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Report Of USAF Research Regarding The Roswell Incident (2)

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posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 08:16 AM
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SEARCH STRATEGY AND METHODOLOGY To insure senior Air Force leadership that there were no hidden or overlooked files that might relate to the "Roswell Incident;" and to provide the GAO with the best and most complete information available, SAF/AAZ constructed a strategy based on direct tasking from the Office of the Secretary, to elicit information from those functional offices and organizations where such information might logically be contained. This included directing searches at current offices where special or unusual projects might be carried out, as well as historical organizations, archives, and records centers over which the Air Force exerted some degree of control. Researchers did not, however, go to the US Army to review historical records in areas such as missile launches from White Sands, or to the Department of Energy to determine if its forerunner, the Atomic Energy Commission, had any records of nuclear-related incidents that might have occurred at or near Roswell in 1947. To do so would have encroached on GAO's charter in this matter. What Air Force researchers did do, however, was to search for records still under Air Force control pertaining to these subject areas. In order to determine parameters for the most productive search of records, a review was first conducted of the major works regarding the "Roswell Incident" available in the popular literature. These works included: THE ROSWELL INCIDENT, (1980) by William Moore and Charles Berlitz; "Crashed Saucers: Evidence in Search of Proof," (1985) by Moore; THE UFO CRASH AT ROSWELL, (1991) by Kevin Randle and Donald Schmitt; THE TRUTH ABOUT THE UFO CRASH AT ROSWELL, (1994) also by Randle and Schmitt; THE ROSWELL REPORT: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, (1991), George M. Eberhart, Editor; "The Roswell Events," (1993) compiled by Fred Whiting; CRASH AT CORONA (1992) by Stanton T. Friedman and Don Berliner, as well as numerous other articles written by a combination of the above and other researchers. Collectively, the above represent the "pro" UFO writers who allege that the government is engaged in a conspiracy. There are no specific books written entirely on the theme that nothing happened at Roswell. However, Curtis Peebles in WATCH THE SKIES! (1994) discussed the development ofthe UFO story and growth of subsequent claims as a phenomenon. There has also been serious research as well as a number of detailed articles written by so- called "debunkers" of Roswell and other incidents, most notably Philip J. Klass who writes THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER newsletter, and Robert Todd, a private researcher. The concerns and claims of all the above authors and others were considered in conducting the USAF records search. It was also decided, particularly after a review of the above popular literature, that no specific attempt would be made to try to refute, point by point, the numerous claims made in the various publications. Many of these claims appear to be hearsay, undocumented, taken out of context, self-serving, or otherwise dubious. Additionally, many of the above authors are not even in agreement over various claims. Most notable of the confusing and now ever-changing claims is the controversy over the date(s) of the alleged incident, the exact location(s) of the purported debris and the extent of the wreckage. Such discrepancies in claims made the search much more difficult by greatly expanding the volume of records that had to be searched. An example of trying to deal with questionable claims is illustrated by the following example: One of the popular books mentioned that was reviewed claimed that the writers had submitted the names and serial numbers of "over two dozen" personnel stationed at Roswell in July, 1947, to the Veterans Administration and the Defense Department to confirm their military service. They then listed eleven of these persons by name and asked the question: "Why does neither the Defense Department nor the Veteran's Administration have records of any of these men when we can document that each served at Roswell Army Air Field." That claim sounded serious so SAF/AAZD was tasked to check these eleven names in the Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. Using only the names (since the authors did not list the serial numbers) the researcher quickly found records readily identifiable with eight of these persons. The other three had such common names that there could have been multiple possibilities. Interestingly, one of the listed "missing" persons had a casualty report in his records reflecting that he died in 1951, while the writers claimed to have interviewed him (or a person of the exact same name) in 1990. While the historical document search was in progress, it was decided to attempt to locate and interview several persons identified as still living who could possibly answer questions generated by the research. This had never been officially done before, although most of the persons contacted reported that they had also been contacted in the past by some of the listed authors or other private researchers. In order to counter possible future arguments that the persons interviewed were still "covering up" material because of prior security oaths, the interviewees were provided with authorization from either the Secretary of the Air Force