USAF Report Documents Roswell Coverup

Roswell was a coverup, and the official photos of the crash debris are not what Army officers found in the desert. A report from the U.S. Air Force and testimony from two officers present, reveal this to be the case. However, the coverup details do not prove what crashed in the desert in 1947 was an alien spacecraft. According to U.S. Air Force investigators, the coverup demonstrates what crashed in Roswell was a top-secret project from the cold war.

In early July 1947, a rancher claimed to have found debris on a ranch approximately 30 miles outside of Roswell, New Mexico. He reported it to the Chavez County Sheriff in the nearby town of Corona. The sheriff called the Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF), who sent intelligence officer Major Jesse Marcel and counterintelligence corps officer (CIC) Captain Sheridan Cavitt to investigate.

On July 7, Marcel and Cavitt went to the debris site and examined the materials. What they reported seeing was strange enough for the base commander to order the creation of a press release claiming the RAAF had captured a “flying saucer.”

On July 8, the front page of the Roswell Daily Record read “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region.” The article claimed the RAAF reported they had “come into possession of a flying saucer.”

Roswell Daily Record, July 8, 1947. Click to enlarge. (Credit: Roswell Daily Record)

The story was short-lived. The next day, the front-page headline of the Roswell Daily Record read: “Gen. Ramey Empties Roswell Saucer” with the subheadings: “Ramey Says Excitement Is Not Justified,” and “General Ramey Says Disk Is Weather Balloon.”

Roswell Daily Record, July 9, 1947. Click to enlarge. (Credit: Roswell Daily Record)

On July 8, Marcel was ordered to bring some of the debris to the Fort Worth Army Air Base in Texas and meet with General Roger Ramey. On July 9, Ramey held a press conference where he said there was no “flying saucer” found, and that the RAAF had mistaken a standard weather balloon for something more mysterious.

Press photos were taken with Marcel, Ramey, Colonel Thomas DuBose (Ramey’s Chief of Staff), and the alleged crash debris.

General Roger Ramey (left) with Colonel Thomas Dubois looking at the weather balloon Ramey claimed was mistaken for a flying saucer in Roswell in 1947.
Jesse Marcel holding the weather balloon debris in Ramey’s office.

The public quickly forgot the entire affair. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the Roswell UFO crash story began to acquire attention. In the late 1970s, researcher Stanton Friedman heard about the case and was able to find Marcel. Marcel told Friedman that the weather balloon story was to coverup what was really found. He said the material was not a weather balloon.

“You couldn’t bend it. You couldn’t dent it. Even a sledgehammer would bounce off of it,” Marcel stated in an interview in the 1980s on the show In Search Of.

“I knew I had never seen anything like that before, and as of now, I do not know what it was,” Marcel continued, “It was not anything from this earth.”

Marcel said he had taken some of the material home to show his family. His son had kept some of it, but after the cover story was released, Marcel says he had to return all the material he had to the Army. Jesse Marcel Jr. confirmed the strange properties of the material.

Friedman was able to track down other witnesses, civilians and military, who backed Marcel’s story. Friedman began working the case with researcher and author Bill Moore. Moore then published their work in a book titled The Roswell Incident coauthored with Charles Berlitz.

In the 1980s and 1990s, several more books were published, and the Roswell incident grew in popularity. In 1989, an alleged witness came forward to claim alien bodies were also recovered.

The mythology of the Roswell UFO crash had received so much attention that in 1993, congressman Steven Schiff, called for an investigation into the incident. The investigation results were released in 1995 by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) as The Roswell Report: Fact versus Fiction in the New Mexico Desert.

“Concerning the initial announcement, ‘RAAF Captures Flying Disc,’ research failed to locate any documented evidence as to why that statement was made,” wrote USAF investigators.

However, they also discovered it was not a weather balloon, as Ramey stated.

“It appears that there was some type of umbrella cover story to protect our work with MOGUL,” Professor Charles Moore told USAF investigators.

According to the report, while researching the Roswell incident, investigators ran across balloon testing conducted at the same time as the Roswell incident out of Alamogordo Air Field (now Holloman Air Force Base), over 100 miles west of Roswell. New York University (NYU) ran the project, and further investigation revealed the NYU testing was part of a Top Secret program called Project MOGUL.

