by Richard L. Weaver, Col.
USAF DIRECTOR, SECURITY AND SPECIAL PROGRAM
from AirForceLink Website
recovered though WayBackMachine Website
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 weather balloon.
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 and the Air Force is now routinely accused of engaging in a
"cover-up" of this supposed event.
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 extraterrestrial materials.
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.
This notification was sub- sequently 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 that the,
These were the first official US Government documents that indicated that the purpose of the GAO was to review,
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 systems. 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
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:
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 aforementioned audit.
This report is intended to stand as the final
official Air Force response regarding this matter.
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 Record.
The July 8 edition reported,
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 wreckage was described as a,
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
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 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.
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.
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
These locations include,
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 extra-terrestrial 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 technology.
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 media.
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 non-events.
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 areas.
These works included:
...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.
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
They then listed eleven of these persons by name and asked the question,
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 195 1, while the writers claimed to have
interviewed him (or a person of the exact same name) in 1990.
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 Ranch. 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.
This meant that the search was not limited to
unclassified materials, but also would include records of the highest
classification and compartmentalization.
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
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 "cover-up" in some sort
of passive "caretaker status" would involve money. More importantly, it
would involve people and create paperwork.
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:
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,
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 found. 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.
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 projects.
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:
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.
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 tasks.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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 surfaced.
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 18. 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 radiosonde. Lt Col Cavitt also reviewed the famous Ramey/Marcel photographs (Atch 16) of the wreckage taken to Ft. Worth (often claimed by LITO 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 1980's.
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,
Newton also stated that,
Newton concluded his statement by relating that,
Balloon Research 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.
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 IA.
Its name was Project Mogul (Atch 19).
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).
These persons included
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 acoustic sensors. 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 equipment.
They also launched what they called "service flights." 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 unlogged "service flights."
These targets were made up of aluminum "foil" or
foil-backed paper, balsa wood beams that were coated in an "Elmer's-type"
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 2 1).
He described finding remains of balloon trains with reflectors and payloads that had landed in the desert: the ruptured and shredded neoprene would,
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 group. 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 material found. Lt Col Cavitt described a small area of debris which appeared,
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Air Force research did not locate any
information to corroborate that this incredible coincidence occurred,
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" (generically, 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
First, although in some of the literature cited above, Marcel allegedly stated that he had his photo taken with the "real" 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 described.
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.
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.
This is for several reasons:
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.
USAF DIRECTOR, SECURITY AND SPECIAL PROGRAM OVERSIGHT