WASHINGTON, July 8.--The mystery of the "flying saucers" took a new twist tonight with the disclosure the Army Air Forces has recovered "a strange object" near Roswell, N.M., and is sending it to Wright Field, Ohio, for examination.
Colonel William Blanchard, commanding officer of the Roswell Army Airbase, specifically described the object as a "flying disk."
Roswell Air Base intelligence office reported that it gained possession of the "disk" through the co-operation of a Roswell rancher and George Wilson [sic], sheriff at Roswell.
It landed on a ranch at Corona, N.M., sometime last week. W. W. Brizell [sic] of the Poster [sic] ranch was the man who discovered it. Not having telephone facilities, Mr. Brizell stored the disk until he was able to contact the Roswell sheriff's office.
Residents near the ranch on which the disk was found reported seeing a strange blue light several days ago about 3 a.m.
However, in Fort Worth, Brig. Gen. Roger B. Ramey, commanding general of the 8th Air Force, said he believed the object was the "remnant of a weather balloon and a radar reflector."
General Ramey said part of a weather balloon was found nearby when the object was picked up on a New Mexico ranch about three weeks ago.
"The object is in my office right now and as far as I can see there is nothing to get excited about."
(In Washington, AAF sources ruled out the possibility it might have been an Army weather-kite. Helium balloons have been used for weather recording for the past seven or eight years.)
General Ramey informed Army Air Force national headquarters the object was "of very flimsy construction -- almost like a box-kite."
The Army Air Forces emphasized no one had seen the object in the air. The general said it had been badly smashed up and apparently was made with a cover of some kind of material like tin foil.
The sheriff's office quoted Mr. Brizell as saying the object "seemed more or less like tinfoil." The rancher described the disk as about as large as a safe in the sheriff's office. The safe is about 3-1/2 by 4 feet.
WASHINGTON, July 8.--The Army Air Forces said late today that Brig. Gen. Roger B. Ramey, commander of the Eighth Air Force, is forwarding to Wright Field, O., "an object" which might be a so-called flying disk.
This is an important story since it documents how UP was reporting the story up to the last minute before western newspapers had to go to press the evening of July 8. Gen. Ramey is already spinning the story and identifying the crash object as a weather balloon and radar target.
Note Washington dateline.
The device is specifically called "a strange object." Sending it on to Wright Field is mentioned, which the AP didn't announce until 5:53 CDT (Fort Worth time) or 3:53 PDT on the west coast. This is the last item to make it into the evening newspapers.
UP said Col. Blanchard was responsible for the Roswell base press release. AP, however, was later to blame his public information officer.
"Sometime last week" was the initial statement, but below, UP has Gen. Ramey quickly changing this to three weeks ago.
UP's odd mention of the "strange blue light," again part of the original UP press release bulletin.
** Here's where Ramey changes the original story. This part is missing from Joyce's collection, which only extends to 5:45 Fort Worth time (CDT). Notice how he calls the device a weather balloon and radar target.
"Sometime last week" becomes "three weeks ago." Ramey says "part of a weather balloon found", not multiple weather balloons.
Ramey downplays the significance of the find. Debris probably not even there yet, but still in transport.
The Army weather people in Washington are highly skeptical of the radar target explanation. Somebody didn't bother to brief them. AP, however, was soon to claim that "Roswell officers" who had supposedly seen the object thought it a radar target after consultation with the same weather experts. (See Oklahoma City Oklahoman story)
AP stories have almost identical quotes of what Ramey was saying to the Pentagon AAF press room, which was a generic description of a "box-kite" and "tinfoil." But to reporters who spoke directly to Ramey, he was calling it a weather balloon and radar target.
This is directly from one of the early UP bulletins in Joyce's collection, about 3:00 Roswell time. The sheriff later told AP he was working with the military when pressed for further details of the object's description.(see regional AP story)
This is the last bulletin the S.F. Times could sneak in before they had to go to press. Notice the Washington dateline. It corresponds to a 6:53 (EDT) AP bulletin from Washington with the identical announcement. On the West Coast it would have been 3:53 and 5:53 in Fort Worth.