The latest started when I suggested that Moore, based on the documentation available, had been told Mogul’s name long before Robert Todd arrived in 1992 to tell him. The point had been that Mogul was so secret that even those who worked on it had not known the name until more than forty years had passed. Documentation, from the Air Force showed Dr. Albert Crary, the project leader had known the name in 1946 and had mentioned it in his unclassified diary a couple of times... a clear security violation unless, of course, the name wasn’t classified as we had been told.
In a letter dated in 1949, Moore was introduced to James A. van Allen as one of the Project Mogul engineers. This letter, too, was unclassified and another security violation if the name had been classified. And, importantly, it came from Moore’s files, proving that he had known the name before Todd told him.
Now before we go farther, let me point out that I believe that Moore had forgotten the name when he told researchers he hadn’t known it until Todd told him, and there was nothing more nefarious in his claim than that. However, we can no longer say that Mogul was so secret that even those working on it didn’t know the name. Clearly, based on the documentation, they did.
I pointed all this out to Jim Moseley and asked him if we didn’t label Moore a liar for his mistake, shouldn’t we grant the same courtesy to Marcel? Rather than answer that question, Moseley sent me copies of articles that were more than a decade old and in which these same mistakes about the secrecy of Mogul were repeated. He also sent articles, more than a decade old in which Marcel is characterized as a liar and far worse, though his offenses seem to be no worse than those committed by Moore. Clearly all this information was outdated.
So, let’s look at some of these criticisms. Marcel told Bob Pratt, then of the National Enquirer that he had flown as a pilot, bombardier and waist gunner while in the service. Todd, and by extension Moseley, suggests that this proves that Marcel was less than candid when he was interviewed based on what Todd found when reviewing Marcel’s service record. There was nothing there to indicate that Marcel had flown in those positions.
But I believe the wording in Marcel’s statement is crucial and has been overlooked. Marcel said he had flown AS a pilot, bombardier and waist gunner, not that he served in any of those positions in any official capacity. For those who have never been in an aviation unit, Marcel’s claim isn’t that farfetched.
Those who have no rating, meaning they are not on flight status, are often provided with an opportunity to fly in aviation positions. I have flown as a helicopter door gunner, but you’ll find nothing in my record to support that. And, I have given "stick time" to door gunners and crew chiefs but you’ll find nothing in their records to reflect that. The point is that all of us can say, truthfully, that we flew in those positions.
Todd, and by extension Moseley, also make a big deal out of Marcel’s claim to have been a private pilot because there was no record of a license with the FAA. This is true because I asked the FAA about it and although their records do go back into the 1920s, when Marcel would have started flying and the government began to attempt to license pilots, this really isn’t the whole story.
If you check out the FAA site and take a look at the licensing history, you’ll learn, as did I, that in the 1920s the forerunner to the FAA tried to induce private pilots to voluntarily get licenses without much success. It wasn’t until the mid-1930s that most pilots were finally licensed and it wasn’t until after the Second World War that there was a real requirement for a license. Even with that many who had started flying in biplanes didn’t bother with the licenses. It could be argued here that Marcel, having no need to fly any more, simply didn’t bother. Before the war he had been a cartographer with Shell Oil but after the war and after he left the Army his interest shifted to electronics and any interest he had in aviation ended.
What this suggests to me is that much of what Todd claimed about Marcel simply is unimportant. It proves nothing about Marcel’s veracity. Everything Marcel said could be true and the lack of documentation in the military files is simply irrelevant given the many circumstances surrounding the creation of military records. Just ask about any veteran if his or her records are accurate and you’ll learn that few are.
We can conclude then that the discrepancies between what Marcel told Pratt and what is found in the military are not necessarily the result of LIES told by Marcel. It is clear from the record that Marcel did fly on military missions and was awarded the Air Medal twice, and for those of you keeping score at home, the only way to be awarded an Air Medal is to participate in aerial flight (which is what the regulation says... aerial flight, as if there is another kind, but I digress...)
Now, if we want to be completely fair in this brief analysis, we have to look at one other aspect of the Pratt interview. According to what Pratt wrote in his transcript, Marcel, Sr. said, "I was working for Shell Oil Co [note, I’m going to reproduce this as closely to the transcript as I can rather than use Karl Pflock’s cleaned up interpretation] as a photographer when the war began. all my map making for the engineers and Shell oil co was derived from aerial photographs... no degree then. got one later, 6 diff schools..."
Later in that same Pratt interview, Marcel said, "...degree in nuclear physics (bachelors) at completed work at GW Univ inWash. attended (LSU, Houston, U of Wis, NY Univ, Ohio State , Docotr pool? [In Pflock’s cleaned up version, that last part is marked as unintelligible and while it doesn’t make sense, it certainly is relevant to our discussion] and GW..."
So, what do we know. Well, Todd and others make a big deal that Marcel’s military record showed only a year and a half at LSU. There seems to be no dispute with that. Could it be that Marcel received his degree after his military service? Could it also mean that while in the service he took extension courses offered to members of the service by various universities, often with the classes taught on the bases?
