of developmental secret Soviet
aircraft overflying US airspace. This, of course, was of major
concern to the fledgling USAF, whose job it was to protect these
The research revealed only one official AAF document that
indicated that there was any activity of any type that pertained
to UFOs and Roswell in July, 1947. This was a small section of
the July Historical Report for the 509th Bomb Group and Roswell
AAF that stated:
"The Office of Public
Information was quite busy during the month answering
inquiries on the 'flying disc,' which was reported to be in
possession of the 509th Bomb Group. The object turned out to
be a radar tracking balloon"
(included with Atch 11)
Additionally, this history showed
that the 509th Commander, Colonel Blanchard, went on
leave on July 8, 1947, which would be a somewhat unusual
maneuver for a person involved in the supposed first ever
recovery of extraterrestrial materials. (Detractors claim
Blanchard did this as a ploy to elude the press and go to the
scene to direct the recovery operations). The history and the
morning reports also showed that the subsequent activities at
Roswell during the month were mostly mundane and not indicative
of any unusual high level activity, expenditure of manpower,
resources or security.
Likewise, the researchers found no indication of heightened
activity anywhere else in the military hierarchy in the July,
1947, message traffic or orders (to include classified traffic).
There were no indications and warnings, notice of alerts, or a
higher tempo of operational activity reported that would be
logically generated if an alien craft, whose intentions were
unknown, entered US territory.
To believe that such operational and
high-level security activity could be conducted solely by
relying on unsecured telecommunications or personal contact
without creating any records of such activity certainly
stretches the imagination of those who have served in the
military who know that paperwork of some kind is necessary to
accomplish even emergency, highly classified, or sensitive
An example of activity sometimes cited by pro-UFO writers to
illustrate the point that something unusual was going on was the
travel of Lt. General Nathan Twining, Commander of the
Air Materiel Command, to New Mexico in July, 1947. Actually,
records were located indicating that Twining went to the Bomb
Commanders' Course on July 8, along with a number of other
general officers, and requested orders to do so a month before,
on June 5, 1947 (Atch 14).
Similarly, it has also been alleged that General Hoyt
Vandenberg, Deputy Chief of Staff at the time, had been
involved directing activity regarding events at Roswell.
Activity reports (Atch 15), located in General Vandenberg's
personal papers stored in the Library of Congress, did indicate
that on July 7, he was busy with a "flying disc" incident;
however this particular incident involved Ellington Field, Texas
and the Spokane (Washington) Depot. After much discussion and
information gathering on this incident, it was learned to be a
hoax. There is no similar mention of his personal interest or
involvement in Roswell events except in the newspapers.
The above are but two small examples that indicate that if some
event happened that was one of the "watershed happenings" in
human history, the US military certainly reacted in an
unconcerned and cavalier manner. In an actual case, the military
would have had to order thousands of soldiers and airman, not
only at Roswell but throughout the US, to act nonchalantly,
pretend to conduct and report business as usual, and generate
absolutely no paperwork of a suspicious nature, while
simultaneously anticipating that twenty years or more into the
future people would have available a comprehensive Freedom of
Information Act that would give them great leeway to review and
explore government documents.
The records indicate that none of
this happened (or if it did, it was controlled by a security
system so efficient and tight that no one, US or otherwise, has
been able to duplicate it since. If such a system had been in
effect at the time, it would have also been used to protect our
atomic secrets from the Soviets, which history has showed
obviously was not the case).
The records reviewed confirmed that
no such sophisticated and efficient security system existed.
"ROSWELL INCIDENT" WAS
As previously discussed, what was originally reported to have been
recovered was a balloon of some sort, usually described as a
"weather balloon," although the majority of the wreckage that was
ultimately displayed by General Ramey and Major Marcel
in the famous photos (Atch 16) in Ft. Worth, was that of a radar
target normally suspended from balloons. This radar target,
discussed in more detail later, was certainly consistent with the
description of July 9 newspaper article which discussed "tinfoil,
paper, tape, and sticks."
