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Roswell 1947 - first ufologists investigations

Leonard Stringfield, 1989.

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CASE 10) The crash and recovery of an "alien" object near Roswell, New Mexico in July 1947, so well documented by researchers Bill Moore and Stan Friedman, and others, is a case that should cause skeptics to think twice before they impugn the existence of UFOs or the plausibility of the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Though most of Roswell's firsthand sources were civilian, the overall evidence supporting this "nut-and-bolt" incident is massive. Of significance, ironically, is the report that news of the UFO's discovery at the base slipped out in an "uncleared" press release by the PIO, 1st Lt. Walter Haut. Had it not been for a fast and effective coverup, the full story once in public domain could have rewritten what we know as history. Having been informed, perhaps mankind in his philosophical and geopolitical pursuits would have chosen a wiser course.

Except for rumors, the truth about Roswell did not surface until 1978 when the late Jesse Marcel told an NBC radio newsman, Steve Tom in Chicago, about his official role as the intelligence officer assigned to the crash site to retrieve the scattered debris. On April 7, 1978, Tom called me and linked me up with Marcel in Houma, Louisiana, to get his story firsthand. This led to other calls to Marcel, and upon learning that we had served in the 5th Air Force, during WWII, in the same combat areas in Leyte, of the Phillipines, we developed a feeling of camaraderie and talked about meeting together for a UFO discussion in the near future. For the moment he confirmed that the debris he combed from the crash site on the Brazel ranch was not the remains of a balloon and that he had observed on a fragment of metal beam, a row of symbols looking like hieroglyphics. (See Status Report II, Case A-10, and the foregoing Kecksburg case describing hieroglyphic symbols.) Regretfully, I never got to meet Jesse Marcel as we had hoped to do. During 1978 when the floodgates opened for me with enormous C/R input I was working at full capacity and plans to go "here and there" were dropped. Bill Moore, however, concentrating on his book, The Roswell Incident, made the trip and interviewed Marcel. Following is one statement, in part, by Marcel that still had some questions unanswered:

"... that next afternoon, we loaded everything into a B-29 on orders from Colonel Blanchard and flew it all to Ft. Worth. I was scheduled to fly it all the way to Wright Field in Ohio, but when we got to Carswell at Ft. Worth, the general nixed it. He took control at this point, told the press it was all a weather balloon, and ordered me not to talk to the press under any circumstances. I was pulled off the flight and someone else was assigned to fly the stuff up to Wright Field...".

My Status Reports do pay off. Thanks to one reader, John August, in Hawaii, I got the "missing link" referred to by Marcel as the officer who flew the B-29 with the Roswell remains to Wright Field. Following up his initial phone call with the news Labor Day 1988, August wrote, in part, the following:

"Confirmation of the Roswell crash reached me through a Maui resident who claimed that her father, Captain O.W. Henderson, flew the retrieved spaceship from Roswell to Wright Field on a B-29. According to Henderson's wife, who was reached by phone, a news officer reported the incident but it was quickly quieted down. On February 17, 1981 the story appeared in the tabloid Globe and Henderson admitted to his wife and daughter that the story was true. The crew, she said, were little people with exceptionally large heads ... At the time Henderson was stationed with the 509th Bomb Group at Roswell. It was an elite group for which all involved required high-security clearances. Besides being a highly decorated pilot during WWII, with over 30 combat missions, Henderson was in charge of the movement of all passengers and freight transported by air for organizations participating in the atomic bomb tests and the Manhattan Project..."

Enclosed, as a result of August's attentive spadework, were copies of photos showing Captain Henderson and flight crew and a letter of commendation for an "excellent job accomplished" from Carl Spaatz, Commanding General, AAF, forwarded to Colonel William Blanchard, Commander, 509th, etc.

For verification, August footnoted his letter with Mrs. Henderson's address and phone number. Calling her October 1, 1988 I explained my work; asked many questions to which she cordially responded and got approval to publish her name in this report, minus address. She said that her husband, known as "Pappy" among his buddies, passed away in 1986 and stated unequivocally that he flew the B-29 with the Roswell wreckage, to Wright field and kept the secret faithfully until 1981. She remembers his comment, "I've been dying to tell you for years, but couldn't. It was top secret."

When I asked Mrs. Henderson if he had ever described the object he transported, she said he told her "it was strange," avoiding details. Avoiding details, it seems goes with the business of covert work if one must talk at all. And so it was with another source who managed to whisper a few words on his death bed about his stealthy activity at Roswell in 1947.

The source, Bev, is British; her father, a former American serviceman, a staff sergeant who served and took up residence in England following duty in the Pacific theatre, WWII, and notably with the 509th Bomb Group, Walker Field, Roswell. According to records, he was at Roswell during the same time as Major Jesse Marcel and Captain O.W. Henderson. Bev, referred to me by Timothy Good, British author of Above Top Secret, is by the tone of her letters and phone calls sincere in trying to verify her dad's alleged participation in the Roswell retrieval case. She sent me copies of all his military records which confirmed his assignment at Walker Field in Roswell. These included orders cut for hospitalization at the base for both he and Major Marcel and his pass to the base's Non-Com Club dated July 1947.

As a child, Bev recalls her dad talking about his hush-hush work at Roswell and whenever he described the nondescript bodies her response was to giggle. The subject never came up much she said until she was a teenager. Once, she recalls, he had read a feature story in a newspaper about a UFO crash and looking grim he told about his experience of standing guard where the bodies were stored and cautioned all family members to keep it quiet lest he get into trouble. According to Bev's long letter and attached military records, she recalled the following:

... He stood guard once outside a hangar where a crashed saucer was stored. He couldn't see anything as it was all packed up and ready to be flown out to Texas the next day. We disagree on the number of bodies he saw. I'm sure he said two, but one of my sisters said three... All available men stood guard duty around the site where a crashed disc had come down and they couldn't understand why they had to be kept cold, as there were trucks of ice... Although he and others were told they would get into trouble if they saw too much they did look under the cover and saw two small dead bodies. They said they were like us, but not like us. They were smaller than a normal man with large heads and slanted eyes. He also said they looked yellowish, a bit Asian... I remember when I got older and asked for more information he got angry and said "that's all I know and I shouldn't have told you that much." Whenever he talked about it he always looked worried...

His last words, according to Bev, before he died in a hospital in February 1986 were about Roswell.


Leonard Stringfield (1920–1994) was an American UFO witness in 1945 and this became a ufologist. who had particular interest in crashed flying saucer stories.

From 1953 to 1957, he organized the "Civilian Research Interplanetary Flying Objects" (CRIFO) ufology organization and published its monthly bulletin, "Orbit". He wrote his first book on UFOs in 1957 and joined NICAP, befriending its Director Major Donald Keyhoe, ret. He joined the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in 1971, and was the state section director of southwest Ohio. In 1974 he became the PR man for the MUFON and served on its board of directors. He also was a regional investigator for the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).

Len Stringfield

Leonard Stringfield published in one of his "status reports" in 1978 already an interview he made with Major Jesse Marcel, ret. It was the first time anything was published in the ufology literrature about the Roswell incident.

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