IDENTIFIED AT ARMY AIR FIELD HERE
New Mexico Rancher's 'Flying Disk'
Proves to Be Weather Balloon-Kite
A New Mexico rancher's discovery which for several hours Tuesday rocked the disk-conscious nation was identified at Fort Worth Army Air Field Tuesday night as a weather balloon-kite, exploding a rumor that a flying disk finally had been captured.
The contraption, of tinfoil, narrow wooden beams and synthetic rubber that once had been an Army Air Forces Rawin machine used to determine direction and velocity of winds at high altitudes, was flown to FWAAF from Roswell, N. M., Army Air Field by B-29 Tuesday morning.
Here, Brig. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, commanding officer of the 8th Air Force and Col. Thomas J. Dubose, his chief of staff, both identified the discovery as a "weather device" used by the AAF. Warrant Officer Irving Newton of Medford, Mis. [sic], a forecaster at the FWAAF weather station here, positively listed the object as a ray wind [sic] target.
Looks Like Star
When rigged up, Newton stated, the device is six-pointed and looks very much like a star. He said it was silvery in appearance as a result of the tinfoil, and rose in the air like a kite, mounted to a 100-gram balloon.
The balloon expands as it rises into the rarified atmosphere, Newton said, and usually will reach an altitude of 60,000 feet before bursting and falling to the ground with the kite.
"We use them because they can go so much higher than the eye can see," Newton explained. A radar set is employed to follow the device, which gives off radar impressions through the tinfoil, he added. Through a process of triangulation the winds aloft are then charted.
Newton said there were some 80 weather stations in the United States using this type of gadget, and it could have come from any of them.
The weather officer said he had sent up kite-balloons identical to this one during the invasion of Okinawa to determine ballistics information for heavy guns.
Colonel Dubose declared that tinfoil objects of the type used on the kite were employed in Europe during bombing missions to throw off German radar. The tinfoil causes huge "blips" on a radar screen, he added.
The same device also was used on life rafts in the Pacific to facilitate air-sea rescue work.
The remains of the weather device were flown here at the command of General Ramey, after their discovery by W. W. Brazell on his ranch, about 85 miles northwest of Roswell, and the subsequent reporting of the incident to authorities at Roswell Army Air Field.
Brazell, whose ranch is 30 miles from the nearest telephone and has no radio, knew nothing about flying discs when he found the remains of the weather device scattered over a square mile of his property three weeks ago.
He bundled together the large pile of tinfoil and broken wooden beams about one-fourth of an inch thick and half-inch wide and the torn mass of synthetic rubber that had been the balloon and rolled it under some brush, according to Maj. Jesse A. Marcel of Houma, La., 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Officer at Roswell, who brought the device to FWAAF.
On a trip to town Saturday night to Corona, N.M., Brazell heard the first reference to the "silver flying disks," Major Marcel related at General Ramey's headquarters here.
"Brazell then hurried home, and bright and early Sunday, dug up the remnants of the kite balloon," Marcel continued, "and on Monday headed for Roswell to report his find to the sheriff."
This resulted in a call to Roswell Army Air Field by the sheriff and to Marcel's being assigned to the case. Marcel and Brazell then journeyed back to the ranch, where the major took the object into custody of the Army.
"The ranch is out in the middle of nowhere," Marcel declared, "and we spent a couple of hours Monday afternoon looking for any more parts of the weather device. We found a few more patches of tinfoil and rubber."
Marcel brought back the discovery to Roswell Army Air field early Tuesday morning, and at 8 a.m. reported to his commanding officer, Col. William H. Blanchard, 509th Bomb Group chief. Blanchard, in turn, reported to General Ramey, who ordered the find flown to Fort Worth immediately.
About that time, word broke from Roswell that flying disk finally had been found. In a matter of minutes, wire services across the nation were screaming for news of the discovery and the airwaves were full of the story.
As soon as the "disk" was brought into General Ramey's office, he and Colonel Dubose tabbed it as a weather device. The weather officer on duty at the time, Warrant Officer Newton, merely made identification positive.
Previously, General Ramey in a phone conversation with the Air Material Command at Wright Field, Ohio, had been ordered to fly the "disk" there immediately for observation. When it was positively identified as a Rawin machine, the flight to Wright Field was canceled.
The first morning edition of the Star-Telegram used an early AP version of the Roswell story. This was replaced by this story in a later edition. It is very similar to standard AP reporting, but not identical, and has some unique items.