Additionally, the description of the
"flying disc" was consistent with a document routinely used by most
pro-UFO writers to indicate a conspiracy in progress—the telegram
from the Dallas FBI office of July 8, 1947.
This document quoted in part states:
"..The disc is hexagonal in shape
and was suspended from a balloon by a cable, which balloon was
approximately twenty feet in diameter. ...the object found
resembles a high altitude weather balloon with a radar
reflector. ...disc and balloon being transported..."
Similarly, while conducting the popular
literature review, one of the documents reviewed was a paper
entitled "The Roswell Events" edited by Fred Whiting, and
sponsored by the Fund for UFO Research (FUFOR).
Although it was not the original intention to comment on what
commercial authors interpreted or claimed that other persons
supposedly said, this particular document was different because it
contained actual copies of apparently authentic sworn affidavits
received from a number of persons who claimed to have some knowledge
of the Roswell event.
Although many of the persons who
provided these affidavits to the FUFOR researchers also expressed
opinions that they thought there was something extraterrestrial
about this incident, a number of them actually described materials
that sounded suspiciously like wreckage from balloons.
These included the following:
Jesse A. Marcel, MD (son of
the late Major Jesse Marcel; 11 years old at the time of the
incident). Affidavit dated May 6, 1991.
"... There were three categories
of debris: a thick, foil like metallic gray substance; a
brittle, brownish-black plastic-like material, like
Bakelite; and there were fragments of what appeared to be
I-beams. On the inner surface of the I-beam, there appeared
to be a type of writing. This writing was a purple-violet
hue, and it had an embossed appearance. The figures were
composed of curved, geometric shapes. It had no resemblance
to Russian, Japanese or any other foreign language. It
resembled hieroglyphics, but it had no animal-like
Loretta Proctor (former
neighbor of rancher W.W. Brazel). Affidavit dated May 5, 1991.
"..Brazel came to my ranch and
showed my husband and me a piece of material he said came
from a large pile of debris on the property he managed. The
piece he brought was brown in color, similar to
plastic...'Mac' said the other material on the property
looked like aluminum foil. It was very flexible and wouldn't
crush or burn. There was also something he described as tape
which had printing on it. The color of the printing was a
kind of purple..."
Bessie Brazel Schreiber
(daughter of W.W. Brazel; 14 years old at the time of the
incident). Affidavit dated September 22, 1993.
"..The debris looked like pieces
of a large balloon which had burst. The pieces were small,
the largest I remember measuring about the same as the
diameter of a basketball. Most of it was a kind of
double-sided material, foil-like on one side and rubber-like
on the other. Both sides were grayish silver in color, the
foil more silvery than the rubber. Sticks, like kite sticks,
were attached to some of the pieces with a whitish tape.
The tape was about two or three
inches wide and had flower-like designs on it. The 'flowers'
were faint, a variety of pastel colors, and reminded me of
Japanese paintings in which the flowers are not all
connected. I do not recall any other types of material or
markings, nor do I remember seeing gouges in the ground or
any other signs that anything may have hit the ground hard.
The foil-rubber material could not be torn like ordinary
aluminum foil can be torn..."
Sally Strickland Tadolini
(neighbor of WW Brazel; nine years old in 1947). Affidavit dated
September 27, 1993.
"..What Bill showed us was a
piece of what I still think as fabric. It was something like
aluminum foil, something like satin, something like
well-tanned leather in its toughness, yet was not precisely
like any one of those materials. ...It was about the
thickness of very fine kidskin glove leather and a dull
metallic grayish silver, one side slightly darker than the
other. I do not remember it having any design or embossing
Robert R. Porter (B-29 flight
Engineer stationed at Roswell in 1947). Affidavit dated June 7,
"..On this occasion, I was a
member of the crew which flew parts of what we were told was
a flying saucer to Fort Worth. The people on board
included...and Maj Jesse Marcel. Capt. William E.
