The Roswell UFO Incident began when the United States Air Force issued a press release stating that a "flying disk" had been recovered near Roswell, New Mexico. The initial report was withdrawn and government officials stated instead that a weather balloon had been misidentified. Conflicting reports gave rise to various conspiracy theories and the Roswell UFO incident has featured in various movies and television series ever since.
Facts about Roswell UFO Incident
The story of the Roswell UFO Incident began with a large number of alleged sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO's) that occurred in the area between May 17,1947 and July 12, 1947.
Location: Roswell is located in Chaves County, New Mexico, United States. The city is situated at the confluence of three rivers, the Spring, the Hondo and the Pecos. The area was originally the homeland of the Mescalero Apache and the Comanche Native Americans who roamed the hot, dry, arid desert land dotted with cactus.
In 1941, during World War II, the Roswell Army Air Field was established south of Roswell as a military training center to train bomber crews.
The Roswell Army Flying School also known as Roswell Army Air Field (AAF) in New Mexico was named the Walker Air Force Base and became a major Strategic Air Command base.
Walker Air Force Base, New Mexico, became famous for the Roswell UFO incident, an event that happened on July 4, 1947 when initial reports alleged that a "flying disk" had crashed during a severe thunderstorm near the base at Corona, New Mexico.
The famous story started when widely scattered wreckage, strewn over half a mile, was discovered about 75 miles north-west of Roswell, New Mexico by a local 48 year old ranch manager, William "Mac" Brazel.
"Mac" Brazel. initially paid little notice of the wreckage but, after hearing rumors about 'flying disks' being seen in the area, he went back to the crash site and collected the scattered materials that consisted of an unusual types of incredibly strong, shiny tinfoil and light plastic materials.
Bessie Scheiber (Mac's daughter) stated that "...some of these pieces had something like numbers and lettering on them, but there were no words you were able to make out. Some of the metal-foil pieces had a sort of tape stuck to them, and when these were held to the light they showed what looked like pastel flowers or designs..."
On July 7, 1947 Mac Brazel went to see sheriff George Wilcox and whispered "kinda confidential like" that he might have found a flying disk. He said that he did not see it fall from the sky so he did not know the size or shape it might have been.
Sheriff George Wilcox contacted the Roswell Army Air Field and Major Jesse Antoine Marcel, a staff intelligence officer of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office, and a Counter-Intelligence Corps officer in plain clothes arrived at his office to inspect the crash site materials. The two men accompanied Sheriff Wilcox to his home to try to reconstruct the materials.
Descriptions of the wreckage by Major Jesse Antoine Marcel's son, Jesse Marcel Jr., stated that "...the most unusual part of that was the symbols or writing on the inner surface. I thought, at first, it was like Egyptian hieroglyphics, but when I looked closer, it seemed more like geometric symbols of some kind - it was very strange."
On the same day, July 7, 1947 the local KSWS radio station started reporting the news of the wreckage.
On July 8, 1947, the city editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram sent 21-year-old Fort Worth Star Telegram reporter and photographer James Bond Johnson to take photos of the crash debris.
The officers returned to the base with the crash wreckage and Colonel William "Butch" Blanchard, the base commander authorized the release of an official press statement confirming that the wreckage of a flying disc had been recovered.
Walter Haut, a Public Information Officer for the 509th Bomb Wing at Roswell AAF, issued a press release to the local media claiming recovery of a flying disc.
On July 8, 1947 the Roswell Daily Record, announced the "capture" of a "flying saucer".
Colonel Blanchard contacted General Roger M. Ramey of the Eighth Air Force in Fort Worth, Texas, and General Ramey ordered the object be flown to Fort Worth Army Air Field. General Ramey sent officers to reclaim the debris and held a press conference claiming the wreckage was the remains of a weather balloon.
Between 1947 - 1949 a top secret espionage project codenamed Operation Mogul was being conducted by the US Army Air Force during the Cold War Arms Race. Project Mogul involved the use of microphones flown on high-altitude balloons for the long-distance detection of sound waves that were designed to monitor soviet nuclear tests.
At the start of Project Mogul the early balloons consisted of large clusters of rubber meteorological balloons. The early Mogul balloons were replaced by new, massive balloons made of polyethylene plastic. It is clear that the top secret Project Mogul was behind the press statement reference to 'weather balloons' made by General Ramsey.
The following day, July 9, 1947, the Roswell Daily Record reported on the press statement made by General Ramsey (see details of the text below). The wreckage was described of consisting of "...tinfoil, paper, tape and sticks..."
Whether the crash wreckage was an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO') or simply a 'weather balloon' has been debated ever since.
Project Sign: What can be confirmed is that another top secret project, codenamed Project Sign (1947 - 1948), was established as an official U.S. government study of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) undertaken by the United States Air Force.
In September, 1947, two months following the Roswell incident, astronomer and meteor expert Dr. Lincoln La Paz (February 12, 1897 – October 19, 1985) was recruited by the U.S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps to become a member of Project Sign and was tasked with interviewing witnesses and determine the direction, speed and trajectory of the craft prior to its impact.
It has since been reported that Dr. Lincoln La Paz had experienced a UFO sighting of his own which occurred on July 10, 1947 just 70 miles north of Roswell near Fort Sumner, New Mexico (only two days after the Roswell UFO incident).
In 1961 Betty and Barney Hill claimed that alien beings had abducted them and taken them to a saucer-shaped spaceship. The aliens were described as small, grey-skinned humanoid beings with an enlarged head and large black eyes, which were later called "Greys". Conspiracy theorists linked the "Greys" to the alleged Roswell UFO incident claiming that the wreckage, or even alien bodies from the Roswell crash, are being held at the US military base known as Area 51.
In February, 1949 Project Sign was replaced by Project Grudge which was then followed by Project Blue Book. A termination order was given for the study of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) conducted by the United States Air Force in December 1969, and all activity under the project ceased in January 1970.
The Roswell UFO Incident and Projects Sign, Grudge and Bluebook should be considered in relation to the events of the era when the USA and the USSR were engaged in the Cold War Arms Race.
Due to the media coverage the Soviets were aware of the reports coming from Roswell, New Mexico. The fast denial of the UFO and assertions of the 'weather balloon' explanation led Joseph Stalin to believe that the first UFO report was what actually happened and that the Americans really had 'captured' a UFO. If the Americans had a UFO then Stalin wanted a UFO. Who knew what technical advantages the USA were making...
As a result Stalin initiated extensive investigations into UFOs by the Soviet Union - taking numerous scientists and military personnel away from the work on the development of nuclear weapons during the Cold War Arms Race.Was the Roswell UFO incident a clever plan and double bluff by the USA to divert the Soviets from the real concern of the day - the development of their own nuclear weapons?
|US American History|
|1945-1993: Cold War Era|