Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mac Magruder and the Air War College

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.


cda said...

Kevin: I feel you are concentrating on trivia. I agree that the two month discrepancy in the dates is not sufficient reason for a skeptic to reject Magruder's testimony. But there are far stronger reasons for rejecting this testimony. One is: why would Magruder be shown this wreckage and bodies so soon anyway? Here was this AF student, with absolutely no 'need to know' being shown top secret AF material! Did any other students see this material? Also, exactly when did Magruder make this claim, and who to? What prompted him to do so after so many decades? A bit of late-in- life publicity perhaps?

I am not the least concerned about whether the course started in July or September. I am concerned about Magruder's whole claim. I repeat: what was it about him that enabled him to have special permission to view this stuff? Or was it purely by accident (in which case it hardly supports the strict top secret security allegedly attached to this UFO 'crash'). I feel that you are in a dilemma. You have a situation which, on its face, is untenable. You have to assume that, for some unearthly (literally!) reason this young student was allowed access to the highly secret debris that the vast majority of high-ranking AF personnel were not. Magruder was one of the 'chosen few'. (Was he, I wonder, then co-opted onto MJ-12?!)

Sorry, but I don't buy it. His tale is just plain fiction.

starman said...

I think it was a deathbed confession to his sons. But while I believe in Roswell I don't buy this one either.

KRandle said...

CDA, Starman -

I think you miss my real point here, which is the skeptical community rejecting this claim with information which is untrue. They accept the incorrect start date of the classes because it feeds into their belief structure.

True, a simple telephone call would not have resolved the problem, but they weren't even interested in getting at the facts. The class started in September, according to them, therefore Magruder couldn't have gone to Wright Field in July and therefore his story is suspect. This is just wrong.

Let's move to the larger issue, which is the real one. Would the military have brought in students to review the wreckage and the alien bodies? Here we have something that is supposed to be highly classified and yet we bring in students to review it. True, these were all high-ranking officers and all with top security clearances, but there is no need to do this. This is where the story breaks down.

I might add here, that he supposedly first mentioned the Roswell case briefly when the first men reached the moon (shades of Melvin Brown), and he expanded on it when the first of the Roswell stories appeared on television. So, according to his sons, and a granddaughter, he had mentioned all this prior to his deathbed statements.

So, this was more about research and investigation than about Magruder and his story. As far as I'm concerned, at the moment, we have no real reason to reject this. Magruder, according to what we know, was at the Air War College at the right time, we are told that the class did travel to Wright Field at the right time, and we know that debris was taken to right Field at the right time.

No, we can't corroborate this story because every member of the class we have located has died... one of them about two years ago. But, we have no reason to reject this story... yet. We should be suspicious and we should check, but there is no reason to reject.

cda said...

You say you have no reason to reject the story. Have you any reason to accept it?

It all depends which side of the fence you are on, doesn't it? As it stands this is just another piece of anecdotal testimony. Presumably it is second hand (or thirdhand?) since it came from Magruder's offspring, not Magruder himself. Therefore it hardly adds anything to the existing testimony.

If you want to delve into the visit to Wright-Pat, presumably this was an essential part of the course for all students at the time (to learn about procedures, management and such). It simply makes no sense at all for one or maybe two of these students to be allowed to look at ET artifacts recovered recently from the desert. Certainly this would not be part of the course curriculum! (Have a look at the curriculum one day and check me out). Were any students of succeeding years allowed this extra privilege? Or was this one guy Magruder from the 47-48 class the only one?

Having said this, I do agree that to reject this story on the grounds of a two month difference in dates is a case of nitpicking. As I said before,some skeptics focus too much on trivia. But so do some believers.

KRandle said...


I have no reason to accept it. It is out there and I believe it needs to be checked out. I freely admit, and have said on other occasions that these people brought into this who were not at Roswell or Wright Field at the time, and who have no logical reason for being brought, are suspect.

Yes, this is second hand. But it is something the sons say began in 1969 with occasional mentions after that. I believe we need to learn the truth.

If they didn't go to Wright Field in July, when things could be said to be a little chaotic, then this story takes a hit... What we need to do is see what the records say.

I will note, however, that in the military, when you are presented with an already cleared, talented, and senior group, you might well take advantage of that expertise because it is... well, there.

mouseonmoon said...

I think there's a couple 'reasons' why he might be shown; first, simply to see what the reaction of a 'younger guy' might be -
actually show him and see if he 'freaks' ; to test his 'loyalty' -
and it'd be easy to deny if only one person were shown at a time.

Considering 'who they were', not likely he'd go blabbering about it.

Another 'reason' is that i've heard a similar story first hand from a former
police detective i've known since i was in high school ( i'm 60 now, he's about 75).
I was just joking if he'd ever seen a 'Flying Saucer' - and then he seriously related
an event while he was an apprentice at Norfolk Naval Base -about 1949-51 (?) - his 'boss'
took him into a locked hangar and showed him what he said would be described as a FS
if 'you say it flying ' - circular, about 30ft ....and then the guy tells him that "he never saw it".

And the man telling me this said he'd never mentioned this to anyone before -
and he never really understood why the guy showed it to him.

I can only say that this man was not kidding me about this - and i asked him about it a year later,
for more details, and he was perfectly serious about it.

It wasn't a 'Flying Saucer' = meaning,from 'outer space' = this was 'one of ours' - an 'experimental craft'-
in his opinion .

( There is a possible 'solution' to this -Ft Eustis actually has displayed now one of the Avro (? from Canada)
at the Army Transportation Museum - which is just across the Bay -could have been a model or one of them 'passing through' ....

The point is, why was he shown this ?

For me, Magruder's story would/could be true as he relates it - may have all been 'staged' - who knows why, and who knows why he was 'chosen' ....