Friday, December 28, 2007

Aeroshell Flying Saucer

A while ago I was wandering around on the White Sands Missile Range, looking at the various missile displays when I found something interesting... a flying saucer in among the rockets and the missiles.
The legend said:


This spacecraft was a section of the Voyager Balloon System which was launched near Rosewell [sic], NM. and landed on White Sands Missile Range. These bright, shiny aeroshells projected an illusion of flying saucers. Aeroshell was designed for slowing down a missile for landing on Mars. This display is believed to be the only one "in captivity".

U.S. Air Force

PROPELLANT: Liquid/Solid
SPEED: MACH 1.6 (1,100 mph)
RANGE: Maximum 140,000 Ft.

I’m not sure why the Air Force didn’t trot this out to explain some of the Roswell case. Although launched some twenty years after the crash, that time problem would mean little to the Air Force. I mean, they came up with the anthropomorphic dummies (seen here, Photo Courtesy US Air Force) that weren’t used for testing until the 1950s with the first drop near Roswell in 1957. Dates never seemed to get in the way.

In reality, this craft might have explained some of the later UFO sightings in New Mexico and there seems to be no suggestion that it ever flew anywhere else. And, if nothing else, it does look like a flying saucer.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Walter Haut's Affidavit

I have some problems with the new affidavit (if we want to call the document an affidavit) by Walter Haut and thought maybe we all could discuss this. I have waited to post on this so that I might gather additional information. Speculation about my reasons by others is just that, speculation. I wanted to understand the circumstances under which the document was created, how it was signed, and if it fit the definition of affidavit.

First, I have no problem with Don Schmitt (seen here) drafting the thing and having Walter review it prior to signing it. All Schmitt did was pull it into a cohesive whole for Walter’s review and then signature. I understand that both Walter’s doctor and his daughter were present when he signed the document. So far, so good.

But then we run into some trouble. As many know, Wendy Connors and Dennis Balthaser interviewed Walter prior to this latest document being created, but after a French film crew had been to New Mexico to interview Walter and he told them that he had seen the bodies... or body, depending on which statement by Walter you wish to accept.

This doesn’t include research by Gildas Bourdais who recently said that in he had talked to the French crew director and that Walter said nothing about bodies on camera to him. On UFO UpDates, Bourais wrote, " He [Vincent Gielly] told me that, when he did his filmed interview of Walter Haut, with Wendy Connors, Haut looked like someone who wished to say more, but could not. This lasted a long time, and he finally decided, a little disappointed, to end the interview. But then, he found Wendy, alone in another room, extremely disappointed because, she told him, she felt Haut was just about to talk when he ended the interview. That's what Gielly told me. He did not tell me that Haut had talked about seeing the craft and bodies. If he did, he may have promised not to repeat it, I don't know."

So, there is now a question of just what Walter (seen here on the set of the ShowTime original movie Roswell) did say to the French crew and what he said on camera as opposed to what he said in private. Connors and Balthaser say that Walter said something to the French which inspired the two of them to seek an audience with Walter to explain his earlier years in the military, and, according to them, ask a few questions to clarify the situation Walter found himself in back in 1947.

For those of us who have seen the Connors/Balthaser interview, there are some very disturbing statements by Walter... he is either badly confused, he is deeply conflicted about revealing secret he had kept for more than fifty years, or he just couldn’t keep his new story straight. It leaves us with a rambling mishmash of contradictory information.

Here is just a short portion of that rather confused statement:

"That’s a rough one I haven’t even thought about it low these many years and I honestly can’t even visualize it, whether still in it’s shape, but a lot of dings in it.... I do not remember... I would venture a guess that probably a diameter of, uh, somewhere around 25ft... To the best of my remembrance there was one body... it was relatively a small body comparable to uh, oh maybe a 11 year old, 10 or 11 year old child. It was pretty well beat up. I cannot come and give you, to be honest, anything other than that. I remember something about the arms and I am trying to visualize that and all of a sudden it starts going through my little head that that they show some of those long arms in the cartoons... I thought there was several bodies... for some reason I feel there were several bodies... the more I think about it the more I start to get an idea it was single body."

And then to thoroughly confuse the issue, Walter retreated to the line he had been using from the very beginning, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He said, "I didn’t even see one. I just wrote a press release."

So, Connors then said, "I am talking about when you saw a body in the hanger partly covered by the tarp. You only saw the one."

Walter said, "Yes."

But so we can get real confused, Walter also said, in that same interview:

"I don’t really know. I hurts me to try and give an answer because I am not certain of the whole thing. I feel there has been information released that uh maybe shouldn’t have been released, maybe the information that we got in the operation of releases maybe something you can put out to anybody. I just... I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about a lot of the detail number one because I don’t have a lot of knowledge about the detail, everybody thinks that I saw them, I didn’t, I put out a press release that Colonel Blanchard told me what he wanted in the press release and I ran it into town and gave it to the news media and went home and ate lunch."

In the affidavit we have a very clear and concise statement about all this. Walter said (or rather signed the statement that said... and that is probably a distinction we should make at this point because of some of the controversy):

(12) Before leaving the base, Col. Blanchard took me personally to Building 84, a B-29 hangar located on the east side of the tarmac. Upon first approaching the building, I observed that it was under heavy guard both outside and inside. Once inside, I was permitted from a safe distance to first observe the object just recovered north of town. It was approx. 12 to 15 feet in length, not quite as wide, about 6 feet high, and more of an egg shape. Lighting was poor, but its surface did appear metallic. No windows, portholes, wings, tail section, or landing gear were visible.

(13) Also from a distance, I was able to see a couple of bodies under a canvas tarpaulin. Only the heads extended beyond the covering, and I was not able to make out any features. The heads did appear larger than normal and the contour of the canvas suggested the size of a 10-year-old child. At a later date in Blanchard's office, he would extend his arm about 4 feet above the floor to indicate the height

I could pull up other statements that Walter made over the years, including ones that he made to me, but there is little point in that. We all know that he said, for decades, all he had done was write the press release. Now we have a new statement in which he is in the middle of this with all the inside knowledge that anyone could hope for.

The problem is not that his earlier statements contradict his later statements but that his later statements were highly confused, and highly contradictory even inside one interview, and inside one statement in that interview.

The skeptics are going to seize these later statements and contrast them to the earlier statements and it’s going to be nearly impossible to spin this. Walter is on the record in too many places saying that all he did was write the press release. He is seen in the Connor/Balthaser interview giving that same story but wrapping it around tales of bodies and craft.

There are those who suggest that Walter was conflicted about all this. He wanted to honor the oath he had taken so long ago. He wanted to honor the promise he had made to Colonel Blanchard so long ago. But he also believed that the information was too important to be withheld and that it belonged, not to the Army, the Air Force of the government, but to every one. So even as he provided hints about what he had seen and what he knew, he wasn’t able to take us directly there. He had to come at it from the side.

You simply can’t hide the information about Walter’s confusing statements. There are too many of us out there who have seen and heard most of the witnesses and while some of us have the will to believe, there are many others who want to learn the truth. You can’t cherry-pick the information and make it seem as if it all fits together.

Had Walter’s later statements been consistent inside the context of the interview and had they been consistent throughout, then we could say that he was providing us with information that he’d had all these years. But that’s not what we have here. We have contradictory statements.

And I know that many will say that Walter was an honorable man trying to provide us with information that we all seek and all want. The problem is that it doesn’t come to us in a straight forward manner, but in a couple of interviews that have more curves than a NASCAR speedway. He twists and turns and doubles back on himself. Straightened out, as it is in the affidavit, it seems crisp and clear, but when we review the tapes of the interviews we find it is not quite as direct.