The investigators were able to track down Moore, who was the NYU project engineer. When shown witness descriptions of the debris, Moore told investigators that he believed they had found one of their Project MOGUL test balloons. In particular, Moore’s team had not recovered a balloon they had launched on July 4, 1947.

Google map showing Roswell in upper right, and Alamogordo and Holloman Air Force Base in lower left.

“When we heard the [Flying Saucer] news back in New York, we joked that they probably found one of our balloons,” recalled Moore.

As for why Ramey had called it a weather balloon, the report states: “the Air Force did not find documented evidence that Gen. Ramey was directed to espouse a weather balloon in his press conference, he may have done so because he was either aware of Project MOGUL and was trying to deflect interest from it, or he really perceived the material to be a weather balloon based on the identification from his weather officer, Irving Newton.”

Components of a Mogul balloon train per Professor Moore.

As to why debris from a Top Secret project would be left out in a field to be discovered by a rancher, the report explains that the materials were not classified, only the use was. The project’s purpose was to float listening devices with balloons to detect nuclear tests by the Russians.

In 1991, DuBose, the third man in the photographs with the debris, sent UFO researchers an affidavit claiming he knew the material in the photos was not what was found in the desert.

“The material shown in the photographs taken in Gen. Ramey’s office was a weather balloon,” wrote DuBose. “The weather balloon explanation for the material was a cover story to divert the attention of the press.”

DuBose claims the real debris was sent to a General McMullen in Washington D.C., who said he intended to forward the material to Air Material Command at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio.

DuBose claimed, “The entire operation was conducted under the strictest secrecy.”

However, DuBose did not say he knew what the debris material consisted of or knew anything about the recovery of an alien spacecraft.

Although it appears Ramey was covering up the true nature of what the RAAF found in the desert, the description of the materials used for the Project MOGUL balloons was not high tech or out of the ordinary. The balloons were standard weather balloons. Other elements included balsa wood, foil, tape, and string.

Cavitt, the CIC officer who accompanied Marcel to the debris site, claimed what he saw looked like regular weather balloon debris.

The report described the tape on the balloons as “fabricated by toy or novelty companies using purplish-pink tape with flower and heart symbols on it.”

Symbols on I-beam as described by the Marcel. This poster is on display at the Roswell UFO Museum.
Symbols and shapes used on Mogul balloons from USAF Roswell report.

Marcel and his son described having a piece of the debris that looked like a small I-beam with strange symbols. However, they recall that although the beam was as light as balsa wood, it was made of metal. They did remember markings on the I-beam but said they were not hearts and flowers.

The USAF investigation led them to conclude: “The Air Force research did not locate or develop any information that the ‘Roswell Incident’ was a UFO event. All available materials, although they do not address Roswell per se, indicate that the most likely source of the wreckage recovered from the Brazel Ranch was from one of the Project MOGUL balloon trains. Although that project was Top Secret at the time, there was also no specific indication found to indicate an official preplanned cover story was in place to explain an event such as that which ultimately happened.”

They claimed that Marcel and the RAAF base commander overacted when they claimed they had caught a “flying disc.”

As for alien bodies, they said that was not possible because the wreckage was from Project MOGUL balloons, which did not have passengers, and that even UFO researchers could not agree on the details related to the alleged alien bodies.

If the USAF seemed to solve the case in 1995, why is Roswell still a thing? Well, many do not believe Marcel would mistake a weather balloon for a crashed alien spacecraft. Further, they argue that the base commander would not have written a press release based on finding foil, balsa wood, and other materials that were not mysterious.

Proponents to the Roswell UFO crash also point to the numerous witnesses who claim to have been threatened by the military to keep their mouths shut, or who had allegedly helped clean up the debris field. Even Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who was from Roswell, has said he heard from credible locals that the Roswell UFO crash was real, and he did not believe the USAF conclusion.

Another problem is that although there are numerous alleged witnesses, the USAF investigators only talked to Cavitt. There are references to Marcel’s comments in publications, but USAF investigators did not contact him or other alleged witnesses.

Field where the “real” Roswell debris is said to have been found. (Credit:

The Roswell incident continues to create heated debate among UFO researchers. Over 70 years later, the mythos of the Roswell UFO crash lives on, despite whatever happened in the lonely desert in 1947.

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