The Canceled Special Flight to Wright Field Gets Uncanceled
This still wasn't quite the end to the events on July 8. Ramey had declared in his press conference that the special flight to Wright Field was no longer needed. Likewise one of his public relations officers was quoted afterwards as saying that the radar target was still in Ramey's office, "and it'll probably stay right there." Even before the press conference, Major Kirton, the intelligence officer, had told the Dallas Morning News, "The identification at Fort Worth is final and it will not be necessary to forward the object to Wright Field, as originally planned." As to what would happen to it, Kirton ventured, "I suppose we will throw it away."
However, Major Kirton almost simultaneously told the FBI that the "disc" was being shipped to
Wright Field. Some members of the press also got wind that the shipment was still on. In a
surviving audiotape recording, ABC News in their 10:00 Headline Edition that night included the following report from correspondent Joe Wilson in Chicago (probably recorded about 2 hours earlier): "A few moments ago I talked to officials at Wright Field, and they declared that they expect the so-called flying saucer to be delivered there but that it hasn't been delivered yet."
The Col. Duffy Story -- Was a Mogul Balloon Really Identified?
Given the undeniable existence of the FBI telegram, the modern Air Force Roswell report
acknowledged that a Wright Field shipment did take place, but placed their own spin on it. They
interviewed the former Mogul Project Officer, Col. Albert Takowski. Having returned to Mogul headquarters in New Jersey, Trakowski said that he got a call a few days later from his predecessor at the Mogul Project, Col. Marcellus Duffy, who Trakowski said was at Wright Field. Duffy, in fact, had helped develop the radar reflectors during the war. The Air Force quoted the following statements from Trakowski's interview:
"..Colonel Duffy called me on the telephone from Wright Field and gave me a story about a fellow that had come in from New Mexico, woke him up in the middle of the night or some such thing with a handful of debris, and wanted him, Colonel Duffy, to identify it. ... He just said 'it sure looks like some of the stuff you've been launching at Alamogordo' and he described it, and I said 'yes, I think it is.' Certainly Colonel Duffy knew enough about radar targets, radiosondes, balloon-borne weather devices. He was intimately familiar with all that apparatus."
At no point did Trakowski ever get around to detailing what exactly Duffy described to him in that "handful of debris" and why he agreed it seemed to come from Project Mogul. As is the case in all parts of this Duffy/Trakowski fable, there is never an explicit description of the debris that Duffy supposedly viewed.
By the time Trakowski's statement got converted to an affidavit by the same AF officers,
Trakowski was now sounding much more definitive about the identification, to the point where
he and Duffy were now "sure" about it.
Lt. James McAndrew, one of the two people who interviewed Trakowski, then lifted a partial
quote of Trakowski's for his synopsis of Project Mogul (Attachment 32 of the AF report) and spun the story a little more. It came out sounding like the Mogul identification was an absolute:
"Colonel Duffy.... informed him that the 'stuff you've been launching at Alamogordo,' had been sent to him for identification. He described the debris to Captain Trakowski, and Trakowski agreed that it was part of his project (MOGUL)."
Several questions immediately present themselves, the foremost being, what exactly about the
material made it so certain that it came from Project Mogul? The early Mogul balloon arrays used standard off-the-shelf neoprene weather balloons and radar targets indistinguishable from standard weather balloon/radar target combinations used by both the Army and civilian weather services.
Certainly the small quantity of debris shown in the photos would not have linked this to Mogul. Nor are there any objects in the photos, such as special flight equipment or instruments, that would link it to Mogul either. (In fact, Ramey in his radio broadcast that evening noted that no instruments were found. Nor did Marcel or Cavitt describe any type of instruments being recovered.) Besides the photos that were taken, all descriptions of the debris in 1947 were of a standard, singular weather balloon and radar target. Weather officer Newton, for one, said that in 1947 and still agrees with that description. In 1947 he also stated that it could have come from any of 80 different weather stations.
Detailed analysis of the Fort Worth photos also proves that the radar target material is probably accounted for by one and only one radar target. There are no multiple radar targets fragments in the photos, as would be expected if this material really did come from the multi-target Mogul balloon. The balloon material is likewise accounted for by maybe one balloon and at most two.
Another obvious question is why it would it be necessary to fly the debris to Wright Field for
yet another identification when the one at Fort Worth was supposedly "final" and Ramey had
clearly said the flight was no longer needed?
The Air Force debunkers in their report even acknowledged that there was nothing special about
the debris. In their eagerness to label the Roswell incident a "non-event" not worthy of further
"documentation" by the Army Air Force in 1947 [read, not worthy of any standard follow-up reports that should have been written to explain the public relations fiasco, but which nobody can find], the AF report summary said the following immediately before the Trakowski story:
"Although the Air Force did not find documented evidence that Gen. Ramey was directed to espouse a weather balloon in his press conference, he may have done so because he was either aware of Project Mogul and was trying to deflect interest from it, or he readily perceived the material to be a weather balloon based on the identification from his weather officer, Irving Newton. In either case, the materials recovered by the AAF in July, 1947, were not readily recognizable as anything special (only the purpose was special) and the recovered debris itself was unclassified. Additionally, the press dropped its interest in the matter as quickly as they had jumped on it. Hence, there would be no particular reason to further document what quickly became a 'non-event.'"