On the other side of the coin, I do have one confirmation of Walter’s new story that came from a man who lived in Albuquerque and who was the assistant finance officer for the 509th Bomb Group.

I first met Richard C. Harris (seen here) in the mid-1990s when I visited him at his home. He was a frail man then, with live-in help. He was, naturally, quite interested in the Roswell UFO case, having served at the base in 1947. And yes, he’s in the Yearbook, so we know he was there at the right time.

In his living room was a small bookcase and I mention this because there was a stack of books dealing with UFOs, the Roswell case and MJ-12. Harris was a firm believer in MJ-12.

What all this means is that he was familiar with the case as it had been written about in the various books. He had seen many of the documentaries of the case so he could have been badly contaminated as a source. Having seen the documentaries, read the books and magazine articles doesn’t mean that what he told me was based on what he had read and seen and not wholly on his memories, we must be aware that it all could be colored by those other sources.

Anyone who has served in a command position or a position of responsibility in the military knows that everything must be paid for. There are all sorts of funds that are designated for all sorts of purposes and it is considered illegal to take funds appropriated for one purpose and use them for another. This means that funds meant to pay for a unit’s flight training, for example, can’t be used to transport alien bodies and craft from one location to another. Funds must be designated for that purpose. (Unless, of course, it’s a cross country navigation problem and therefore training... if some of the wreckage, or an alien body or two are on the aircraft, hey, that’s just a bonus.)

No, it doesn’t have to say moving an alien body from Roswell to Wright Field, but the funds will have to be appropriated for moving equipment from Roswell to Wright Field. The money must be juggled. (I might point out here that, for example, money paid to the state of Iowa for National Guard training or equipment maintenance can’t be used for firefighting in California. That doesn’t mean that Iowa will allow California to burn if Iowa has a means to help, it means that funds for that assistance must come from California and not Iowa... yeah, it’s complicated, but it shows how these things work.)

Harris told me that they worked hard to find the money from legal sources, that they worked hard to cover the real purpose because there would be audits and there would be examinations that had nothing to do with the crash but everything to do with looking for fraud. So the money spent to house those brought in, for the aircraft flights to and from various locations, for the special equipment and to pay the soldiers were all juggled around so that it was properly annotated and properly spent. Harris was proud of the job they had done covering the paper trail (not unlike comments that Patrick Saunders, the base adjutant had made earlier to family members who shared these thoughts with me).

The key point of Harris’ story was this little anecdote. He said that he had been out near one of the hangars and ran into Walter. Walter told him what was on the other side of the door, meaning one of the dead aliens and told Harris he could take a quick look. Harris said that he put his hand on the door knob, but didn’t turn it. For some reason his curiosity failed him at that point. He didn’t take the look that Walter had told him to.

This, of course, suggests that Walter had deeper knowledge and Harris told me this more than a decade ago. It is, sort of, some corroboration for Walter’s new story. It’s not a very good corroboration, but it is some.

I have been looking for something to suggest that Ramey and DuBose traveled to Roswell for a morning staff meeting. It’s hard to move the commanding general around without leaving some kind of paper trail but I have found none. I have searched the records of the 509th Bomb Group and the 8th Air Force without finding a clue.

It seems to me that there would be no real reason to hide this trip... except that it would have put Ramey on the scene and that might be the reason to erase the record. If some clever person put Ramey in Roswell on July 7 or 8, then the next question can always be, "Why?"

So far, I have failed to find anything, but there are avenues to be searched.

So, here’s where we are. Walter has told us he was on the inside. He has told us that he saw the craft and, at least, one body. He gave us a couple of points that would allow for some corroboration, but we have yet to find it. Harris provides a little piece of that but not enough. So, we continue to search for the truth.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Let’s talk for a moment about CSICOP which has changed it’s name to CSI which I suppose it a marketing ploy to snag the unwary. I mean, if you type CSI into your search engine, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that many do and have, you’ll eventually find your way to what used to be CSICOP. They’re probably less than pleased to have me decode their plan.

CSICOP, which originally stood for Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (a worthy endeavor) is now know as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, another worthy endeavor. Unfortunately, my experience with them, and the experience of others suggest that they are more of an advocacy group rather than an organization that investigates the paranormal, including UFOs. They would rather make pronouncements about the non existence of these phenomena than actually investigate them. And it seems when the few investigations they conduct provide no real answer, they are willing to accept any conclusion as long as it does not suggest the reality of a paranormal phenomena (With the Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting, they continue to offer solutions that make no sense. Recently it was suggested that Arnold had seen B-47s in flight. None of the skeptics, and here it wasn’t a CSI explanation, bothered to learn that the first B-47 hadn’t flown until December, 1947, six months AFTER Arnold made his report.)

Just what does this mean? Well, in one of the anti-Roswell UFO crash books CSICOP, I mean CSI, published, the author wrote, "Finally as the pro-UFO Roswell researchers will admit when pressed, Beverly Bean is the only person in the Brown family who has made these claims about her father. Bean’s sister and her own mother have never confirmed the account."

The Brown in this statement in Melvin Brown who was a sergeant assigned to the Roswell base in 1947 as a cook. He told family members that he had seen the bodies of the aliens killed in the crash, but for several years only his daughter, Beverly Bean, made this claim. Later Brown’s widow, and his other daughter, confirmed that they had heard her husband and their father make similar statements.

The CSICOP inspired statement, is, of course, not true and since the author referenced the 1991 interview conducted with the Brown family (video taped by Brad Radcliffe), he should have known that both Bean’s sister and her mother confirmed the account on video tape. So, even though he must have known the truth but rather than writing, "In 1991, both Bean’s sister and mother who had failed to corroborate the story earlier, are now on the record..." he chose to conceal this evidence from his readers.

This withholding of information is exactly the same thing that the writer had been complaining that I, as well as my colleagues, had been doing. And while I can show, repeatedly, how I attempted to present all the information about the case, allowing the reader to make up his or her mind about the validity of the case, CSI, through this writer was not engaging in scientific analysis, but was involved in a debate. In debate, you never give the other side information favorable to its argument. You allow them to find it on their own.

In on

e more example, on page 91, the author wrote, "After initially refusing to confirm to Randle that he was even there at Roswell, Randle claims that Easley [that would be Major Edwin Easley, seen here, who was the provost marshal Roswell in 1947], on his deathbed, eventually confessed that not only had he "been there," but that he had also seen bodies."
This is a mishmash of testimony and statements. In my initial conversation with Easley, he not only confirmed he had been there, but that he was the provost marshal. In the taped interview conducted on January 11, 1990, I said, "I’m doing some research into the 509th Bomb Group and I understand you were the Provost Marshal there at one time."

Easley said, "That’s right."

I said, "At the 509th?"

He said, "Yes."

And I said, "During July of 1947?"

And he said, "Yes."

I wrote to CSI and asked them, based on their claims of scientific investigation, if they shouldn’t be held to a higher standard than a publisher of books on the paranormal. I mean, if you look at Berkley Books, for example, you’ll find that they publish books on both sides of the controversy. I suspect they don’t do this because they want to provide both sides of the case but because there are business reasons for it. Berkley Books, like so many other publishers, desire to make money and make their publishing decisions based on that.

CSI, h

owever, publishes books only on one side. Karl Pflock told me once that CSI (when it was still known as CSICOP) refused to publish his Roswell in Perspective because it wasn’t skeptical enough. Not that the information might be inaccurate, or that there might be flaws in the reasoning, but because its tone wasn’t skeptical enough. Eventually they published it as Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe.

