Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Lieutenant Colonel Joe C. Briley and Project Mogul, Again


I get so tired of having to repeat the same thing over and over. Those writing on various UFO related subjects just don’t bother to find the latest and best information available. They find what they want and go no further. Just the other day, in a 2021 publication, I read about Mac Brazel. It has been two decades or more since Tom Carey and Don Schmitt discovered that Mac Brazel was actually Mack Brazel. Trivial? Sure, but it’s not all that difficult to find the proper and current information.

As I was doing some research on Lieutenant Colonel Joe Briley, who, in 1947, was the Operations Officer for the 509th Bomb Group, when I found a relatively new posting about him and the Roswell UFO crash. As I read the information, I saw that someone, in this case Patrick Gross, had reviewed the case and formed a number of conclusions based on his research.

At the bottom of the rather and complex posting, Gross wrote, “Joe Briley was probably a Lieutenant, not a Lieutenant Colonel, at the time of the incident, and was probably a Lieutenant Colonel when he retired from the Air Force.”

I don’t know why he would have thought this. If he had bothered to search out a page from the 1947 Yearbook that Walter Haut prepared in the summer of 1947, and which was published in November of that year, he would have seen a page devoted to “Staff Officers,” with a picture of Lieutenant Colonel Joe C. Briley listed as the Operations Officer. Copies of that picture are available on the Internet and can be found with little effort. And, of course, it proves that Briley, in 1947, was a Lieutenant Colonel.

The "Staff Officers" page from the 1947 Yearbook, as it appears
on the Internet.

From there we move to Project Mogul. There are some other speculations by Gross about the Mogul team visiting the Roswell Army Air Field. I’m going to ignore most of them because I covered this in depth in Roswell in the 21st Century (which he apparently read). I will note, however, that those on the Mogul team, including Dr. Albert Crary, visited the base in June and July, 1947, as they recovered, or attempted to recover, the remains of their Mogul flights. On one occasion they stopped there to refuel the weapons carrier they were driving because it was issued to them by the military in Alamogordo. That simply means they could draw fuel from another base as needed. According to Crary, they had no trouble entering the base and drawing the fuel, not to mention that the remains of a Mogul flight were in the back of the weapons carrier, in plain view.

There is something else that should be pointed out. It is something that the supporters of the Mogul theory overlook, and that is that Flight No. 4, the culprit in all this, never flew. Crary’s diary, field notes and the typed transcript of those notes, all show that the flight had been cancelled due to clouds. By agreement, or CAA (FAA) regulation, they were not allowed to launch the arrays at night or in cloudy weather because the arrays were a hazard to aerial navigation. Charles Moore, who was on the Mogul team in 1947, reported that Flight No. 4 was actually launched at 2:30 or 3:00 a.m., in violation of those rules. And, if we believe Crary’s diary, it was then cancelled because of clouds after it was launched. At least that it what Moore would have us believe.

The real problem with Mogul is the misleading claim used by the Air Force and the skeptics. They say these launches were somehow so secret that those in New Mexico, meaning the men of the 509th, wouldn’t have known about them. The problem here is that those same regulations that prohibited flights in the clouds and at night also required that NOTAMs (Notice to Airmen) be filed announcing the launches because of that threat to aerial navigation. Even if you wish to claim that those at Roswell wouldn’t have known about the flights from the Mogul team, they would have learned about them from the NOTAMs, which were provided to all civilian and military airfields.

Even worse for these arguments is that what was happening in New Mexico wasn’t highly classified. It wasn’t even classified at all. True, the ultimate purpose of Mogul was classified but the balloon flights in New Mexico were not. The equipment being used was off the shelf, meaning, of course, that the neoprene balloons and the rawin radar targets were nothing special, had not been created for Mogul, but had been adapted from other purposes like weather observations. In other words, weather stations around the country routinely launched these neoprene balloons and rawin radar targets in their observations of winds aloft conditions. The material was easily recognized by all sorts of people including farmers and ranchers who often found them in their fields.

In fact, the Mogul operation in New Mexico, was used in 1947 to cover the recovery of the material found by Mack Brazel. On July 10, 1947, in a number of newspapers, were pictures of the Mogul array, on the ground, and a description of the operation. In one of the photographs is a ladder, which I mention only because Charles Moore told me that he had bought the ladder with petty cash in Alamogordo.

Front page of the Alamogordo News for July 10, 1947. The pictures are of
the Mogul team and their project. The ladder in the center pictures is
the one that Charles Moore bought in Alamogordo.

Finally, there is a criticism that the whole transcripts of the interviews with Briley hadn’t been published. In a point that is labeled, “What he allegedly said,” there were quotes, but not the whole thing, suggesting that the quotes were cherry-picked to provide evidence for a specific point of view. While it is true that I haven’t published the transcripts, there is nothing in them that hasn’t been accurately related and by reading the whole transcripts, the conclusions don’t change. But the truth is that there is no allegedly said about it. This is what he said in the context of my interviews with him.

These are just a few of the problems with that analysis of what Joe Briley said. We move from deciding that he hadn’t been a Lieutenant Colonel in 1947, with no reason to suspect that and evidence to the contrary to the assumption that the quotes attributed to him haven’t been fully revealed. There is no reason to assume that they haven’t been honestly reported, other than a desire to reduce the importance of what he said. Had there been some evidence to show that the information has been manipulated, that would be one thing. But to assume that because Gross hadn’t seen the whole transcripts or notes from the interviews that there is missing information is another. The quotes that I have attributed to him are accurate and in context and I know because I conducted the interviews. Everything else suggested by Gross is speculation without evidence.


John Steiger said...

While I am sorry that you have to repeat the same thing over and over, I must note that the ideas that you are having to rewrite are nevertheless continually interesting subject matter -- at least that's how they are to me.

P.S. Now how many times have I restated that about your work on UFOs ... ?

Paul Young said...

Gross, in attempting to "down-rank" Lieutenant Colonel Briley, is almost as irritating as certain authors, in recent months, who have been trying to convey a story that there has been a crack in the narrative of the Travis Walton case...when it's absolutely obvious that it hasn't. "Speculation without evidence"???