Roswell "Balloon Switch" Story Shot Down

Air Force General Cleared of Fraud Charges as Roswell "Balloon Switch" Story Shot Down By Modern High Tech Photos Examination

Modern photo technology has debunked a longtime charge by UFO writers of a blatant "cover-up" by Air Force Lt. General Roger M. Ramey in connection with the sensational Roswell Incident of 1947, which involved the announced "capture" of a crashed UFO.

The results of a new digital scan applied to super-enlargements of the famous UFO photos taken by a reporter-photographer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram show that the debris displayed in General Ramey's 8th Air Force Headquarters office in Fort Worth on July 8, 1947, is clearly consistent with eyewitness descriptions of the world's best-known "flying saucer" which had crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, a few days before and is not a "weather balloon" which had been substituted on orders of General Ramey. This includes clear identification of the "hieroglyphic-like" characters displayed along stick- like structures, including I-beams, and inclusion of very thin, but super strong metal-like material that resisted bending or crumpling.

The new photos were specially enlarged from the original Roswell Incident negatives, now housed under tight security in the Star-Telegram Special Collections section of the University of Texas Library at Arlington, Texas.

The resulting new discoveries discredit frequently repeated theories of several UFO writers that General Ramey had concocted the "weather balloon" ruse and then ordered the substitution of the "weather balloon" for the real wreckage, which had been flown secretly to Wright-Patterson Air Force base -- then known as Wright Field -- in Ohio for "further analysis" and where it reportedly has been kept under tight security for more than a half century.

The newly obtained, digitally enhanced photographs reveal for the first time that "out of this world" qualities described by Major Jesse A. Marcel, Sr., Intelligence Officer stationed then at Roswell Army Air Base, who retrieved parts of the wreckage of the alleged alien-operated craft, are clearly established in the photos.

The photographs were taken by J. Bond Johnson, who had been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since January of 1943. At the time of the Roswell Incident in 1947, Johnson had been discharged from the Army Air Corps after World War II service, which included training as an aircraft mechanic and pilot. He has practiced as a clinical psychologist and United Methodist minister for the past 35 years in Long Beach, California. He also is a retired Army colonel.

Upon arrival at General Ramey's office on July 8, 1947, Johnson unpacked portions of the wreckage from its paper wrappings and arranged the pieces for the photos while awaiting the arrival of General Ramey at his office. Johnson then took six shots with General Ramey, Colonel (later Brig. General) Thomas J. Dubose, Ramey's chief of staff, and Major (later Lt. Col.) Marcel, who had couriered the wreckage from Roswell to Ramey's headquarters in Fort Worth. Other packages of the wreckage, still unopened, also appear in the photos

The frequently quoted descriptions by Marcel, and repeated by Marcel's son, Dr. Jesse A. Marcel, Jr., an Army helicopter pilot and flight surgeon, who was shown some of the wreckage parts by his dad prior to their being turned over to the Roswell base commander, are further corroborated by civilian eye witnesses who were employees of the Brazell Ranch 85 miles northwest of Roswell, where the craft crashed, and some of their neighbors.

The witnesses described the wreckage as including material that was "very lightweight, lead foil-like, very thin, metallic-like but not metal, and very tough." It also included very light "balsa-wood appearing sticks," including I-beams, some of which included "hieroglyphic-like" characters, possibly depicting some unknown writing. One witness described the "figures" as similar to the petroglyphs the ancient Native Americans etched on rocks in the Roswell area.

Further, the witnesses described that some of the material, even though very thin, when crushed tended to "smooth-out" when released. There also was a quantity of black plastic looking material "which looked organic in nature that had either been melted or burned." Johnson also described the strong odor of burned debris when he was in the general's office with the wreckage.

When questioned in 1979, Marcel -- who retired from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel -- described the unusual markings on the sticks as "like Chinese writing....nothing you could make any sense out of." In his interviews Marcel stated that "they took one photo of me on the floor holding up some of the less-interesting metallic debris...pieces of the actual stuff we had found." Marcel said that the debris was scattered over a square mile of a ranch near Roswell. "It was something that must have exploded above ground and fell...it scattered all over."

