Radar Tracks Object
White Sands, New Mexico
July 4th, 1947

(See report, July 1, 1947)

Thursday, July 3. At the White Sands Proving Ground, an attempted launch of a V-2 rocket fails, never getting off the pad. Several people are injured in a spray of acid.

Steve MacKenzie is ordered to White Sands, where he spends nearly twenty-four hours watching the (radar) displays as the object flashes through the New Mexico skies. (160)

At two or three in the morning on July 4, ... Robert Thomas (an officer stationed in Washington, D.C.) called to inform MacKenzie he was on the way; explaining that he wanted to be on the scene in case something happened.

Thomas's special flight from Washington, D.C., arrived early on the afternoon of July 4. He had requested some special equipment and arranged for transportation for himself and for the small party of experts he had brought with him. He held a quick briefing with the men stationed at Roswell and then settled in to wait.

That evening the situation changed radically. The object, as displayed on the radar, seemed to pulsate, the blip growing larger and brightening before shrinking to its original size and dimming. This activity kept up for a short time and then the object blossomed into a sunburst and disappeared from the screen at about 11:20P.M. Because there were three sites tracking the object, the army technicians were able to plot, within vague parameters, the location of the crash or landing.

But the radar coverage in that section of New Mexico was not as complete as the military would have liked. The Capitan Mountains sit between the impact site and the radar sets of White Sands and Alamogordo. Other mountains rest between Albuquerque and Roswell. Coverage in some places did not extend below eight or nine thousand feet. That meant that the army, based on what it had learned while tracking the object at Roswell, knew that the object was down north of town. They just didn't have a precise location. A comprehensive search would be launched at sunrise. (8)

* Sworn affidavit on file.


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