or the Senior Security Official of the Air Force that would officially allow discussion of classified information, if applicable, or free them from any prior restriction in discussing the matter, if such existed. Again, the focus was on interviewing persons that could address specific issues raised by research and no consideration was given to try and locate every alleged witness claimed to have been contacted by the various authors. For example, one of the interviewees thought vital to obtain an official signed, sworn statement from was Sheridan Cavitt, Lt Col, USAF (Retired) who is the last living member of the three persons universally acknowledged to have recovered material from the Foster Ranch. Others were also interviewed as information developed (discussed in detail later). Additionally, in some cases survivors of deceased persons were also contacted in an attempt to locate various records thought to have been in the custody of the deceased. Even though Air Force research originally started in January, 1994, the first official Air Force-wide tasking was directed by the March 1, 1994, memorandum from SAF/AA, (Atch 5) and was addressed to those current Air Staff elements that would be the likely repository for any records, particularly if there was anything of an extraordinary nature involved. This meant that the search was not limited to unclassified materials, but also would include records of the highest classification and compartmentation. The specific Air Staff/Secretariat offices queried included the following: (a) SAF/AAI, Directorate of Information Management (b) SAF/AQL, Directorate of Electronics and Special Programs (c) AF/SE, Air Force Safety (d) AF/HO, Air Force Historian (e) AF/IN, Air Force Intelligence (including Air Force Intelligence Agency -- AFIA, and the National Air Intelligence Center, NAIC) (f) AF/XOW, Directorate of Weather (g) (added later) The Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) In addition to the above Air Staff and Secretariat offices, SAF/AAZ also reviewed appropriate classified records for any tie- in to this matter. With regards to highly classified records, it should be noted that any programs that employ enhanced security measures or controls are known as a Special Access Programs (SAPs). The authority for such programs comes from Executive Order 12356 and flows from the Department of Defense to the Services via DoD Directive 5205.7. These programs are implemented in the Air Force by Policy Directive 16-7, and Air Force Instruction 16-701. These directives contain detailed requirements for controlling and reporting, in a very strict manner, all SAPs. This includes a report from the Secretary of the Air Force to the Secretary of Defense (and ultimately to Congress) on all SAPs submitted for approval, and a certification that there are no "SAP-like" programs being operated. These reporting requirements are stipulated in public law. It followed then, that if the Air Force had recovered some type of extraterrestrial spacecraft and/or bodies and was exploiting this for scientific and technology purposes, then such a program would be operated as a SAP. SAF/AAZ, the Central Office for all Air Force SAPs, has knowledge of, and security oversight over, all SAPs. SAF/AAZ categorically stated that no such Special Access Program(s) exists that pertain to extraterrestrial spacecraft/aliens. Likewise, the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff, who head the Special Program Oversight Committee which oversees all sensitive programs in the Air Force, had no knowledge of the existence of any such program involving, or relating to the events at Roswell or the alleged technology that supposedly resulted therefrom. Besides the obvious irregularity and illegality of keeping such information from the most senior Air Force officials, it would also be illogical, since these officials are responsible for obtaining funding for operations, research, development, and security. Without funding such a program, operation, or organization could not exist. Even to keep such a fact "covered-up" in some sort of passive "caretaker status" would involve money. More importantly, it would involve people and create paperwork. The aforementioned March 1, 1994, SAF/AA tasking generated negative responses (Atch 6-12) from all recipients; i.e. all offices reported that they had no information that would explain the incident. Consequently, these negative responses led to an increase in the already on-going historical research at records centers and archives. The extensive archival and records center search was systematically carried out at by the SAF/AAZD Declassification Review Team. This team is composed entirely of Air Force Reserve personnel who have extensive training and experience in large scale review of records. (Previous efforts include the Southeast Asia Declassification Review, declassification of POW/MIA records, and the review ofthe Gulf War Air Power Survey records). The team members all had the requisite security clearances for classified information and had the authority of the Secretary of the Air Force to declassify any classified record they found that might be related to Roswell. SAF/AAZD conducted reviews at a number of locations, including: the National Archives in Washington, DC; the National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO; the National Archives, Suitland, MD; the National Records Center, Suitland, MD; Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC; Federal Records Center, Ft Worth, TX; the INSCOM Archives, Ft. Meade, MD; National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC; Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, AL; Center