International UFO Day is an awareness day for people to gather together and watch the skies for unidentified flying objects. The day is celebrated on July 2 to commemorate the unusual craft that crashed approximately seven miles northwest of Roswell Army Air Station in New Mexico at about 23:47 hours (near midnight). At least two dozen persons in the area observed a bright yellow or “sun colored” disc-shaped object over the area. On July 3, 1947, in the early afternoon, the widely scattered wreckage was discovered by local ranch manager William Brazel and his son and daughter.
The authorities of the Roswell Field Army Air Forces Base were alerted by Mr. Brazel at 9:18 AM on July 7th and two officers of the base were guided to the crash site by the ranch manager.
These officers were Major Jesse Marcel, staff intelligence officer of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office, and Captain Lee Cerns of the Counter-Intelligence Corps.
When the two officers returned to Roswell Field with samples of the crash site material, they immediately reported to Colonel William Blanchard of Air Tactical Command. It was at this point that the first of many decisions were made that have gone into the historical posture of this government’s position on the public’s need-to-know status about the situation. Colonel Blanchard released an official press statement confirming that wreckage of a flying disc had been recovered. This was phoned into an Albuquerque, New Mexico, radio station without approval from higher level command in the Army Air Corps. Indeed, no one in the Pentagon or anywhere else was notified or consulted prior to the release of this information.
In defense of Colonel Blanchard’s actions, it should be noted that no established procedure on the issue existed at the time. There was no Office of Special Investigations, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, or any other similar such organization at that time.
At nearly the same time on the evening of July 7th, two events were taking the incident in widely different directions at widely separated locations. In Roswell, Major Marcel was ordered by Colonel Blanchard to load the debris onboard a B-29 aircraft and fly it to Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson AFB) at Dayton, Ohio, for examination. As this was being done, a reporter from the Albuquerque radio station called to Wright Field to confirm the crash with the commanding general there.
This was Lt. General Nathan Twining, Air Materiel Command, where any such reported incident should have been filed. In fact, the wreckage and all persons involved were already on their way to Wright Field. But this was the first that General Twining had heard of the matter. Twining was forced to state that he knew nothing of a crashed disc craft.
Upon finally receiving verbal confirmation by open telephone line from Colonel Blanchard of Roswell Field, General Twining did three things in rapid order in an effort to contain the situation. First, he sent special orders by secured teletype to Blanchard at Roswell, instructing him to do nothing and talk to no one until further orders from him. Then Twining used the same system to contact General Roger Ramey, who was in command at Carswell Army Air Force Base (HQ-8th Air Force), in Fort Worth, Texas, ordering him to direct Major Marcel to vector for an intermediate stop at Carswell, which was on his flight path.
General Ramey was instructed to (A) remove the recovered debris from Marcel’s aircraft and place it onboard another in sealed crates to forward to Wright Field; (B) order Marcel and his crew not to talk to reporters; (C) notify the press of a photo conference to be held at Roswell where an explanation would be given; (D) state at the conference that the wreckage was only the remains of a weather balloon and its attached tinfoil radar target and prominently display created evidence of same and return Major Marcel at once to Roswell Field.
Second, General Twining set up an open teletype in the newsrooms at the two Albuquerque radio stations ordering them to cease transmission of the original story (reported during the early morning of July 8th) and to contact the Roswell Office of Public Information for the correct release. Finally, the general boarded a plane and flew directly to Roswell Field in New Mexico.
At his arrival in Roswell, General Twining relieved Colonel Blanchard of command and ordered troops to set up a secured perimeter around the desert crash site. He then personally supervised the total policing of the area and removal of all remaining evidence, as well as the four-day briefing of Major Marcel and the six-day debriefing of rancher Brazel who he held incommunicado until the clean-up was complete. Civilian and military witnesses in the area were debriefed and some reporters were given the effective cover story that a misguided weather balloon was responsible for the sighting.
Aerial reconnaissance discovered that four small extraterrestrial beings had apparently ejected from the craft at some distance before it had exploded. These had fallen to earth about two miles from the primary crash site where the wreckage was located. All of the four alien crew members were dead and badly decomposed due to the action of processes and exposure to the elements during the approximately one week prior to their recovery.
A covert analytical effort organized by General Nathan F. Twining and Dr. Vannevar Bush acting on the direct orders of President Harry S. Truman convened in a preliminary consensus (19 September 1947) that the alien craft was most likely a short range reconnaissance ship. This conclusion was based for the most part on the craft’s size and the apparent lack of provisioning. Dr. Detlev Bronk gave a similar analysis of the four deceased persons examined. It was the tentative conclusion of the Majestic 12 group (30 November 1947) that although these aliens are generally human-like in appearance, the biological and evolutionary track for their development has apparently been quite different from those observed or postulated in homo-sapiens (earth humans). Dr. Bronk suggested the term, since then widely applied, of “extraterrestrial biological entities,” or EBEs, for these creatures until such time that a definitive designation can be agreed upon.