Roswell: What if the Air Force Doesn't Actually Know? by Nick Redfern
There can be few people within the Ufological arena who are unaware of the United States Air Force's view on what did - or, indeed, did not - happen in the desert outside of Roswell, New Mexico in July 1947.
The USAF's reports of 1994 and 1997 spell out the Air Force's position perfectly and graphically.
Commenting on the Air Force's report on Roswell, in 1995 the General Accounting Office advised the late New Mexico Congressman Steven Schiff (who, in the spring of 1993, had begun to make inquiries with the Defense Department in an attempt to determine the truth surrounding certain aspects of the Roswell controversy) that while it now seemed unlikely that the weather balloon explanation for Roswell was correct, the Air Force had come to yet another conclusion in its attempt to lay the mystery of Roswell to rest.
According to the GAO:
"DOD informed us that the U.S. Air Force report of July 1994, entitled Report of Air Force Research Regarding the Roswell Incident, represents the extent of DOD records or information concerning the Roswell crash.
"The Air Force report concluded that there was no dispute that something happened near Roswell in July 1947 and that all available official materials indicated the most likely source of the wreckage recovered was one of the project MOGUL balloon trains.
"At the time of the Roswell crash, project MOGUL was a highly classified U.S. effort to determine the state of Soviet nuclear weapons research using balloons that carried radar reflectors and acoustic sensors."
And what of the reports of unusual bodies allegedly recovered, too?
In its 1994 report, the USAF pretty much dismissed the matter with the following, brief statement:
“It should also be noted here that there was little mentioned in this report about the recovery of the so-called ‘alien bodies.’ [T]he recovered wreckage was from a Project Mogul balloon. There were no ‘alien’ passengers therein.”
That stance was to change drastically in 1997, however.
Dummies in the Desert
Entitled The Roswell Report: Case Closed, the Air Force’s second report on the New Mexico events of 1947 was published in the summer of 1997 and marked the 50th anniversary of the incident at Roswell.
The report did little to dampen the notoriety surrounding the case, however. Indeed, the question of why the Air Force had concluded that there was a pressing need on its part to explain the reports of unusual bodies found in New Mexico, when it could have summarily dismissed them as hoaxes or modern-day folklore, arguably only heightened the interest in what did or did not occur.
The second Air Force report on Roswell was written by Captain James McAndrew, an Intelligence Applications Officer assigned to the Secretary of the Air Force Declassification and Review Team at the Pentagon who had served special tours of duty with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The report, which focused practically all of its 231-pages on the alleged recovery of the strange bodies, essentially concluded that:
“'Aliens' observed in the New Mexico desert were probably anthropomorphic test dummies that were carried aloft by U.S. Air Force high altitude balloons for scientific research.
"The 'unusual' military activities in the New Mexico desert were high altitude research balloon launch and recovery operations. The reports of military units that always seemed to arrive shortly after the crash of a flying saucer to retrieve the saucer and 'crew,' were actually accurate descriptions of Air Force personnel engaged in anthropomorphic dummy recovery operations."
Of course, this raised the blood-pressure levels - and the outrage - of the collective Roswell research community to stratospheric levels, amid claims that the Mogul and crash-test dummy reports were nothing less than officially-orchestrated operations designed to specifically demolish the claims that aliens met their deaths on the Foster Ranch all those years ago.
But what if this wasn't a cover-up?
What if there is another explanation?
Before you question whether or not I have well and truly flipped my daily-shaved lid, let's look at things a bit closer.
Although it's fair to say that Kevin Randle and I disagree to a highly significant degree on what may have happened at Roswell 62 years ago, I do agree with him on one point (well, actually, I agree with him on quite a few points - but one is sufficient and relevant for this posting); namely that the Air Force utterly failed to take Randle up on his offer to make his interview materials available to the Air Force.
The reason: so that they might speak with some of the senior military personnel who had been involved in the Roswell affair to varying degrees, and who might be willing to speak out, clarify a few things, and even - perhaps - help to clear up the unholy mess once and for all.
It was not to be, however: instead, the USAF seemed determined to go with Mogul. Too bad that one of the Air Force's star-interviewees was the enigmatic Sheridan Cavitt, whose description to the USAF of the debris he saw and collected resembled a gigantic Mogul array just about as much as I resemble a fucking giraffe!
A Hidden Secret or a Lost Secret?
Although many people who dismiss the Mogul and crash-test dummy scenarios are firmly of the belief that the Air Force knows the real ET truth of Roswell and systematically hid it from one and all, that may not actually be the case.
There is always a tendency (consciously or otherwise) to dismiss out-of-hand anything that comes out of the mouth of officialdom when claims of conspiracy and cover-up abound - and sometimes with much justification, too.
