Cover-Up at Roswell: Exposing the 70-Year Conspiracy to Suppress the Truth

Cover-Up at Roswell: Exposing the 70-Year Conspiracy to Suppress the Truth

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As we approach the 70th anniversary of the most significant UFO event of all time, best-selling author Donald R. Schmitt takes a fresh look at the renowned incident. Previous books on Roswell, including his, have focused on the witnesses, their families, and the history of the case. Cover-Up at Roswell catalogs the extreme measures the U.S. government exercised to suppress the truth.

How they silenced military witnesses clearly demonstrates their need to prevent the facts from leaking out. But more disconcerting are the tactics used against civilians and the media.

Over the years, the government has actually issued four different explanations for what took place in 1947, yet Roswell remains a mystery, shrouded in secrecy, cover-ups, and deception. Is a fifth explanation at hand?

Cover-Up at Roswell includes fascinating new information, such as:
  • The most comprehensive timeline of events ever written.
  • What the base commander's secretary confessed.
  • The answers to the 20 most frequently asked questions about Roswell.
  • The Roswell "smoking gun," provided by one of the very arbiters of the cover-up.

The search for the truth about Roswell continues. Are we brave enough to accept it?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632651051
Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
Publication date: 06/19/2017
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 457,548
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Donald R. Schmitt is the former Director of Special Investigations for the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies in Chicago. He is a cofounder of the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico, where he serves as an advisor to the board of directors. Don is a six-time best-selling coauthor. His most famous title, Witness to Roswell, was the top-selling UFO book in the world in 2007 and 2008. It has been optioned by Stellar Productions for the feature film Majic Men.

Read an Excerpt



"The general said it would cause a stampede. How could we convince the public the [UFOs] weren't hostile when we didn't know ourselves?"

— Captain Edward Ruppelt, in response to General Hoyt S. Vandenberg's rejection of the Project Sign Report, which concluded that the phenomenon was "interplanetary"

"Our study would be conducted almost exclusively by nonbelievers. ... The trick would be, I think, to describe the project so that, to the public, it would appear a totally objective study."

— Dr. Robert J. Low, project administrator of the controversial Condon Committee, Colorado University Study at Boulder

One of the most infamous engagements in U.S. military history was the My Lai Massacre, which happened in 1968 during the Vietnam War. In the heat of action, American troops killed apparently unarmed, noncombatant, Vietnamese civilians. A court martial was held, and even though a cogent argument of extenuating circumstances was presented in defense of those accused, prison sentences were handed down to soldiers of the U.S. Army. More recently, a similar charge of apparent military excess toward civilians from the same conflict has been lodged against a former U.S. senator and now and ex-presidential hopeful, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska.

A Navy Seal during the Vietnam War, Kerrey led a raid on a Vietnamese hamlet, and when the smoke of the battle had cleared, civilians lay dead in the center of the village. Although no formal charges have yet been brought against Kerrey (his role is alleged to have been similar to that of Lt. William Calley of My Lai infamy), his presidential aspirations came to a screeching halt when these accusations became public. (Kerrey has denied the allegations.)

The point of these examples is that a military reprisal against civilians, even in times of war and against enemy civilians, is repugnant to our value system and something that will not be tolerated by the American people. Today, we would refer to them as civil rights violations, or war crimes if committed in time of war, and their perpetrators would be brought to swift justice and punished severely. In particular, when such acts involve excesses by the military establishment upon the helpless — whether military or civilian — the resulting outrage by the media can reach firestorm proportions.

Such was not always the case, however. Immediately following World War II, the United States enjoyed an understandably euphoric period of joy, pride, and optimism. Germany and Japan had both surrendered and our victorious military was coming home. During this period that lasted roughly from late 1945 until the start of the Korean War in 1950, our undefeated military and the personnel in it were placed upon a pedestal and held in high esteem by a grateful America. Our military "walked on water" as far as the public perception — or so the American people thought.