for Air Force History, Bolling AFB, DC; Phillips Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, MA and Kirtland AFB, NM; Rome Laboratory, Griffiss AFB, NY; and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. A listing of the specific record areas searched is appended as Atch 13. The areas included all those subject areas logically believed to possibly contain any reference to activities at Roswell AAF during the period of time in question. It is anticipated that detractors from this effort will complain that "they did not search record group x, box y, or reel z, etc.; that's where the real records are!" Such complaints are unavoidable and there is no possible way that the millions of records under Air Force control could be searched page by page. The team endeavored to make logical searches in those places where records would likely be found. They were assisted in this task by archivists, historians, and records management specialists, including experienced persons who have continually worked in Army and Air Force records systems since 1943. The team also searched some record areas that were recommended by serious private researchers such as Robert Todd, who had independently obtained almost encyclopedic knowledge of the complexities of Air Force records systems, particularly as related to this subject area. Not surprisingly, the research team found the usual number of problems in many of the records centers (particularly St. Louis) with misfiling, lost or misplaced documents, mismarking of documents, or the breaking up of record groups over the years and refiling in different systems. This included, for example, a small amount of missing "decimal files" from the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell that covered the years 1945-1949, that were marked on the index as "destroyed." The researchers noted that there was no pattern to any anomalies found and that most discrepancies were minor and consistent with what they had found in the past on similar projects. WHAT THE ROSWELL INCIDENT WAS NOT Before discussing specific positive results that these efforts revealed, it is first appropriate to discuss those things, as indicated by information available to the Air Force, that the "Roswell Incident" WAS NOT: An Airplane Crash Of all the things that are documented and tracked within the Air Force, among the most detailed and scrupulous are airplane crashes. In fact, records of air crashes go back to the first years of military flight. Safety records and reports are available for all crashes that involved serious damage, injury, death, or a combination of these factors. These records also include incidents involving experimental or classified aircraft. USAF records showed that between June 24, 1947, and July 28, 1947, there were five crashes in New Mexico alone, involving A- 26C, P-51N, C-82A, P-80A and PQ-14B aircraft; however, none of these were on the date(s) in question nor in the area(s) in question. One of the additional areas specifically set forth by GAO in its efforts was to deal with how the Air Force (and others) specifically documented "...weather balloon...and other crash incidents." In this area, the search efforts revealed that there are no AIR safety records pertaining to weather balloon crashes (all weather balloons "crash" sooner or later); however, there are provisions for generating reports of"crashes" as ground safety incidents in the unlikely chance that a balloon injures someone or causes damage. However, such records are only maintained for five years. A Missile Crash A crashed or errant missile, usually described as a captured German V-2 or one of its variants, is sometimes set forth as a possible explanation for the debris recovered near Roswell. Since much of this testing done at nearby White Sands was secret at the time, it would be logical to assume that the government would handle any missile mishap under tight security, particularly if the mishap occurred on private land. From the records reviewed by the Air Force, however, there was nothing located to suggest that this was the case. Although the bulk of remaining testing records are under the control of the US Army, the subject has also been very well documented over the years within Air Force records. There would be no reason to keep such information classified today. The USAF found no indicators or even hints that a missile was involved in this matter. A Nuclear Accident One of the areas considered was that whatever happened near Roswell may have involved nuclear weapons. This was a logical area of concern since the 509th Bomb Group was the only military unit in the world at the time that had access to nuclear weapons. Again, reviews of available records gave no indication that this was the case. A number of records still classified TOP SECRET and SECRET-RESTRICTED DATA having to do with nuclear weapons were located in the Federal Records Center in St. Louis, MO . These records, which pertained to the 509th, had nothing to do with any activities that could have been misinterpreted as the "Roswell Incident." Also, any records of a nuclear-related incident would have been inherited by the Department of Energy (DOE), and, had one occurred, it is likely DOE would have publicly reported it as part of its recent declassification and public release efforts. There were no ancillary records in Air Force files to indicate the potential existence of such records within DOE channels, however. An Extraterrestrial Craft The Air Force research found absolutely no indication that what happened near Roswell