You might wondering, by now, what was CSI’s response to my inquiry. Well, there hasn’t been one. They have never really responded to anything I asked of them. The main example comes from the late Phil Klass. We corresponded regularly over the years. We traded barbs a number of times and I have often thought that Phil got backed into his anti-saucer and therefore anti-Roswell corner in the 1960s. Phil came up with the idea that ionized air, glowing in the night, was the cause of UFO sightings. The idea was quickly killed by physicists, and Phil went on to other, similar ridiculous explanations but he had become the resident UFO expert.

In the 1990s I hosted a radio show on KTSM radio in El Paso, Texas (as seen here). The topic was the paranormal, and Phil appeared on the show a couple of times. I asked for others from CSICOP (as it was kno wn then) but never got any response. Phil said he’d arrange some interviews, but no one ever came on. I thought this a strange response from a group of skeptics who wanted to get their message out.

My philosophy on the show was to allow the guest to make his or her point, talk with the listeners, and to defend his or her points of view. I was more of a facilitator than a participant. If the guest had a point of view I didn’t like, well, it was his or her opinion and on the next show we might discuss that or move on to another topic.

Irene Hughes, one of the most celebrated psychics in the country appeared once. During a commercial break, she commented that I was protecting my guest very well. I figured if she was a good psychic, she’d be able to defend herself and didn’t need me to step in. Her comment sort of annoyed me because when the tables were reversed, meaning I was on someone else’s show, I always felt it was my job to defend my position rather than rely on the host.

I will note here, apropos of nothing at all, that I asked Hughes who was going to win the Super Bowl. There were four teams left in the running because the companionship games had yet to be played. She said it would be the Packers. After she left the show, I said, on the air, and recorded on tape, "Everyone knows its going to be the Cowboys over the Steelers by 11." In fact, it was the Cowboys over the Steelers by 10 (27 to 17 if you must know). She didn’t even get the two teams right and I missed the spread by a single point.

The point here, however, is that I provided the guest a chance to present his or her point of view without a challenge from me. CSICOP (or CSI) had nothing to fear from me and Phil Klass did the show a couple of times. No one else from CSI even bothered to respond to my invitations.

So I’m not surprised that they didn’t answer my question about having a higher standard. It is clear from some of the books they have published that reality means little to them. Debunking is their business so why allow facts to get in the way.

I could, of course, support their cause because I have debunked my share of stories. I have provided answers to mysteries when I have them. But I do not create answers out of nonsense, I do not invent witness testimonies that do not exist, and I do not enter an investigation believing in one answer because that answer happens to be my favorite. I can, of course, provide more examples of CSI caring little for the truth but there is no point.

And I will mention, once again, that yes, those of us on the other side of the fence are often guilty of selective use of the data (cherry-picking it), or of leaping to far-ranging conclusions, but we do not hold ourselves up as an authority whose only mission is to explain the nearly inexplicable. We don’t claim to be the only rational thinkers on the planet with a self-selected mandate to remove the paranormal, the unusual, or the exotic from the minds of those too dumb, stupid or ignorant to see the light.

CSI does and with that comes an obligation to get it right. Tell us that UFOs don’t exist, that the evidence for the Roswell UFO crash is thin, but don’t wrap that pronouncement around poor research, sloppy investigation and half-truths. Make your case without a superior attitude and you probably will have an easier time with it.

CSI won’t answer questions. They will not consider alternative answers which explains why they believe some of the dumbest things on the face of the planet. Oh, it removes the extraterrestrial from the discussion but it certainly doesn’t explain anything.

(Yes, I know you all want to know what I mean. Remember Lonnie Zamora, the New Mexico police officer who saw a landed UFO and two occupants back in the 1960s? Well, Phil Klass explained the case. Zamora and the mayor of tiny Socorro, New Mexico were attempting to create a tourist interest in their town and would build a museum close to the site where the UFO was spotted... on land already owned by the mayor. No evidence of this ever surfaced, but to many in CSI, the Socorro case is explained as a hoax. It is not.)

CSI should do a better job of policing themselves and they shouldn’t accept a solution because it is mundane rather than exotic. They should take their own advice and they should do what they originally set out to do, which is investigate claims of the paranormal... Oh, wait, they took that out of their name. Now they’re just the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. I guess investigation was too tough for them. Now they’ll just ask questions and ignore the answers they don’t like. They have become what they have accused us on the other side of becoming... True Believers... The evidence be damned.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

In Search Of ... Answers Part II

Back when I began this blog, I had in mind that I would explore those things that interested me, especially in the realm of the unusual and the paranormal. I have, in the past, talked about global warming on Mars (and, apparently on Pluto), how many planets are in the Solar System (eight for those of you who haven’t been keeping track), and if Anna Anderson was really the Russian princess Anastasia. In that column, based on DNA, I thought the answer was no (see In Search Of... Answers in June 2005).

Some disagreed. Although the bodies of the Czar and most of his family had been found ending part of the mystery, two of the children were still missing. That could mean that they had survived and that Anderson could have been Anastasia. Anderson wasn’t the only woman who made this claim. She was merely the most famous. Certainly all of them couldn’t be telling the truth, and as so often happens, it was pretty clear that none of them were.

The story that had circulated for years was that Nicholas II, his wife, five children, a doctor and three servants were killed in the basement of a house where they had been imprisoned after the Russian Revolution. The records of those murders became available to the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union confirming the story that had been a fairly well known "secret". In 1991, the remains of several bodies were found... with a couple of important exceptions.

And, to complicate the story even more, there seems to be some confusion about who was found in 1991. Aleksei, the 13-year-old son, and one of his sisters seemed to be missing from the mass grave. Many believed the missing girl was Anastasia, but others suggested it was her sister, the 19-year-old Maria.

And there the mystery remained until this year. Vitaly Shitov (and yes, that name bothers me too), who is reported to live in the Yekaterinburg (Russia) area where the bodies were found, said that he believed that the two missing children would be located in the same place, just not in the same, common grave. This year, he, and fellow amateur archaeologists discovered, on a raised area about 70 yards from the first grave, a second. It contained two bodies, (or rather bones of two bodies), believed to be those of Aleksei and one of his sisters.

If the information is verified and the DNA tests are conclusive as expected, this ends the mystery once and for all. The Czar and his family were all murdered on that July night in1918. Anastasia did not survive and escape into the West, and the DNA tests on the genetic material of Anna Anderson that proved she wasn’t Anastasia is further confirmed.

I will note one thing here and it is an outgrowth of the tabloid mentality that was so prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. These supermarket newspapers often made claims that couldn’t be verified, naming experts in foreign lands and providing those experts with degrees from equally vague universities. And this is not to mention the nonsense that circulates on the Internet.

Here we’re dealing with a man living in the region with a name that looks like it was invented for the humor it provides. I believe that this mystery has been solved and I believe it was solved with the DNA tests conducted on Anna Anderson and with the discoveries in the Russia archives and in the Russian fields in the 1990s.

So there is really little doubt. Anna Anderson kept the story going during her life and though many thought we would never learn the truth, science, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and amateur archaeologists have given us the answer. Anna Anderson wasn’t Anastasia. The Czar and his family were all murdered and then buried in two graves that were hidden to prevent them from becoming a rallying point for opponents of the Communists. Another of the mysteries of the 20th Century didn’t survive very long into the 21st.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brigadier General Harry Cordes

There has been a great deal revealed about the Roswell case in the last few months. New witnesses, well, second-hand witnesses have been quoted extensively. Men and women who say that family members told them about the UFO crash, but who had not seen anything themselves have been located. With a second-hand witness, it is always possible that he or she miss heard or misunderstood what was being said.

But sometimes we get a hint of a first-hand witness and have those statements corroborated by a second-hand witness. Sure, this is confusing, but let’s just take a moment and examine one such case.

