WPAFB, the Pentagon and the Media

[For those readers concerned with what happened following the Roswell incident.]

By T. L. Keller

Project Blue Book                                              fourth official USAF investigation, but considered to be a public relations effort.  Blue Book was started in 1952 and terminated in 1969.

ETI                                                                  Extraterrestrial Intelligence (coined by Dr. Steven Greer)

Project Grudge                                                  second official USAF investigation (after Project Sign), it was under-staffed and under-funded.  Conclusion: debunk UFOs until they disappear.  Grudge started in 1949 and concluded in 1951).

mandible                                                         the lower jaw of a vertebrate animal.  Also, either of a pair of biting jaws of an insect or other arthropod (such as a spider).

MJ-12                                                              a shadow government organization set up by President Harry S. Truman to control the subject of  UFOs.  MJ-12 included General Nathan Twining, the head of Air Material Command at WPAFB, and General Hoyt Vandenberg, USAF Chief of Staff, later to become the Director of the CIA.

RAAF                                                               Roswell Army Air Field, Roswell, New Mexico.

Project Sign                                                    first official USAF investigation into the nature of UFOs and the properties of that phenomenon culminating in the report “Estimate of the Situation” in September/October 1948.  Conclusion: UFOs were interplanetary.

Project Stork                                                  third official, but secret, USAF investigation lead by Battelle Memorial Institute in 1952. Conclusion: “UFOs were not of any foreign earthly design.”

vertebrate                                                      having a backbone, or spinal column.

WPAFB                                                           Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio.  Sometimes called “Wright-Patt”

Background

Sure, most of the readers have heard of Marcel, Blanchard, Haut, Ramey and the other Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) “cast members.”  Most readers  are familiar with the front page newspaper headlines, photographs, official RAAF press releases and witness accounts of what took place in and near Roswell in July of 1947.  But what many readers will not know is what happened at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) when the crash victims and wreckage arrived at the main gate. Who was in control?  What happened to the ETI bodies? Where did they go?  Inquiring minds want to know!

This article will only answer a few of those questions.  But if the reader is anyone like this writer, I’ve always wanted to know, and now I’ve discovered the source of many of the answers.  They come from Don Schmitt and Thomas Carey in the form of a book published in 2013, six years ago.  Irrespective of the title, it contains a lot more than the history of WPAFB. It relates what took place decades after Roswell: reports from unknown witnesses, military and Washington politics, the various personalities, the victories and the disappointments —even what Truman knew within 48 hours after the crash.

The Book on WPAFB

First, I have to admit that I love used book stores.  It’s because you can find, quite unexpectedly, a great book that you were not even aware of and you can get it at a very reasonable price.  Recently, I really scored when I bought the 2013 edition of Inside the Real Area 51: The Secret History of Wright-Patterson  [1] by Don Schmitt and Thomas Carey.  This article’s about two subjects: their 2013 book and the role that the American media has regrettably played over the last 72 years.  Within less than 300 pages, Schmitt and Carey achieved a wonderful objective: revealing the prominence of the inner workings of WPAFB in dealing with the consequences of multiple UFO crash-retrievals and how the American media has been manipulated by WPAFB and the Pentagon consistently of all of those years.  If you have ever wondered about what went on at WPAFB in the years following Roswell and other such events, I recommend this book.  If every American citizen were to read this book, they would no longer question the reality of those events.

Donald R. Schmitt
Thomas J. Carey

“Hangar 18” Mystery Solved

Personally, I’ve always been curious about the legendary “Hangar 18.”   Based upon the testimonies of numerous WPAFB civilian employees and military witnesses, the wreckage and the cadavers were first taken to Building 23 (as shown below), later the wreckage was moved to Building 18 and apparently stored there for “many years.”  Building 18 was just one of a group comprising the Power Plant Laboratory complex.  These were designated Buildings 18 to 18G.  Building 18 was the original main research laboratory.  Building 18F contained “four cold rooms” (originally to test aircraft engines in sub-zero conditions) and this is where the cadavers were placed into cold storage.  It is noteworthy that Hangar 23 had multiple underground levels and incorporated a hangar elevator system.  According to one witness, Merlin Hansen (an elevator servicer), four to six fighter aircraft could be stored below ground.  

Hangar 23 [2]
Building 18 [3]

After reading the entire text of Inside the Real Area 51 and considering the many civilian employees and military witnesses reported in the book, most readers would conclude that there is little doubt about where most of the wreckage and bodies were taken after the crash. The testimony by a “Q”-clearance, clerk-typist at the Foreign Technology Division, the late June Crain, is quite alarming.  You’ll have to read her testimony yourself as it is too extensive for this one article. 

