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One of the six New Mexicans directly affected by the crash of what was first called a UFO, then a weather balloon, shares memories of the event 50 years ago



Walter Haut, 74
"He told me that he wanted me to put out a press release which in effect stated that we had in our possession a crashed flying saucer."
Haut, a former World War II bombardier, was the information officer for the 509th Bombardment Group in July 1947. In his memory, he wrote and issued the press release announcing the crash on July 7. The story appeared in the afternoon newspaper, the Roswell Daily Record, on July 8, however, and said the announcement was made at noon earlier that day.
"Somewhere in the late morning I got a call from headquarters that Col. Blanchard wanted to see me. I went up and was told to go into his office. I went in and he told me that he wanted me to put out a press release which in effect stated that we had in our possession a crashed flying saucer. It was being transported to the 8th Air Force headquarters to be turned over to Gen. (Roger) Ramey, who was the next higher commander. I think I probably asked some idiot question like 'Can I see it?' and he said, 'No.' 'Can you describe it?' 'No.' It was just, 'Here's what I want in the press release -- we've got it, had it in our possession, it's gone on to General Ramey.'
"At that time we had two radio stations in town and two newspapers. It was just before lunch, I got in my little automobile and drove to two newspapers and two radio stations, hand-delivered the releases to them, came home to lunch, played with my little month-and-a-half-old daughter and went back to the base. The phone was ringing like mad. Everybody wanted to know the details. 'What did it look like?' 'Did you handle it?' I didn't know anything more than what was in the press release.
"The whole thing was over by 4 o'clock or 5 o'clock by the latest. All the news media who were going to call, called. And I told them I don't know any more than what was released. And it died. End of story." He still believes that his news release, not the statements released at a news conference in Fort Worth, Texas, later that evening about the craft being a weather balloon, was the accurate description of what happened.
Haut, who sports a "MR UFO" vanity plate on his Buick LeSabre (his wife has "MRS UFO" on her Skylark), is retired from a career in public relations. He also has resigned his position at the International UFO Museum & Research Center, which he helped to found in 1991.
"I just felt I've got to get away from this. I just got so tired of telling the same story again and again every day."

All their stories:

  • "To my way of thinking, if we're here why can't somebody else be out there?" Loretta Proctor, 82.
  • "The first or second of July, the radar screen lit up." Frank Kaufmann, 80
  • "He said he needed caskets about 3-foot-6 or 4 feet, hermetically sealed baby caskets." Glenn Dennis, 72
  • "He told me that he wanted me to put out a press release which in effect stated that we had in our possession a crashed flying saucer." Walter Haut, 74
  • "They were carrying boxes of strange-looking material." Robert Shirkey, 74
  • "The phone started ringing. I took the story off the wire and read it (on the air) as a bulletin a couple of times." Frank Joyce, 74


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    Copyright © 1997 Albuquerque Journal