We know that 1st Lt. Harry N. Cordes served with the 509th Bomb Group in Roswell in 1947, specifically with the 393rd Bomb Squadron. And yes, his picture is in the Yearbook that Walter Haut prepared.. According to his official Air Force biography, in 1946 General Cordes [as a lieutenant] participated in the first atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. From 1946 to 1949 he was assigned to the 509th Bombardment Group, Roswell Air Force Base, N.M., as a radar observer on a B-29 crew. His crew won the first annual SAC bombing competition in 1948. He entered pilot training in August 1949 and when he graduated in 1950 returned to the 509th Bomb Group as a pilot and was later aircraft commander of a B-50. He served in a variety of assignments after he left Roswell, and eventually, as a brigadier general (seen below) assumed duties as deputy chief of staff, intelligence, at the Headquarters of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), Offutt Air Force Base in April 1970. He retired on July 1, 1973 and he died on May 10, 2004.

Cordes has been reported as saying that when he was assigned to the CIA one of the first things he had done was look for the Roswell files but they were missing. It is an interesting statement, but by itself, means little.

Tony Brangalia decided to follow up on this. He located Cordes widow who told him that she was surprised that Cordes would say anything like that to anyone outside the family. But then she went on and confirmed the fact saying that he told her that he had unsuccessfully tried to find the Roswell file back in the 1950s.

According to the notes that Brangalia shared with me, as a lieutenant, Cordes admired Jesse Marcel, Sr. (who was an intelligence officer and Cordes would find himself assigned to intelligence later in his career) and said that there was no reason for him to lie about anything. She said that Glenn Dennis’ nurse had been committed to a home before she died (Hey, I’m just reporting what was said, but here is a little corroboration for the Dennis story). She said that Blanchard was "a believer and anyone in the military who wanted to stay in didn’t talk about it."

Because she had grown up on a farm near Roswell and had worked in the First National Bank there, she knew many of the players in this story, knew some things about the case outside the military. She said that she had lived two doors down from the Wilcox family and said that they "were threatened and were afraid for their own reasons."

Working in the bank she heard things from the ranchers and wrote, "At the bank I heard the ranchers discussing Mack Brazel and they thought his new red pickup was his payoff."

But her story wasn’t just about what she had heard in the bank. She wrote, "My story begins the night of July 3rd with my family in Ruidoso where we always celebrated the 4th and I had to close the bank and was tasked with icing the soda and beer and driving to meet them. As I made the usual rounds for ice I was told that the Air Base had bought all the ice so I went to the train station looking for dry ice but was told the AFB had wiped them out..."

She added, "Then when our family returned that week to go back to our ranch to attend to our stock we were barred from the Pine Lodge hiway by camaflogued [sic] airmen with machine guns that some fear entered the picture. Many stories at the bank from early rising ranchers about long trucks covered in canvas going to the base before dawn!!"

She said, "My husband flew 25 different planes including the U-2 and Air-borne [sic] Looking Glass [which was the airborne command post during the Cold War] and said there was nothing hidden at Area-51 except planes [sorry Bob Lazar fans]. He also wondered his whole life why there was a cover-up and yes, he did tell me that he perused the files as a CIA agent but found everything empty."

I will note here that there is nothing in Cordes official biography that suggests he was detailed to the CIA, but, by the same token, there are gaps in it. However, after his completion of Command and Staff School he was assigned as an intelligence staff officer which could mean he worked with the CIA and would have had some access to their records.

There is one other point to be made here. Kent Jeffrey, as he was conducting his Roswell research, contacted Cordes. Apparently Cordes said nothing to him about his involvement or knowledge but referred Kent to George Weinbrenner. Jeffrey wrote about this saying, "After my conversations with Klinikowsky and Vatunac, Harry Cordes, a former 509th pilot and a retired brigadier general suggested I call a former acquaintance of his, George Weinbrenner, who had also been at the FTD [Foreign Technology Division, where Klinikowsky and Vatunac had also served]... Weinbrenner told me pretty much what I had already learned from Klinikowsky and Vatunac, but it was interesting to talk to him, nonetheless. With respect to the crashed UFO subject, he also found it humorous and stated that if something like that had happened, I would have know about it..."

But now we have evidence, from both Cordes and his widow that Cordes knew about it. So the question is, why didn’t Weinbrenner know? Could it be that Weinbrenner was keeping the secret? And why would Cordes tell Jeffrey to talk to Weinbrenner?

In the end, we have an intriguing story that begins with a quote from a former Air Force brigadier general and then we have additional information from his wife. First-hand quotes from the general, first-hand quotes and observations from the wife, and then her memories of things her husband had shared with her. Maybe not the smoking gun, but certainly interesting testimony to add to the stack.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Who is the Crazy One?

Just the other day, Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich (seen here) was outed by Shirley MacLaine. She said that while visiting her, they had seen a UFO... meaning, clearly, an unidentified flying object.

This whole tale is not important because we have many known people who claim to have seen a UFO. Jimmy Carter made a similar claim, and recently explained that he had seen an object in the air that was unidentified and that doesn’t translate into an alien spacecraft or a belief in flying saucers. It means that Carter, along with MacLaine and Kucinich saw something they could not explain.

Now, just recently I have been told that some of those who claimed to have been involved in the Roswell crashed saucer recovery didn’t behave the way debunkers believe they should. Melvin Brown, for example, when he learned that William Moore and Charles Berlitz had written a book about Roswell should have contacted them with his insider information. Or, better yet, he should have gone to the newspaper to tell them what he had seen.

Instead, Brown merely told his family, wife and daughters, about it. The debunkers seem to believe that this is prima facie evidence that Brown was exaggerating his role in Roswell. Brown had been assigned as a cook and it seems that he shouldn’t have been in a position to see anything. And, if he did, why he’d want to shout it to the world when he learned that Moore and Berlitz had written their book.

But doesn’t this latest about Dennis Kucinich prove just the opposite. First, Kucinich didn’t rush to the newspapers to relate his story. And second, the headline at FoxNews.Com said, "Dennis Kucinich’s UFO Comments Prove He’s Nuts."

John Gibson, who, by the way, I met at the 50th Anniversary of the Roswell Crash, on the highway just outside of town, near the turnoff to Hub Corn’s ranch where it was said that something had fallen, wrote, "This is the guy who feels free to say Bush is crazy one day and admit something the next day that many, if not most, people think proves a person is crazy."

He continued in this vein, saying, "If you’ve seen UFOs you probably shouldn’t go around calling other people nuts. If you admit to seeing a UFO, martians [sic], space creatures, big foot [sic] and all the rest, you are by definition on the defensive against a charge of craziness."

He goes on and said, "And the rest of you who have seen UFOs, please don’t send angry e-mails. It’s not going to make any difference – I’ll still think y’all are crazy."

I’m not going to talk about the attitude here. Gibson knows that there are no UFOs, meaning spaceships, and he’s not interested in evidence to the contrary. He’ll stick with the discredited Mogul explanation for Roswell because that’s easier to believe than the military officers who retrieved the spaceship debris in 1947.

I’ve run into this attitude before. I was scheduled for an interview at the Chicago Tribune (you remember them... Dewey Defeats Truman was their banner headline in 1948). They sent an intern (not that I have anything against interns) but she told me that the editors didn’t want to do anything because they knew there was nothing to UFOs. When I said we had some very powerful evidence, she said that they didn’t care. They knew the truth.

Which is why every time you see a story about the end of the dinosaurs, you’ll see the media talking about the huge meteoric impact that wiped them out though there isn’t scientific consensus on that point. Or why you hear, repeatedly that we can’t win in Iraq when these same media types really don’t know it and have no basis for saying it, other than they probably believe it being the experts in military tactics they all are.

