The skeptics often accuse those of us who are convinced that something alien fell at Roswell and that some UFOs represent alien visitation of being shoddy in our investigations and have a will to believe nearly everything. But that sword cuts both ways and we can document time and again where skeptics have made pronouncements that fit their belief structures without bothering to corroborate their negative information.
Take, for example, the claim made on a skeptical web site that the tale of Mac Magruder, the late Marine colonel who, while at the Air War College, traveled to Wright Field to see the wreckage of an alien craft and the bodies of the crew is untrue. They reject the story, because, according to this site, there was no Air War College classes in session in July 1947 when this was to have taken place. The class didn’t begin until September 1947, so the Magruder tale can be rejected.
Tony Bragalia and I have been chasing this. We both know that you sometimes can’t rely on the information provided by others unless you check it out yourself. Too often the both skeptics and believers run with the first thing they have and don’t worry about consequences. We have, for the last few weeks, been trying to learn what we can from the various Internet sources available and then from a number of people at the Air War College.
First were the official biographies of some of the men who were in what was the second year-long class at the Air War College. This is the class that Magruder attended and there really seems to be no controversy about that. He was in that second class.
The official biographies Brigadier General Ethelred Lundy Sykes, Brigadier General John E. Frizen and Major General Dale O. Smith only tell us a little about the starting dates. Skyes, according to the biography, "Entering the Air War College at Maxwell Field, Ala., in July 1947, he graduated the following year."
According to the biography of Frizen, "From August 1947 to July 1948, he was a student at the Air Command and Staff School, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala."
Smith, according to his biography, "From the summer of 1947 to the summer of 1948, Smith attended the Air War College as a student."
Both Tony and I have talked to people at the Air War College including the registrar. We learned that the documents we needed, which were handwritten cards, the yearbooks, and other records, were currently boxed up because the office was undergoing a major renovation. This suggested that the claim the class didn’t start until September 1947 might be hearsay without the necessary corroboration.
Tony talked to the base historian and I talked to woman in the history office. They both said that they really didn’t know for certain because the records were unavailable at the moment, but those records would provide the information we sought. The woman I talked to told me in an email that the dates I had for the 1947 – 1948 class were correct, but since I had made queries about a couple of dates, her response wasn’t all that helpful.
Eventually we got to Dr. James A. Mowbray who had helped research and write the 1947 – 2007 AWC Alumni Review book. He is considered the resident expert on the subject.
Tony read to him a passage from Witness to Roswell by Tom Carey and Don Schmitt that said, "The Air War College had just commenced in mid-to-late July when they were all flown up to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio."
Mowbray found the sentence to be historically accurate and consistent. Mowbray was "one hundred percent certain there were classes in session in July 1947…" But he also said that the handwritten cards, currently in storage would confirm this. He said that he had analyzed them "many times" for his research on the AWC.
He did confirm an AWC class trip to Wright Field, though he couldn’t be certain that it was in July 1947. These were trips to learn about base operations and management systems and that many of the students [though I would suspect all] held high security clearances. From my experience, I know that some schools, before a student is accepted, require top secret clearances and the Air War College would certainly be one of them.
On the downside. Tony told Mowbray about the Roswell crash and Mowbray said, "It didn’t happen. This Magruder couldn’t have seen anything, because there was nothing to see."
He also said that few if any of the AWC students would have had any substantial "black project exposure." He said that he couldn’t think of any situation like Roswell that would involve students.
These were, of course, his opinions, based on his belief that the Roswell crash didn’t happen and if it didn’t happen, then Magruder couldn’t have seen anything. All we wanted to do was confirm the dates because the skeptics and debunkers had rejected the Magruder testimony based on that piece of information. Had the class not started until September, then the story could be rejected. That was not the case.
What we know now is that Magruder was in the second class. We know that classes were held in the summer and according to Mowbray, were a year long then, rather than the ten months of today. We can’t nail down, at this point, the exact date that Magruder might have arrived, nor can we nail down the exact start date. We can say that the dates given and the trips taken do not rule it out at this point.
Mowbray also made comments about the elderly, suggesting that they often confused dates, events, locations and memories and thought that Magruder was mistaken because of his age. But many elderly are as sharp as they ever were and do not confuse the events of their lives. We cannot reject the story simply because Magruder was old when he related the majority of the details.
Yes, we need to follow up on this when we can at the beginning of next year. Then we should be able to establish when Magruder arrived and when his class made the trip to Wright Field. At that point, with the documentation in hand, we’ll know if we can reject the story, or if we should attempt further confirmation. Unfortunately for us, learning that Magruder was there in July 1947 and that the class traveled to Wright Field in 1947 doesn’t prove that they saw the remains of an alien ship and the dead crew. It only proves that they could have.
But, at the very least, we’re attempting to get at the facts, rather than rely on the shoddy investigations of the skeptics and the debunkers. I would hope that before they start slinging loaded terms and mistaken conclusions, they would be sure of their facts.