The sudden and unexpected arrival of the modern age of UFOs in the summer of 1947 caught our military establishment completely by surprise. In the military mindset, the first position was that these mysterious craft had to be some new technology from the Soviet Union and, by extension, a potential threat to our national security. Even after it was determined that the "flying discs" were definitely not of Russian design, the national security concerns prevailed, and the entire matter of flying saucers was given a security classification "higher than the H-Bomb," as one anonymous source described it.

Occurring during the first week of July 1947, the Roswell Incident coincided with a wave of flying saucer sightings that swept the United States that summer. Each new sighting report commanded front-page banner headlines in many of the country's major newspapers and Roswell was no exception. As an anxious and excited nation — if not the world — awaited more news of the recovery of a genuine flying saucer outside of Roswell, New Mexico, things were about to change.

Moving quickly to kill the story, the U.S. government resorted to a combination of tactics, including appeals to patriotism, claims of a need to ensure "national security," bribery, threats of long prison sentences, and outright thuggery in the form of death threats. As to the proficiency of such techniques, the Roswell Incident became a two-to-three-day story as it quickly passed from the public consciousness and was forgotten by all but those personally involved.

As authors Charles Berlitz and William Moore reported in their 1980 book The Roswell Incident, a British officer, Flight Lieutenant Hughie Green, was, at the time, driving his car from California to Philadelphia. While traversing the state of New Mexico, Green heard the first radio reports concerning the "crashed saucer" near Roswell. Continuing on his journey, he heard many updates to the original account, including several late-breaking news announcements. As demonstrative of how quickly the story was squelched, by the time Green arrived in Pennsylvania there was no further mention by the press about the spectacular event. The story was dead.

Those in the military who were witnesses to the actual occurrences, specifically the handling of the wreckage and the remains, were the easiest elements for the government to control. The Roswell Army Air Field was the first Strategic Air Command (SAC) base in the world, so all personnel who worked at the facility, whether military or civilian, had top security clearances. From the base commander to a custodian who swept a broom, they all had the appropriate clearances to be assigned to the most elite unit within the U.S. military. Even before the crash of the unknown object outside of Roswell, all of the personnel were living the policy of not talking even to family members about events that transpired at the base — ever. To emphasize this point, the enlisted men responsible for the cleanup at the various sites were detained in groups and "debriefed" (that is, sworn to secrecy under the guise of "national security"). To ensure their silence, lengthy prison terms were promised to anyone who might speak out of turn and reveal anything sensitive about the event.

We also have heard from family members that bribes of $10,000 or more were used to purchase the silence of those who specifically witnessed the biological remains recovered from the crash. The officers involved, especially career officers, were even less problematic. An officer seeking to advance his or her career in the military does not do so by defying direct orders or breaching security. In fact, it is a career-breaker. One key officer who was heavily involved in the recovery operation even promised President Truman (via an aide) that he would keep the secret for the rest of his life. He held that sacred trust inviolate until he lay dying many decades later.

Lt. Colonel Edwin Easley was the former provost marshal at the base at Roswell in 1947. He was in charge of the 1395 MP unit and responsible for all military security there at the time of the event. When we first found the officer in 1990, my former partner Dr. Kevin D. Randle interviewed him via telephone. The call was recorded and with total defiance in his responses, Easley repeats over and over that he was "... still sworn to secrecy." No matter what the question about his own participation or knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the incident, Easley repeats his sworn orders. Consider that this was 43 years after the occurrence and many years after the "official" explanation for Roswell had long been declassified. Clearly, the aging officer knew otherwise, because he had two more years to educate himself on his position and yet he still honored his security oath. While he was dying from stomach cancer at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, he finally provided a mere glimpse of what he knew to be the truth. A flying saucer and its crew were recovered back in 1947 while he was stationed at Roswell, and the president asked them never to say another word about it. This he confessed to his two daughters and granddaughter after she held up her gift to his face while he was confined to his bed: a copy of our Randle and Schmitt book, UFO Crash at Roswell.