But I digress...

The point here is that we have moved into the 21st Century where we communicate with friends around the world on the Internet, where libraries are becoming obsolete because we can find virtually anything we need on the Internet using our home computers, where newspapers are dying, we have high definition TV and hundreds of channels, where people are actually booking passage for space flight (and where some wealthy people have already done it) and dozens of other marvels that people 50 years ago never thought possible and where we have to put up with the opinions of pundits on TV who don’t know what they’re talking about but can say anything they please because they have a forum.

So why should someone come forward with his or her story of UFOs when we all know, as it has been proven so many times recently (and I just picked on John Gibson because he had been to Roswell and his was the first bit of nastiness I found) that to come forward with a UFO report is to tell the world you’re crazy? It is no wonder that people like Melvin Brown, among many others, said nothing to the news media about this. They just didn’t want to be called crazy, belittled and insulted by those who know more than the rest of us.

And maybe some of them just want to be left alone because to admit something like this opens the door for the true loons out there. Bill Brazel told me that he would periodically get late night telephone calls from drunks in bars wondering if his tale of finding bits of debris was true. Others have been subjected to the "truly" religious who felt an obligation to explain the UFOs as the work of the devil and scream at them about it.

We supposedly live in an enlightened age, but how enlightened is it when someone, because he or she has a televised forum can call someone else crazy for reporting an unidentified object in the night sky? Maybe it is time that we limit the pundits and their ilk to staying inside the bounds where they do have some sort of expertise and realize that they simply don’t have all the answers though they seem to believe they do. Of course, if we limited them to that, then the news channels would have about twenty-three hours a day to fill with real news.

And maybe it’s time to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to things and what I might do in a specific circumstance is not what you would do. Maybe I see the flaws in the Mogul explanation for Roswell that you believe to be insignificant. And maybe you are telling the truth as best you can and haven’t decided to make it up so that you too can get your fifteen minutes of fame.

But really, it’s about understanding we don’t have all the answers and that calling Kucinich crazy and then using that brush to tar everyone else who has had some kind of an experience that we find inexplicable is, well, crazy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I Understand Kent Jeffrey

Back in the mid-1990s, airline pilot Kent Jeffrey (in th red shirt with Tom Carey center, and Colonel Jeffrey on right) developed an interest in the Roswell case. He believed, at that time, that something alien had fallen there and that the cover up of it should be broken. He believed that we all had the right to know what happened and he was willing to put up some of his own money and his own time in an attempt to learn the truth.

He began the Roswell Initiative which was a worldwide petition to the US government to release all its Roswell information and all its UFO files. He put it online and he gave copies to friends in other countries to demonstrate the worldwide interest in learning the truth. He met with the witnesses and offered them the services of a legal team if they got into trouble for telling what they knew. He traveled to Roswell to meet them.

About the time that we arrived at the 50th anniversary of the crash, in July 1997, Kent had changed his mind. He believed that the Roswell crash, if there was anything at all, was caused by something mundane. He no longer thought of it as extraterrestrial and he appeared on several radio and television shows explaining why he had changed his mind. I debated him in a couple of those forums and responded, at length, to his article about what he thought of as the "real" truth that appeared in the MUFON UFO Journal.

He did complete his Initiative and delivered some twenty or thirty thousand petitions to Washington, but included a letter that watered down the whole thing. It sort of undermined the power of the petitions by saying that he now believed Roswell was explained, but there were still UFO truths to be learned.

I won’t go into all of that here. In wrote about it in the Roswell Encyclopedia, including Kent’s article. He granted permission to use it and though I edited it slightly because of space limitations, I didn’t change it. For those who wish to read this, they can do so in that book.

I will note, however, that one of Kent’s reasons for changing his mind was because he had attended some of the 509th Bomb Group reunions, talking with officers who served in Roswell in 1947 and who said they had heard nothing about the UFO crash. They said that had it happened, they would have known.

I don’t believe that is right, given the nature of security regulations and how these things work. I believe that if the crash was highly classified, many of these officers might have heard rumors, but they wouldn’t have been involved in the retrieval and now, fifty and sixty years later can provide us with nothing more than their opinion that nothing happened. Kent thought this persuasive. I do not.

It was Frank Kaufmann who might have killed it all for Kent, though I don’t know this for certain. I know that Kent, and his father, a World War II triple ace, meaning he shot down, at least, fifteen enemy aircraft, met with Frank on a couple of occasions in Roswell. Frank told them the same story that he had told me and others. He talked of his hobnobbing with generals, and mentioned General Robert Thomas who had sneaked into Roswell in the guise of a warrant officer... or, at least that was what Frank said.

But Kent’s father was a retired, high-ranking Air Force officer and had friends who could check all this out. He could find no evidence of this General Thomas and this, I believe made Kent suspicious.

Given all this, I believe Kent decided that there couldn’t have been a crash because he would have been able to get something from these officers at the reunions. He would have found some trace of this General Thomas even if the general would corroborate any of the story. And his failure to find independent corroboration of the crash beyond those in Roswell talking about it suggested to him that there had been no crash.

I think Kent was further disillusioned by some of the "revelations" about Major Jesse Marcel. Marcel’s entire military record was leaked into the public arena in violation of the 1974 Privacy Act. You can read the story of Marcel in the Archive in the April 2007 list on this blog.

And he had talked with officers who had been at Wright Field or who had been part of the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) and who told him that nothing happened. Kent believed this to be the truth, though had there been a crash and had they been ordered not to talk about it, they very possibly would have said nothing happened. The lies told would be lies to protect national security and would therefore be part of the job.

I talked to a general who had been the chief of ATIC, or had overseen a larger part of the intelligence operation at Wright-Patterson AFB and when I asked him some questions he said, not kindly, "I don’t know who you are and I don’t know what is still classified and what is no longer classified and I can’t talk to you."

For a few moments more I tried to ask questions but it was clear that he wasn’t going to tell me anything. Does this prove a cover up in Roswell? No, it proves that there are military secrets and some are better at keeping them than others.

Kent didn’t get a chance to talk to Edwin Easley or Chester Barton, who worked for Easley and only had a couple of interesting things to say about the crash. He didn’t talk to Marcel but he was concerned about the contradictions in the Marcel’s military record and what Marcel had told Bob Pratt. He was concerned with the denials of men who claimed if something had happened, they would have known it, never understanding that sometimes military secrecy trumps friendship and those who thought they would have known were not inside the loop and they didn’t know.

I think Kent’s attempts to validate the information failed him and he lost some of his confidence in the Roswell case. I think that learning that Kaufmann was not who he claimed to be before we knew it for a fact, shook him. I think that learning that Glenn Dennis’s nurse didn’t exist under the name Dennis gave us, eliminated one of the better testimonies that led to the extraterrestrial. At the end of the day, there just wasn’t sufficient evidence for Kent to conclude that Roswell was alien. The Air Force explanation, the failure of so many of the eyewitnesses, and the damage done by those inventing their tales was enough for Kent. He concluded that Roswell was nothing alien.

I understand this because I too think some of the same things at times. Rumors should have circulated at Roswell among the pilots and surely some of them would have heard enough to suggest the crash was real. But I also know, having served with various military units that some secrets simply do not leak and sometimes those who think they have an inside track do not.

And while I might sometimes have my doubts about all Marcel said, when we look at his record we see a fine officer. Some of the things he told Bob Pratt are not borne out in the record, but then, it is possible that Pratt got some of it wrong. I do know the words are important and that Marcel never claimed his was a pilot as some have reported but said only that he had flown as one, and that is an important difference.