The new digitally enhanced super-enlargements clearly show the strange metallic debris as described, including some thin metal-like parts, which are quite rigid and smooth, and the I-beams identical with the witnesses' descriptions. Marcel stated that the solid members were mostly square, "of varied lengths, and along the length of some of those they had little markings...two color markings as I can recall...like Chinese writing." His son described the markings as "flower-like" figures printed along the sticks.

Yet for nearly 20 years UFO writers have claimed that the Air Corps engaged in a dramatic fraud to protect the UFO wreckage from Roswell and to mislead the press -- and the American public. The story concocted by the writers tell it generally this way:

When Marcell turned the portions of the UFO wreckage he had recovered over to his base commander, Colonel William Blanchard. Blanchard then dispatched an official public announcement that the Air Corps had "captured" a flying saucer. Blanchard then notified his boss, General Ramey, of the "capture." For some unknown reason, Ramey concocted a dramatic hoax. He sent the real UFO wreckage directly to Wright Field for study and ordered the burning of a weather balloon and Rawin target. The, he sent this debris as a fraudulent substitute along with Major Marcel to 8th Air Force Headquarters in Fort Worth. There, the bogus material was displayed in Ramey's office and the Star-Telegram was invited to send out a reporter-photographer to cover the story. Johnson was selected and dispatched by his editor with camera in hand. When Ramey told Johnson that he didn't know what the unimpressive looking debris was, Johnson took his pictures and left. No other media representatives were allowed to view the debris or to take any pictures. All these exotic actions were taken solely to mislead and misinform one 21-year- old photographer-reporter. Later that day, Ramey summoned a weather officer, Warrant Officer Irving Newton, and instructed him to agree that the debris in Ramey's office was only a "weather balloon" and Newton was then photographed holding portions of this debris.

General Ramey then quickly went to a Fort Worth radio station and announced that his weather officer had decided that the Roswell crash was only a weather balloon with an attached radar target. Also, a news release was distributed to the press containing this false information. The press and the American public accepted the bogus story based on the word of a distinguished war-hero general. There never has been any reason given as to why Ramey would take such a drastic and risky action to deceive the press and the public in this very dramatic way.

Roswell writers generally have continued to repeat the "balloon switch" fable. Nevertheless, Lt. Col. Marcel contended until his death in 1986 that the material he recovered and which he posed with in Ramey's office was "not part of any kind of weather balloon or experimental craft ... it was not made of anything available on earth." This description also has been corroborated by the civilian primary witnesses.

Likewise, General Dubose was very clear when interviewed by UFO researcher Jaime Shandera. When asked to describe details of the photo session in General Ramey's office Dubose made the following statements:

Shandera: J. Bond Johnson, reporter for the Fort Worth-StarTelegram, has stated that when he asked General Ramey what this debris was, Ramey said that he didn't know. You were present in that room at that time. Also, the Associated Press had carried a story indicating that General Ramey didn't know what the debris was when talking to (Air Corps Chief of Staff) General (Hoyt) Vandenberg in Washington."

Dubose: "Well, that's true. None of us knew what it was."

Shandera: "There are two researchers (Don Schmitt and Kevin Randle) who are presently saying that the debris in General Ramey's office had been switched and that you men had a weather balloon there."

Dubose: "Oh Bull! That material was never switched."

Shandera: "So what you're saying is that the material in General Ramey's office was the actual debris brought in from Roswell?"

Dubose: "That's absolutely right."

Shandera: "So not you or anyone else ever switched that material for the cover story."

Dubose: "We never switched anything. We were under orders from Washington to look at that material. We wouldn't have switched anything. We were West Pointers -- we would never have done that."

Shandera: "But General Ramey did put out a cover story that it was a weather device."

Dubose: "Yes. We were ordered to get the press off our backs -- things were getting out of hand."

Memories of witnesses may dim over the span of half a century and more. But West Pointer General Dubose remembered that day in July of 1947 very accurately it now appears. But digitally enhanced, super-enlarged photos taken by a 21-year-old reporter-photographer provide even a more convincing record. The debris of the Roswell crash photographed in General Ramey's office is indeed genuine. General Ramey, General Dubose and Lt. Colonel Marcel all were telling the truth about the Roswell Incident of 1947. Their reputations remain intact!

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