The Roswell Beings (and More) Revealed

Roswell ETI Sketch [4]
Rendering of Baham’s ETI [5]

Of course, many of us have seen the Roswell ETI drawing (above left) by the late Leonard Stringfield.  That description came from Norma Gardner (and perhaps others), a former, retired WPAFB typist with a high security clearance.  Gardner said that she saw “two bodies preserved in some kind of chemical solution.  She said that they were small, about 4 feet tall, but with large heads and slanted eyes, and ‘obviously not human.’” [6] Remembering a color rendition of a similar facial description in Kim Carlsberg’s wonderful book, The Art of Close Encounters, I pulled out my copy.  In the “Contact Encounter Art” section, there it was. The rendering by Corey Wolfe represents the recollection of Denyse Baham at age five during her abduction in Compton, California.  She described it as “a little, bald, slant-eyed extraterrestrial.” [7]  She said that she could “hear their thoughts.”

Among the many previously unreported events (as least as far as I know), Carey and Schmitt tell the story of John Mosgrove, a dental technician at Brown Veterans Hospital, near Dayton in October 1979.  Mosgrove was approached by a doctor and given the front portion of a mandible and told that he needed a plaster cast of it, and saying,  “You are not to make any record of this project.” Instead of a plaster cast, it turned out to be real bone.  He realized that the mandible (lower jaw) was an aged bone, fully desiccated and it had no teeth.  Mosgrove said, “I’ve never seen anything like it before or since.  At first, yes, I felt excitement, but as reality set in, fear took over . . . a fear of something that I wasn’t supposed to know about.” The next day, the doctor returned to retrieve the mandible and the plaster cast.  He then broke the impression into pieces and left the laboratory. Watching from a window, Mosgrove saw the doctor hand over the specimens to two USAF officers who he knew were from WPAFB.  Afterwards, Mosgrove retrieved the pieces of the impression and recreated his own plaster cast.  Photographs of the non-human mandible compared to a human mandible are presented in the book. 

The Spacecraft’s Exotic Metal

The only disappointment in Carey and Schmitt’s book is the absence of any detail description of the Roswell spacecraft (may believe that there were two that crashed).  This is not particularly surprising, however, given the fact that the spacecraft were demolished on impact.  The following is one of the few descriptions included in the book based on testimony of the late Robert L. Marshall, Jr. , a Navy veteran whose father was a WPAFB maintenance person:

“There were secret doors, vents and various secret compartments all [located] under the hangar.  Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, received the craft from the Roswell Incident in 1947, and it was placed in one of the lower levels.  My father was called into the complex to adjust one of the doors.  At that particular time, he saw — he stated to me on his deathbed — what appeared to him to be the wreckage of a comparatively small, circular craft.  He couldn’t make it out in great detail, because it was behind some kind of plastic cover that was hanging from the ceiling.” [8]

A small “circular” craft concealed behind a plastic curtain?  Perhaps Marshall, Sr., only saw one rounded portion of a fuselage. After all, most descriptions indicated that it was delivered to WPAFB in small pieces except for what was called the “thermos bottle” (apparently an escape pod).  Other passages in the book describe what it was not: not a crescent-shaped craft as described by Kenneth Arnold in the Washington state incident of June 1947 and not a triangle-shaped craft.  Generally, the authors refer to it as a “flying saucer,” but that doesn’t seem to be a very apt description in present times.From a science and engineering viewpoint, however, there is a fascinating description of the “foil” material that was discovered throughout the Roswell wreckage.  Marcel claimed that it was aluminum-like in appearance, that it could be folded by hand into a ball, and when released it reverted to its original shape.  Carey and Schmitt refer to it as “memory metal” and with a more spiritual overtone, call it the “Holy Grail of Roswell.” Carey and Schmitt claim that one Anthony Bragalia contacted a former employee, Elroy John Center, of the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio (close to WPAFB). Under a high-security contract, Center claimed that the piece of metal was inscribed with strange hieroglyphic-like symbols and possessed the characteristics described above.  Using the Internet Carey and Schmitt keyed-in the words “memory metal” and the like.  The response was that there was a nickel (Ni) and titanium (Ti) alloy known as “Nitinol,” and that it was “discovered” by the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in 1962.  The “nol” at the end of the name stands for “Naval Ordnance Laboratory.”  Nitinol is used in the manufacture of eyeglass frames, medical instruments and many other applications.  The authors point out that Nitinol is not the same ETI material as there was obviously a difference in the metal processing technology, but it was quite similar in nature.

“Memory Metal”: Nitinol [9]

Sign, Grudge, Stork and Blue Book

Most readers have heard of Projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book.  Personally, I had never heard of Project Stork, a secret investigation under USAF contract and performed by the nearby Battelle Memorial Institute in 1952.  Depending on how the “winds were blowing” at the time, each project had its own designated mission.  For example, depending on the WPAFB commandant or those at the highest levels of authority in Washington DC (USAF Chief of Staff, Director of the CIA, the President, etc.), each project had its own directive.   Project Sign was directed to come up with a conclusion no matter what the reaction would be from those in charge.  Sign’s conclusion: UFOs were real and probably extraterrestrial. General Hoyt Vandenberg (a member of MJ-12) ordered the final report burned. Project Grudge’s directive was “deflating the true nature of the phenomenon until it disappeared.” Project Stork came to the same conclusion as Sign.  Blue Book ended up as a public relations exercise to quell any remaining public excitement and keep the media at bay.  The best part of this is that the whole story is admirably highlighted in this book from Roswell to Blue Book and beyond and answers most, if not all,  of our questions.