And I have watched the collapse of some testimony. Gerald Anderson was clearly making it up. It wasn’t quite as clear with Frank Kaufmann, but he too, was making it up. Glenn Dennis seemed to have a solid tale, but there were little things that went wrong with it. We learned the truth about him when he began to blame others for misunderstanding about the nurse’s name. The destruction there was more subtle, but when he began to say he had made up the nurse’s name, it reset everything to zero. Not quite as evident as Frank’s faked documents but enough to suggest Dennis was no more honest about this than Kaufmann.

So Kent looked at all this and decided that it was evidence that nothing alien happened. It could be explained as the Air Force said it could. Kent just couldn’t find sufficient evidence otherwise.

When I looked at this cesspool of useless evidence, I sometimes thought the same things. But then, I did talk to Edwin Easley and Chester Barton and a dozen others. I know what Easley told me but circumstances prevented a recording of the critical statement. For Kent that was a failure, but I heard what the man said. I can’t prove it for others, but I do know what was said.

And, I haven’t even touched on what Brigadier General Arthur Exon (seen here) told me. Yes, the debunkers and the Air Force have had little to say about him. So there are those who talk of something alien and who are who they claimed to be and who just might know something about it.

All that was too late for Kent. And if I hadn’t had the chance to talk to some of these people, then I might just agree with him. But I did talk to them, and I have talked to others, so I’m not as jaded as he has become. I can understand how it happened and the difference between the two of us is that I talked to some of the people he didn’t.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Semantics and Melvin Brown

In the last few days, I have been involved in a couple of discussions over what has amounted to little more than semantics. People have been concerned about what some words mean and the usage of them. One way to illustrate all of this is to look at the story provided by Beverly Bean, whose father, Melvin Brown told family about his involvement in the Roswell case.

I am using the short section about the Melvin Brown that appeared in Roswell Revisited to help clarify this point. I believe that people reading The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell understood perfectly that we hadn’t interviewed Brown himself, but that the information came from family members we did interview. The footnotes provided the information about how we had gathered the data. In fact, it is clear from other sections of the book that the information didn’t come from Brown himself, but from his daughters and wife. Only those with half a brain didn’t get it and there are plenty of people out there like that.

Here’s where we are on this aspect of the case. I wrote in Roswell Revisited that Beverly Bean is a pleasant English woman, who told researchers about her father, Sergeant Melvin Brown (Yearbook picture seen here), who had been stationed at Roswell in 1947. Unlike some of those who have told stories about Roswell, Brown is in the Yearbook (just like a high school yearbook that contains the pictures of about 80% of everyone assigned to the base) that Walter Haut created in 1947. It is a document that allows us to verify that a soldier did, in fact, serve at Roswell during the critical period without having to gather information from the records center in St. Louis.

Like so many of the others, Brown didn’t tell his story to investigators and it didn’t surface until after Jesse Marcel began talking of the crash in 1978. Interestingly, one of the documents offered by Bean to prove her father served in Roswell was an order with several names on it including Jesse Marcel.

In a video-taped interview conducted in England by Brad Radcliff on January 4, 1991, Bean said, "Dad used to tell us this story and he didn’t tell us often."

He told his daughter, according to what she said on tape, that he "had to go out into the desert. All available men were grabbed and they all went out into the desert in trucks where a crashed saucer had come down."

Brown and another soldier whose name he never gave to his daughter, were pulled aside for guard duty. They were told not to look under the tarp in the truck, but Bean said, laughing, that the minute someone tells you that, the first thing you do is take a look. She said that he dad told her, "He and this other guy lifted up the tarpaulin or something..."

She said that she and her sister now argue about the number of alien creatures under the tarp. Bean says it was two, but her sister insists that it was three. No matter now. The point is that Brown described the creatures for them.

According to her, "He said they were smaller than us, not more than four foot tall... much larger heads than we have. Slanted eyes and [the skin was] yellowish."

Bean wondered if he had been scared but he said that he wasn’t. He thought they had nice faces and they looked as if they would have been friendly. According to Bean, he repeated that as often as he told the story, which, over the years was fewer than a dozen times.

Bean, of course, sometimes pestered him for more information. After the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in 1977, she asked him about the movie and how authentic it might be. He said that it was the biggest load of crap he’d ever seen and not like the real thing at all. When she tried to learn more, he told her, "That’s all I can tell you. I can’t tell you anymore."

The late Karl Pflock, in his book, Roswell, Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe, complained that Bean’s story was second hand and that neither her sister nor her mother would comment on it. Pflock had to know that both the mother and the other daughter had confirmed the tale because he had access to the video tapes of those 1991 interviews. He is right about this being a tale told by the daughters and wife of the man who lived it. There is nothing that can be done about that. By the time Brown’s name surfaced in the investigation, he had died from complications of various lung diseases, but it is not true that his wife or other daughter refused to talk.

Ada Brown (seen here) added little to the complex tale told by Beverly Bean when she was interviewed on video tape in 1991. She merely confirmed that she too had heard about the crash over the years and that it was something from another world. She seemed a little uncomfortable sharing a secret left by her husband.

Bean’s sister, Harriet Kercher (seen below), on January 4, 1991, was also interviewed on video tape. She had heard her father tell his tales a couple of times when Beverly was there, but there was one incident when Beverly was absent and her father gave her just a little more information.

Kercher, in her early teens said that she was with friends when she saw something flash by. Her friends saw it too, and then, in the distance, that something reappeared and seemed to be coming at them. Kercher said they were frightened by that shiny object but they weren’t far from her house so they ran there, slamming the door behind them.

Her father met them and asked them why they seemed to be in such a panic. Kercher said that her father, after hearing the tale of the shining object, told her, "It’s nothing to be frightened about."
The friends didn’t understand, exactly, what he meant and he told them about the crashed flying saucer, saying that there were a few bodies on it. He provided few new details. He just made it clear that there was something about the creatures that suggested to him that they were not to be feared.

But, as Pflock said, these were second-hand reports and they could be the misinterpretation of the original story... It is not proof, or even a suggestion of proof of something extraterrestrial.

What this shows, simply, as that I have been fair with the reporting of this story. It is clear from this that Brown told us nothing himself. In my previous books, it was clear that Brown had died before any of us had a chance to interview him. By lifting quotes out of context it looks as if I had tried to mislead the reader. The truth is, all the information was there for the reader so that he or she could decide the merits of the information for him or herself.

For those who are interested, I have a few hardback copies of The Truth about the UFO Crash at Roswell available. It listed for $19.95, but I’ll sell them for a mere ten bucks (plus the shipping and handling because I won’t pay the postage and the cost of the envelopes... just five dollars)...

And for those interested, Roswell Revisited is available now from either Glade Press, PO Box 460, Lakeville, MN for 12.95 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling...

Or from me for the same price and shipping and handling...

Or take both for $20.00 and still for the $5.00 shipping and handling. You can find me at:

Kevin D. Randle
PO Box 10934
Cedar Rapids, IA 52410

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Milton Sprouse, Roswell Witness?

Milton Sprouse, 86, (seen below) spent ten years as a soldier stationed at the Roswell Army Air Field, and yes, he was there in July 1947 when the UFO crashed.

Sprouse’s name surfaced recently when he was interviewed by Gary Warth of the North County Times.

I talked to Sprouse the other day so that I could clarify some of the questions I had about what he had seen and who he had talked to.

I asked him if he had seen anything personally and he said, "I did not. I was a crew chief on a B-29 and I had to stand by my airplane in case it needed to fly." He said that he had been in Tampa, Florida for three days and had returned on the day that it happen. That was when his friends told him about the crash.