in 1947, involved any type of extraterrestrial spacecraft. This, of course, is the crux of this entire matter. "Pro-UFO" persons who obtain a copy of this report, at this point, most probably begin the "cover-up is still on" claims. Nevertheless, the research indicated absolutely no evidence OF ANY KIND that a spaceship crashed near Roswell or that any alien occupants were recovered therefrom, in some secret military operation or otherwise. This does not mean, however, that the early Air Force was not concerned about UFOs. However, in the early days, "UFO" meant Unidentified Flying Object, which literally translated as some object in the air that was not readily identifiable. It did not mean, as the term has evolved in today's language, to equate to alien spaceships. Records from the period reviewed by Air Force researchers as well as those cited by the authors mentioned before, do indicate that the USAF WAS seriously concerned about the inability to adequately identify unknown flying objects reported in American airspace. All the records, however, indicated that the focus of concern was not on aliens, hostile or otherwise, but on the Soviet Union. Many documents from that period speak to the possibility of developmental secret Soviet aircraft overflying US airspace. This, of course, was of major concern to the fledgling USAF, whose job it was to protect these same skies. The research revealed only one official AAF document that indicated that there was any activity of any type that pertained to UFOs and Roswell in July, 1947. This was a small section of the July Historical Report for the 509th Bomb Group and Roswell AAF that stated: "THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION was quite busy during the month answering inquiries on the 'flying disc,' which was reported to be in possession of the 509th Bomb Group. The object turned out to be a radar tracking balloon" (included with Atch 11). Additionally, this history showed that the 509th Commander, Colonel Blanchard, went on leave on July 8, 1947, which would be a somewhat unusual maneuver for a person involved in the supposed first ever recovery of extraterrestrial materials. (Detractors claim Blanchard did this as a ploy to elude the press and go to the scene to direct the recovery operations). The history and the morning reports also showed that the subsequent activities at Roswell during the month were mostly mundane and not indicative of any unusual high level activity, expenditure of manpower, resources or security. Likewise, the researchers found no indication of heightened activity anywhere else in the military hierarchy in the July, 1947, message traffic or orders (to include classified traffic). There were no indications and warnings, notice of alerts, or a higher tempo of operational activity reported that would be logically generated if an alien craft, whose intentions were unknown, entered US territory. To believe that such operational and high-level security activity could be conducted solely by relying on unsecured telecommunications or personal contact without creating any records of such activity certainly stretches the imagination of those who have served in the military who know that paperwork of some kind is necessary to accomplish even emergency, highly classified, or sensitive tasks. An example of activity sometimes cited by pro-UFO writers to illustrate the point that something unusual was going on was the travel of Lt. General Nathan Twining, Commander of the Air Materiel Command, to New Mexico in July, 1947. Actually, records were located indicating that Twining went to the Bomb Commanders' Course on July 8, along with a number of other general officers, and requested orders to do so a month before, on June 5, 1947 (Atch 14). Similarly, it has also been alleged that General Hoyt Vandenberg, Deputy Chief of Staff at the time, had been involved directing activity regarding events at Roswell. Activity reports (Atch 15), located in General Vandenberg's personal papers stored in the Library of Congress, did indicate that on July 7, he was busy with a "flying disc" incident; however this particular incident involved Ellington Field, Texas and the Spokane (Washington) Depot. After much discussion and information gathering on this incident, it was learned to be a hoax. There is no similar mention of his personal interest or involvement in Roswell events except in the newspapers. The above are but two small examples that indicate that if some event happened that was one of the "watershed happenings" in human history, the US military certainly reacted in an unconcerned and cavalier manner. In an actual case, the military would have had to order thousands of soldiers and airman, not only at Roswell but throughout the US, to act nonchalantly, pretend to conduct and report business as usual, and generate absolutely no paperwork of a suspicious nature, while simultaneously anticipating that twenty years or more into the future people would have available a comprehensive Freedom of Information Act that would give them great leeway to review and explore government documents. The records indicate that none of this happened (or if it did, it was controlled by a security system so efficient and tight that no one, US or otherwise, has been able to duplicate it since. If such a system had been in effect at the time, it would have also been used to protect our atomic secrets from the Soviets, which history has showed obviously was not the case). The records reviewed confirmed that no such sophisticated and efficient security system existed.




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