THE ROSWELL REPORT: SIGHTINGS A "HOAX"
by Tech. Sgt. David P. Masko
Air Force News Service Features Dec 5, 1995
Roswell, UFOs and an alleged Air Force cover-up have fueled a controversy that seemingly will not die.
In fact, even President Clinton is talking Roswell these days. During a recent visit to Northern Ireland, Clinton's somber plea for peace turned to UFOs when answering a young boy's question. "No, as far as I know, an alien spacecraft did not crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947," the president said.
Clinton is not the only one being asked such questions. For nearly 50 years, the Air Force has taken the brunt of accusations about UFOs. The outgrowth of this deluge of UFO-related questions was the famed "Project Bluebook" -- the official Air Force investigation of flying saucer occurrences.
Now, in response to various views that the government has withheld information about the Roswell sightings, the Air Force has issued a new study titled "The Roswell Report: Fact vs. Fiction in the New Mexico Desert."
"This report represents a joint effort by Col. Richard L. Weaver and 1st Lt. James McAndrew to address the request made by Rep. Steven H. Schiff (R-N.M.) for information regarding an alleged crash of an unidentified flying object that occurred in 1947," said Richard Hallion, Air Force historian, in the report's forward.
"Interest abounds surrounding the UFO wave of 1947 which began in the spring and did not dissipate until fall," Hallion said. "Interest in UFOs climaxed during the summer, when multiple sightings of such objects occurred."
McAndrew, now a captain working at the Pentagon, said he spent six months researching hundreds of documents relating to Roswell. He told Air Force News Service that after a year-and-a-half of work in getting the report to print, he's "100 percent sure that the Roswell sightings are a hoax."
Asked if there's any real evidence of an Air Force cover-up, he said, no. Also, he said there's nothing conclusive in all the recent books, movies and television programs about UFOs landing at Roswell.
What's included in the 1,000-page Roswell report are opinions on both sides of the UFO controversy. However, what Weaver and McAndrew try to unearth are the "facts" only. Rather than coming off as non-believers or at least skeptical of the existence of alien beings, the researchers instead focus on what the Air Force was doing at Roswell when the alleged UFO crash occurred.
Moreover, the researchers said if any of the information they discovered was under security classification, it was declassified. And if active or former Air Force officials had been sworn to a secrecy oath, they were to be freed from it. In short, the writers said the objective was to tell the Congress, and the American people, "everything the Air Force knew about the Roswell claims."
Research went so far as to delve into the personal documents of Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, Air Force chief of staff in 1947-1948 when the Roswell incident occurred. The report states that the Spaatz files "do not in any way suggest that U.S. Army Air Forces recovered a flying saucer or its alien occupants."
UFO conspiracy theorists alleged that both Spaatz and Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg directed the recovery of a flying saucer at Roswell Army Air Field on July 8, 1947. A review of Vandenberg's official daily activities calendar revealed "his knowledge of a reported flying saucer recovery on July 7 in Texas, an incident that he later determined to be a hoax."
Records to not support the claim that Vandenberg -- then deputy chief of staff -- had any similar involvement on July 8.
UFO theorists also allege that Gen. Nathan F. Twining altered his plans unexpectedly in July 1947 to go to New Mexico to oversee the recovery of a flying saucer. The report found that Twining -- then commander of Air Materiel Command -- did indeed go to New Mexico in 1947. But it was with several other general officers to attend the nuclear bomb commanders course.
"He (Twining) received orders to attend this course more than a month before the alleged incident occurred," the report states.
While a review of top brass involvement in a UFO cover-up proved unfounded, some questions remain about Brig. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, who was commander of 8th Air Force in 1947. Ramey is alleged to have participated in the cover-up of the recovery of an extraterrestrial vehicle by substituting debris from an ordinary weather balloon for that of an alien spacecraft.
The report said, "Ramey withheld only the components that would have comprised the highly sensitive MOGUL project."
MOGUL refers to a then-top secret balloon project designed to monitor Soviet nuclear tests. Comparison of information obtained when the UFO crash supposedly happened are consistent with a balloon device, and most likely from one of the MOGUL balloons that had not been previously recovered.
"Air Force research efforts did not disclose any records of the recovery of any alien bodies or extraterrestrial materials," the report states.
Still, UFO buffs contend that claims by Walter Haut, a former Air Force public affairs officer, are true. Haut said on July 2, 1947, he was told to prepare a news release reporting the Air Force had recovered parts of a flying saucer and then was told to change the story to report a weather balloon.
On the day in 1947 when an alleged flying saucer crashed, the Air Force said a weather device crashed.
News reports of the time say people reported seeing a spacecraft. There were also stories of autopsies of "oversized head" aliens whose bodies were taken to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
At Wright-Patterson today there are Roswell-inspired manikins on display at the Air Force Museum in an exhibit simply dubbed "UFOs." Museum officials said the myth surrounding Roswell has made the UFO exhibit one of the museum's most popular attractions. Nearly 1 million visitors tour the museum each year.
With all the recent attention over Roswell, and its link to Wright-Patterson, the museum has done little to suppress the Roswell incident or government conspiracy theory. Instead, officials said they are "giving people what they want."
Similarly, the Roswell report cites a lot of the information that has kept the controversy alive for almost 50 years. From the records reviewed by the Air Force, however, there was nothing to suggest that a UFO cover-up was the case.
Although the bulk of records leave much to the imagination, the Roswell report states some interesting conclusions:
-- Concerted research has failed to turn up any evidence relating to the Roswell incident, or of a flying saucer and/or aliens at Wright-Patterson. Because this conclusion is based on the absence of documentation, the issue can never be definitively resolved. There will always be those who say, "You didn't search hard enough" or "We know you really do have the records, saucers, aliens."
-- Because the Roswell incident occurred so long ago -- now nearly 50 years ago -- there may be no record trail to follow to absolutely determine if an Air Force study had ever been conducted.
-- Despite the best efforts of UFO researchers over the years, not one scrap of physical evidence or one incontestable photograph of either a flying saucer or an alien has ever been found relating to the Roswell incident.
In short, the Air Force's report on Roswell states that "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" because every reasonable avenue of research has been exhausted without finding evidence that a flying saucer or aliens landed at Roswell or were taken to Wright-Patterson.
"The Roswell Report: Fact vs. Fiction in the New Mexico Desert" is available at most base libraries, or for sale from the government printing office.
Original file name: .CNI - USAF Final.Roswell
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