Suspected 'Disk' Only
Flying Weather Vane
The first real suspect in the flying saucer hunt was examined Tuesday and declared to be a phony.
This latest disk flurry was punctured at Fort Worth after an afternoon of excitement that reached into official Washington circles.
An object found near Roswell, N.M., and forwarded to the Fort Worth Army Air Field, was claimed to be a weather instrument such as used by both the army and the United States Weather Bureau.
Interest had grown to such a peak, however, that Brig. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, commander of the Eighth Air Force, made a radio-broadcast at Fort Worth Tuesday evening to dispel hopes that the mystery had been solved at last.
The New Mexico disk story first came from Roswell Army Air Field, where it was announced that flying saucer had landed on a ranch near there last week and had been turned over to military authorities by the sheriff's office.
Army intelligence officers looked over the object, then started it for Wright Field, Ohio, for further inspection. After that announcement, the alleged disk disappeared for an hour or so.
Then it turned up in Fort Worth, being examined by officers there.
Telephone wires buzzed busy signals at the Fort Worth Army Air Field as the news spread. Lt. Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, deputy chief of the Army Air Forces, hurried to the AAF press section in Washington to take active charge of gathering news of the new disk find, the Associated Press reported.
Maj. E. M. Kirton, intelligence officer at Fort Worth Army Air Field, blew the disk theory sky high at 5:30 p.m. when he told The Dallas News "there is nothing to it."
"It is a Rawin high altitude sounding device," Major Kirton said.
He described such an instrument, when undamaged, as of a design resembling a six-pointed star.
The army and the Weather Bureau use the device attached to a balloon, for gathering high altitude data. It is made partly of tinfoil-like material, the officer said.
The identification at Fort Worth is final, Major Kirton said, and it will not be necessary to forward the object to Wright Field, as originally planned. What will be done with it?
"I suppose we will throw it away," Major Kirton ventured.
The battered weather device was flown to Fort Worth in a B-29. It had been found by a New Mexico rancher, W. W. Brazell [sic], on his property eighty-five miles northwest of Roswell. Brazell had no telephone and no radio; had heard nothing of the disk reports. The rancher bundled up the remains of the shattered gadget and put them under some brush.
On a trip to town at Corona, N.M., Saturday night, Brazell heard the first reference to the "silver" flying disks, the Associated Press reported.
Brazell hurried home, dug up the remnants of the device Sunday and on Monday headed for Roswell to report his find to the sheriff's office.
An Associated Press dispatch from Fort Worth quoted Warrant Officer Irving Newton, weather forecaster at the army installation, as saying the Rawin device was used to determine the direction and velocity of winds at high altitudes. Some eighty weather stations in the nation use them, Newton said. They go higher than the eye can follow and they are sighted by radar. Newton said he used identical balloons during the invasion of Okinawa to obtain weather data for use in bombardments.
Unfortunately, the when and details of Ramey's broadcast are not provided by the Morning News.
A summary of the base press release.
The press release didn't say where the "higher headquarters" was where the "disk" was being shipped. UP knew Maj. Marcel had been sent to Fort Worth within about 45 minutes of the press release (see UP telexes). The S.F. Examiner said they contacted Ramey within about an hour and Ramey described a balloon/radar target them. The Chicago Tribune also said Ramey began reciting a balloon story within about an hour. Thus the disk "disappeared for an hour or so" before Ramey and minions started spinning it into a weather balloon.
Once the press learned that the action had switched to Fort Worth, the Morning News reported phone lines were jammed there as well.
Note how Gen. Vandenberg is again indicated as taking charge in Washington, this item coming from the AP.
** Unique item and very important! Assuming the paper was using 5:30 Dallas Daylight Savings Time, this is also only about an hour after the press release. At this time, Ramey was also sometimes calling the object a radar reflector (i.e., a Rawin target) but not being definitive about it yet. Here, his intelligence officer is being absolute about it two hours before the positive ID was officially announced.
In contrast, Ramey, in reported descriptions to the Pentagon, described the object as badly broken and resembling a box-kite. The "six-pointed star" description didn't emerge until later after his weather officer took a look. Yet Kirton is using it here fully two hours before AP first reported the weather officer's ID and description in a bulletin at 7:30.
Again, assuming the time in the story is correct, Kirton's statement about final ID and cancellation of the flight preceded Ramey's by at least an hour or more, indicating the fix was in well in advance. Kirton let it slip a little too soon.
The story reverts to slightly rewritten standard AP accounts.