Monday, August 08, 2022

Roswell Intelligence Officer Dalton Smith


I have been asked many times if there is anything else we can learn about the Roswell UFO crash now that the first-hand witnesses are no longer available. We are now talking with the second and third hand witnesses, meaning the children and grandchildren of those who were there. As the stories become farther removed from the original, there are distortions that develop through no fault of those telling them. It makes it more difficult to get at the truth.

However, to my surprise, sometimes things happen to suggest there are some important avenues that we can follow. Just this last week, I received an email asking that if I had ever heard of Dalton Smith. According to the email, Smith was an intelligence officer who had been assigned to the 509th Bomb Group in Roswell in 1947. The correspondent wanted to know if that was true, or more precisely, what I knew about Smith.

The late Dalton Smith

In all the years of research, Smith’s name had never come up. In the discussions with those who had been there including the counterintelligence soldiers assigned, no one had mentioned him. We knew of James Breece who had died long before we began our research, but nothing about Smith.

The first place to look was the index for the 509th Yearbook. George Eberhart had created the index decades ago and for those interested, it is only good for my copy of the Yearbook. I had all the pages that had information and photographs of those assigned to the base but the numbering didn’t include some of the other pages that were, more or less, irrelevant. So, if you attempt to apply that index to other copies, it just won’t match. But I digress.

Smith’s name was not among those in the Yearbook. Walter Haut, who created the Yearbook told me that some 10 to 20 percent of the personnel assigned to the base were not in the book. Next stop was the base telephone directory. I quickly found Major Dalton Smith listed with a telephone number of 312.

On the same page and not far from Smith’s name was that of Jesse Marcel and Marcel’s telephone number was 312. That meant that Smith had shared an office and a telephone with Marcel, which put him right in the middle of the activity in 1947.

Given that, I knew that Breece was assigned to the intelligence section, but his telephone number was 459. Breece was not in the same office as Marcel. Given that I’d discovered that Smith and Marcel shared a telephone, I wondered if I could find a similar pairing with Breece. I didn’t find another person who shared his telephone but did find that he was located in Building 31, as were Marcel and Smith.

Under Intelligence Officer in that phone book, I learned that the base S-2 (Intelligence) number was 312, which would be Marcel. The Security Office was 316, Combat Intelligence (Breece) was 459, and the Historical Office was 312.

I also learned that Building 31 was apparently assigned to the 715th Bomb Squadron and housed its Operations, Communications and Personal Equipment offices as well as the base Intelligence Office. It does strike me as strange that the base Intelligence Office is found in a building assigned to a specific squadron, but it’s probably not overly significant.

There is little more to be said about this. I did learn that at the time Smith retired from the Air Force, he was Chief of Staff for Air Force Intelligence at the Pentagon. He left the military after more than 23 years of continuous active duty including World War II, in which he served in Europe and North Africa. Among numerous decorations, he received the Bronze Star Medal, the European-African-Middle East Medal with twelve bronze service stars, and the Korean Service Medal. At one point, he was Deputy for Intelligence in the Far East Air Force Bomber Command in Japan.

When Colonel Smith retired in 1964, the Director of Administrative Services of the U.S. Air Force cited his "sound judgment and high professional ability" during "a long and honorable career."

All of this does verify his service. The telephone directory verifies his position in Roswell at that critical time. There are a few additional leads to follow now. I’ll see what I can learn but I fear I learned all this too late. Smith died in 2013. Had we only known.


Tom Livesey said...

Wow, that is remarkable. Congratualations on your detective work, and thank you for sharing this story. I see that the subject in question rose to the top of AFOSI. He may therefore have known quite a lot!

goldfive said...

Wow. . .it's astonishing that in the year 2022 a heretofore unknown '47 RAAF officer's name pops up, and that the guy was attached to the intelligence office no less. Also amazing is the fact that he lived until 2013 while most of the key RAAF guys seemed to have passed on prior to the 1990's (with some exceptions-Easley,Cavitt,Rickett,etc.) It just shows how very difficult it is investigating a many-decades-old incident that occurred in the boonies prior to the information age, when your primary reference material is limited to the base yearbook,morning reports,and the base phonebook.

I guess the only hope now is seeing if he told anything to his three kids?

starman said...

If Smith had wanted to disclose something about Roswell he surely would've not long after Marcel did. Either he didn't remember or didn't care to tell.

August 9, 2022

KRandle said...

starman -

Or, he didn't want to violate his oath in the fashion of Edwin Easley, who wouldn't have said a word had I not contacted him and then didn't say much...

Or maybe he'd seen the harassment from self-styled researchers or drunk who would have hounded him with their opinions rather than attempting to learn the truth. I point to Colonel Barrowclough who made the comment to Kent Jeffrey after reading Jeffrey's repudiation of the Roswell case saying in a June 15, 1997 letter, "Thank you for the copy of the UFO Journal [MUFON UFO Journal which carried the article] on the Roswell myth. Maybe some of those crackpots will quit calling me up and say I'm covering up a deep gov't secret."

goldfive said...