But he said that a number of his friends were taken out to what I think of as the debris field and participated in the clean up there. Sprouse suggested that about 500 soldiers were on that field, moving shoulder to shoulder and picking up everything they could find (Recreation for the Showtime movie Roswell, seen below).

He said that these men hadn’t seen the bodies because they had already been removed, and they didn’t see a craft. He did say, "There were big pieces... up to twelve inches or bigger all over that ranch. But they didn’t recognize what any of it was."

He said that they laughed about the weather balloon explanation. He said, "I’ve seen weather balloons. They’ve been launched all around my airplane there at Roswell many times." Which suggests that nearly everyone in Roswell would be familiar with what a weather balloon looked like and it seems unlikely anyone would be fooled by such debris.

One of this friends, a barracks buddy, had been a medic and had, one night, been called to the hospital. Sprouse said, "I lived in the barracks. I was single at the time... One of the barracks buddies was a sergeant and he worked in the Medics. He lived in the barracks. And he got a call to report to the hospital and he went up and when he come back he said, ‘You wouldn’t believe what I been through and what I’ve seen.’ He didn’t have too much to say about anything because they told him not to talk about everything and we didn’t get much from him but later on he did say he was one of the few enlisted there and there were two doctors and two nurses in there. And of course he left right after that incident and never said good-by to us or nothing."

Sprouse also told me that had recalled all the newspapers, meaning the July 8 edition of the Roswell Daily Record in which it was reported that a flying saucer had been found, were picked up by the officers (Front page seen below). He said, "They gave that story out first from the base. Walter [Haut] gave it out. Blanchard and Ramey must have okayed it because they gave it out and they printed the paper and then that’s when they recalled it, recalled all the papers and denied it and brought in that weather balloon."

There are a few problems with Sprouse’s story. First is that he can’t remember any of the names of those who went out onto the debris field for the retrieval. He said that the names we found in the Yearbook for his crew were those who had joined him later, after these events. He said that his aircraft commander was Colonel William H. Harrison, and Harrison was certainly an aircraft commander at Roswell in the right time frame. But, when Sprouse called Harrison, he was told that he, Harrison, remembered very little. In fact, according to Sprouse, Harrison said, "‘I don’t remember, Milt, who you are.’ And he and I were friends because I was his crew chief for a heck of a long time. I flew all over the world with him... but I didn’t get to talk to his wife or nothing because he hung up on me after a while and I’ve never called him again because it was a waste of time because he didn’t know who I was and we had nothing to talk about in common."

Second, while I have heard tales of newspapers printing flying saucer stories and that someone made an effort to recall all those newspapers, this is not something that had been associated with the Roswell case until now. It wasn’t effective because we have all seen the newspaper. I suppose they might have wanted to get it off the base to inhibit the soldiers talking about it and didn’t care what was left in the civilian community, but that makes no real sense.

Finally, we have been unable to discover who the medic was. He’s just another unnamed source who might have been a staff sergeant at the time, and who might have been promoted to what was known as a technical sergeant (now known as either a platoon sergeant or a sergeant first class) but that doesn’t help us much. There are eleven men in those two grades in the Yearbook (one of the pages for the Medics seen below). Yes, it will take some time to check them out with no guarantee that anyone of them will be the right guy. Haut said that fifteen to twenty percent of the soldiers at Roswell were not included in the Yearbook for a variety of reasons.

So, we are left with a second-hand story that might provide us with some clues about the Roswell case. We might be able to learn the name of Sprouse’s medic friend, then we might be able to find him, and he might still be alive. Of course the case is important enough that we should make these efforts.

As I learn more about this, I will publish the results. Until then we have an interesting tale that might grow into something important. Without additional corroboration we will have to leave it at that. It might be of importance. And then again, maybe not.

Monday, October 01, 2007

FAKERS! Part Two

We talked about fakers a while ago, meaning people who have claimed to be things they are not. We have looked at UFO witnesses, researchers, advocates, and whistle blowers who used supposed military backgrounds or high levels of education to prove that what they say is true. What they tell us is often in conflict with what their records say and the apologists have excuses for that including that the government, in its all powerful, all knowing capability has been able to alter the records of those people to make them look bad.

Now we have more evidence of fakers in our world. According to an article published in the Seattle Times and written by Jennifer Sullivan, Jesse MacBeth, 23, who claimed to be a decorated hero who fought in Iraq, who said he was an Army ranger, and who said that he had killed more than 200 people including some who were praying at a mosque, has been sentenced to jail from making false statements to the Department of Veteran Affairs. MacBeth had spoken at anti-war rallies and had appeared in an anti-war video that had been circulated on the Internet. It was learned that MacBeth had spent only six weeks in the Army at Fort Benning, and never completed basic training. He had claimed to be a corporal who had been awarded the Purple Heart.

The whole story can be seen at:

Yes, I know this has nothing to do directly with UFOs and the paranormal, but it does address, again, this growing trend to make up things, find a forum, and have your point of view published so that the world can see it. We don’t know how much damage this guy might have done and here I’m only thinking of the soldiers in the field in Iraq. We know these sorts of things are picked up and broadcast around the world and once the man, or woman, is exposed, that is not as actively reported. His false claims are out there for future generations to find and read and many times these are not linked to the stories exposing the faker. It tars his with lies all those who have served honorably.

As just one example, there is the discredited "Winter Soldier" hearings organized in 1971 by Vietnam anti-war protestors. There men told their tales of horror, of atrocity, and even John Kerry was there smearing the names of all those who had served honorably in Vietnam (and his attitude then didn’t stop him from trying to promote himself as a war hero when it became politically expedient to do so in 2004 by claiming two tours in Vietnam... one on a deep water Navy ship that patrolled for some weeks off the coast of Vietnam and the second for maybe three months on a Swift Boat on the rivers in Vietnam... total time "in county" about four months as compared to 12 months for soldiers and 13 for Marines, but I digress). Rarely in the stories about those "hearings" reported during the 2004 election was it mentioned that the hearings had been discredited and those telling their tales of horror had not served in combat, had not served in Vietnam and in some extreme cases, had not served in the military (For a better discussion of this see B. G. Burkett’s Stolen Valor, page 131 - 134.)

So now I have that off my chest, I’ll move this on to UFOs and paranormal phenomena. I saw, not long ago, an attempt to rehabilitate Philip Corso. He was the man who claimed to have been promoted to colonel after his retirement, though he had only served as a lieutenant colonel on active duty. His excuse was that he thought he had been promoted upon retirement though no evidence for that promotion had ever been offered.

In this attempt, it was noted that the Congress, in the 1950s, had passed a law that gave officers in the Reserve a promotion on retirement to make up for the disparity of promotions while they served. Their counterparts on active duty were promoted faster. The problem is that the law didn’t apply to Corso. While he may have held a Reserve commission as opposed to a regular commission, he was serving on extended active duty. In other words, he was promoted as a member of the Active Component and not as a member of the Reserve.

Here’s the difference. Reserve officers served one day a week for four hours and then were required to attend annual training for two weeks a year. Their rate of promotion, because of the limited time in training was longer than that of the soldiers on extended active duty. Note here, this is the situation in the 1950s when Corso was on active duty. Later it changed to one weekend a month made of four, four-hour training periods and, of course, the two weeks (fifteen days, actually) for annual tour.

So, even though the law existed, it didn’t apply to Corso. This misunderstanding comes from those in the civilian world who don’t know the some of the terms and methods of the military. Reserve officers serve on extended active duty and are promoted with their fellows with regular commissions. In fact, officers often hold two ranks... that is the grade in which they serve and their permanent rank. So a colonel might hold the permanent rank of major and when released from active duty would revert to that permanent rank.