Anderson said it was from a flying saucer. After we
arrived, the material was transferred to a B-25. I was told
they were going to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. I was
involved in loading the B-29 with the material, which was
wrapped in packages with wrapping paper. One of the pieces
was triangle-shaped, about 2 1/2 feet across the bottom.
The rest were in small packages,
about the size of a shoe box. The brown paper was held with
tape. The material was extremely lightweight. When I picked
it up, it was just like picking up an empty package. We
loaded the triangle shaped package and three shoe box-sized
packages into the plane. AJ1 of the packages could have fit
into the trunk of a car. ...When we came back from lunch,
they told us they had transferred the material to a B-25.
They told us the material was a weather balloon, but I'm
certain it wasn't a weather balloon..."
In addition to those persons above still
living who claim to have seen or examined the original material
found on the Brazel Ranch, there is one additional person who was
universally acknowledged to have been involved in its recovery,
Sheridan Cavitt, Lt Col, USAF, (Ret).
Cavitt is credited in all claims of
having accompanied Major Marcel to the ranch to recover the debris,
sometimes along with his Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC)
subordinate, William Rickett, who, like Marcel, is deceased.
Although there does not appear to be much dispute that Cavitt was
involved in the material recovery, other claims about him prevail in
the popular literature.
He is sometimes portrayed as a
closed-mouth (or sometimes even sinister) conspirator who was one of
the early individuals who kept the "secret of Roswell" from getting
out. Other things about him have been alleged, including the claim
that he wrote a report of the incident at the time that has never
Since Lt Col Cavitt, who had first-hand knowledge, was still alive,
a decision was made to interview him and get a signed sworn
statement from him about his version of the events. Prior to the
interview, the Secretary of the Air Force provided him with a
written authorization and waiver to discuss classified information
with the interviewer and release him from any security oath he may
have taken. Subsequently, Cavitt was interviewed on May 24, 1994, at
his home. Cavitt provided a signed, sworn statement (Atch 17 ) of
his recollections in this matter. He also consented to having the
interview tape-recorded. A transcript of that recording is at Atch
In this interview, Cavitt related that
he had been contacted on numerous occasions by UFO researchers and
had willingly talked with many of them; however, he felt that he had
oftentimes been misrepresented or had his comments taken out of
context so that their true meaning was changed. He stated
unequivocally, however, that the material he recovered consisted of
a reflective sort of material like aluminum foil, and some thin,
bamboo-like sticks. He thought at the time, and continued to do so
today, that what he found was a weather balloon and has told other
private researchers that. He also remembered finding a small "black
box" type of instrument, which he thought at the time was probably a
Lt Col Cavitt also reviewed the famous
Ramey/Marcel photographs (Atch 16) of the wreckage taken to Ft.
Worth (often claimed by UFO researchers to have been switched and
the remnants of a balloon substituted for it) and he identified the
materials depicted in those photos as consistent with the materials
that he recovered from the ranch. Lt Col Cavitt also stated that he
had never taken any oath or signed any agreement not to talk about
this incident and had never been threatened by anyone in the
government because of it. He did not even know the "incident" was
claimed to be anything unusual until he was interviewed in the early
Similarly, Irving Newton, Major, USAF, (Ret) was located and
interviewed. Newton was a weather officer assigned to Fort Worth,
who was on duty when the Roswell debris was sent there in July,
1947. He was told that he was to report to General Ramey's office to
view the material.
In a signed, sworn statement (Atch 30)
Newton related that .
"..I walked into the General's
office where this supposed flying saucer was lying all over the
floor. As soon as I saw it, I giggled and asked if that was the
flying saucer...I told them that this was a balloon and a RAWIN
Newton also stated that .
"..while I was examining the debris,
Major Marcel was picking up pieces of the target sticks and
trying to convince me that some notations on the sticks were
alien writings, there were figures on the sticks, lavender or
pink in color, appeared to be weather faded markings, with no
rhyme or reason (sic). He did not convince me that these were
Newton concluded his statement by
relating that .
