The Roswell Newspaper & Fort Worth Press Conference
This page chronicles the press releases of July 8, 1947. Quite a bit has already been reported (see Timeline) about the discovery and recovery of the actual crash material. At 11:00 A.M. Lt. Walter Haut finishes the press release he'd been ordered to write and prepares to take it into town. He takes it first to one of the radio stations. By noon he has given a copy of the release to both radio stations and to both daily newspapers.
At 2:26 P.M. the story is out on the AP wire. The story announces: "The army air forces here today announced a flying disc had been found."
At 3:00 P.M. Marcel is told that he is going to Fort Worth with the wreckage. Only a few packages are loaded onto the plane. One, a triangular package about two feet long, is wrapped in brown paper. The other three are about the size of shoe boxes. They are so light that it feels as if there is nothing in them. The special flight, a B-29, takes off for the Fort Worth Army Air Field.
Calls come into Roswell from all over the world as the press release hits the various news wires.
Late in the afternoon, reporter J. Bond Johnson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is instructed to drive to the base. His editor tells him a flying saucer is coming from Roswell. Four photographs are taken by Mr. Johnson a couple of hours before the press conference, two showing Maj. Gen Roger M. Ramey by himself, and another two with Colonel Thomas J. DuBose. A couple of hours later the press conference takes place.
Some time before the press conference, at 3:53 PM. Roger Ramey announces that the flying disk has been sent on to Wright Field near Dayton, Ohio.
The press conference is held. Other reporters are present who take more photographs, some of which are shown below.
Marcel is shown here in Ramey's office. Before this, the general wants to see where the debris was found. Marcel accompanies him to the map room. Once Ramey is satisfied, they walk back to the general's office, but the debris is gone. In its place is a ripped-apart weather balloon with debris scattered on the floor.
Warrant Officer Irving Newton is ordered from the weather office at the Fort Worth Army Air Field to Ramey's office. Newton, in front of five or six reporters and officers of the Eighth Air Force, immediately identifies the wreckage on the office floor as a balloon. He is photographed and then sent back to his regular duties. Ramey orders his aide, Captain Roy Showalter, to cancel the special flight.
Years later DuBose acknowledges that the weather balloon story was designed to get reporters "off the general's back". And although Ramey, with the reporters watching, ordered the special flight cancelled, it was not. According to DuBose, Major General Clements McMullen, deputy commander of the Strategic Air Command, ordered Ramey to cover up the whole thing. They wanted to "put out the fire" as quickly as they could.
At 6:17 PM. the FBI sends a Teletype message to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover telling him that a balloon is responsible for the reports. It is on its way to Dayton for examination by army air force experts.
At 7:30P.M. the AP breaks into its last message with a bulletin telling the world that the Roswell flying disk is nothing more than a balloon. Lt. Col. DuBose later told Roswell investigators that the balloon explanation was staged.
Ramey, with the identity of the wreckage established, announces to the world that the officers at Roswell had been fooled by a weather balloon. Ramey also appears on Fort Worth-Dallas radio station WBAP.
An unscheduled flight from Bolling Field (Washington, D.C.) arrives. Lewis Rickett meets it at Roswell and gives the crew a sealed box with wreckage in it. He is required to get a signature before he can surrender it.
At 10:00 PM. ABC News "Headline Edition" tells the audience that Roger Ramey has identified the Roswell wreckage as a weather balloon.
And "Mac" Brazel, a very patriotic person, kept the story to himself the
rest of his life. If it hadn't been for Maj. Jesse Marcel the Roswell investigation
would have never been initiated. Since his announcement hundreds of persons
have come forth describing different parts of the incident back in July of