But what if the USAF is as much in the dark as everyone else, and the Mogul and crash-test dummy reports were genuine attempts to turn up something solid - but that, ultimately, failed to do so?
Let's first look at things from the perspective of my Body Snatchers in the Desert book.
When I discussed the chances of actually finding official documentation to confirm the scenario as presented in my book, I was bluntly told by one of the interviewees: “I guarantee you won’t find any files on this. Those people aren’t going to leave tracks...It will have been destroyed years ago – the documents, photographs, the bodies are all gone."
And, of course, since the story as related to me was just focused upon high-altitude balloons, Japanese POWs, and gliders based on the designs of the Horten brothers, it seems reasonable to assume that there would be no real point in preserving this material for decades - there would be no point because there was nothing unique about it.
Filling a "secret hangar" with broken gliders, shredded balloons and the decaying (or even preserved) remains of Japanese people would be utterly absurd, and would serve no purpose at all - which is exactly what I was told.
Furthermore, as I was informed that questions were asked at the time about the legality of these alleged test-flights, all the documentation was said to have been destroyed decades ago to protect the guilty.
Now, it could of course be reasonably argued that I was carefully lied to, and in a fashion that was designed to make me (and other Roswell researchers) specifically think: "Well, there's nothing left to find now, so what's the point in looking?"
On the other hand, if the story as related to me was genuine - and all evidence of the events at Roswell was indeed utterly destroyed years ago to protect those involved in a series of shocking early-Cold War-era experiments - then there may well indeed be absolutely nothing left to find today, at all; aside from the memories of an ever-dwindling group of old men and women.
Even Kevin Randle acknowledged the scenario outlined above, even though he did not agree with it.
In his article Roswell Explained - Again, which appeared in Fate in September 2005, Kevin wrote:
"Redfern has suggested that his answer makes sense because he can find no documentation to support it. He reasons, with some logic, that those conducting the experiments, knowing that they were illegal, destroyed the evidence when they finished. The files were shredded, the remains of the craft were dismantled and burned, and those with knowledge were cautioned never to mention it to anyone."
"Redfern tells us that an extraterrestrial craft would not lend itself to such a cover-up. Because the biological samples (alien bodies), the craft, and its components were unique, they would be preserved so that information could be gathered from them as our technology advanced. Indeed, logic argues in favor of this scenario: destruction of everything related to the case if it was an illegal experiment and preservation if it was extraterrestrial."
So, in other words, here's where things are at: the USAF acknowledges that it could find no documentation to support the weather-balloon scenario of the summer of 1947.
It even concedes that no smoking-gun was ever found that definitively vindicated the Mogul and crash-test dummy scenarios.
And, if Roswell was indeed a classified test of the type outlined to me, then all the evidence was destroyed years ago.
So, that leaves only one chance of ever finding something tangible, and that is if Roswell was extraterrestrial.
But, even if ET did indeed have the bad-luck to slam into the ground on the Foster Ranch back in 1947, that does not mean that today's Air Force should have any real awareness of this matter - and it doesn't mean they are sitting on (and choosing to hide behind a Mogul and crash-test dummy smokescreen) countless files on alien autopsies, memory metal analysis, and crash analysis reports.
Let's say ET did crash at Roswell; that decades ago the material evidence was removed to a secure location; and that from thereon it was overseen and managed by a select group - invitation into which was, and still is, practically non-existent.
Would the Air Force of today even know?
Trying to Understand the Air Force
So here's where I am at today: we should indeed be justifiably outraged and puzzled that the USAF summarily chose not to interview the various military old-timers (Cavitt and a couple of others aside) who could have shed much-welcome light on the whole affair. And there are sound reasons for dismissing the Mogul and crash-test dummy scenarios.
But, whether ET or secret-experiment, I wonder if the USAF (whether via word-of-mouth or institutional memory) secretly knows - or, perhaps more likely, secretly suspects - what actually happened at Roswell...but can't prove it, and maybe - deep down - doesn't even want to prove it.
And, as a result, rather than interview an absolute wealth of people (most of who, 15 years later, are now either deceased or in fading health) who could have answered important questions, the USAF chose not to go down the path of potentially compromising a still-active Top Secret operation (designed to hide the alien truth), or uncovering a dark, domestic Cold War secret akin to Body Snatchers, and instead elected to go with the far-less-controversial Mogul and the dummies.
Perhaps the Air Force's decision to go with Mogul and the crash-test dummies wasn't part of an effort to bury the real story, of which many believe it was hiding (and continues to hide) deep knowledge.
Perhaps the Air Force's decision not to interview Randle's sources was not prompted by some huge conspiracy. Perhaps it was all based upon fear and apprehension of what they might have found - of a truly controversial nature, terrestrial or extraterrestrial - had they dared to dig any deeper...