"..During the ensuing years I have
been interviewed by many authors, I have been quoted and
misquoted. The facts remain as indicated above. I was not
influenced during the original interview, nor today, to provide
anything but what I know to be true, that is, the material I saw
in General Ramey's office was the remains of a balloon and a
The original tasking from
GAO noted that the search for information included "weather
balloons." Comments about balloons and safety reports have
already been made, however the SAF/AAZ research efforts also
focused on reviewing historical records involving balloons,
since, among other reasons, that was what was officially claimed
by the AAF to have been found and recovered in 1947.
As early as February 28, 1994, the AAZD research team found
references to balloon tests taking place at Alamogordo AAF (now
Holloman AFB) and White Sands during June and July 1947, testing
"constant level balloons" and a New York University (NYU)
AVatson Labs effort that used "...meteorological devices ...
suspected for detecting shock waves generated by Soviet nuclear
explosions" - a possible indication of a cover story associated
with the NYU balloon project. Subsequently, a 1946 HQ AMC
memorandum was surfaced, describing the constant altitude
balloon project and specified that the scientific data be
classified TOP SECRET Priority 1 A. Its name was Project
Mogul (Atch 19)
Project Mogul was a then-sensitive, classified project, whose
purpose was to determine the state of Soviet nuclear weapons
research. This was the early Cold War period and there was
serious concern within the US government about the Soviets
developing a weaponized atomic device. Because the Soviet
Union's borders were closed, the US Government sought to develop
a long range nuclear explosion detection capability. Long range,
balloon-borne, low frequency acoustic detection was posed to
General Spaatz in 1945 by Dr. Maurice Ewing of Columbia
University as a potential solution (atmospheric ducting of low
frequency pressure waves had been studied as early as 1900).
As part of the research into this matter, AAZD personnel located
and obtained the original study papers and reports of the New
York University project. Their efforts also revealed that some
of the individuals involved in Project Mogul were still living.
These persons included the NYU constant altitude balloon
Director of Research, Dr. Athelstan F. Spilhaus; the
Project Engineer, Professor Charles B. Moore; and the
military Project Officer, Colonel Albert C. Trakowski.
All of these persons were subsequently interviewed and signed
sworn statements about their activities.
A copy of theses statements are
appended at Atch 20-22. Additionally, transcripts of the
interview with Moore and Trakowski are also included (equipment
malfunctioned during the interview of Spilhaus) (Atch 23-24).
These interviews confirmed that Project Mogul was a
compartmented, sensitive effort. The NYU group was responsible
for developing constant level balloons and telemetering
equipment that would remain at specified altitudes (within the
acoustic duct) while a group from Columbia was to develop
Doctor Spilhaus, Professor Moore,
and certain others of the group were aware of the actual purpose
of the project, but they did not know of the project nickname at
the time. They handled casual inquiries and/or scientific
inquiries/papers in terms of "unclassified meteorological or
balloon research." Newly hired employees were not made aware
that there was anything special or classified about their work;
they were told only that their work dealt with meteorological
An advance ground team, led by Albert P. Crary, preceded
the NYU group to Alamogordo AAF, New Mexico, setting up ground
sensors and obtaining facilities for the NYU group. Upon their
arrival, Professor Moore and his team experimented with various
configurations of neoprene balloons; development of balloon
"trains" (see illustration, Atch 25); automatic ballast systems;
and use of Naval sonobuoys (as the Watson Lab acoustical sensors
had not yet arrived). They also launched what they called
These "service flights" were not
logged nor fully accounted for in the published Technical
Reports generated as a result of the contract between NYU and
Watson Labs. According to Professor Moore, the "service flights"
were composed of balloons, radar reflectors and payloads
specifically designed to test acoustic sensors (both early
sonobuoys and the later Watson Labs devices).
