General Ramey and His Intelligence Chief Debunking Flying Saucers Before Roswell
The following are newspaper articles, almost all from Texas, in which Gen. Ramey and his intelligence chief Col. Alfred Kalberer were debunking the new phenomenon of flying saucers a week before the Roswell story broke. Kalberer continued debunking two days after Ramey's "weather balloon" explanation. Ironically a few days later, Ramey contradicted Kalberer's insinuation that these were secret military experiments.
To better appreciate just how early this debunking was, the famous Kenneth Arnold sighting, that first introduced the flying disk/saucer phenomenon to the American public, was on June 24, but not widely reported until June 26. Ramey and Kalberer first starting debunking only four days later on June 30. It is very apparent from the comments in these various articles that both Ramey and Kalberer were very familiar with Arnold's report of 9 objects and his claims of supersonic flight. Kalberer and a Fort Worth astronomer were to together claim on July 1 that Arnold must have miscalculated the speed. Kalberer also indirectly referenced other saucer sightings of multiple objects maneuvering in strange ways by "laughing" at them as "such friendly little discs" and scoffing at their "kittenish antics."
One has to wonder why busy, high-ranking military officers with presumably more important things to do would be giving press interviews and engaging in such flagrant debunking unless there was some genuine concern over the phenomenon and how the public was reacting to it.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 1, 1947, p. 1
'BUCK ROGERS STUFF,' ARMY MEN SAY
Flying Discs Reported From More Texas Areas
Roswell Morning Dispatch, July 1, 1947, p. 1
Everyone Sees Flying Disks,
Buck Rogers Stuff The Army Says
Austin American, July 1, 1947, p. 1
Army Scoffs 'Buck Rogers'
Lubbock Couple Reports Sighting Another Of
Those Mysterious, Super-Fast Flying Disks
By The Associated Press
A Lubbock couple said they saw a silver disk-shaped object flying through the air near Smyer but in Fort Worth Army officials said all this talk about flying disks was "Buck Rogers stuff."
The Lubbock couple would not give their names for fear of ridicule, but they reported positively they saw a disk "about the size of the moon." They said they saw it Sunday [June 30], and it was moving in a southwest direction.
Three El Paso residents Saturday told of seeing flying disks several times in the last few days. They were Mrs. W. B. Cummings, J. E. Shelton, Jr., and Dr. G. Oliver Dickson. [See UFO reports section] Shelton said it was "so bright it nearly blinding me." Dr. Dickson (photo) said the one he saw was traveling south.
Several such reports have been received from widely scattered parts of the West.
[The following section also in a story in the El Paso Times on July 1]
In Fort Worth, Col. Alfred F. Kalberer, intelligence officer of the 8th Air Force, said yesterday that "It might be true, but I doubt it."
Brig. Gen. Roger Ramey, commanding general of the 8th, said he thought persons making the reports "have been seeing heat waves."
"Nine planes aren't likely to be doing formation flying at 1,200 miles an hour," Ramey added. He referred to an earlier report that nine disks flying in formation had been seen moving at supersonic speed.
Kalberer has 19,000 flying hours to his credit. He admitted that a saucer-like disk would be the ideal shape for sonic craft.
"It doesn't stand to reason, though, that any unannounced enemy of the United States, anywhere in the world, would be sending such experimental craft over this country on trial flights," he said. "That would be tipping us off too easily."
He added that he "liked the Buck Rogers stuff, and would like to believe that the United States had a craft of its own which would go that fast."
He said the estimated 1,200 miles an hour was probably wrong, and that the planes might have been jet propelled craft doing about 450.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 2, p. 6
'DISCS' BEFORE THEIR EYES!
Platter Planes Poohed by Flier and Astronomer
By Robert Near
Added reports of those strange flying discs reported seen in the sky by residents of West Texas and elsewhere caused Col. Alfred F. Kalberer, 8th Air Force intelligence officer, and Oscar Monnig, Fort Worth amateur astronomer to give renewed assurance Tuesday [July 1] that "we're not being invaded by little platter-like planes from Mars."
Monnig described the spontaneous series of reports as "an interesting study in human psychology."
