Monday, January 16, 2012

DENIAL OF SERVICE: THE VETERANS WHO PRETEND THEY WEREN’T AT ROSWELL

Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

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In researching the UFO crash near Roswell in 1947 sometimes we find that the denials of involvement are more revealing than the testimony that is garnered from those who confirm their knowledge or participation. Recent interviews with US Army Air Force veterans show that some military men (who would otherwise be proud of their service) will even go to the incredible length of completely denying that they had ever even served at Roswell Army Air Field in 1947, despite irrefutable evidence that they indeed had been stationed there.

Though now in their 80s, the vets contacted and mentioned in this article were articulate and clear-headed. Their outright refusal to acknowledge their service at the base at that time is not a matter of “lapsed memory” nor a “confusion of dates.” It is rather an intentional disavowal. What would make these men, in the winter of their lives, lie about such a thing? Why would a veteran deny what he was a veteran of?

The answer may be found in a closer examination of the specific units at Roswell to which these men were attached at that time. It is then that we understand why these men choose not to remember what they would rather forget: the sight of strange remnants of a sky-fallen craft and its alien pilots.

ROSWELL TEAM CHASES THE UNDERTAKER

Members of a recently formed Roswell crash research team (which includes this author) have been working on tracking down and interviewing what may now be the very last of the surviving service men at Roswell in 1947. Working from a list of names, ranks and phone numbers assembled by Tom Carey and Don Schmitt, we have been feverishly and systematically contacting these veterans to see if they can offer any insight into the crash event from 65 years ago.

There is now a “sense of urgency” like never before because it is realized that the opportunity to ever again reach these potential witnesses is a “closing window” because all of them are now at least 83 years of age or older. This is why some researchers liken this pursuit of potential first-hand military witnesses to “chasing the undertaker.” And this is why it is now vital to try to elicit any new information that can be gained from speaking to these individuals. If not done very soon, the ability to do so will be lost forever. Time is now truly of the essence. And that is why it is so frustrating when some of these individuals are not only uncooperative- but wholly deny they were ever servicemen at Roswell to begin with.

TWO EXAMPLES OF DENIAL OF ROSWELL SERVICE

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The following two examples are illustrative of this “denial of Roswell service.” Both of these individuals (whose last names are omitted to maintain their rightful privacy) were confirmed to have been stationed at Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) including during the entire month of July, 1947. They are clearly pictured in the 1947 Roswell Base Yearbook with accompanying information on the unit in which they served and other details. Following are summary notes on the interviews of these deniers:

Robert E. ___
Geneva, PA
(With the 1st Air Transport Unit)
January 3, 2012:

Denies being the Robert E. ____ associated with the Roswell Army Air Field. Pleasant but guarded. Offered that he was with the Army Air Force in 1946. When I said “How about in 1947?” he replied “Maybe for four months in 1947.”

I said “Were you stationed at Roswell?” He said, “No.” I replied “In New Mexico?” again, “No.” I asked then “Where?” to which he said, “Not there.” “Have you ever heard of Roger Ramey (a General of Roswell incident fame)?” to which he said, “No.”

I asked if he was familiar with the crash near Roswell that year. He said “No.” I clarified, “A crash of extraterrestrial beings?...” He then said, “Oh, yes, on TV, yes.”

I then said that it was an amazing coincidence that his name is the exact same name of another gentleman who was confirmed to have been at Roswell Army Air Field during the same time that he was in the Army Air Force. He said, “Yes it is.” I then thanked him for his time and hung up. {I will add here the Robert E.’s surname is so unusual that there are less than 20 sharing the same last name in the entire United States.}

Albert O. ____
Lincoln, NE
(With the 603rd Air Engineering Squadron)
January 3, 2012:

First got his wife who was very curious about my call. She understandably asked why I was calling. I mentioned the research of military history and the year 1947. Almost panicky, she immediately shot back, “I wasn’t married to him then so I don’t know anything.” Anything about what? I wondered to myself. The woman protested too much about something I had not yet even mentioned! She said that her husband Albert was not available and requested that I call him back in a few hours, which I did.