There is one other problem here. Upon retirement, a soldier would retire in the highest grade held. At Roswell, in 1947, there was a master sergeant serving out his last year or so on active duty. During World War II, he had served as a brigadier general. When he retired, he would retire as a brigadier general.

And we haven’t even touched on bevet ranks, which were used quite a bit during the Civil War. George Custer was a captain until bevetted to brigadier general of volunteers. When the war ended, he should have reverted to captain but friends in high places secured him a commission as lieutenant colonel in the Seventh Cavalry, and we all know how well that worked out.

When you get right down to the bottom line on this, an argument over the "real" rank of Corso isn’t of overwhelming importance and it could be argued that he made a simple mistake. This whole Reserve-Active thing with two different grades and types of commissions can be confusing to those of us who are involved in it, not to mention those outside the military.

If we are concerned about the veracity of Corso, we can find our answer in other areas, including the slippery way that he got Senator Strom Thurmond to write an introduction for his Roswell book. When the book was released, Thurmond was outraged, saying that the book for which he had written an introduction was not the book that had been published. For those who wish to know more, look for Roswell Revisited from Galde Press (FATE magazine, PO Box 460, Lakeville, MN 55044) Chapter Seven.

What this demonstrates is that we have people claiming to be soldiers who were not, but get publicity because they say the things people want to hear. MacBeth lied about his military experiences, but since he was anti-war, he was given a forum. Certainly not the first one to do this nor the first one to be exposed. And to the credit of the Seattle Times they exposed him as soon as they had the evidence.

Corso bumped himself up a grade for no reason I can understand. All he had to do was admit the truth, say it was a mistake and carry on. Instead he decided to say that he had been promoted in the Reserve and when no evidence of that was found, his defenders began to look for other excuses.

So now we come to me. I have read, on the Internet, from a number of places, including an exopolitics and UFO site in Australia, that I look too fat to be a soldier (and they do publish a picture that makes me look fat) but they have also picked up a picture of me in uniform, sitting in the throne room of an ancient Babylon king. Since Babylon is in Iraq, this pretty much puts me into that conflict.

But they ask exactly what my background is and I’m thinking that it’s a fair question. After all, I have said I was in the Army and in the Air Force and then in the National Guard. Seems like I am jumping all over the place.

Unfortunately, I must now reveal that I entered active duty with the Army in July 1967 (more than forty years ago) having just graduated from high school about a month earlier. I went through basic training (which all soldiers do) and moved on to my advanced individual training, which, in my case was helicopter flight training (See below for picture of me with part of the flight school class). In August 1968, I finished flight school, was discharged from the Regular Army, appointed a warrant officer in the Reserve and immediately called to active duty (and yes, that’s how they did it with nearly all of us who went through the warrant officer flight program. In my class only one pilot was assigned duty other than Vietnam and that was because his brother, also in that class, was going to Vietnam with the rest of us).

In September 1968 I was sent to Vietnam (See below for a picture of me at Cu Chi, RVN) and in September 1969, I returned home. I spent another two years on active duty and then was honorably discharged. I moved to Iowa, joined the Iowa National Guard as a helicopter pilot and began attending the University of Iowa.

I learned that the Air Force was looking for men (at that time, women did not receive flight training) to teach to fly jets. It sounded like a good idea so I joined Air Force ROTC, which, by law, meant I had to sever my association with the National Guard. I was taken into the Air Force Reserve as an enlisted man (which was the custom at the time) and began the training. About the time we all were to graduate, we were told that the Air Force was experiencing a reduction in force (RIF, for those you like acronyms) and we were told that few of us would receive slots for pilot training but we could all take our commissions or not, as the mood moved us.

I took mine and waited for a pilot slot to open. I learned it would be more than two years, but there was another choice. I could serve 90 days of active duty and that would be it. Well, I didn’t want to get my life in order for two years and then the Air Force turn it upside down, so I opted for the 90 days. At the conclusion, I was offered a job with the Reserve unit and I took that, entering into the Air Force Reserve. Eventually, I was promoted (on schedule) and reached captain. Finally, I finished with that, entered what is known as the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) and was eventually discharged, honorably. After more than 14 years of active and reserve duty for retirement purposes but with more than 23 years of overall service (yes, this is another confusing mess created by military regulations and their attempts to calculate retirement points), I had little connection to the military.

Then came 9/11. I had completed some advanced education including a MA in Military Studies with an emphasis in Intelligence and I believed I could offer some sort of help. I talked to the Army first, for some reason wishing to rejoin it. I talked to the Army Reserve and the National Guard and while they both were enthusiastic, they didn’t get very far. I talked to the Air Force, but they were less than impressed. I even talked with the Navy, thinking I hadn’t been in the Navy yet. Nothing seemed to work well. I was offered the chance to join the National Guard, as a sergeant rather than a captain, but I wasn’t too keen on that idea.

Finally, I was offered a commission as a captain in the Iowa National Guard and accepted it. Less than four months later that unit was called to active duty and three months after that, we were on our way to Kuwait and then Iraq. I spent over eleven months in theater before we were rotated home (See left for picture of me sitting in Saddam's chair in the Green Zone and below for me staninding on top of a building at the Baghdad International Airport). From that point, I spent another three months on active duty as the OIC (Officer in Charge) of the redeployment effort. About a year later I was promoted to major and continue my service in the National Guard with various calls to active duty for short periods.

I will point out here that I do have an appointment as a major general in the State Guard Association of the United States, the same organization to which Stephen Lovekin belongs. I belong to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and have published science fiction stories and books.

I mention all this because I have criticized the Disclosure Project and Michael Salla of Exopolitics fame for not vetting their witnesses, believing that the vetting process would solve many of their problems. If you build a structure based on the stories told by these witnesses and some of them are inventing their tales, then your structure is flawed. If you don’t understand the backgrounds, then you can make mistakes.

But, if I am going to criticize the backgrounds of these people, then I should be willing to provide some information about my background. It is one thing to sit on the sidelines and snipe and it is something else to jump into the fight.

I will note one other thing. Sometimes others make mistakes for you. On my first UFO book, the editor identified me as a captain, USAF (Ret). That was his mistake. He had seen my name saying, Captain USAFR and thought the "R" was for retired, not realizing it was for Reserve. Someone wrote a long article explaining that I had lied about this and there was no way that I could be retired. Forgetting for a moment that I had joined the Army in 1967 and this article was written in 1989 (which meant that I could have retired after twenty years), I wrote to him explaining the mistake. He seemed to have accepted this because he didn’t publish the article.

This just proves that mistakes are made, often by those who don’t know the military very well. Corso could have said that the publisher had made a mistake with his rank and we all would have nodded and said, "Happens all the time," but instead he made up an excuse. Then, to compound it, another excuse was invented, mentioning a public law that was irrelevant to the discussion. All of this simply cast a shadow over Corso and his inclusion in the Disclosure materials.

And once again, we reach the main point here. There are fakers out there who claim military service when they have had little or none. They claim medals they didn’t earn and ranks they didn’t obtain. There are those who claim to be colonels in mythical organizations as if this somehow improves their credibility. Until recently, there wasn’t much that could be done. Now, there are various new laws and some of these people are being prosecuted.

We, in the UFO community, have enough problems that we don’t need to get mixed up in these little fights. All we need to do is check the information as best we can. Sometimes we do make mistakes (and do I really have to mention Frank Kaufmann here?) and we should correct those when made. What we don’t need to do is to defend those who have lied to us, reach for explanations that don’t apply, and continue to hang on in the face of new information.

Maybe we can learn something from the Seattle Times. I hope that we do, but I have been around the UFO field long enough to know that we won’t.