Several known Mogul-style ML-307 radar targets were recovered in various portions of the U.S. immediately preceding and following the Roswell incident crashed disk press release of July 8, 1947.
Circleville, Ohio -- July 5 and 8.
The first Circleville crash of around July 5 was very important since it was the first time that radar targets were used as a possible explanation for the flying saucers reported nationwide. Mention of this radar target crash received national coverage starting July 6, though photos seem to be primarily confined to the middle of the country, reaching down into Texas. (e.g., click here for July 7 front pages of the San Antonio Light and Fort Worth Star-Telegram ). The same day, one of Gen. Ramey's top officers at Fort Worth, Col. John D. Ryan, the base operations officer (also the next commanding officer at Roswell and a future USAF Chief of Staff/Chairman of the Joint Chiefs), was likewise talking about radar targets in connection with a story on theories about flying disc origins. [Click here for excerpt from Roswell Morning Dispatch article, July 8, with Ryan's comments.] Some suspect that the widely known Circleville story was the inspiration for Gen. Ramey's weather balloon debunking of the Roswell story on the afternoon of July 8 and for the military's nationwide debunking of the saucers as radar targets that immediately followed. The Circleville photos shown here come from the Columbus (Ohio) Sunday Dispatch, Columbus Citizen, Atlanta Journal (AP photo), and Valapraiso (IN) Vidette-Messenger (International Soundphoto--New 2010!). Outside of the Circleville area, the Journal and other papers like the Star-Telegram and Light carried the national AP wirephoto, while fewer carried the ISP wirephoto. Note surviving neck fragment of the balloon being held in the right hand. Click here for portions of local articles from the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Citizen, and Circleville Herald. Another Circleville radar target recovery on July 8 was reported nationally by the A.P. on July 9 in their Roswell story. The Circleville Herald story on this incident is here. One interesting aspect of this story is that most of the balloon seemed to survive and was reported to be at least 10 feet in diameter when inflated. The likely source of the Circleville targets was the Army's Wilmington weather station, 60 miles west of Circleville and near Wright Field, which identified the radar target and is known to have been launching them at the time [ref 2]. Notice the comment from the Army weather officer in the Citizen article that, "Every weather station in the country uses them." Following the Roswell incident, the Wilmington weather station also staged a demonstration for the press on July 10 (click here).
Bakersfield, California. This target reportedly crashed on July 9. Photo is from the Bakersfield Californian, July 10. Notice this photo of the radar reflector is nearly indistinguishable from the ones at Circleville. The neck of the weather balloon is clearly visible in this photo near the bottom and appears already slightly darkened from exposure to sunlight. Click herefor brief accompanying story. Source of the radar target is unknown, though possibly could have come from the radiosonde weather station at Santa Maria, CA (near to what is now Vandenberg AFB) 100 miles to the west, or from Edwards AFB (then Muroc AAF) or George AFB 100 miles to the southeast. Obviously some unknown weather or artillery unit was using the radar target within California.
Brawley, California. Near the Mexican border, the target reportedly crashed July 9, just as in Bakersfield. Unfortunately no photo, but the accompanying story from the Brawley News(also in the Imperial Valley News, El Centro, CA) suggests a similar if not identical radar reflector as that shown by Gen. Ramey. The story also states it was similar to the one supposedly found near Roswell The nearby El Centro Naval Air Station denied responsibility, and suggested Yuma, Arizona as a possible source (site of a Marine Corp air station and large army/air force bombing and gunnery ranges; the Army was also engaged in large-scale summer desert training at the time). Another possibility would have been the Naval raob weather station 100 miles west in San Diego. The News also reported a weather balloon recovery near Victorville, California, which seems to have been turned over to the neighboring air base (later George AFB). From the brief and ambiguous description, however, it wasn't clear if the weather balloon was of a radiosonde configuration or if it sported a radar reflector. The item spoke of both the "balloon and its kite" but also said that it had radio equipment. (Unfortunately, the weekly Victorville Sun newspaper had nothing about the incident, nor did the nearby San Bernardino Daily Sun.)
Oxford, Ohio. Recovery reported in the nearby Richmond Indiana Palladium-Item on July 9. The target was reported picked up on July 7, but had been noticed lying on the ground for several days before that.
Click here for main story plus accompanying story by P-I reporter with military meteorological experience and familiar with radar targets. According to main story, others who viewed the object also had no problem identifying it as a radar target. Source of the target is unknown. The P-I reporter guessed that it came from a weather station in Illinois.
Greensburgh, N.Y. Near New York City, the photo and storycome from the Yonkers N.Y. Herald Statesman, July 11, which said the object had been found the day before. The source of the radar target is unknown. The article claimed the target solved the mystery of local flying saucer reports. The story went on that the civilians who found the object suspected it was a weather device right from the start. Note that the balloon, being held in the right hand, came down relatively intact. The New York City weather service was obviously familiar with the targets, and confirmed identification. And as stated many places elsewhere, the story further says both the Army and civilian weather services utilized the radar reflectors.
Tucson, Arizona. According to this somewhat sensationalized July 13 story in the The Arizona Daily Star(Tucson), two men nearly wrecked their truck on July 11 when a descending radar target almost landed on top of them. The article states that the object was like the one found near Roswell. Furthermore, one of the men claimed he was now sure he had seen these devices previously and that everyone else had been seeing the same thing. The story sounds suspiciously like a planted debunking article. Weathermen at the nearby Davis-Monthan airbase weather station denied using the devices, but stated that they were used by the Albuquerque and El Paso weather stations. In an earlier related story from the El Paso Herald-Post, the director of the U.S. weather bureau in El Paso said they did not use the radar targets, only radiosonde weather balloons, and claimed only the Army used the radar targets. He expressed great skepticism that anyone could mistake the slow-moving radar targets for the reported flying discs.