Albert denied being at Roswell Army Air Field in 1947. He said that he was there in 1946 and then was “sent to Alaska.” I asked him if he was with the 603rd. He said, “I don’t even recall the numbers anymore.” I asked him if he knew another 603rdr and mentioned his name. He said that he did not. I asked him if he knew who Butch Blanchard (the Base’s Commander) was. He said, “I did not know those guys. Wasn’t he an officer? I was just a private.” I told Albert that I had just gotten off the phone with another gentleman who maintained that mentioned 1946 but denied 1947. I asked him if he could be mistaken on this? Albert replied with a nervous and knowing laugh, “Could be.”

I asked him if he ever had heard of any unusual even that happened in July of 1947 at Roswell? He simply said, “no” and did not even ask of me what was unusual that had happened. I said, “You know, the crash of a UFO.” He said, “Oh you mean aliens and all? (more nervous laughter).” I then said that several service men and officers did not think it was funny and that they maintained that something not of earth really did crash and that it was not a balloon. He then said, “Well they had their reasons then to cover it up.” I said, “Well then you don’t think the alien thing is so silly?” Albert, becoming very serious in tone, then said, “They would have known more, look, why don’t you talk to military intelligence?” I told him that I and others had. Not getting any further with him I closed the conversation and thanked him.

WHY THEY DENY

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Before the scoffers and naysayers begin their inevitable attack on my discussions with these vets, I need to make some things very clear. These are only two examples of such obvious denial. There are countless others from over the years. I introduce myself to such potential witnesses as a “researcher of military history.” I do not begin by explaining that I am researching UFOs and the Roswell crash. In fact I begin with “small talk” about where I am calling from, the weather or perhaps some other innocuous topic which invariably leads to them “opening up.” In this way they become more forthcoming and comfortable, even friendly. This also allows me to determine if they are of ‘sound mind’ and if they are able to respond in an articulate and cogent manner.

Both of these vets are still very much “with it.” Both were gracious in the beginning and both were happy to discuss anything. Except Roswell. Or admit that they were even there. It is not that they do not wish to “get involved” by having their names revealed (I often offer and honor anonymity) or that they were not well or that they found me to be a “nuisance” caller (at least in the beginning of the call.) I engage them thoroughly in other matters before gradually leading into a discussion of the crash. And certainly at any time these witnesses could simply say that they had heard nothing at the time about the crash being ET or that they believe it to be a hoax, etc. But instead they have decided to say that they were not even there. This offers them the ultimate “out” and a reason that they cannot say anything because “they weren’t even there.”

These two are not “fuzzy on their dates” of service- one of them outright and boldface lies that he was ever at Roswell at all, while the other hedges on the months in ’47 that he was there. Veterans remember their service. They do not “hedge” or “obfuscate” about the” when’s and where’s” of such service. I talked with them and I know that they were purposeful in their obfuscation. So before the naysayers interject that I asked leading questions, or that the vets simply did not really remember, or that they did just did not want to be bothered, let me interject: These men knew exactly where they were and exactly what they were saying and not saying. And again, they are not alone in their denial. Other researchers have had similar experiences with other veterans of Roswell. Even 15-20 years ago (when they were in their 60s or so and their memories were even presumably clearer) some of these Roswell vets would deny their installation at Roswell.

The real reason that Robert E. ____ of the 1st Air Transport Unit did not wish to admit his service at Roswell is because the 1st Air Transport Unit has long been known to have been a very involved unit after the crash retrieval. Robert no doubt knew the Captain of the 1st Air Transport Unit, Oliver “Pappy” Henderson. Henderson confessed to his daughters and to his wife that he was involved in carrying wreckage from Roswell to Wright Patterson in Dayton. And he would have known Sergeant Robert E. Smith, also a member of the First Air Transport Unit at Roswell Army Air Field. Smith told researchers directly that his unit was involved and that he had spent an entire day loading three aircraft with the material from the site.