I can think of a few other possible reasons why Smith never came forward:

1)The impression one gets from his obituary is that he was a very religious man. In fact, after retiring from the Air Force, he worked for his church in various high-level, national positions for decades.

Now, if one assumes the Roswell crash involved aliens, the reality of ET life might be difficult for some to reconcile with one's religious beliefs. So he might have 'chosen to forget', rather than wrestle with the implications.

2) As a member of Marcel's staff, maybe he just didn't know that much.

As we all know, Marcel's involvement, while publicized in news accounts at the time, was more-or-less limited to the initial stages of the incident: He responded to the call from Sheriff Wilcox's office, then investigated the Foster Ranch site with Cavitt where he personally collected a small amount of debris (which he showed to his wife and son before reporting back to base).

There isn't alot of info on Marcel's involvement at RAAF after returning with some of the debris; His final particpation in the Roswell events was being flown to Fort Worth and unceremoniously used as a prop by General Ramey during the weather balloon photo op. Marcel wever saw any bodies, nor was he involved in responding to the other crash site(s). In one of his interviews, he even said "I really didn't have a lot of time to spend on this" because he had so much other work on his plate.

I don't think it's a leap to suggest that if Marcel-as RAAF`s S2- was quickly sidelined, then others in his office or under his command would have been as well.

It seems apparent that the CIC took over the investigation, leaving Marcel (and perhaps Smith) out of the loop. Cavitt,during his first interview with Moore said "If there *was* a report, I suppose I was the one who wrote it-but I never said there was one, did I?" (words to that effect). Also, there is the anecdote by CIC agent Bill Rickett, in which he describes how Marcel wanted to see Cavitt's final report but Cavitt refused, saying he didn't have the proper clearance etc.

I think the compartmentalization lid was slammed down tight on this thing. So those on the RAAF intelligence side may not have been privy to anything beyond the discovery of the large field of metallic debris on the Foster Ranch, and the existence of the subsequent recovery operation at that particular location.

#3 Finally, although he was stationed at the RAAF in 1947 (as Kevin found in the base phonebook) maybe Smith was off-base on some assignment for that critical week, or perhaps even on leave.

starman said...


Indeed, if Smith was religious he probably wanted to forget a potential nemesis of his belief. It is interesting, btw, that while some people have cited adverse effects on current beliefs as a reason for the coverup, few if any have attempted to explain why christianity etc would be jeopardized by the revelation of advanced ETs. The only exception I know of is the obscure THE ALIEN GRAND DESIGN.

RWE said...

Well, that is some very interesting information and addressed with your customary investigative thoroughness. Back in 1999 I had dinner with a retired USAF Lt. Col and an old friend of his, retired USAF Col Bill Coleman. Bill Coleman described a remarkable UFO encounter he had in 1955 while piloting a B-25 from Andrews AFB MD to his home base of Greenville Air Force Base, Miss. They flew formation with a disk shaped object about 4 ft in diameter and 2 Ft thick until it accelerated away from them. He filed a Blue Book Report on the incident and heard no more about it. But in 1960 he was working in Public Affairs at the Pentagon and was informed by his boss that he was to become the public information officer for Project Blue Book. He then cautioned his boss that he had experienced a UFO encounter of his own and described it. His boss took him in to see the SECAF in order to get the Okay to assign him to cover Blue Book. He repeated his description of the incident to the SECAF, who responded, "Sounds like you are the best qualified person we could hope for. However when he personally examined the Blue Book files he found that his report on the 1955 incident was not there. You can only conclude that someone removed that report from the files. Given that both Bill Coleman and Dalton Smith were both at the Pentagon during the same time period and were in high level positions you would think it likely they had met. As you say, "If only we had known" who to talk to and what questions to ask. Any chance that Smith had a hand in yanking Coleman's report?

By the way, Bill Coleman's name appears in some UFO literature, since he was the Blue Book public information contact point in the 1960's. But apparently none of those authors had any idea that he had an encounter of his own that dwarfs most other reports.

BrianB said...

Sadly those who aren’t Christian always make the claim that “religious people can’t handle the truth”. While Kevin’s blog is NOT about Christianity or religion, I can assure you that “Christians” (or any world religion for that matter) aren’t “spooked” by the reality of extraterrestrials. That’s just more 1970’s mythical nonsense by ufologists who are atheists for the most part. Extraterrestrials can fit neatly inside any world religion depending on how you define “extraterrestrial”.

KRandle said...

All -

I have stopped the discussion of Christians and UFOs. It is not relevant to this topic and heads off in a direction that I do not care to pursue.