The "payload equipment" was
expendable and some carried no "REWARD" or "RETURN TO..." tags
because there was to be no association between these flights and
the logged constant altitude flights which were fully
acknowledged The NYU balloon flights were listed sequentially in
their reports (i.e., A, B, 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10...) yet gaps
existed for Flights 2-4 and Flight 9.
The interview with Professor Moore
indicated that these gaps were the untagged "service flights."
Professor Moore, the on-scene Project Engineer, gave detailed
information concerning his team's efforts. He recalled that
radar targets were used for tracking balloons because they did
not have all the necessary equipment when they first arrived in
New Mexico. Some of the early developmental radar targets were
manufactured by a toy or novelty company.
These targets were made up of
aluminum "foil" or foil-backed paper, balsa wood beams that were
coated in an "ElmerVtype" glue to enhance their durability,
acetate and/or cloth reinforcing tape, single strand and braided
nylon twine, brass eyelets and swivels to form a multi-faced
reflector somewhat similar in construction to a box kite (see
photographs, Atch 26). Some of these targets were also assembled
with purplish-pink tape with symbols on it (see drawing by Moore
with Atch 21).
According to the log summary (Atch 27) of the NYU group, Flight
A through Flight 7 (November 20, 1946-July 2, 1947) were made
with neoprene meteorological balloons (as opposed to the later
flights made with polyethylene balloons). Professor Moore stated
that the neoprene balloons were susceptible to degradation in
the sunlight, turning-from a milky white to a dark brown.
He described finding remains of
balloon trains with reflectors and payloads that had landed in
the ruptured and shredded
neoprene would "almost look like dark gray or black flakes
or ashes after exposure to the sun for only a few days. The
plasticizers and antioxidants in the neoprene would emit a
peculiar acrid odor and the balloon material and radar
target material would be scattered after returning to earth
depending on the surface winds."
Upon review of the local newspaper
photographs from General Ramey's press conference in 1947 and
descriptions in popular books by individuals who supposedly
handled the debris recovered on the ranch, Professor Moore
opined that the material was most likely the shredded remains of
a multi-neoprene balloon train with multiple radar reflectors.
The material and a "black box,"
described by Cavitt, was, in Moore's scientific opinion, most
probably from Flight 4, a "service flight" that included a
cylindrical metal sonobuoy and portions of a weather instrument
housed in a box, which was unlike typical weather radiosondes
which were made of cardboard. Additionally, a copy of a
professional journal maintained at the time by A.P. Crary,
provided to the Air Force by his widow, showed that Flight 4 was
launched on June 4, 1947, but was not recovered by the NYU
It is very probable that this TOP
SECRET project balloon train (Flight 4), made up of unclassified
components; came to rest some miles northwest of Roswell, NM,
became shredded in the surface winds and was ultimately found by
the rancher, Brazel, ten days later. This possibility was
supported by the observations of Lt Col Cavitt (Atch 17-18), the
only living eyewitness to the actual debris field and the
Lt Col Cavitt described a small area
of debris which appeared,
"to resemble bamboo type square
sticks one quarter to one half inch square, that were very
light, as well as some sort of metallic reflecting material
that was also very light ... I remember recognizing this
material as being consistent with a weather balloon."
Concerning the initial announcement,
"RAAF Captures Flying Disc," research failed to locate any
documented evidence as to why that statement was made. However,
on July 10, 1947, following the Ramey press conference, the
Alamogordo News published an article with photographs
demonstrating multiple balloons and targets at the same location
as the NYU group operated from at Alamogordo AAF. Professor
Moore expressed surprise at seeing this since his, was the only
balloon test group in the area.
"It appears that there was some
type of umbrella cover story to protect our work with
Although the Air Force did not find
documented evidence that Gen. Ramey was directed to espouse a
weather balloon in his press conference, he may have done so
because he was either aware of Project Mogul and was trying to
deflect interest from it, or he readily perceived the material
to be a weather balloon based on the identification from his
weather officer, Irving Newton.
