The last witnesses to Roswell: Their startling stories told for the first time
This marks the 73rd year since the crash of a UFO near Roswell, NM in 1947. Since 1978 many have related their experience. But it is now 2020 and the youngest servicemen at the involved Roswell Army Air Field (if 18 then) would today be 91. All officers there at the time are now deceased, as are all of the involved townspeople and ranchers in the area. Even their sons and daughters–the children of Roswell–are now in their 80s.
During late 2011 to late 2012, a small group of researchers (including myself and authors Tom Carey, Don Schmitt, Dr. David Rudiak and Kevin Randle) teamed to reach the very last of the living witnesses to Roswell. With the unfortunately acquired moniker “The Roswell Dream Team”, we understood that time stood still for no one, and that it may have been the last opportunity to reach these witnesses. We obviously could not call the thousands who were at the base at the time, and so we selectively chose those who were associated with others who had previously admitted to involvement with the crash.
Chasing the hands of the clock using a Roswell base yearbook, a city phone directory from 1947 and online resources, we found their status and locations. Many were deceased or under care. Of those whose telephone numbers we found and were able to reach, a number of them preferred to say nothing (or tellingly little). Several, however, related clear and lucid accounts that strengthen the case for the fall of an extraterrestrial craft to the desert floor all those years ago. Their stories have not yet been related in books or to the public, but several are about to be, here and now:
“I WAS TOLD TO SHOOT ANYONE TRYING TO SEE IT, AND NOTHING HAS CONVINCED ME THAT IT WASN’T A FLYING SAUCER”
Pvt. Patrick M. Pappone, 603rd Air Engineering Squadron 2012, with Tom Carey
Pvt. Patrick M. Pappone, 603rd Air Engineering Squadron
Pat “Patsy” Pappone spent three years and one day at Roswell Army Air Field, from early 1947 through 1949. One of his jobs at the 603rd there was Accident Rescue and Reclamation. He helped supervise, for instance, the August 1948 cleanup of the Julian Anderson B-29 crash in which 13 airmen were killed. When reached by researcher Tom Carey, Pappone explained that in July of 1947 he was a Pvt. at the base, and “They came and grabbed all of us at night. They put us in trucks and drove us out into the middle of nowhere where we were posted as guards. We were given carbines and told to shoot anyone trying to get into or out of the perimeter. Those were our only orders. We were not told what was going on. My guess is that there must have been over a hundred or more of us, as I couldn’t see the entire perimeter. It was too large. We were stationed too far away from whatever they were doing to see what was going on, but we would occasionally see and hear trucks in the distance coming and going. We were there for a number of days, perhaps as much as a week or so. I can’t remember exactly now, but we slept in tents and food was brought in for us. One day while there, I noticed that a U-shaped fence had been erected apparently during the night as I had not seen it before.”
He then said that he was threatened: “While off my duty shift I decided to go over there and have a look. When I got there, I was challenged by a man in civilian clothes: ‘Where do you think that you are going? You’d better turn around right now and go back to where you came from or you will find yourself in Leavenworth. And they will throw away the key.’ So I beat it out of there. Our last day out there before we were about to climb in the truck, another man in civilian clothes came up and asked us ‘Did you see anything?’ Most of us didn’t say anything, but a few jokingly said ‘See what?’ He then let us go and we were driven back to the base.”
Pappone told Carey that it was certainly no weather balloon, with all of that commotion and orders to kill. Speculation at the time that was that it was an experimental craft to an errant atomic bomb, but, Pappone emphatically stated, “Nothing has convinced me that it wasn’t a flying saucer.”
The rather obvious questions are: why would the crash of even a classified balloon train (as suggested by the Air Force) necessitate having servicemen grabbed at night, creating a perimeter around the crash area with over 100 men as far as the eye could see, given arms and orders to shoot to kill intruders, have a fence erected around the area, be placed there for over a week’s time to guard, and threatened to say nothing to anyone about any of it?
“I ALREADY FORGOT ABOUT IT…I’M SUPPOSED TO FORGET”
Sgt. Stanley Muelling, 393rd Bomb Squadron 2012, with Kevin Randle
When asked about the event of July 1947, Muelling told Kevin Randle, “That was all highly classified and we were never to talk about it.”
Muelling explained his Unit Commander warned them about discussing anything about this. Even decades later, it appears that Muelling was adhering to orders:
When Kevin asked if he had seen anything himself, Muelling replied, “If I did I already forgot about it. I’m supposed to forget.” Kevin then graciously closed the conversation. It appears Muelling, even in the late winter of his life, refused to be transparent about his experience at Roswell. Sometimes the shortest exchanges are among the most instructive.
“HE TOLD ME ABOUT THE UFO CRASH, BUT I DON’T WANT TO REMEMBER IT!”