The real reason that Albert O.____ of the 603rd Air Engineering Squadron did not wish to admit his service at Roswell is because others in this Squadron had confessed their unit’s major involvement in the incident. Sergeant Homer G. Rowlette, a member of the 603d confessed to his son Larry and his daughter Carlene Green that his unit had been engaged in the retrieval and that he had seen the corpses of non-humans. One of the main tasks of the 603rd was the overhauling of the B-29s . And B-29 Crew Chief Milton Sprouse came forward about four years ago to admit his knowledge of the crash as the crash of an extraterrestrial vehicle.

THE HONORABLE AND THE DISHONORABLE

Service to your country can be characterized as either “honorable” or as dishonorable. Those veterans who have come forward (or who were “found” and were forthcoming) about their knowledge of the Roswell Incident are to be commended. History and Truth will honor them. Those such as Robert and Albert who would even deny their time in service to their country because of what happened during that time and at that place are not “honorable” men. The future will not view them with favor.

AB

17 comments:

  1. Tony:

    You say in your article: "Those such as Robert and Albert who would even deny their time in service to their country because of what happened during that time and at that place are not 'honorable' men. The future will not view them with favor."

    All of us who are fascinated by Roswell want the answers, and we all encourage people to come forward and tell what they know - on whatever it was that happened back in 47 at the Foster Ranch.

    But, in my view, to cast doubt on the honor of these guys (and to name them too, and cast doubt on their honor in a public forum, no less!) just because they choose not to speak about what they may or may not know, is - in my view - plain wrong and inexcusable.

    Let's say that (hypothetically, of course) 40 years from now you interview some old guy who worked on an op in the 2000s that helped protect the US from a dirty-bomb attack, and there were aspects of the matter still considered classified in 2042.

    If that old guy chose not to discuss that, or deny being involved in the op, would you question his honor? I suspect you would not. You might, quite rightly too, continue to pursue other leads etc in an attempt o unravel the story.

    I suspect that here, however, you are letting your emotion for the Roswell case cloud things, to where you are reacting with emotion about these guys not delivering the goods (because you feel they should), and thus labeling them as "not 'honorable' men."

    As you well know, the Roswell event deeply affected certain players in the story (such as Dee Proctor, notably).

    Fear may be an overriding factor in certain cases of silence - fear of a potential backlash from officialdom even to this day.

    None of us really know what made - and still makes - certain people not want to confirm things they may have seen or done in relation to Roswell.

    And, yes, we find that a pain in the neck, and it's undeniably frustrating etc. But, that doesn't mean these old guys in their 80s are "not 'honorable' men."

    Had you ended this post prior to writing the final paragraph (titled the Honorable and the Dishonorable), all would have been fine, as the references to the 603rd etc are all valuable.

    But, for me anyway, that last paragraph just tarnishes the whole thing and takes it away from investigative research into an emotion-driven attack on the honor of people who won't tell you what you want to hear.

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  2. There's another issue here too: let's say that there may be other old-timers (or wives of) who may know something valuable about Roswell and are looking to speak about it.

    Maybe, they might think twice if a member of the Dream Team questions their honor if they don't say what is wanted to be heard.

    I'd suggest, Tony, your comments might actually close doors on you, when it comes to future witnesses.

    As I said, I would have ended it without that final statement. And I would have sent a lengthy letter to the 2 old guys, explaining what I was doing, why, the reasons, the goal etc, and impress upon them that you understand they may have reasons not to talk, but impress upon them that the USAF has effectively stated that nothing extraordinary happened at Roswell, so what's the harm in talking?

    For me, that would have been the most logical approach, and one that might still allow for some answers to come (when the person has had the opportunity to digest the letter and think about it and how to comment).

    But, this attack on their honor may not just lead to these guys not wanting to talk to you ever again, but may well mean that each and every member of their family (which may be large, given their ages), and who might know something will not want to talk to you.

    I think those words were just plain disastrous and guaranteed to close doors with people who - if you carefully cultivated and nurtured further contact in an emotion-free fashion - might have actually been able to help.

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  3. I totally agree with Nick on this one, and would go further.

    Amazing isn't it? On the one hand we get a number of witnesses who claim to have seen either the bodies or the wreckage, or both. Their word is almost always taken as confirmation that an ET craft crashed to earth.