In either case, the materials
recovered by the AAF in July, 1947, were not readily
recognizable as anything special (only the purpose was special)
and the recovered debris itself was unclassified. Additionally,
the press dropped its interest in the matter as quickly as they
had jumped on it. Hence, there would be no particular reason to
further document what quickly became a "non-event."
The interview with Colonel Trakowski (Atch 23-24) also
proved valuable information. Trakowski provided specific details
on Project Mogul and described how the security for the program
was set up, as he was formerly the TOP SECRET Control Officer
for the program. He further related that many of the original
radar targets that were produced around the end of World War II
were fabricated by toy or novelty companies using a
purplish-pink tape with flower and heart symbols on it.
Trakowski also recounted a
conversation that he had with his friend, and superior military
officer in his chain of command, Colonel Marcellus Duffy, in
July, 1947. Duffy, formerly had Trakowski's position on Mogul,
but had subsequently been transferred to Wright Field.
"..Colonel Duffy called me on
the telephone from Wright Field and gave me a story about a
fellow that had come in from New Mexico, woke him up in the
middle of the night or some such thing with a handful of
debris, and wanted him, Colonel Duffy, to identify it. ...He
just said 'it sure looks like some of the stuff you've been
launching at Alamogordo' and he described it, and I said
'yes, I think it is.' Certainly Colonel Duffy knew enough
about radar targets, radiosondes, balloon-borne weather
devices. He was intimately familiar with all that
Attempts were made to locate Colonel
Duffy but it was ascertained that he had died. His widow
explained that, although he had amassed a large amount of
personal papers relating to his Air Force activities, she had
recently disposed of these items. Likewise, it was learned that
A.P. Crary was also deceased; however his surviving
spouse had a number of his papers from his balloon testing days,
including his professional journal from the period in question.
She provided the Air Force researchers with this material. It is
discussed in more detail within Atch 32.
Overall, it helps fill in gaps of
the Mogul story.
During the period the AJr Force conducted this research, it was
discovered that several others had also discovered the
possibility that the "Roswell Incident" may have been generated
by the recovery of a Project Mogul balloon device. These persons
included Professor Charles B. Moore, Robert Todd, and
coincidentally, Karl Pflock, a researcher who is married to a
staffer who works for Congressman Schiff Some of these persons
provided suggestions as to where documentation might be located
in various archives, histories and libraries.
A review of Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA) requests revealed that Robert Todd, particularly, had
become aware of Project Mogul several years ago and had doggedly
obtained from the Air Force, through the FOIA, a large amount of
material pertaining to it; long before the AAZD researchers
independently seized on the same possibility.
Most interestingly, as this report was being written, Pflock
published his own report of this matter under the auspices of
FUFOR, entitled "Roswell in Perspective" (1994). Pflock
concluded from his research that the Brazel Ranch debris
originally reported as a "flying disc" was probably debris from
a Mogul balloon; however, there was a simultaneous incident that
occurred not far away, that caused an alien craft to crash and
that the AAF subsequently recovered three alien bodies therefrom.
Air Force research did not locate any information to corroborate
that this incredible coincidence occurred, however.
In order to provide a more detailed discussion of the specifics
of Project Mogul and how it appeared to be directly responsible
for the "Roswell Incident," a SAF/AAZD researcher prepared a
more detailed discussion on the balloon project which is
appended to this report as Atch 32.
In the attempt to develop additional information that could help
explain this matter, a number of other steps were taken. First,
assistance was requested from various museums and other archives
(Atch 28) to obtain information and/or examples of the actual
balloons and radar targets used in connection with Project Mogul
and to correlate them with the various descriptions of wreckage
and materials recovered.
