ROSWELL AND THE SUMMER OF THE SAUCERS
In the months of June and July of 1947, 853 sightings occurred in June and July. Most of these sightings were of high quality and involved daytime disk sightings. California had the most sightings with 107 cases while Washington was second with 84 sightings. Oregon was third with 52 sightings and Idaho fourth with 43 sightings. Obviously most of the sightings were in the Pacific Northwest.
The first major reports started on June 24, 1947 when Pilot Kenneth Arnold spotted nine disk shaped objects near Mt. Rainier, Washington. Mr. Arnold described that these objects moved like a saucer skipping over water. Therefore, the name “flying saucers” were coined.
The intelligence community was slow to respond to Arnold’s report. In fact, Arnold got angry at their inefficiency in not investigating for nearly three weeks what he felt was a matter of national security. However, sometime between the Arnold incident and the first few days in July, military intelligence became very interested in his sighting.
The fact is that when reviewing the saucer timeline of 1947 – it is seldom reported that Arnold not only saw the strange craft while flying, he was also asked to investigate the Maury Island incident.
This incident actually happened before the Kenneth Arnold sighting, but was not as well-known to the media and most UFO enthusiasts. It involved a sighting reported by Harold A. Dahl who saw six donut-shaped UFOs.
Dahl took a few photos of the UFOs, and then one appeared to explode and then ejected some materials which dropped into the Puget Sound. Dahl said that the debris killed his dog and injured his son, resulting in a trip to the hospital. Dahl reported the sighting to his supervisor, Fred Crisman.
Dahl collected some of the debris and mailed it to Chicago publisher Raymond Palmer. Palmer subsequently called Kenneth Arnold and asked him to investigate the sighting. Arnold flew to Tacoma from Boise to investigate the sighting in late July, 1947.
The investigation was inconclusive and thought to be a hoax. However, later investigators have shown that the sighting may not have been a hoax. As it was reported that Dahl had been threatened by a man dressed in a black business suit, and wearing a brimmed hat.
In a strange twist, it was also reported that Fred Crisman was actually an agent with ties to the OSS which later became the CIA.
Air Force Officers later arrived via a B25 aircraft to the study the incident. The Air Force officers picked up some of the debris, he men were told take the saucer debris to Wright Patterson Air Force Base for study but the B25 crashed on its way back from McChord Air Force Base to Hamilton Field.
Several other sightings occurred in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho on June 24, 1947. Many of these sightings involved similar objects to those sighted by Kenneth Arnold. Ten of these sightings occurred in Washington State on June 24, 1947.
As the pace of saucer sightings stepped up, both military intelligence and the public became more aware, thanks to an enthusiastic media that was finding a new way to sell papers – flying saucer stories.
Meanwhile during the same summer, a week after these sightings – there were reports that the Army Air Force had recovered a saucer that that crashed just outside of Roswell New Mexico.
If you read the genuine accounts you will learn that the authorities first discussed that the military thought that what crashed in New Mexico might have been an experimental Soviet weapon because it bore a resemblance to some of the German designed aircraft that had made their appearances near the end of the war, especially the crescent shaped Horton flying wing.
Captain Edward Ruppelt, later head of the Air Force’s UFO investigation, Project Blue Book, said that those days in July were filled with a harried sense of emergency on the part of the Wright Field and Pentagon investigators, and that the “security lid was down tight” with regard to public information. Military and FBI agents were hard at work even as the number of reports dropped. Their major fear was still a very reasonable one; that this phenomenon might be related to Soviet missile development and a dangerous threat to national security.
Something that UFO researchers tend to forget when appraising military intelligence activities is that really the only thing that these agencies were concerned with at the time was national security. If we continually ask ourselves, “Is there any potential threat to U.S. security in this scenario?” then we will appreciate the beginnings of the logic process of the times.
With that in mind you may be able to understand part of the reason why Roswell was such a crisis for the intelligence operations of the country.
It is interesting to note that within a few weeks during the summer of the saucers – Maury Island, Kenneth Arnold and the other sightings were first marked as investigations with high priority and a Soviet weapon concern.
That attitude quickly turned around after the Roswell crash, as the Soviet concern had changed to more of an extraterrestrial hypothesis.
Different attitudes and activities were afoot in intelligence circles during these times. In the pre-Roswell period pre-July 1947 the question, “Are objects seen in the sky a problem for U.S. national security?” would have been answered, “Possibly.” The objects were for the most part observed in foreign countries Foo Fighters and ghost rockets reported over Europe and could well have something to do with the USSR.
But very little or no activity took place in the United States, that is until Maury Island, the Northwest sightings and Roswell.
Discussion at very high levels must have taken place over the possibility of German-inspired Soviet technology.
To have the attitude and discussion take a huge turn towards and extraterrestrial explanation angered President Truman. Truman had openly spoke of the flying saucers to the media, but secretly was angered at the speculation and compared it to the notorious Moon Hoax of 1835, when a writer for the New York Sun published a series of articles about the discovery of people on the moon by astronomer Sir John Herschel.