So first, the Air Force states that the materials "were not readily recognizable as anything special (only the purpose was special) and the recovered debris itself was unclassified." But the very next thing they discuss is the continuation of the supposedly cancelled flight to Wright Field for further identification of the very same unspecial, unclassified debris. The Air Force debunkers try to have it both ways!
With this statement they also grossly misrepresent what really happened historically. According to them, Ramey was blissfully unaware of the material being a weather balloon until Newton identified it. In reality, Ramey was putting out a weather balloon story well before weather officer Newton got there. Newton was simply brought in to make the identification official. This can, in fact, be amply documented from contemporary news stories (see press coverage summary), not to mention Ramey's memo stating that the next press release would be about weather balloons. Ramey's memo was also written and sent well before Newton's arrival. As to their statement that they couldn't find "documented evidence that Gen. Ramey was directed to espouse a weather balloon," this is just slippery language used to ignore the many statements of Gen. Dubose, who was then Ramey's Chief of Staff. Dubose stated unequivocally that he personally took the phone call from Washington directing them to cover the whole thing up and that the weather balloon pictured in the photos was just a cover story to divert the attention of the press. Dubose's legal affidavit in particular would be considered "documented evidence" in a court of law, as would probably his recorded and videotaped interviews.
Duffy Letters Do NOT Describe a Mogul Balloon
Trakowski's story by itself is an uncorroborated anecdote. Of course, the best person to
corroborate it would be Col. Duffy himself. The Air Force noted that Duffy had recently died
and his widow had tossed out his papers. But researcher Robert Todd had two letters from
Duffy sent shortly before his death addressing this very issue. The Air Force noted that
Todd had already extensively researched Project Mogul and even recommended Air Force
records for them to search.
Furthermore, Karl Pflock in his 1994 Roswell in Perspective noted in a footnote that Trakowski told him he knew about the Duffy/Todd letters. Pflock's report was also specifically mentioned in the Air Force Roswell report, stating that he, like Todd, thought Project Mogul largely responsible for the Roswell incident. Given these citations and connections, Air Force researchers should have known about the letters. Why didn't the Air Force reproduce the contents of those letters in their report to bolster their claim that the debris had been definitely identified by Duffy as coming from Project Mogul?
The reason became clear when portions of the letters were finally made public in two Roswell
debunking book, one co-authored by Charles Moore, one of the original Mogul people (UFO Crash at Roswell: The Genesis of a Modern Myth, Benson Saler, Charles Ziegler, and Charles B. Moore, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997). The contents were also revealed in a just-published debunking book by Karl Pflock (Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe, Prometheus Books, 2001), a somewhat fleshed-out version of his original 1994 debunking monograph.:
In the first of these letters from November, 1991, Moore and Pflock reported that Duffy wrote:
"While stationed at Wright Air Force Base in 1947, I received a call at home one evening saying that what was currently being described by the press as a 'flying saucer' was being flown to Wright Field and would be brought to my home that evening for identification. I identified 'the flying saucer' as a weather observation balloon. You can imagine how excited my wife and children were. I'm reasonably sure this is the one found by that rancher near Roswell, but can't swear to it. (Saler, Ziegler and Moore, page178, Pflock, page 151)
Taken at face value, this would seem to corroborate the first part of Trakowski's story of Duffy being shown something flown to Wright Field and being described as a flying saucer. However, it certainly does not support that Duffy thought it came from Project Mogul. In fact, all that Duffy says about it was that it came from "a weather observation balloon." This was hardly news, since Gen. Ramey had been saying the same thing before Marcel even arrived in Fort Worth with the debris. And of course, Irving Newton, the weather officer, had similarly identified it as such, and even today says it was an ordinary weather balloon and radar target. Where's the Mogul in all this?
Duffy being "reasonably sure" that it was the one found by the rancher near Roswell is worthless,
since the debris itself wouldn't convey any information about who found it or where. At best
Duffy would simply be repeating what he was told. Such statements are hearsay and not real
evidence of anything.
A week later, Duffy wrote Todd a follow-up letter that made it even less clear what he had seen.
Moore paraphrased the contents as follows:
"Colonel Duffy wrote that he should have identified the material as "weather observation equipment" perhaps a dropsonde, a corner reflector, a rawin-windsonde, a standard radiosonde, or equipment used in rocket-launched research -- he was not sure exactly what kind of weather equipment he had identified." (page178).
Pflock quoted and paraphrased portions of the letter as follows:
In my previous letter I stated that I identified the "flying saucer" as a "weather observation balloon." I should have said I identified it as "weather observation equipment." It could have been a drop-sonde, corner [radar] reflector, [or some other type of weather observation equipment] ... I'm not sure that a balloon was part of what I identified.... I didn't attach any great importance to this particular incident at the time. (p. 151)
Pflock omitted mention of Duffy throwing in a radiosonde or rocket-launched equipment as possibilities, instead using the generic "other type of weather observation equipment." Perhaps he was afraid mention of these would give the game away that Duffy's description bore hardly any relation to what was pictured in the Fort Worth photos, or a Mogul balloon train. Moore likewise omitted Duffy's uncertainty about seeing a balloon of any kind, even though balloon material was again a major part of what was shown in the Fort Worth photos. It was also a major part of Mack Brazel's description before he recanted it..