Sgt. Stanley Muelling, 393rd Bomb Squadron
Corporal Ernest Camrenar, Squadron S
The Widow of Corporal Ernest Camrenar, Squadron S 2012, with Anthony Bragalia
Corporal Carmenar had passed before we reached him, but I was able to speak with his widow. I told her that I was conducting “military history” research and that I had just a few brief questions of her. She immediately interrupted me, “I don’t know anything about any of that. I met him and married him years later in the mid-1950s so I can’t help you.” I wanted to keep the conversation going so I asked, “So, he was stationed in New Mexico?” to which she said, “Mexico?” and I replied, “New Mexico, Roswell.”
Mrs. Carmenar replied, “Yes, that’s about right but I told you that I don’t know…I wasn’t with him then. Now are you trying to do some media thing or what? What is the point of all of this?” I realized in that instant that Mrs. Carmenar knew exactly why she was skirting my questions and that her husband had told her about the incident. I told Mrs. Carmenar (whom I could sense was clearly holding out on me): “Mrs. Carmenar, I am just making one of many calls to many people. I don’t mean for you to think that I am singling you out. I am just doing research on the crash that happened there in 1947…" Mrs. Carmenar interjected in a perturbed way: “But I have explained to you that I was a teenager in ’47, I didn’t even know him.” But I was not going to let her get away with that excuse, and I knew that I could get more out of her. I said, “Gee, but when you met, before you married him, you must have asked about his military background…all guys back then went into the military…So he did tell you where he was stationed?"
She replied, “Of course he did.” Then I told her that I had talked to people with the base at the time who said that there was an unusual crash there in the summer of 1947. “Did your husband ever tell you about anything like that?” Mrs. Carmenar replied, “It was a long time ago. He may have.” I asked: “Did he tell you in the 80s or 90s when all of the Roswell books and programs first came out, or did he tell you back then, in the 1950s?”
She responded, “Back then, in the 1950s.” I then point blank asked her: “Did your husband tell you that a flying saucer had crashed there back then?”
She finally admitted, “Yes he did. He told me but I don’t want to remember it!” She then admonished me, “Call other people about this. Why don’t you call other people? I can’t say anymore.” I wished her the best and thanked her. Afterwards I felt sick for her. I had unintentionally upset her over something that she clearly wished I had not brought up: the reality of the visiting alien, which she knew to be true based on the one she trusted most–her husband.
“NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT…OH, BY THE WAY, IT WASN’T OURS”
Family of Sgt. Herschel C. Galyon. 830th Bomb Squadron 2012, with Tom Carey
Gaylon was selected to try to reach because of his direct association with SSgt. Milton Sprouse, as crewmember on the famous B-29 “Dave’s Dream” nuclear bomber with flights from RAAF. Sprouse was the crew chief. Sprouse had previously related to researchers stunning details of the event [link]. Unfortunately, Gaylon had passed many years ago, from a heart defect. His wife died some years after her husband. Tom Carey was however successful in finding and interviewing Gaylon’s daughter, Diana Holt, who lives in the small town of Philadelphia, TN.
Holt indicated that her father did not discuss his military time with her much, but that she did ask him about Roswell and UFOs, as she did know that he was there during that time period. His reply to her was a curious, “I will tell you this: there is nothing to be afraid of.” And then he told her some time later that he was TDY (temporary duty) in Florida during the time of the incident, but he understood that there were two crash sites. Carey was not able to get much more, as Gaylon did not tell his daughter much more, but she suggested Carey contact her brother, who may have known more.
Sgt. Herschel C. Galyon, 830th Bomb Squadron
Carey contacted Kent Gaylon in Indiana, who answered the phone. Carey explained the nature of his call to Kent. The son indeed learned a bit more than the daughter: Though his father was sparing, he related to Kent that “They told everyone not to talk about it and he was just following orders as he was career military.” But a few times, when his father’s Roswell army buddies would come visiting, Kent would eavesdrop. It turns out that his father, though TDY in flight when the crash happened, did indeed return in time to help with the cleanup himself. Kent says:
“My Dad was on TDY on a flight to Florida when the incident happened. Upon return to Roswell, he and his crew were immediately told to change into their 'filthies' [fatigues used for dirty work] and report to a designated bus nearby for a special detail. He recognized his crewmates, but not the others who filled the vehicle. The bus drove north on the main highway out of town for a half-hour to forty minutes, then left the road and went into the desert for a mile or two to an area of the desert that was covered with thousands of little pieces that felt like silvery fabric*. My Dad said that he had never seen or handled anything like that before or since. Everyone on the bus was given a burlap to pick up the little pieces in. He said there were no larger pieces that he could see, which he assumed had been already picked up by an earlier crew. He filled his bag, and it took the team several hours to clean up the site, after which they turned in their bags and were told not to talk about where they had been or what they had done.
“When I finally asked my Dad about this, he confirmed the story to me and concluded with the statement, 'Oh, by the way, it wasn’t ours.'” Kent continued, “My Dad was also aware that a number of officers had been reassigned after the incident to 'parts unknown'.”
