I have known Jesse for more than a quarter century. I first met him while we both
were in Roswell to film a segment for the old Unsolved Mysteries that aired on NBC. We had gone out to dinner
with a number of those in town for the program and since we shared a military
background, including that of Army Aviation, we connected immediately. As
medical doctor, he was trained as a flight surgeon and I, of course, had been a
|Jesse Marcel in 1994.|
From that point I met him quite a few times as we both explored the Roswell UFO crash case. He, as a young man, boy really, of eleven was exposed to metallic debris that his father had brought home late that July night. He told the story to all who would listen with little in the way of variation.
I learned of the special bond he’d had with his father. He told me that that one day, he had asked his father what the atomic bomb looked like and Jesse, Sr. had drawn a picture of “Fat Man.” He then shredded it and burned the pieces. Although reluctant to share they story outside a small circle of friends, he did mention it at the Citizen Hearing in Washington this last May.
Over the years, I had the opportunity to interact with Jesse and never had reason to doubt his sincerity. He truly believed that he had handled material made on
another planet and might have the first person in modern history to have seen
writing created on another world. He had small, replica I-beams made with those
symbols on it, and while it is just a replica, it is a very interesting one.
|Jesse with I-beam replica.|
But what I think of mostly, these days is his military service. He had retired from the Montana National Guard as a colonel but was recalled to active duty for service in Iraq. Before he deployed, he asked me if he should take a personal computer with him and I said it had been the best investment I had made, if only for the DVD player in it.
His service there seems to have affected him more deeply than did mine. He spent a year there treating those who needed his help, but came back suffering from PTSD. The deployment cost him his medical practice because he could no longer trust his hands. Loud, sudden noises caused him to jump. He was more on edge, nervous, than he had been before going to Iraq. It was something that the government failed to recognize in the way they should have. He was a patriot who served without complaint, did what was asked of him and made the sacrifices he had to make.
I last saw Jesse in Washington, D.C. in May. He was there with several family
members and offered his story to the former representatives and senators. They
all seemed captivated by what he said, probably because he was one of the few
first-hand witnesses to some of the Roswell events present. While many of us
could talk of what we had been told by witnesses over the years, Jesse could
talk about what he had seen and done personally in July 1947. He handled the
|Jesse with daughter Denise.|
He did call the International UFO Museum in Roswell this year telling them that this would probably be the last year he could attend. His health, while seeming not all that bad, did limit what he could do and how far he could travel. I suspect that he thought his health would deteriorate making a trip to Roswell extremely difficult if not impossible in the near future.
Jesse was a friend and a fellow warrior. I always believed that he understood more about my service in foreign lands because he shared those experiences. We connected on a level that others could not because of that military experience. Though we were never in the war zones at the same time, we did see many of the same places under similar circumstances. He served when he was needed, helped those who needed it, and contributed to our knowledge. I know that I will miss him, though not as much as his family