Despite this completely ambiguous description, Moore curiously concluded that this letter somehow confirmed that this was Mogul equipment. In reality, Duffy's vague descriptions of generic "weather observation equipment" are a far cry from the absolute identification of a Mogul balloon that the Air Force debunker's claimed in their report.
In contrast, Pflock realized that Duffy's letters were hardly sterling testimony for Mogul and tried to spin it. Based on an interview with Trakowski he wrote, "Trakowski said Duffy told him he strongly suspected the material was from something that had been flown in connection with Mogul, but of course, he could not reveal this [why not?]. So he [Trakowski] said he [Duffy] offered the literally if narrowly true opinion that 'no doubt it is from a meteorological device,' further and probably inadvertently reinforcing the cover story for Mogul." [how did it do that?]
On one hand, Pflock is suggesting Duffy didn't want to spill the beans about Mogul to Todd, even though Todd contacted Duffy and was obviously already very familiar with the Mogul Project. How could Duffy give anything of importance away by saying he saw an unclassified radar target and weather balloon, the same stuff shown in the widely distributed Fort Worth photos (assuming that this was the same stuff shown in Fort Worth and then flown to Wright Field)? Why the scattershot mention of different types of weather equipment in the second letter?
Furthermore, according to Trakowski in his Air Force interview, the reason Duffy was totally unconcerned about the incident in 1947 was that nothing of importance about Project Mogul could be deduced from the unclassified balloon debris. "He was not concerned with a breach of security for the project." Duffy in his letter himself stated, "I didn't attach any great importance to this particular incident at the time."
If he wasn't concerned then, why would he be concerned over 40 years later?
Even more remarkably, Pflock seems to be also suggesting that Duffy was equally ambiguous with Trakowski. It is difficult if not impossible to understand why Duffy should withhold anything from Trakowski, his successor as Mogul Project Officer.
Nowhere in any of this damage control is there an explicit description of the debris supposedly viewed by Col. Duffy that clarifies why it must have come from Mogul. Again we are left with the unanswered question, why was this balloon debris clearly different from ordinary weather balloon debris?
So what exactly was Duffy supposedly shown anyway? Given Duffy's second letter (and Trakowski's statements to Pflock), was it even the same stuff pictured in the Fort Worth photos? Was the weather balloon and radar target displayed by Ramey even flown to Wright Field? Surely Duffy, who helped invent the very same radar reflector, would instantly recognize one if he saw it. Yet Duffy states he wasn't sure about the identity of the weather equipment. He would hardly confuse it with a radiosonde or rocket instrumentation. In the end, we are left asking ourselves did Duffy really see anything at all?
Where Was Col. Duffy?
For Duffy's story to have any truth to it, he had to be at Wright Field when the debris arrived from Fort Worth. However, a recently discovered document places even this assumption in serious doubt..
At 10:15 pm on July 8, roughly the same time that Col. Duffy would supposedly be viewing the flown-in debris at Wright Field, a news reporter from WKZO radio in Kalamazoo sent a telegram to the War Department in Washington. In the telegram, he wrote that military intelligence in Washington was suggesting that the saucers were radar targets used for weather observation. They proposed that he contact Col. Duffy for further information, but NOT at Wright Field. Instead, the reporter was told to contact him in Spring Lake, New Jersey! Spring Lake was only about 5 miles from Oakhurst, N.J., where the Mogul Project was headquartered and 10 miles from Fort Monmouth, where the radar targets were developed. (Trakowski said he was at Eatontown, N.J., when called, or basically at Fort Monmouth.)
(As it turned out, the Kalamazoo newspaper instead spoke with a local man who had been a military weather man at Spring Lake during the war, perhaps referred to them by somebody at Spring Lake. See story)
So was Duffy at Wright Field, Ohio, like he claimed, viewing the material? Or was he really in
Spring Lake, N.J. waiting by a phone for reporters to call? Even if one assumes the reporter was
given the wrong location for Col. Duffy, we are still left with the question of why the reporter was told to contact Duffy for more information, within the context of the radar targets explaining the saucers. What could a naive Duffy possibly tell the press other than give another description of a radar target and say he helped develop them?
On the other hand, perhaps Duffy wasn't so naive and was asked to tell a story that blended well with Ramey's cover story. In this scenario, not only was the public being deceived, military intelligence was also surreptitiously planting disinformation inside the military as well to increase the effectiveness of the balloon cover story.
One can't help but be a little suspicious that the whole Duffy story was fabricated. Duffy may
have been just one more cog in the military debunking campaign that was to ensue, where the
radar targets were used to explain away Roswell and the nationwide epidemic of saucer reports.
This may even explain Duffy's curious reluctance or inability to be more explicit about the
identity of the debris he had supposedly examined at Wright Field. He couldn't have identified
anything if he wasn't there.