The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

THE ROSWELL BASE PHOTOGRAPHERS: THEIR CRASH SECRETS REVEALED by Anthony Bragalia

Copyright 2013, InterAmerica, Inc.
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Roswell Army Air Field base photographers who were stationed there at the time of the UFO crash over six decades ago have recently been located and contacted. In their 20s at the time, today they are in their mid and late 80s. And today they offer intriguing details about what they maintain was indeed a very strange day in early July of 1947. They vividly remember it- and the stories that they tell are internally consistent and they are corroborated by others.

It has now been learned that:

Oddly, the base Photo Unit was completely “cut out” of photographing or filming the fallen “balloon“ that was “mistaken” as a flying disc. They state that that though they had photographed all types of balloons and experimental craft (including their retrievals) many times before, they never received orders to photograph or process images of the Roswell crash debris at any point.

It now appears evident that Base Commander Butch Blanchard and his superiors agreed that it was best to have outsiders who were located off-base take on the task of photographing and filming the wreckage and corpses. This vital task needed to be compartmentalized. It was a security risk to have too many involved, examining the material and corpses close-up, all stationed together at the same base at the same time. It was deemed wiser to use those from other bases or nearby retired military with Top Secret clearance.

Incredibly, the Commander of the Photo Unit was relieved of his duties by Special Order and transferred out of Roswell to a base in California almost immediately after the military had discovered the crash. This was at the very same time that the Roswell Base Chaplain was also relieved of his duties and shipped to a far west location, as reported in a previous article.
                       
“Men from DC” were flown into the base following the discovery of the crash. It is believed that they were brought in to photograph the dead corpses and debris. One of these DC photographers has confessed his involvement in photographing the crash aftermath. And he too was transferred out from where he was stationed after his crash site involvement.

The base photographers interviewed never believed that the crash was resultant from any kind of balloon crash but rather that there was a hush-up.

A civilian is identified who held Top Secret military clearance and photographed the bodies nearly immediately after they were discovered. Within three hours the DC photo crew had arrived to take over the task.

THE 3RD PHOTO UNIT SPEAKS

The 3RD Photo Unit at Roswell had personnel that held Top Secret clearances. This is because, they explain, they often had to photograph and process images of experimental craft and weapons (and their crashes) and many other types of highly classified projects and technologies. If the crash was in fact the downing of a Mogul balloon (as the Air Force now maintains) photo unit personnel possessing Top Secret clearance would have been deployed.

Two of the base photographers and the wife of a third (still living and lucid but unable to speak due to a recent stroke) have recently offered up insight on the crash incident for the very time:

James Remiyac
PFC 3rd Photo Unit

Jim Remiyac was a 20 year old PFC in the 3rd Photo Unit at Roswell in July of 1947. Now 85, he has recently suffered a stroke but I had the opportunity to talk with his wife about his time there.

She and her husband discussed the crash incident over the decades, including well before all of the books, magazine and shows on Roswell.

She explained that her husband said that he and his unit were “shut out from everything” and that “even though they should have been there as they were many times before for similar things, they were not called out. And they wondered about this after the newspaper accounts too. Why? What was so special?”

Remiyac noticed increased flight activity in and out of the base and he had heard rumors that people from Washington, DC were there for a serious matter. He called them “brass.”

He never believed it was a balloon- and he does believe that there was a cover-up. He also does not discount that the crash could have been extraterrestrial in nature- but he had no first-hand knowledge of that. He explained that everyone got quite about it until they got out. “Beginning in the early 1950s we would again mention it to one another.” 

Gene Niederschmidt
PFC 3rd Photo Unit

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Gene Niedershmidt, pictured above, was also a Unit member and who possessed Top Secret clearance. Gene echoes Remiyac’s recollections. Remiyac and Niederschmidt had discussed the incident for decades and kept in touch. Mrs. Remiyac provided me with Gene’s contact information.

Though they were brought in to photograph and document “any and all kinds or crashes” Gene remembers that no one was called from his unit to do so when it came to that specific crash that particular time in July. Gene remains uncomfortable to this day about why this is so:

If it were a highly classified project of any type that had fallen, quick response and visual documentation would be required by base operations policy.

If it were a weather balloon, they photographed many of those as well. Any airborne device that comes to grief near or over the base was to be filmed.

Asked if this was a rather mundane thing to do, Gene explained that they even took pictures of servicemen after they had been in Friday fights, or of the crashed jeep of a drunken soldier, and similar “events.”

Gene and I agreed that someone from somewhere photographed and filmed the fallen debris no matter what its origin. The DC folks that were discussed may well have played that part.