The articles were written as satire; Herschel, of course, made no such observation. The President’s laughing derision of flying disks may have been part of an emerging mixed message that intelligence agencies and the public were to be fed for several months if not years to come.
If it were a hoax or a big joke to the President – his actions did not match his attitude in the press.
All research into the saucers crept for ward under a cloak of secrecy. In pre-Roswell period very late June and very early July 1947, the alert trigger had been pulled.
It was not because of the Kenneth Arnold sighting, or the Maury Island event but something else had indicated to top brass that the ghost rockets of Europe had arrived here.
A saucer was buried in the sands of the New Mexico desert with one more thing that became a public relations nightmare – bodies of the pilots of this craft were rotting in the summer sun.
Much of what we know about the Roswell crash has been uncovered through the detective work of Don Schmitt, Stanton Friedman, and others. A mysterious crash of an odd, high-tech object took place in the first week of July 1947; it was recovered by the military and promptly engulfed in secrecy. If this device were extraterrestrial, its recovery would certainly change the atmosphere in U.S. intelligence circles. We know that the idea of an extraterrestrial vehicle being recovered created deep concern within the Whitehouse.
What was most interesting is that even though the object that crashed in Roswell was determined to be extraterrestrial there was deep concern that perhaps the aliens or the pilots still had ties with the Soviet Union, also there were even more theories that the alien craft could have been tied to old Nazi technology, used by the Russians, or Japanese balloons that carry bombs.
The Topside authorities needed to shut this discovery up in absolute secrecy so that the Soviets would find out absolutely nothing, which meant that almost no one else would be allowed to, either. None of the echelons of intelligence below the very top would be informed.
The cat was let out of the bag though – at 11 a.m., July 8, 1947, Lt. Walter Haut, RAAF public information officer, finished a press release his Superior Colonel Blanchard had ordered him to write, stating that the wreckage of a crashed disk had been recovered.
In the Roswell Daily Record from July 8, 1947, Haut gave copies to the two radio stations and both of the local newspapers. By 2:26 p.m., the story was on the Associated Press wire:
“The Army Air Forces here today announced a flying disk had been found.”
Calls began to pour into the base from all over the world.
Meanwhile, Glenn Dennis, a young mortician working at Ballard Funeral Home, received some curious calls one afternoon from the RAAF morgue. The base’s mortuary officer was trying to get hold of some small, hermetically sealed coffins and also wanted to know how to preserve bodies that had been exposed to the elements for a few days and avoid contaminating the tissue.
Dennis later said that evening he drove to the base hospital, where he saw large pieces of wreckage with strange engravings on one of the pieces sticking out of the back of a military ambulance. He entered the hospital and was visiting with a nurse he knew when suddenly he was threatened by military police and forced to leave.
The next day, Dennis met with the nurse, who told him about bodies discovered with the wreckage and drew pictures of them on a prescription pad. Within a few days she was transferred to England; her whereabouts remain unknown.
MPs were carrying loaded wreckage onto a C-54 from the First Transport Unit.
Blanchard had sent Major Jesse Marcel to Fort Worth Army Air to report to Brigadier General Roger Ramey, commanding officer of the 8th Air Force.
Marcel told Haut years later that he’d taken some of the debris into Ramey’s office to show him what had been found. The material was displayed on Ramey’s desk for the general when he returned.
Upon his return, Ramey wanted to see the exact location of the debris field, so he and Marcel went to the map room down the hall, but when they returned, the wreckage that had been placed on the desk was gone and a weather balloon was spread out on the floor. Maj. Charles A. Cashon took the now-famous photo of Marcel with the weather balloon in Ramey’s office.
It was then reported that Ramey recognized the remains as part of a weather balloon. Brigadier General Thomas DuBose, the chief of staff of the 8th Air Force, said, that the weather balloon story would have to be a cover story, the military would have to admit to a mistake – Ramey was told this is the story they will give and that is it.
Later that afternoon, Haut’s original press release was rescinded and an officer from the base retrieved all of the copies from the radio stations and newspaper offices. The next day, July 9, a second press release was issued stating that the 509th Bomb Group had mistakenly identified a weather balloon as wreckage of a flying saucer.
On July 9, as reports went out that the crashed object was actually a weather balloon, cleanup crews were busily clearing the debris.
As the wreckage was brought to the base, it was crated and stored in a hangar—it was then carried off to Wright Patterson Air force base – the same air force base that the Maury Island UFO debris was supposed to go.
The Las Vegas Review Journal, along with dozens of other newspapers, carried the AP story: “Reports of flying saucers whizzing through the sky fell off sharply today as the Army and the Navy began a concentrated campaign to stop the rumors.”
The story also reported that AAF Headquarters in Washington had “delivered a blistering rebuke to officers at Roswell.”
The military has tried to convince the news media from that day forward that the object found near Roswell was nothing more than a weather balloon.