"Undoubtedly some of these people have seen something and a few of them actually have seen daylight meteors," he explained. Monnig said he was visiting an observatory near Los Angeles a week ago when the first reports were received and the astronomer in charge there laughed, "Watch the reports pour in now, from all across the country, from people who will imagine they have seen these things too."
Kalberer cited the Orson Welles radio program a few years ago which dramatized a mythical Martian invasion and caused a sensational commotion, "and of course," he added, "there was the case of the men in Tokyo who thought they had seen a sea serpent."
He said he wished heartily that "someone would put salt on the tail of one of these discs and catch it, like our grandmother used to tell us to do if we wished to catch a bird."
"They're such friendly little discs," he laughed. "They seem to flip around and do all sorts of kittenish antics, at varying altitudes in daytime and by the light of the moonlight and in formation at that, at supersonic speeds of 1,200 miles an hour or more."
Both he and Monnig said that the "triangulation" of the pilot flying near Pendleton, Oregon, last week when he reported the discs flying in formation between Mount Rainier and Mt. Adams could easily have been mathematically erroneous.
Officially, Kalberer was emphatic the AAF knows nothing about any such flying gadgets and until someone produces the "corpus delecti," he personally doesn't expect to believe any such stories.
El Paso Times, July 2, 1947, p. 1
'Flying Disc' Reports Make Army Laugh
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
The epidemic of people-seeing-flying-discs continued to spread in Texas Tuesday, and caused an Army intelligence chief and an astronomer to announce that "we're not being invaded by planes form Mars."
Col. Alfred F. Kalberer, Eighth Air Force intelligence officer, and Oscar Monnig, Fort Worth astronomer, reassured Texans that the series of reports were nothing more than "an interesting study in human psychology."
In short, people just thought they were seeing things.
But Mrs. Victor L. Salter of San Angelo and her 13-year-old son added their stories to about a dozen others in Texas. They saw something Sunday [June 30].
She said she thought at first that it was a weather instrument release from Goodfellow Field nearby. She was sunbathing on the back lawn, she said, when she saw the object, revolving very slowly and descending. She said it looked like the size of a washtub. Suddenly the disc shot upward at an unbelievable speed, she said.
Numerous others have reported seeing discs, from El Paso to Lubbock to San Angelo. Also, others have been reported on the West coast. Most seem to be in the western part of the United States.
Monnig admitted that "some of these people have seen something, and a few may actually have seen daylight meteors."
He said he was visiting an observatory near Los Angeles last week when the first flying disc was reported. He said the astronomer there laughed and predicted an avalanche of such reports.
Colonel Kalberer recalled the Orson Welles man from Mars radio skit, and its results. He also told of sea serpents being seen.
He said he wished someone "would put salt on the tail of one of these discs and catch it."
Officially, he was emphatic in saying the AAF knows nothing of any such flying discs.
Other official sources also denied any knowledge.
El Paso Times, July 11, 1947, p. 1
Colonel Says AAF Testing 'Freak Things'
Austin American, July 11, p. 2
Flier Theorizes On Mystery Missiles
Amarillo Daily News, July 11
AAF Experiments Don't List Discs
Fort Worth. (AP) --Mass hysteria, fleeting glimpses of distant P-51s, or just plain specks before the eyes, are factors to be considered in the firm belief of an increasing portion of the population that "flying discs" have been sighted, Col. Alfred F. Kalberer, Eighth Air Force intelligence officer at FWAAF, said Thursday.
Col. Kalberer, whose 20-year flying-career has included commercial flying in Dutch East Indies and Europe and has closely associated him with atomic bomb activities, was guest speaker at the Arlington Heights Lions Club luncheon meeting.
"The airlines pilot who saw disc might have seen a guided missile directed by a plane some distance away," he asserted. "We are playing around with all sorts of freak things--almost as bad as were the Germans near the end of the war," he added.
He explained that the Army Air Forces are extending every effort to determine if there is any basis for the so-called "flying discs," but emphasized that so far nothing definite had been discovered.
El Paso Times, July 15, 1947, p. 1
Ramey Denies Army Testing 'Saucers'
Harlingen Texas. (UP) -- Brig. Gen. Roger Ramey, commanding general of the Eighth Air Force, Monday flatly denied that flying saucers were a part of Army experiments.
"We have no discs as weapons," he said. "There's nothing to speculation that the Air Force is testing new secret weapons."