    On the other hand, when we get some witnesses who deny everything or say virtually nothing, their testimony is also taken as confirmation that an ET craft crashed to earth, and was covered up.

    So for Tony Bragalia and the 'Dream Team' it looks like heads they win, tails the skeptics lose.

    The positive result the team desire can be thus achieved in one of two ways: accepting the positives or discarding the negatives.

    Simple, eh Tony?

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  4. CDA:

    The argument is a bit more agitated and ongoing at The Iconoclast(s) blog.

    RR

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  5. CDA-

    You simply misconstrue. If these men denied that they "saw anything" or that they "knew anything" about the crash event- I would note it duly.

    But these men are not denying that- some are denying that they were ever even stationed at the Roswell base in '47. This is a whole other matter entirely. It is one thing to say that you think the incident 'hooey' (and some Roswell service men do, and we report this) but it is very much another thing to say that you were not at the base when you were.

    And CDA, skeptics and 'believers' alike "lose" when there is that kind of abject stonewalling.

    AJB

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  6. Upon re-reading your main article I do not think either man flatly denied their presence at Roswell in July '47. They were a bit dodgy, one thought it was '46 then admitted he "could be" wrong. The other admitted to being there for 4 months in '47.

    So I say you are not justified in claiming either man lied (or denied) about being there; they were just a bit hazy in their memories. Nor are you justified in your claim of dishonorability.

    The only way we can judge, as I said on the Iconoclasts blog, is to listen to the unedited transcripts of your conversations with them. Better still, meet them face to face. Until then, we have to reserve judgment.

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  7. Some folks just don't care to be involved in this sort of thing.

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  8. I certainly understand that some people just plain do not want to be associated with the event and have any potential disruptions of their lives. And we can offer anonymity, but these guys never even allowed me to get to that point because they would not even acknowledge having been at RAAF!I have done enough of these interviews to know when someone simply does not wish to talk about it.

    And I can empathize and respect and understand someone saying that they do not wish to discuss it. Or, if they say that it was a hoax or all "hooey" I would duly note it and report it. No need for them to lie that they were not even stationed there at the time. It is a game that they need not play.

    If my son was convicted of a crime and a reporter called me on it, I would not say that he is not my son. I would say that I do not wish to discuss it, or I would say that he was guilty or innocent. I would under no circumstances whatsoever disavow my son and deny that he was my blood.

    In the same way, to wholly disavow you fellow soldiers as well as the time that you spent with them in service to your country cannot -by anyone- be considered "honorable." I simply cannot understand how anyone thinks otherwise, sorry.

    AJB

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  9. Those guys were a different breed from a generation where if they were told to keep quiet, they kept quiet. My father's ship was involved in a huge secret mission in the Pacific towards the end of WWII. He never once mentioned it. The mission was declassified a few years ago and a Cleveland paper tracked down a vet who served on my dad's ship. He never told anyone about the mission. He was surprised when the reporter showed up and asked him about it. It was only after he was told it was declassified that he agreed to talk about it. The reporter asked why, after all the decades he never once mentioned it, even to his family. He said that he was told not to talk about it. Unfortunately, my dad died in 2003 so I will never get a chance to ask him about it.

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  10. I would go along with Nick to send them a long letter, explaining your work and the importance of recording one's own history.

    You might even include a copy of the letter from the Secretary of the Air Force waving clearances that were related to Roswell. Most researchers weren't aware of the letter so I am sure they don't know.

    It would only be 10 minutes of work and you might strike it rich.

    I do appreciate your work in tracking these people down and making the calls. It is the hard core research that many are afraid to do.

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  11. The most hilariously stupid thing about this story is the idea that these guys would have (if the Roswell spaceship myth had any truth to it at all) been told to lie about and deny things that were easy to check out, even bringing their families into the mix without any need whatsoever:

    "From now on honey, we must say that we never were in Roswell in 1947!"

    "But Aunt Bertha knows...she visited us here!"

    "I'll deal with Aunt Bertha when the time comes!"

    Instead of simply denying any knowledge of anything that was exotic.

    It's like a story dreamed up by a dull 12 year old boy.