The blueprints for the "Pilot
Balloon Target ML307C/AP Assembly" (genetically, the radar
target assembly) were located at the Army Signal Corps Museum at
Fort Monmouth and obtained. A copy is appended as Atch 29. This
blueprint provides the specification for the foil material,
tape, wood, eyelets, and string used and the assembly
instructions thereto. An actual device was also obtained for
study with the assistance of Professor Moore. (The example
actually procured was a 1953-manufactured model "C" as compared
to the Model B which was in use in 1947. Professor Moore related
the differences were minor).
An examination of this device
revealed it to be simply made of aluminum-colored foil-like
material over a stronger paper-like material, attached to balsa
wood sticks, affixed with tape, glue, and twine. When opened,
the device appears as depicted in Atch 31 (contemporary photo)
and Atch 25 (1947 photo, in a "balloon train"). When folded, the
device is in a series of triangles, the largest being four feet
by two feet ten inches. The smallest triangle section measures
two feet by two feet ten inches. (Compare with descriptions
provided by Lt Col Cavitt and others, as well as photos of
Additionally, the researchers obtained from the Archives of the
University of Texas-Arlington (UTA), a set of
original (i.e. first generation) prints of the photographs taken
at the time by the Fort Worth Star-Te1egramr that depicted Ramey
and Marcel with the wreckage. A close review of these photos
(and a set of first generation negatives also ( subsequently
obtained from UTA) revealed several interesting observations.
First, although in some of the
literature cited above, Marcel allegedly stated that he had his
photo taken with the "rear* UFO wreckage and then it was
subsequently removed and the weather balloon wreckage
substituted for it, a comparison shows that the same wreckage
appeared in the photos of Marcel and Ramey.
The photos also depicted that this
material was lying on what appeared to be some sort of wrapping
paper (consistent with affidavit excerpt of crew chief Porter,
above). It was also noted that in the two photos of Ramey he had
a piece of paper in his hand. In one, it was folded over so
nothing could be seen.
In the second, however, there appears to be text printed on the
paper. In an attempt to read this text to determine if it could
shed any further light on locating documents relating to this
matter, the photo was sent to a national level organization for
digitizing and subsequent photo interpretation and analysis.
This organization was also asked to scrutinize the digitized
photos for any indication of the flowered tape (or
"hieroglyphics, depending on the point of view) that were
reputed to be visible to some of the persons who observed the
wreckage prior to it getting to Fort Worth.
This organization reported on July
20, 1994, that even after digitizing, the photos were of
insufficient quality to visualize either of the details sought
for analysis. This organization was able to obtain measurements
from the "sticks" visible in the debris after it was ascertained
by an interview of the original photographer what kind of camera
he used. The results of this process are provided in Atch 33,
along with a reference diagram and the photo from which the
measurements were made.
All these measurements are compatible
with the wooden / materials used in the radar target previously
The Air Force research did not locate or develop any information
that the "Roswell Incident" was a UFO event. All available official
materials, although they do not directly address Roswell per se,
indicate that the most likely source of the wreckage recovered from
the Brazel Ranch was from one of the Project Mogul balloon trains.
Although that project was TOP SECRET at
the time, there was also no specific indication found to indicate an
official pre-planned cover story was in place to explain an event
such as that which ultimately happened. It appears that the
identification of the wreckage as being part of a weather balloon
device, as reported in the newspapers at the time, was based on the
fact that there was no physical difference in the radar targets and
the neoprene balloons (other than the numbers and configuration)
between Mogul balloons and normal weather balloons.
Additionally, it seems that there was
over-reaction by Colonel Blanchard and Major Marcel,
in originally reporting that a "flying disc" had been recovered
when, at that time, nobody for sure knew what that term even meant
since the it had only been in use for a couple of weeks.
Likewise, there was no indication in official records from the
period that there was heightened military operational or security
activity which should have been generated if z this was, in fact,
the first recovery of materials and/or persons from another world.
The post-War US Military (or today's for that matter) did not have
the capability to rapidly identify, recover, coordinate, cover-up,
and quickly minimize public scrutiny of such an event. The claim
that they did so without leaving even a little bit of a suspicious
paper trail for 47 years is incredible.