- *A ”silvery fabric” as mentioned by Gaylon was also reported by others, including Roswell base Intel Officer Jesse Marcel Sr. (who spoke of ‘porous’ foil-like, fabric-type material among other types of debris) and by the neighbor of Mac Brazel, the rancher who found the crash site. Sally Tandolini also spoke of a tough “metal-like fabric that you could blow through.”
“I WAS TOLD IN 1952 THAT IT WASN’T FROM HERE BY OFFICER WALTER HAUT, AND GLENN DENNIS SPOKE OF LITTLE CASKETS”
Cpl. Charles Contrufello, 603rd Air Engineering Squadron (retired as Chief Warrant Officer of the 509th) 2012, with Anthony Bragalia
Cpl. Charles Contrufello, 603rd Air Engineering Squadron
Other testimony from the 603rd Air Engineering Squadron (like Pat Pappone’s, above) comes from a phone interview that I conducted with Charles Contrufello, who was with Roswell Army Air Field (later Walker Air Base) for fourteen years, retiring as Chief Warrant Officer. Charles was 93 when I reached him, articulate, cheerful and forthcoming about what he knew. He had two intriguing personal stories: one about his subordinates being sent to the crash field and after their return, refusing to tell him anything about it, and one concerning Roswell witnesses Walter Haut and Glenn Dennis and what they said to him thirty years before they were found by researchers:
“I was not at the crash site myself, but two of my guys were sent." I asked Charles who sent them, to which he replied, "It came from Butch (Blanchard) the Commander." I asked Charles what they said when they came back. “They didn’t. They would just say that it was ‘debris’, that’s it. I asked them more than once and they just wouldn’t say anything more, so that was it. So I left it alone. But those boys saw something.”
I asked if Charles knew Jesse Marcel, the involved intelligence officer at the base. He said that he knew him “fairly well” and that “Jesse was a straight-shooter. I do not believe that he made up those things that he said.”
Things got very interesting when Charles offered that he knew Lt. Walter Haut, the base Public Information Officer in 1947 (who made a signed confession before he died to seeing the alien bodies) and also Glenn Dennis, town mortician in 1947 (who claimed receiving strange calls from the base about the availability of child caskets, and an encounter with a nurse who said she witnessed alien bodies there). I asked if they had ever talked about the crash event before all of the books and programs came out in the 1980s and 90s. He said:
“Oh yes, Walt and Glenn both talked about it before the books and things. I remember Walt and Glenn were in the coffee shop–like a Denny’s–back in 1952. We discussed it a little. Walt said that it wasn’t from here and that they still did not know what it was. He said that it was not a balloon and I did not know what to think! He wouldn’t say much more than that. I’d ask but he’d never say more…he believed what he was telling me.”
I then asked him about Glenn Dennis, to which Contrufello replied, “I knew Glenn pretty well. He was there with me at the coffee shop too. He did talk about the strange call from the base about a coffin. He and Walt were both believers." Like Walt, Glenn, according to Contrufello, at that time in 1952, “didn’t want to say much, just enough.” He continued, “After the crash, people hushed up, but a few years later there was talk about it again at the base, at Walker. And that’s when Glenn and Walt mentioned it. That’s why they mentioned it, more people were talking about it.”
THE CALLS, THE STORIES AND WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
These are stories that the men and women above did not seek to tell. Our calls were not expected. We found them. They were lucid and of clear mind when they talked with us. Without even knowing that we were going to call them, they easily offered accounts whose fine details corroborated prior testimony garnered over the decades. Significantly, just like the five people above, not one of the other ten people reached by our team ever mentioned a balloon train having been retrieved. What some of these other ten said about what was found will be related in a future piece.
It does indeed appear that we have reached the very end of the line in finding any further first-hand witness testimony. This avenue of investigation is very probably closed. We can’t turn the hourglass over. Even the children of Roswell–that is, the sons and daughters of the principals who were involved, are now elderly. Beyond them, we are left with these avenues for understanding more about event:
The grandchildren of the involved. They may have been told directly, or they may be aware of “general family knowledge” about the crash. My grandfather told me more than he told his own son, my father. And genealogy and military records searches yielded more.
Some other researchers may have original testimony from first-hand witnesses that has not yet been released, or some may be found one day among the papers of a deceased researcher
Finding a left diary or confessional tape mentioning the event
Obtaining a piece of the retrieved crash debris
Locating authenticated government documents affirming the extraterrestrial nature of the crash (though every such prior document has been shown to be fraudulent, or authentic but only “suggestive”)
Discovering science-paper trails (such as this author found on the memory metal portion of the debris) that relate to attempts at reverse-engineering the craft’s materials of construction or its systems
The testimony of people (such as private-sector scientists, military, intelligence and security personnel) in the decades after 1947 who have worked on Roswell-related projects
THE QUEST CONTINUES
When people come together in genuine pursuit of truth, investigations can also yield genuine results. And just when it seems like all leads are exhausted and no more can be learned, there is more…