Radar Tracks Object
It was not only civilians from the Roswell area that knew something strange had happened. Military officials, both officers and the enlisted technicians had been tracking, on their radar, an unidentified object in flight over southern New Mexico since July 1. The object had first appeared over the highly restricted areas near the White Sands Proving Ground (later the White Sands Missile Range) about one hundred miles from Roswell. This was the site of the first atomic bomb detonation in 1945 and currently the home of sensitive rocket and missile research being conducted by members of various components of the United States military.
On July 2, Steve MacKenzie,7* stationed at Roswell Army Air Field, had received a call from Brigadier General Martin E Scanlon of the Air Defense Command, ordering him to report to the radar sites at White Sands. MacKenzie was to monitor the object's movements and report them directly to the general. MacKenzie could not leave the scope unattended for even the shortest of times. In fact, once he had his watch established, he set up a system of mirrors so that he could see the screen even when he needed to use the latrine.
No one at White Sands doubted that this was a real object. When it first appeared, radar operators at White Sands had considered the possibility of a malfunction, but a check with a second set, as well as coordination with other sites, including those at Roswell and in Albuquerque, established that the target was real, and solid.
MacKenzie stayed at his post for twenty-four hours straight, but nothing changed. The object appeared periodically over southern New Mexico, but usually just "flitting from one location to another."
When MacKenzie reported that nothing had changed significantly during his twenty-four-hour watch, Scanlon decided to end MacKenzie's part of the operation. Although MacKenzie was ordered back to Roswell, the operators at White Sands were told to continue to monitor the object, as were the radarmen at Roswell and Albuquerque.
MacKenzie was in contact with Robert Thomas, an officer stationed in Washington, D.C., all during this time. Thomas asked on several occasions if he should head out to New Mexico, but MacKenzie told him not to bother for the time being. The situation was still fluid, and he didn't know what would happen. At two or three in the morning on July 4, however, Thomas called to inform MacKenzie he was on the way; explaining that he wanted to be on the scene in case something happened.
* Sworn affidavit on file.
Source: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE UFO CRASH AT ROSWELL, Randle/Schmitt, Page 4.
(This web page produced for the NICAP site by Francis Ridge)