It should also be noted here that there was little mentioned in this
report about the recovery of the so-called "alien bodies."
This is for several reasons.
First, the recovered wreckage
was from a Project Mogul balloon. There were no "alien"
Secondly, the pro-UFO groups who
espouse the alien bodies theories cannot even agree among
themselves as to what, how many, and where, such bodies were
supposedly recovered. Additionally, some of these claims
have been shown to be hoaxes, even by other UFO researchers.
Thirdly, when such claims are
made, they are often attributed to people using pseudonyms
or who otherwise do not want to be publicly identified,
presumably so that some sort of retribution cannot be taken
against them (notwithstanding that nobody has been shown to
have died, disappeared or otherwise suffered at the hands of
the government during the last 47 years).
Fourth, many of the persons
making the biggest claims of "alien bodies" make their
living from the "Roswell Incident." While having a
commercial interest in something does not automatically make
it suspect, it does raise interesting questions related to
authenticity. Such persons should be encouraged to present
their evidence (not speculation) directly to the government
and provide all pertinent details and evidence to support
their claims if honest fact-finding is what is wanted.
Lastly, persons who have come
forward and provided their names and made claims, may have,
in good faith but in the "fog of time," misinterpreted past
events. The review of Air Force records did not locate even
one piece of evidence to indicate that the Air Force has had
any part in an "alien" body recovery operation or continuing
During the course of this effort, the
Air Force has kept in close touch with the GAO and responded to
their various queries and requests for assistance. This report was
generated as an official response to the GAO, and to document the
considerable effort expended by the Air Force on their behalf. It is
anticipated that that they will request a copy of this report to
help formulate the formal report of their efforts.
It is recommended that this document
serve as the final Air Force report related to the Roswell matter,
for the GAO, or any other inquiries.
1. Washington Post Article, "GAO
Turns to Alien Turf in New Probe, January 14, 1994
2. GAO Memo, February 15, 1994
3. DoD/IG Memo, February 23, 1994
4. SAF/FM Memo. February 24_ 1994 w/Endorsement
5. SAF/AA Memo, March 1, 1994, w/March 16, 1994 Addendum
6. AF/TN Memo, March 14, 1994
7. AF/SE Memo, March 14, 1994
8. SAF/AQL Memo, March 22, 1994
9. AF/XOWP Memo, March 9, 1994
10. SAF/AAI Memo, March 10, 1994
11. AFHRA/CC Memo, March 8, 1994
12. AFOSI/HO Memo, May 11, 1994
13. List of Locations and Records Searched
14. HQAAF "Issuance of Orders," June 5, 1947
15. Copy of Vandenberg's Appointment Book and Diary, July
16. July 9, 1947 Photos of Balloon Wreckage, Ft Worth Star
17. Signed Sworn Statement of Cavitt, May 24, 1994
18. Transcript of Cavitt Interview, May 24, 1994
19. Letter, July 8, 1946, Project Mogul
20. Signed Sworn Statement of Spilhaus, June 3, 1994
21. Signed Sworn Statement of Moore, June 8, 1994
22. Signed Sworn Statement of Trakowski, June 29, 1994
23. Transcript of Interview with Moore, June 8, 1994
24. Transcript of Interview with Trakowski, June 29, 1994
25. Illustration of Project Mogul "Balloon Trains"
26. Two Photos of Project Mogul "Balloon Trains"
27. Log Summary, NYU Constant Level Balloon Flights
28. List of Museums Contacted
29. Copy of Blueprint for "Pilot Balloon Target, ML-307C/AP
30. Signed Sworn Statement of Newton, July 21, 1994
31. Photos of ML-307C/AP Device, With Vintage Neoprene
Balloon and Debris
32. Synopsis of Balloon Research Findings by 1LT James
33. "Mensuration Working Paper," With Drawing and Photo