Just the other day I saw or read something that suggested that the Roswell investigation has transitioned into a new phase with the recent and untimely death of Jesse Marcel, Jr. It was suggested that he was the last of the first-hand witnesses, having held the metallic debris and having heard about the find on the Brazel (Foster) ranch from his Army Air Forces intelligence officer father.
But I realized that this isn’t true. While I know that this will generate discussions that have little to do with the posting (I mean look how far afield some of the others have roamed), I would suggest that there are still some first-hand witnesses alive.
The first one who springs to mind first is Frankie Rowe. As a twelve-year-old girl during that July of 1947, she had the opportunity to handle a piece of metallic debris found by a state police officer. She also heard the story of the crash from her father who had driven out to the crash site on his own… which explains why there was no record of the Roswell Fire Department involvement. And please remember that this was confirmed by a member of the Fire Department in interviews conducted by both Tony Bragalia and me (and no, we really don’t have to go through all that again, this simply means that whatever you think of the tale, Frankie didn’t invent it, which also doesn’t mean it was grounded in reality… I’m just trying to prevent the round robin arguments that this can generate.)
I also think of Sally Tadolini, daughter of Marian Strickland, who handled a bit of material recovered by Bill Brazel. Brazel had brought it by and showed it to a number of people. Tadolini signed an affidavit about this, including a description of the debris that when fully read doesn’t suggest something of an earthly manufacture. And yes, I know that signing an affidavit doesn’t make it true, but it does provide us with a concise description of the event. There really should be little dispute about this. There is no indication that Tadolini is not telling the truth… the dispute is about the origin of the material that she saw.
Both of these women were shown bits of metallic debris and both are still living. True, they didn’t see anything quite as dramatic as that suggested by Jesse Marcel, but they did see something that was different enough and exciting enough that they remember the event. We can argue about the reliability of now more than sixty-year-old memories later.
I will note that in the last year or so Tony, Tom Carey and I have talked with a number of the men who were stationed at Roswell in 1947 and who were lower ranking which, in many cases simply meant younger. One of them, who was 87 when I talked to him told me that everything was, “Hush hush. They told us to keep our mouths shut.”
He also said, “Everything was highly classified.”
Which, of course, could mean many things and he provided no new information. We were talking about the crash and the like, so I can say with some confidence that his comments were related to that. But learning only that something was highly classified, especially at the only atomic strike force in the world at the time, doesn’t move us any closer to learning what happened.
Other interviews have contained the same sort of information. We can conclude that something happened and the soldiers were warned about talking too freely. Others said they remembered nothing or heard nothing and weren’t involved.
The point is simply that with the loss of Jesse Marcel, we see the end of the road. The numbers of witnesses to the events are slipping away and we are left with the descendants who heard the stories from those first-hand witnesses. We haven’t reached the end of that road yet, but time is not on our side. I just wanted to correct that statement that we have no one left.