AAF Finds 'Saucer,
But Wishes It Hadn't
Fate Pricks New Mexico Discovery
The mystery of the flying saucer was almost solved late yesterday for about three hours.
It was exciting while it lasted, but all that came out of it was some red faces in the Army Air Forces. The mystery continues.
It was about 5:30 PM (EDT) when Lieut. Warren Haught [sic] of the AAF's public relations office at Roswell field, New Mexico, issued his first pardonably pompous statement that "the many rumors of the flying disc became a reality when the Intelligence Office of the 509th (atomic) Bomb Group at Roswell Field was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc."
His announcement was on the nation's wires and radio in no time, and in another few minutes generals in Washington were on the telephone with questions and cautious comment.
Swiftly the story unfolded. Lt. Haught lost control of it almost immediately as the discovery passed through channels from Lt. Haught's Maj. Jesse A. Marcell [sic], to Maj. Marcell's Col. W. H. Blanchard, to Col. Blanchard's Brig. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, who sent the disc to Wright Field, Ohio, for a going-over by experts.
The news caught AAF headquarters flat-footed, but Lt. Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, deputy air chief, got on the job and the telephone and produced details.
Far from 'Phony'
The disc, it developed, was discovered about three weeks ago by a rancher named W. W. Brazell [sic], whose place sounds like a paradise. It is 30 miles form the nearest telephone and farther than that from a radio.
Brazell is one of the few men in the country who never heard of a flying saucer when this thing came down and scattered over about a square mile of his land. He kicked it under a clump of mesquite and forgot about it.
Came Saturday night last week and Brazell went in to see the sights at Corona, N.M., and there, of course, he heard about what people have been seeing for days.
Brazell cut short his visit to town, hurried home, dug up the remains of his discovery and high-tailed for the sheriff's office in Roswell. That was on Monday.
ARMY TAKES OVER
The sheriff turned him over to the Army at Roswell Field. the Army sent him back to his ranch under escort and carted his find back to the field.
Col. Blanchard took one look at it and sent it to the general at Fort Worth. It was "of flimsy construction," the Colonel [sic] said, "something like a box-kite covered with tin foil."
Gen. Ramey who saw it later, said it was so badly battered he couldn't tell whether it had been shaped like a saucer. But it didn't seem to have had a motor and it didn't look big enough to carry a man.
By that time the story was rolling up, but the faster it rolled the more skeptical some people began to get. Down through channels, the story started back to whence it came.
Gen. Ramey cancelled a scheduled radio broadcast on the Fort Worth station. Then he announced that he would go on the air after all. He did.
His brief talk exploded the solution of the mystery and left the flying saucers right where they had been all the time--way up in the middle of the air.
SPOILS ALL THE FUN
A warrant officer named Irving Newton, whom nobody had thought to consult, since he is only a weather forecaster at the Fort Worth army station, took one look at the disc and said it was a weather balloon.
Weather stations are sending them up all the time, he explained, and this one might have come from any one of 80 stations all over the country.
When they're rigged up, he said, they look like a six-pointed silver star, and they sail along like kites with a radar keeping tabs on them. Used to use them himself, he said, back on Okinawa.
Army weather experts in Washington discounted any idea that such weather targets might be the basis for the scores of reports of "flying discs."
Brig. Gen. Donald N. Yates, chief of the AAF weather service, said only a few of them are used daily, at points where some specific project requires highly accurate wind information from extreme altitudes.
Anyhow, adding everything up and dividing by two, it seems that a "flying saucer" just isn't the Army Air Forces" dish.
The Boston Herald article is obviously based on the main AP Roswell story. However, it has been completely rewritten for laughs. Much of it is little more than tabloid journalism, with many mistakes caused by the smug writer's carelessness with facts or making up details for dramatic effect.
** This is the only important statement in the entire story. The author gives the time of the press release as Daylight Savings Time, which, if correct, means that times in the AP chronology are pegged to Eastern Standard Time. Roswell PIO Walter Haut's name is misspelled in the usual AP fashion and Haut is ridiculed as the "pompous" source of the press release. Editorializing like this is completely out of place in a news article.
This chain of events is largely of the writer's imagination. Haut wasn't Marcel's PIO but the base's PIO and answered directly to Col. Blanchard. Marcel's misspelled name is typical of later AP stories.
Another newspaper mention of Gen. Vandenberg's involvement.
Standard AP misspelling of Brazel's name. Calling it a "paradise" because it lacks a phone or radio is actually funny, but out of place in a news story.
The original AP story said Brazel stored it under some brush. Writer transforms this into kicking it under a clump of mesquite. Why and how does so little debris get gathered up over a square mile? Like many reporters, this guy doesn't even think about the absurdity of the official story.
Writer also doesn't care about the incongruity here as he continues to inflate the story. If Brazel "cut short" his visit to Corona Saturday night and rushed home, why wait until Monday to "high-tail" it to the sheriff?
Gross inaccuracy. Actually it was General Ramey, not Colonel Blanchard who was quoted as saying these things. This is another good example of this reporter's lack of concern for factual details. He couldn't even paraphrase the AP story properly.
If Ramey hadn't thought to consult a weather officer, why would he have been brought in at all? In reality, many stories have Ramey saying he thought it was a weather device and would later bring in a weather officer for confirmation. Again this reporter would rather be cute than accurate.
The rest of this is pretty standard AP fare.
Yuk, yuk. Sometimes we forget the press could be just as bad back then as it is now.