The Roswell Incident: Fact, Fiction or Military Cover Up?
Some time in July of 1947, a mysterious flying object zigzagged across the skies of New Mexico. Within twenty-four hours the object disappeared from radar just as mysteriously as it had appeared. It was last seen in a small town in the middle of the Arizona desert, it’s name, Roswell.
The Roswell incident is one of the most publicized and well-known accounts of a possible UFO crash in the world. Perhaps the greatest evidence that a UFO did indeed crash near Roswell, is the wide scale military cover up that took place after the crash. This along with numerous eyewitness accounts of the crash site, prove that what ever happened in the summer of 1947, was certainly not a normal occurrence.
The story begins on Tuesday July 1, 1947, when one Steven Mackenzie, who was stationed in Roswell at the time, was ordered to track an unknown flying object. By Wednesday the object was over Roswell. On Thursday afternoon officials from Roswell were flown in to observe the activity. Then on Friday the object completely disappeared from radar and was thought to have crashed. On Saturday July 5th a rancher, by the name of William “Mac” Brazel, discovered the wreckage on his ranch a few miles outside Roswell. Brazel reported the debris to the local sheriff, Gorge A. Wilcox, who then in
turn reported it to military officials. Major Jesse A. Marcel was shown some of the debris by Brazel. Marcel returned to the base to consult with his superiors and is quoted
as having said, “something unusual had occurred” (Dudley 31). The debris was soon removed from Brazel’s ranch and a land and air search was conducted by the military.
Early Thursday morning Marcel was authorized to give this press release:
The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the co-operation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff’s office of Chaves county
…It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters. (qtd. in Berlitz 24)
These two small paragraphs quickly made their way around the world via newspapers, magazines and radio. At the same time officials from Washington were learning of the events of July 4th and 5th, they immediately sent Deputy Chief of the Army Air Force, Lt. General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, to take control of the news coming out of Roswell. It was with Vandenberg’s arrival that the military cover up began. Within a few hours the associated press was told that Marcel had been mistaken and that infact it was a weather balloon that had crashed not a UFO. Journalists were permitted to take photographs of the debris. Years later researchers Kevin D. Randle and Donald R. Schmitt discovered that “The original debris was replaced by balloon wreckage.minutes before newsmen were ushered in.”(Dudley 32)
Some of the most intrigueing information about the Roswell incident comes from eyewitnesses. The military cover up did not come out until years later
because “Some of the eyewitnesses say they were told at the time by military personell that they, and members of their families, would be killed if they ever talked about what
they had seen.”(Wright 107)
Bill Brazel’s son remembers his father being held for eight days by the military and was only released after promising to keep quite. When his son enquired about the incident he was told that he was safer not knowing. Bill Brazel is quoted as having said “I’m sure what I saw was not any kind of weather observation balloon.” (Dudley 36) Brazel was also persuaded by the military to give a statement to the press changing his earlier account on the minerals he had found. Frank Joyce, a radio announcer for a Roswell station, confirms that Brazel’s story was “Significantly”(Dudley 36) different after he was in military custody. Joyce asked Brazel about this, Brazel admitted to changing his story, He said that he was told to do so “or else” (Dudley 36).
In 1978 Major Jesse Marcel broke his silence on the incident and stated he had “been muzzled by the military “(Wright 106) and forced to say he was mistaken in thinking it was a UFO. Marcel was interviewed in 1980, and shown photographs that were taken by newsmen in 1947. Marcel said, ” that’s not the stuff I found on the ranch.” Marcel swore to his dieing day that what he had seen on Bill Brazels ranch was “not of this earth.”(Wright 107)
Eyewitnesses not only clamed to have seen what they thought was an alien ship, but alien bodies as well. Among these is Lt. Col. Albert L. Duran, who admitted seeing
small bodies and Sgt. Melvin E. Brown, who told his family that he had helped transport the bodies to a hanger in Roswell. The bodies were most often described as “smaller than human”(Dudley 35) with “large heads and eyes”(Dudley 36)
Finally, in 1997, the US military admitted to lying about the object being a weather balloon. Instead they claim that the wreckage was part of a “top-secret experiment”(Mitton 11) involving some sort of balloon. Steve MacKenzie’s response, “if the object he tracked had been a weather balloon, secret or not, his superiors would have ordered him to ignore it.”(Dudley 35)
Whether or not the Roswell incident truly involved a UFO remains unclear. How ever, the military cover-up only served to fuel the fire of our imaginations. Interest continues to grow, as questions remain unanswered. Even Bill Clinton has been quoted as saying “If the United States Air Force did recover alien bodies, they didn’t tell me about it either, and I want to know”(qtd. in Wright 105).