In the post-Roswell period, late July through September, was the period of silence and increasing skepticism among intelligence organizations. The initial enthusiasm to pursue the flying disks lapsed, organizational channels closed once again, and a new primary statement was given at levels below the ultra-secret insiders: these UFOs were U.S. secret projects period.
The FBI openly gave up the chase and a new security operation called the CIA were now in the business of protecting national security, not jump into scientific curiosity, and the UFOs were not worth investigating further.
But behind the scenes it was noted that national security, intelligence and science were top priority in the intelligence infrastructure.
National security interests now coincided with scientific interests up to a point. Any knowledge gained from the crash material could open the door to reverse engineering components and then hiding the secrets in the business sector.
If we assume that the craft was the product of a significantly advanced civilization, and we assume that it was seriously disrupted in the crash, terrestrial science of the 1940s might not have been able to reconstruct accurate relationships between its parts, let alone fathom a seemingly magical technology. It would be safe to assume that whatever was left behind at Roswell became a black box project.
The examination of any dead bodies would have been straightforward and relatively rapid. Medical procedures of the 1940’s should have been able to determine all macroscopic bio properties and biomechanics in a short time. Physiology and biochemistry might have taken a little longer, but enough could have been found to satisfy national security interests. It is quite possible what they might have found was more mundane than what many people would believe.
Remember at the time they didn’t know what an alien was; in fact, there were accounts that say that the pilots looked a lot like human children only with bigger heads and strange markings on their fingers.
To sum up, it is likely that the Air Force got nowhere on what it really wanted to know like how the materials were structured, how the saucer worked, what the intentions of the operators were. At the end of the post-Roswell period, there intelligence operatives on the low end of the pyramid that were told that that UFOs were U.S. secret projects and wanted to quit investigating them.
From the summer of the saucers, there was secrecy that started to become mandatory. It that seemed that cloak and dagger cover-ups and clandestine activities were being orchestrated by the government.
The Army and the Air Force separated and President Truman oversaw the setup of the present intelligence system, and made it a tool for use by future Presidents. He set up the Central Intelligence Group, but after Roswell it was Allen Dulles who was appointed to create the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947. Truman was the first President in history to get a daily intelligence report or daily briefing, to bring him up to date on the latest intelligence developments.
In 1951, Truman created the Office of Counter Intelligence and in 1952, the National Security Agency.
Then another major UFO event took place.
On July 19, 1952, Washington D.C. was over flown by numbers of these unknown aircraft. This could not have happened at a worse time as paranoia had set in about the cold war with the Russia and the rumors that the Soviet Union had plans to send satellites into space to spy on the United States.
The UFO’s were buzzing over the White House, the Capitol building, and the Pentagon.
Seemingly, the unknown objects were defying the very governmental agencies sworn to protect the United States from foreign powers. Washington National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base picked up a number of UFOs on their radar screens on July 19, 1952, beginning a wave of sightings still unexplained to this day.
When Truman left office, Eisenhower came in at a time where it appeared that whatever it was the Saucer phenomenon was being embraced by the general public. The flying saucer issue had become so pervasive that, the popular culture responded with science fiction movies, pulp fiction magazines, songs about space creatures and little green men and more reports of anomalous activity.
UFO and alien affairs were slowly stripped away from the White House and placed into the hands of the intelligence community and the military industrial complex. It is also proposed that any and all back engineered material taken from either Roswell, or other proposed crashes was placed into the private sector and was already being used by the military and other private aerospace companies.
When Kennedy took office, the world was changing and the honeymoon with the flying saucers appeared to be over. Various people were claiming that they were being visited by aliens and some even said they were being abducted and taken aboard ships in order to be experimented upon.
Believe it or not, an uncovered letter written by John F. Kennedy to the head of the CIA shows that the president demanded to be shown highly confidential documents about UFOs and how they affect national security, 10 days before his assassination.
“As I had discussed with you previously, I have initiated REDACTED and have instructed James Webb to develop a program with the Soviet Union in joint space and lunar exploration. It would be very helpful if you would have the high threat cases reviewed with the purpose of identification of bona fide as opposed to classified CIA and USAF sources. It is important that we make a clear distinction between the knowns and unknowns in the event the Soviets try to mistake our extended cooperation as a cover for intelligence gathering of their defense and space programs.
When this data has been sorted out, I would like you to arrange a program of data sharing with NASA where Unknowns are a factor. This will help NASA mission directors in their defensive responsibilities.
I would like an interim report on the data review no later than February 1, 1964.”
-John F. Kennedy
When most researchers say that aliens pose no threat to the country or to the world, I often go back to this memo from President Kennedy investigating high threat cases of unknowns and the possibility of top secret aircraft we were developing at the time.
This would mean that during the Kennedy administration at least some of these unknown aircraft were hostile or perceived hostile.
President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, 10 days later. One of the men under investigation for the assassination was Fred Crisman – the man involved with the Maury Island incident, the first major event that kicked off the summer of the saucers.