Sometimes you see something that just makes no sense. I stumbled across several web sites that proclaimed that Philip Corso was the highest-ranking officer to talk about Roswell. Overlooking that much of what Corso claimed has been discredited, let’s just deal with this other claim.
First, we must realized that Corso was not a colonel (known as an O6 in the military) but was a lieutenant colonel (known as an O5). Some believed that he was promoted upon retirement, as often happens in the reserve, but there is no documentation to support this, and while Corso held a reserve commission, he had spent his career on extended active duty (known as EAD in the world of the military). That he was known as a colonel is a mistake though he would be addressed as “colonel” and referred to as “colonel” in conversation, in formal correspondence he would be addressed as “lieutenant colonel.” His rank insignia would be a silver leaf while that for a colonel is a silver eagle.
Second, there are two brigadier generals, Thomas DuBose and Arthur Exon who have spoken about the Roswell case. DuBose was General Ramey’s Chief of Staff (and not his aide as he has been identified on some of the sites) and told us about transferring debris from Roswell, through Fort Worth and onto Washington, D.C. He also said, on tape, that the material in Ramey’s office was parts of a weather balloon and not what had been found outside of Roswell and sent on to higher headquarters.
Exon was a lieutenant colonel at Wright Field in 1947 and later, as a brigadier general was the base commander at Wright-Patterson AFB (think of this as a mayor of a good-sized city). He told us (and here I think of me along with Don Schmitt and Tom Carey) about what he had seen and heard about Roswell, including flying over the crash site. His information about the case was both direct and indirect.
Third, there are Colonels... Patrick Saunders and Edwin Easley who were both at the base in Roswell in July 1947, and both who retired in a higher grade than Corso. Saunders is responsible for a notation in one of the Roswell books that I wrote with Don Schmitt that suggested that the cover up was in place, that it was an alien craft, and that he hadn’t mentioned it.
Easley was the provost marshal (think chief of police and please notice the spelling with but a single “L”) in Roswell and was responsible for the security at the crash site (whatever that crash might have been). He told me, in a private interview, that he believed it to be of an extraterrestrial craft. Yes, that’s a paraphrase of his saying that we weren’t following the wrong path when I said we believed it to be extraterrestrial.
When you look at it, you see that there are at least four officers of superior rank, who were actually in the right places to see something useful and not at Fort Riley in Kansas in July 1947. (I should point out here that I have nothing against lieutenant colonels, I was promoted to that grade upon retirement and that I spent three months at Fort Riley in 2003.)
Corso spun an interesting story, but the facts are he was not the highest ranking officer to talk about this, he was not in the right place to see anything in 1947, and there were gaps in his knowledge that would suggest he knew no more about this than someone who had read a few of the books and viewed some of the web sites. His story is interesting, but has little relevance to our understanding of the Roswell case.