Controlling civilians, however, was a more difficult matter. Except in time of war or under conditions when martial law has been declared, the U.S. military has no direct constitutional authority over American civilians. It could keep quiet its own house (the men and women of the 509th Atomic Bomb Group stationed in Roswell, and others in the chain of command), but how can the armed forces keep civilians from exercising their First Amendment–guaranteed freedom of speech? There were many civilians involved in the Roswell Incident. Ranchers, their families and children, law enforcement officers, and the press all experienced direct contact with the truthful nature of the incident. These people, in some cases, were responsible enough to notify the authorities in the first place and there still lacks any testimony that would suggest they were rewarded for performing their civic duty, from the initial discovery of the debris field by civilians near Corona; to the discovery of the remains of the craft, again by civilians, much closer to Roswell; to the recovery operations at the Roswell base; to, finally, the shipment of the wreckage and bodies to Wright Field (later renamed Wright Patterson Air Force Base) in Dayton, Ohio.

Aside from the Corona ranchers whose homes were indiscriminately ransacked during the Army's mad search for "souvenirs" from the crash, other civilians involved in the 1947 Roswell events were dealt with through civilian authority-proxies. This included rancher Mack Brazel, whose discovery initiated the entire chain of events and who was dealt with directly by the military. Brazel was abducted and detained at the Roswell base against his will for almost a week; while there he was intimidated, threatened, given an invasive physical exam, cajoled, and ultimately bribed to change his story and promised to never talk about the incident again. These events should not be overlooked, specifically in the case of Brazel. Legally, he was not even afforded due process during his full detainment. It would appear that the military, for reasons of national security, had placed themselves "above the law."

Without the federal regulations within a declaration of martial law, which would allow them to supersede local law enforcement, they essentially had to resort to a new set of rules — simply because they were dealing with an unprecedented situation that also transcended the rule of law as well. The balloon explanation reduced Roswell down to the sublime in the court of public opinion. Behind the scenes, anyone who was a threat to that alterative explanation was an immediate risk to the security of the nation and had to be dealt with by whatever means necessary. Brazel was mortified by the indignity of his entire ordeal.

Sheriff George Wilcox of Chaves County, New Mexico (of which Roswell is the county seat), was an authority proxy utilized by the Army to help contain the story throughout the city. A photograph of him on the telephone and looking like a "deer caught in the headlights" was featured prominently on the front page of the July 9, 1947 edition of the Roswell Daily Record. But Wilcox was doing much more than just fielding phone calls from the curious public. He refused to give out any details to such inquiries because he was "helping out the fellows from the base." Keep in mind that the sheriff is the number-one law enforcement official in any respective county throughout the United States. In that capacity, if a sheriff had any cause to make an arrest on any military facility, he could arrest the base commander if he had cause to do so. And yet, Wilcox totally failed his publicly elected position and took his orders from the military during the entire Roswell Incident. Wilcox became the civilian "enforcer" assigned to threaten and intimidate local Roswellians into keeping their mouths shut about what they had witnessed. It was his task, handed down by the military, to deliver the warning of the "ultimate sanction" to those who saw or knew too much about the incident. Sadly, he allowed himself to be intimidated by the "fellows from the base," and would later pay a heavy price, from which he never recovered.

Whether it concerned a personal visit to the parents of local mortician Glenn Dennis of the Ballard Funeral Home or civilian employees at the base Pete and Ruben Anaya, the sheriff issued the same warning as he went down his "hit list" provided by the RAAF: "If you say anything, you will be killed. And your entire family will as well."

It is not known to how many others Sheriff Wilcox delivered "the message" on behalf of the Army. What is known, however, is that he never ran for re-election. According to his daughter Phyllis, who witnessed some of her father's physical accosting by the military at the Roswell courthouse, the entire affair "destroyed him." When his former Chief Deputy and former Roswell Chief of Police Leslie O. Thompson was asked about his recollections some 40 years later, his immediate response was, "I don't want to get my head blown off."

