Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Socorro Barrel and Bruno R.


I now know more about the barrel launching Bruno R (name left out of the original post that Dave Thomas put on his website at: http://www.nmsr.org/socorro.htm). Tony Bragalia, working with a little information that I supplied and searching through other sources, was able to speak with Bruno in an attempt to corroborate Kevin Ashley’s story at Thomas’s site. Bruno said that he did not remember revealing his involvement to Ashely.

Bruno said that he was, in fact, responsible for the Socorro UFO sighting. He, and a colleague he refused to name, said they were using Ammonium Nitrate, an electric blasting cap, dynamite, a large barrel and a gasoline pan. This was how they launched the barrel, and as we’ve seen, the lift off
Barrel launch.
would be with a roar as the barrel shot straight up into the air.

Bruno said that both of them were wearing blue jeans and not white coveralls. He said that he wasn’t short, as suggested by Lonnie Zamora’s statements. He also said they had not decorated the barrel in any way so he doesn’t know what the insignia was that Zamora had mentioned.

Interestingly, he said that he and his partner said nothing about this because they were afraid they would be expelled. He said that after graduation, he had left to work in Central America so that he was unavailable to anyone searching for him. He did say, “Now I feel bad for Lonnie.” Which is interesting given the theory that the sighting was a hoax designed to torment Zamora.

My initial reaction is that this doesn’t fit in with the physical evidence that was gathered on the site within hours of the craft lifting off. This included soil samples. Captain Richard T. Holder, according to the Project Blue Book files, took soil samples. He gave these to Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who was on the scene as the Air Force Consultant to Blue Book. This means, of course, that the samples were gathered before the scene was trampled by curiosity seekers. Remember that Dorothy Landoll told me that she and her husband were out there the next day.

According to the Blue Book files, “Laboratory analysis of soil samples disclosed no foreign material… analysis of the burned bush showed no chemicals which would indicate a type of propellant.”

Lonnie Zamora and various individuals on the
landing site.
In the descriptions of the site by those who were there that evening including Zamora, his friend Sergeant Sam Chavez, Holder, FBI agent Arthur Byrnes, several other law enforcement officers and military police, no one said a word about a battered barrel (I am assuming here that the barrel would be battered after being blasted upwards and falling back). They talked of other things they saw including burned bits of cardboard, so they were talking about all sorts of debris.

The landing traces and there were four, were not what you would expect from the launching of the barrel. These were suggested to be landing gear imprints and not the haphazard craters created by denotating dynamite. To those on the scene the impressions looked as if they had been pressed into the ground rather than caused by an explosion, or for that matter, by a shovel.

There are some other problems with this tale. How did Bruno and his partner get away without some kind of vehicle in the area, and the area was searched for tire tracks?  Bruno said that they had not decorated the barrel so he doesn’t know where that insignia came from that Zamora had reported. As I say, what happened to that barrel? It was not found.

There are some problems with this confession (well, this interview or conversation… it really wasn’t a confession). It just doesn’t fit in with what we really know based on the interviews conducted on the night of the sighting. It doesn’t fit with the physical evidence collected. It doesn’t fit with the other sightings that were reported to the police prior to Zamora arriving on the scene.

Hector Quintanilla seated.
But I did think of one thing. Bruno suggested that maybe Zamora had embellished the sighting, embarrassed by all the commotion it had stirred. Hector Quintanilla, who was the chief of Project Blue Book in 1964, said that he could not find an explanation for he sighting and believed the solution might be hiding in Zamora’s head. He was saying, I think, that there might have been an observation or a bit of knowledge that Zamora had that he didn’t share with the investigators. If Zamora was embellishing the story, then that might be what Quintanilla was thinking.

As I wrote that last sentence, I knew that it would be misinterpreted by many. No, I don’t believe the barrel explanation solves the case. But, if I’m going to be intellectually honest about the investigation, I must look at all sides, and to be fair, I must present all information. I find this tale interesting and slightly disturbing, but I don’t believe this is the solution… which is not to say that Bruno and his pal weren’t blowing up barrels, or that he believes this solves Socorro. It is just one more complication as we attempt to learn what happened back in 1964.

7 comments:

Byron Weber said...

"... what happened to that barrel"? Imagine these bright young, to be engineers, Bruno and partner preconceived hiding any evidence of their planned wrongdoing, drove to the launchsite with the barrel, explosives, gas, etc., and a stack of cardboard they planned to use as a launchpad, thrown in the back of a pick-up truck. After their mission was accomplished, they hastily collected the debris leaving behind only small bits of burnt cardboard. This certainly doesn't answer all the questions about the incident, but poses a plausible explanation for some of the inconsistencies in the story.

Adam S. said...


What about following up with Bruno requesting more information his account.. I would be curious, how does he explain 1) what happened to the barrel after it landed, 2) how did they get away (and the lack of footprints and tire tracks), 3) any correspondence (perhaps even sent anonymously) with Zamora between when the event happened and before Bruno left for SA?

I agree, that his explanation as of now doesn't seem very likely for the reasons you mentioned and a couple of others. But, it would be interesting to see if he could elaborate on some questions such as the three above.

KRandle said...

Guys -

Plan to follow up. Plan to ask about the barrel. Burnt cardboard had nothing to do with this. The whole area, because of winds, had trash flying around. The burnt cardboard was an irrelevancy. And, if the guys were fleeing because Zamora had just arrived, I doubt they would have bothered gathering up the stuff, because, according to Bruno, they were just screwing around. It wasn't an attempt to fool Zamora so there was no reason to hastily grab anything.

Byron Weber said...

You're right Kevin, not having more than a passing interest in the Zamora incident, and having testified in both Federal and State courts as an investigator more times than I can remember, I knew better than to frivolously speculate. Thanks for the clarification. Looking forward to the follow up.

jamesrav said...

innocent, seemingly rationale people confess to murders all the time. This "explanation" does not line up in some many places as to be laughable. Missing barrel? no insignia? no coveralls after all ... not really matching much with the story as related by Zamora (remember: daylight sighting, close distance at 105 ft at one point). I used to be a big fan of unsolved crimes (Zodiac, Jack the Ripper, etc.) and it was amazing how many *very* plausible candidates there were for the crimes. You could gather little tidbits here and there and construct a very good case for a lot of people. For Socorro, the hoax / prank / Govt. solutions really don't impress. I certainly appreciate the research effort done to gather as much info as possible, but they're all rather 'foggy' in my opinion.

Wayne Patterson said...

Having worked with most types of military and civilian explosives , in my military career and holding blasting licenses in three states, I think I can state with some certainty this doesn't wash. Both the ammonium nitrate he claimed to use and the dynamite, which would have been either ammonium nitrate based or nitro based would have left loads of residue, as well as some materials from the blast, fuse, wiring, blasting cap copper bits etc. Not to mention rigging a barrel to blow straight in the air would be hit or miss.
With Zamora there, and state trooper Chavez there in moments, where did our stalwart macgyvers hide? Don't buy it.

Brian Bell said...
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