The Media

“Unidentified Flying Objects have faded from popularity in recent years, perhaps as the news media become more aware how little is behind every UFO tale that has ever been well investigated.”                                                                                                                                        Sky and Telescope,  June 1987

Oddly and ironically, during the month of June 1987, both Intruders(by the late Budd Hopkins) and Communion(by Whitley Strieber) rose to the top of the New York Timesbestseller list. 

As reflected by Carey and Schmitt, over the decades following Roswell the media’s performance in reporting these events has been a bit of a mixed bag.  At the time of the crash, no one can criticize the Roswell Daily Record, the San Francisco Chronicleor the local radio stations KGFL and KSWS.  They all got the story straight and so did the world’s press.  But how could the media accept the weather balloon story the very next day?  I’d say that was because in 1947, virtually all Americans, at least, believed what the US Government told us.  It won the war, so why would they lie to us?

According to Carey and Schmitt,

“ . . . an article in the April 30, 1949, Saturday Evening Posttitled “What You Can Believe About Flying Saucers” by Sidney Shalett constituted the greatest attempt by the Air Force to shut down the subject.  The Postat that time was the most read magazine in the country and carried more weight than any other major newspaper.   A May 7, 1949, article presented the position that most UFO sightings could be readily explained in prosaic terms and were simply misidentifications by the inexperienced public.  It also suggested that the root cause was mass hysteria encouraged by the media. Shalett also made the fallacious accusation that pranksters and hoaxers made up the vast majority of such reporters. To slam down the lid even tighter, military luminaries such as LeMay, Vandenberg, Norstad and McCoy peppered the biased article with every negative remark they could muster.  Shalett also went out of his way to exculpate the Air Force by writing that they never would have taken such a controversial subject seriously if not for all the pressure from the public for a rational explanation.” [10]

Three years later, though, it was a different story.  On the night of July 19, 1952, seven objects were detected by radar over the District of Columbia.  Over the next few days they could be seen by the public over the Capitol building.  The July 29 headline of The Washington Postannounced, “’Saucer’ Outran Jet, Pilot Reveals.” [11]  And we’re talking USAF jet pilots flying the latest F-94 interceptors.  How could the media possibly overlook the UFO situation after that? 

In 1953 the media was still demanding answers.  Enter the CIA and the Robertson Panel.

“After a total of 12 hours in four days of study from January 14 through 17, 1953, the Robertson Panel was able to accomplish what the Air Force was unable to do in five years: explain away most of the sightings . . . The emphasis shift, or return, was for the Air Force to again ‘debunk’ the subject through the media using psychological solutions to ridicule the witnesses and explain their reports. Civilian UFO groups were to be labeled crackpots and the very term UFO was to conjure images of uneducated, wide-eyed believers seeking attention for their mental instabilities.  Nonetheless, the panel suggested that such groups be monitored.  In just four days the greatest mystery of all time was resolved by a handful of men.” [12]

“So, over the years the persistent drumbeat of ridicule and derisive propaganda succeeded in making the subject a taboo topic and the domain of conspiracy kooks.  Add to the mix the legion of debunkers whose mission is to maintain damage control for a controversy that was laid to rest back in 1969.” [13]

Commentary

The end result has affected me personally.  In 2018 upon reading a solicitation for new history courses by the University of California, Berkeley (my alma mater),  I proposed to teach a history course on UFOs.  They very politely declined my offer.  I proposed the same to Stanford.  Rejected again.  Not easily discouraged, I tried a local junior college (Sierra College, near Sacramento) proposing that I give a four-night class, without college credits, on UFOs.  I even met with their representative, showed her one of my books and then waited for a response. It came with another decline and only after I called them.  The representative explained that the college had to be cautious as it had received public complaints after offering one “controversial” course on, of all things — climate change. What was a taboo subject in 1953 is still a taboo subject 66 years later.

I generally don’t do book reviews, but I really liked this book.  I would suggest to every interested reader that they go to Amazon and order this used book before the remaining few copies are sold out.

Notes

  1. Carey, Thomas J. and Donald R. Schmitt, Inside The Real Area 51: The Secret History of Wright-Patterson, New Page Books, 2013.
  2. Ibid, page 44.
  3. Ibid, page 41.
  4. Ibid., page 228.  Artwork by Leonard Stringfield.
  5. Carlsberg. Kim, The Art of Close Encounters, Close Encounters Publishing, 2010, page 225. Artwork by Corey Wolfe.
  6. Op. cit., Carey, page 99.
  7. Op. cit., Carlsberg, page 224
  8. Op. cit.., Carey, page 43-44.
  9. Op. cit., Carey, page 74.
  10. Op. cit., Carey, pages 141-142.
  11. Keller, T. L., The Total Novice’s Guide To UFOs, 2FS Press, 2010, page 28 and digital edition.
  12. Op. cit., Carey, page 156-157.
  13. Op. cit., Carey, page 202.

 © 2019 T L Keller

To the readers: if you have a specific topic that you would like presented, please contact the author.  T. L. Keller can be contacted at www.2FSPress.com