Sheriff Wilcox soon discovered, however, that his complicity did not equate to immunity. After the story of the Roswell crash had been contained and public interest in the matter had subsided, the Army paid a visit to Wilcox and his wife, Inez. This was no social call, no occasion for praise, no courtesy call to reward him for a nasty job well done. The message delivered to the startled couple was that unless they kept quiet about everything, particularly Wilcox's role in the cover-up, they would be killed. The sheriff was also summoned to the RAAF for a further, unspecified "discussion." Not knowing what it was about or what to expect, he took two of his deputies along with him out of fear of what had transpired earlier. When he returned to the courthouse, Inez observed that he was acting "very strange." He had a distant look in his expression and appeared to have been "roughed up." The family sadly observed him take an immediate downward turn both physically and mentally. Sheriff Wilcox died in 1961 a "broken man" at a mental hospital in Los Vegas. Asked by her granddaughter, Dr. Barbara Duggar, years later whether she believed the threats or not, Inez Wilcox looked at her with an expression consistent with her reply: "What do you think?"

When the initial call came into the Roswell Fire Station about a downed aircraft north of town, before they could respond, a colonel from the RAAF arrived on the scene. He quickly informed those on duty that "an unknown object from someplace else" had crashed. He instructed them, with no authority, that they were not to discuss the incident and that the military would handle it. Sensing that there was much more to the story, crew chief Dan Dwyer and fireman Lee Reeves drove out north of town based on some of the preliminary information they had. Arriving just before the Army could secure the site, the two men were able to get close enough to confirm that all the talk back in Roswell was true. "From someplace else" was putting it mildly. The so-called "aircraft" was a smallish, egg-shaped object unlike anything they had seen before. What they could have never imagined were the bodies lying in the lee of the craft: "They weren't human!"

Known as the "Iron Major," the Roswell city manager was a decorated WWII veteran of the only independent tank battalion in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations to receive the president's Unit Citation. C.M. Woodbury was a member of the 752nd Tank Battalion, which had experienced some of the most brutal combat of the war in the Battle for Bologna during the Italian Campaign. He was also a close, personal friend to the RAAF base commander, Colonel Blanchard. A short time after Dwyer and Reeves returned back to the firehouse, a most intimidating figure walked in to greet them. "You are not to say another word about the crash," Woodbury forcefully warned.

At that time, Dwyer was not aware that his 12-year-old daughter Frankie had stopped by the fire station while he was out in the desert north of town. He had no idea that Frankie had serendipitously placed herself on the same "watch list" as her father. The visit by state Police Officer Robert Scoggins with the strange piece of metal from out in Lincoln County opened the door to a lifetime of fear and paranoia for the Dwyer family. Frankie saw and handled a piece that "flowed like water" after you crumbled it. Too many witnesses held the truth in their own hands — more suppression was needed.


Excerpted from "Cover-Up at Roswell"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Donald R. Schmitt.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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Table of Contents

Foreword 15

Preface 21

Introduction 23

Chapter 1 Silencing the Public 31

Chapter 2 Silencing the Press 45

Chapter 3 "You'll Have to Talk With My Lawyer" 61

Chapter 4 "Go Talk to the People Over at Roswell" 71

Chapter 5 Silencing a Congressman 50 Years Later 79

Chapter 6 The Tale of Two Secret Agents 95

Chapter 7 Searching for the Holy Grail 117

Chapter 8 "It Was the Biggest Lie I Ever Had to Tell" 131

Chapter 9 Why Roswell Is Still the Granddaddy of Them All 149

Appendix A The Roswell Incident: The Timeline of Events 159

Appendix B The 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Roswell 193

Appendix C Roswell Documents 207

Notes 215

Bibliography 223

Index 227

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