    Lance

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  12. Hi Grant-

    Hope all is well. Yes, meant to tell Nick that we are going to write some of the witnesses. Including a copy of the AF waiver is an excellent suggestion. We also are going to encourage that if they wish to say nothing now, perhaps they would consider leaving a written testament for release after they pass for the sake of history.

    Lance-

    Perhaps you would like to talk with the family of 1947 Roswell Base Chaplain Hankerson as I have done? His daughter and son were born just after Roswell. I assure you that they remain stunned and disturbed to this very day that they were never made aware by their mother or father that they had lived in New Mexico and that their father (who lived to see the 're-emergence' of the Roswell story in the 90s) never said a thing about having been stationed there.

    Such fundamental denials and omissions speak to something Lance. In light of what Reverend Hankerson said at the end of his life, we now know why he was silent (see "The Reverend at Roswell: A Chaplain at the Crash?")

    AJB

    AJB

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  13. "You might even include a copy of the letter from the Secretary of the Air Force waving clearances that were related to Roswell."

    That's an excellent point. Not too many people, even in the UFO field, are aware of it. It also wouldn't have been a bad idea to incorporate that into some of the White House/UFO petitions.

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  14. The thesis of the article, as I perceive it is: "Some Roswell military veterans are denying that they were actually on the base during the 1947 incident, though documentation states other-wise."

    The closing statements of the article infers that these men are not honorable because of their silence or outright refusal to discuss their experience, if any.

    It appears to me that the main support of Mr. Bragalia's thesis was "self-obliterated" and lost due to his "interpretation" or suppositions regarding the individuals intent/motives. Hence all of the discussion concerning the "honor" issue rather than the merits of his actual thesis.

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  15. Thank you Tim for pointing this out. Had I known that my 'editorializing' at the end of the article would distract so very much from the 'meat of the matter' and the actual subject of the article, I would not have included it.

    AJB

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  16. I take exception to your labeling these men as dishonorable.

    From their perspective, they are keeping their word. In other words they are behaving honorably.

    As a veteran, their are many things I did that I was sworn to secrecy about.
    Things I cannot talk about now, 30 years later. Let me hasten to add, not UFO related. Other stuff.

    Honor involves keeping your word, not setting the record straight for posterity.

    Otherwise I found the article insightful and entertaining. Has any one ever checked Davis-Monthan AFB in AZ (The Boneyard)?

    It would be the perfect place to hide stuff, The Purloined Letter Approach.

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  17. Mr Bragalia, at times it is dificult for me to even comprehend what kind of mechanism makes a UFO researchers brain function. I guess I should start by saying I am a retired veteran, and that I take offense to the way you throw around the use of the word honor. Unless the men you are talking about were court martialed and dishonorably discharged you should never even think about refering to honor.

    On the other hand, there is one thing researchers seem to forget. you need to place yourself in the frame of mind that these personnel grew up in and evolved around. Even to this date one of the US Navy's favorite lines is "Loose lips, sink ships", almost every ship has the posters. In my 20 years of service I served in 1 submarine, 9 surface craft and 3 bases, and there wasn't a single hour we weren't reminded of what secrecy meant.

    Denial of service is nothing new to servicemen. We are taught that if things do not appear to be official, then we were not there. One of the favorite phrases: "I can neither confirm nor deny..."

    Some things that civilians do not understand is that the service member takes an oath after signing a contract. They are also trained and made to understand that direct or indirect violation of this oath means that you will be taken to court, you will be fined and you may spend a given amount of time in federal prison. Violation to the oath and contract is considered a Federal offense and treated as a felony. So, unless you have been expressly told, in writing, by higher ups that you are cleared to make a comment about a particular event without naming names or places nor talking about classified matter, then for all practical purposes you cannot talk about it without putting yourself in jeopardy. Therefore the reluctance of our honored veterans willfulness to talk.

    And Mr. Anthony, don't ever forget, that these are the true American citizens you are talking about. The ones that put their life on the line for liberty, justice and Democratic ideals. I for one feel that unless you have served your country you have not really earned the right to be labeled a citizen, but that, is for another forum.

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