** This may be the only story to use the correct spelling of "Rawin" for the radar target, but see immediately below where they also use the incorrect "ray wind" used by everybody else.
Like AP, the S-T talks about a morning flight, which is contradicted later in the story. Marcel said the flight was ordered in the morning but didn't leave until the afternoon. See also testimony of Lt. Robert Shirkey, who was in Roswell flight operations, about an afternoon flight, he placed at around 2:00.
** Unique in having both Ramey and Dubose IDing it as a weather device. See also end of story.
Newton's home state is wrong (should be "Wis.") and the incorrect term of "ray wind" gets used, after just using the correct one.
This is very, very similar to AP's reporting of Newton's statements, but the wording is slightly different. It's more likely this story is a rewritten and expanded version of AP stories, rather than AP getting the story directly from the S-T, as some contend. Although the S-T had a reporter in Ramey's office earlier taking pictures and talking to Ramey, there is no indication they had anyone there when Newton was called in.
** Mention of Col. Dubose and his statements is unique to this story. A few years later, Brig. Gen. Dubose headed USAF air/sea rescue, so it is very likely he knew about such things and made these statements.
Again, this account of Brazel's discovery and reporting of it is very closely related to that given by the AP, but is not identical. The weather device being scattered over a square mile appears here too, which makes no sense given the tiny amount of debris shown in the S-T photos. The new story of Brazel finding it three weeks ago appears here as well.
** Wording is again very similar to AP, except for the dimensions of the wooden beams being spelled out here, but nowhere else. As with the AP, this section of the story was attributed to Maj. Marcel.
This continues to be almost identical to the AP account, except for some minor differences in wording. 30 years later, Marcel told the same story of Brazel hearing about the disks in a trip to Corona Saturday night. Marcel also repeated the debris being scattered over a square mile in one interview.
This is very different from what Marcel said later. Although Marcel is reciting a weather balloon story here, he later said Brazel did not find a weather balloon, nor did he "roll it under some brush." Instead, large quantities of anomalous debris were scattered over a large area. Marcel said he and the CIC officer with him (Cavitt) spent the night at Brazel's place, then spent all day Monday examining the large crash site.
Marcel doesn't mention Cavitt being with him here as he did 30 years later. But Brazel interviewed that evening mentioned a "man in plain clothes" accompanying Marcel. Based on talks with Sheriff Wilcox, UP also reported intelligence officers going back to the ranch and the Roswell Daily Record called it a "detail."
** Unique statements from Marcel. Three decades later, Marcel also spoke of the ranch being "in the middle of nowhere." So this again sounds very much like him relating the story. However, spending only Monday afternoon on the debris field and finding only "patches of tinfoil and rubber" is drastically different from his later story. Dubose and Marcel both said everybody was speaking under Ramey's orders at the time.
** These are more unique Marcel items. Returning "early Tuesday morning" correlates with Marcel's son recalling being awakened in the middle of the night by his father who wanted to show his family pieces of the flying saucer he had recovered. Marcel definitely did not think he was dealing with balloon debris, even though he recites a balloon story above under Ramey's orders. Exactly when Marcel reported to Blanchard isn't known, but it was probably earlier than 8 a.m., the standard time of the base morning meeting.
"About that time" when word broke was really mid-afternoon in Roswell. This is the same contradictory statement found in AP stories, which have Marcel flying to Fort Worth both in the morning and when the press release came out. If Marcel really had reported to Blanchard at 8 a.m., then a 10:00 a.m. B-29 morning flight would have been a real rush job.
** Another unique S-T item. Both Ramey and Dubose immediately ID the weather device that supposedly fooled everybody at Roswell. Like Marcel, Gen. Dubose later testified the weather balloon was nothing but a cover story to get the press off their backs. Why Ramey would wait 5 hours to finally take a look at the important find he supposedly rushed to Fort Worth in a morning flight is another unexplained inconsistency in the official Fort Worth story. ** Yet another unique item. Supposedly the AMC ordered the flight after consulting with Ramey. Elsewhere it was stated Ramey ordered the flight on his own or the Pentagon ordered it. Like AP, there is a statement that the flight was canceled once the identification was absolute. Dubose and Newton also remember Ramey making this statement to reporters, but the special flight continued according to the FBI telegram , ABC News radio, and testimony of Marcel and Sgt. Robert Porter, who was on Marcel's flight.