5.9 Robert Smith
[Robert Smith was a member of the First Air Transport Unit, which operated Douglas C-54 Skymaster four-engined cargo planes out of the Roswell AAF. He was interviewed in 1991.] A lot of people began coming in all of a sudden because of the official investigation. Somebody said it was a plane crash, but we heard from a man in Roswell that it was not a plane crash, it was something else, a strange object. There was another indication that something serious was going on. One night, when we were coming back to Roswell, a convoy of trucks covered with canvas passed us. When they got to the [airfield] gate, they headed over to this hangar on the east end, which was rather unusual. The truck convoy had red lights and sirens.
My involvement in the incident was to help load crates of debris into the aircraft. We all became aware of the event when we went to the hangar on the east side of the ramp. There were a lot of people in plain clothes all over the place. They were inspectors, but they were strangers on the base. When challenged, they replied they were here on Project So-and-So, and flashed a card, which was different from a military ID card.
We were taken to the hangar to load crates. There was a lot of farm dirt on the hangar floor. We loaded [the crates] on flatbeds and dollies. Each crate had to be checked as to width and height. We had to know which crates went on which plane. We loaded crates on three [or] four C-54s. We weren't supposed to know their destination, but we were told they were headed north.
All I saw was a little piece of material. You could crumple it up, let it come out. You couldn't crease it. One of our people put it in his pocket. The piece of debris I saw was two to three inches square. It was jagged. When you crumpled it up, it then laid back out. And when it did, it kind of crackled, making a sound like cellophane. It crackled when it was let out. There were no creases. There were armed guards around during loading of our planes, which was unusual at Roswell. There was no way to get to the ramp except through armed guards. There were MPs on the outskirts, and our personnel were between them and the planes.
The largest [crate] was roughly twenty feet long, four to five feet high, and four to five feet wide. It took up an entire plane. It wasn't that heavy, but it was a large volume. The rest of the crates were two or three feet long and two feet square or smaller. The sergeant who had the piece of material said [it was like] the material in the crates. The entire loading took at least six, perhaps eight hours. Lunch was brought to us, which was unusual. The crates were brought to us on flatbed dollies, which was also unusual.
Officially, we were told it was a crashed plane, but crashed planes usually were taken to the salvage yard, not flown out. I don't think it was an experimental plane, because not too many people in that area were experimenting with planes. I'm convinced that what we loaded was a UFO that got into mechanical problems. Even with the most intelligent people, things go wrong.
[The C-54 into which I helped load the single twenty-foot crate] would have been Pappy Henderson's. I remember seeing T/Sgt Harbell Elzey, T/Sgt. Edward Bretherton, and S/Sgt. William Fortner.
End of part 13
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