Here’s all we really know about this. GW has no record of a degree being issued to Jesse Marcel but then Marcel didn’t really say that in the interview. Marcel was assigned to the Washington, D.C. area after his service in Roswell so it’s not impossible for him to have attended extension courses, which we might now call distance learning, while there and I have been unable to learn if GW offered any such classes and who would have kept the records of them. I suspect that the wrong questions were asked, so I’m now trying to find these answers which I’ll report on when I get them.
The fact that Marcel’s military record contains nothing about this could be irrelevant. If the schooling was taken after his military service, then it wouldn’t be in there. My Army records show that I have a high school diploma and little else. The Air Force required me, after several years of service, to prove I had a bachelor’s degree even though the source of my commission was ROTC and the only way to receive a commission that way was to have graduated from an accredited college or university. Just one more example of how fragmented these records sometimes are.
After all these years, it seems to me that a new set of questions needs to be asked about Marcel’s college career. I don’t believe the right questions were asked originally so now we have to go back and do it again. Those claiming that Marcel lied about his college education might have been so caught up in proving Marcel a liar that they ran with the first negative results they received. Maybe a little digging will resolve this.
I’m going mention one other thing here. Todd, in his publication The KowPflop Quarterly, suggested that he had asked Jesse Marcel, Jr. about some of the discrepancies with what his father had said. In a quite reasonable conclusion, Todd wrote, "Marcel hasn’t even acknowledged my letter, much less furnished an explanation for this rather significant discrepancy."
But Todd’s letters to Marcel, Jr. were certainly not reasonable. Todd, as was his habit, turned nasty in his communications with those who didn’t agree with him. In a letter to another researcher, Todd wrote, "I have already been told that he [Friedman] and Randle both have been slandering me at every opportunity. Apparently these two shameless liars..." and this is one of his less inflammatory statements.
About Jesse Marcel, Jr., he wrote, "It should be noted that Jesse Marcel, Jr., now conveniently claims his father told him he had some ‘bootleg’ flying time which presumably wasn’t documented [which, of course, is the definition of bootleg time]... Given Major Marcel’s numerous other lies, and the younger Marcel’s obvious and understandable desire to salvage his father’s credibility, there is no reason to take the younger Marcel’s claim seriously."
You might say this is still fairly tame, though he does manage to call Jesse Marcel, Sr. a liar and suggest that Jesse Jr. is lying as well.
But then we have a May 10, 1996 letter from Todd that begins, "Dear Junior," meaning Dr. Jesse Marcel, Jr. Not exactly the kind of salutation you put on a reasonable letter to a physician.
Todd then wrote, "The spelling, punctuation, and capitalization errors in your ‘960420' letter didn’t surprise me, given the level of ‘intelligence’ you’ve demonstrated in the past. The disgraceful obscenities didn’t surprise me either, given the scum with whom you’re known to associate. Likewise, the fact that you actually bothered to send me a letter, telling me that your letters are a waste to me, is a clear demonstration of the cutting edge ‘logic’ I’ve come to expect from the hysterical little girl who has come to be know as ‘the alien spaceship doctor.’"
I will note two things about the above. It explains why Todd didn’t get responses to some of his letters, and on this one, Jesse Marcel, Jr. wrote, "I did not send a letter with this date [960420 which I suppose it Todd’s convoluted dating system for April 4, 1996] to him."
Todd was often nasty, didn’t believe anyone had the analytically ability that he did and believed all his conclusions to always be right. There was no room for disagreement in his world.
I mention all this, because it was Todd who worked so hard to destroy the reputation of Jesse Marcel, Sr. believing, I guess, that if Marcel crumbled, then the whole of the Roswell case crumbled. Had Marcel been the lone voice, that would have been true, but Marcel was backed up by every officer on Colonel Blanchard’s 509th Bomb Group staff with a single exception. Marcel had lots of company.
Moseley, who knows most of this about Todd, still believes the Mogul balloon story despite mounting evidence to the contrary and Moseley still believes that Todd contributed something to the case with his release of Marcel’s entire military file. But Todd drew conclusions from the slightest information and proved time and again that he had no knowledge of how the military worked. Moseley has almost none himself, despite the fact that his father had been a major general and one time the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (when major generals held that post).
Moseley clings to the ridiculous Project Mogul answer for the Roswell case while many others admit now that Mogul is not the answer. But the real point here is that Moseley still believes that Marcel lied to Pratt when the evidence isn’t as cut and dried as he thinks it is. He relies on what Karl Pflock wrote about Marcel and Pflock relied on Todd and Todd simply didn’t understand how the military works. Todd believed that everything in the record was totally accurate and when it disagreed with what a witness said, then the witness must have been lying.
I have sent Moseley another letter asking him the same question again. If we grant Charles Moore the benefit of the doubt when the records clearly show them in conflict with his testimony, then don’t we owe the same courtesy to Jesse Marcel, Sr.? All of these discrepancies are over relatively minor points and can be explained by the fog of time and the frailty of memory.
I still await his answer.