Gene recommended that I contact Calvin Cox, his PFC companion who he said could confirm all of this and that he had another story to tell about that day.

Calvin Cox
PFC 3rd Photo Unit

For Calvin Cox, that early July in 1947 was especially eventful. Readers will remember a prior piece in which it was related that it was Calvin Cox who was enlisted by Major Edwin Easley to help guard the Hangar at Roswell containing the debris  and who had orders to “shoot to kill” anyone who was unauthorized.

Calvin confirms Gene and Jim’s accounts that there was a “blackout” of information and a “shut out” of participation.
And like Gene and Jim, he also recalls unfamiliar faces around the base and his activity areas in the time immediately following the crash. He noted that some of these base visitors were thought to be from the FBI in DC.

Earlier corroboration of these three accounts comes from a brief interview that was conducted with the Unit’s Operations Manager, Vernon Zorn. In 1991’s UFO Crash at Roswell by Kevin Randle and Don Schmidt, Zorn confirmed that “no photos of the crash site were taken by his men.”

COMMANDER OF PHOTO UNIT ORDERED OUT OF ROSWELL

1st Lt. Lewis Cain Bohanon commanded the 3rd Photo Unit at Roswell which took picture in the field and processed highly classified photos in the Lab.  

Very interestingly, by an issued Special Order (#139) Bohanon was relieved of his duties at Roswell on July 18th, 1947, less than two weeks after the military discovered the crash. The decision by his superiors to relieve him was likely made several days earlier. Bohanon was transferred out to Hamilton Field in California, and was replaced by an outsider, Lt. Harold W. Arner.
It is worthy to note that Reverend Elijah H. Hankerson, the Roswell Base Chaplain (whose strange story is reported in my article online and in Witness to Roswell 2nd Edition) was also relieved of his duties days after the crash.  Like Bohanon, he too was suddenly replaced by an outsider.
Bohanon was reached by author William Moore when researching his 1980 book The Roswell Incident. Though he did not speak of his sudden base transfer, on page 196 of the book, Moore briefly states: “Lt. Lewis Bohanon insisted that no photographic record remained documenting the incident.”
Perhaps Bohanon became aware of the use of the ‘outsiders’ to image the crash incident. Roswell Base Commander Blanchard may have had to have told Bohanon not to go out to the site, just as Roswell’s Fire Department was told by the military not to do so.  Or perhaps Bohanon had actively coordinated and collaborated with these outsiders.
Whatever the reason for his post-crash transfer, Bohanon knew too much and it was deemed necessary to ship him out.
He was obviously compliant, and was afterwards rewarded with a promotion to the rank of Major.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED: THE PHOTOGRAPHERS NAMED

With decay of the creatures a concern, photographing and filming creatures had to be of immediate importance. There would have been field photographs taken. But stirring up the base’s photo unit was not wanted; the task had to be done on the down-low. A nearby photo studio owner was tapped to this task.
A civilian who ran a successful Roswell photo studio also functioned as an occasional contract photographer to the base. As a veteran who still retained his Top Secret clearance, he photographed many sensitive military things. This man’s name was Jack Rodden Sr.

Jack Rodden

According to Tom Carey and Don Schmidt (as reported in their book Witness to Roswell) Mary Rodden, (Jack Rodden Sr.’s daughter-in-law, a Nursing Manager at New Mexico Rehabilitation Center in Roswell) said that he had told her that he had taken pictures of the crash debris and the bodies and that he had been sworn to secrecy. 

He also cryptically and sparingly indicated to his namesake son, Jack Rodden Jr., that “they killed it” when speaking of one of the photographed creatures. Though they have yet to be found, Rodden Sr. told his son that had “hidden records about it.”

Jack Rodden Sr. also told family a ‘side story’ on the incident: A rancher had said that his three children had come home at the time of the crash frightened by the military because they got too close to the site.  

Confirming the testimony of the three photo unit vets that told me that “men from DC” were flown in to Roswell after the crash is the testimony of one of the DC photographers himself:

FREDERICK BENTHAL

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Frederick Benthal was a Sergeant and Army Air Force Photographer in Washington, DC in the summer of 1947.  Benthal was interviewed for inclusion in Stanton Friedman’s 1994 Crash at Corona. Referred to only as “FB” in Friedman’s book, Carey and Schmidt some time later had examined the case and determined that “FB” was “Fred Benthal.”

Benthal explained that he and Col. Al Kirkpatrick were under sudden orders to fly to the Roswell base, a three hour flight. There they were taken north of Roswell where they had observed covered trucks carrying some type of wreckage. Further on they were taken to a desert site with a tent. This is where he and others took photographs of small humanoid bodies temporarily stored in the tent on tarps. They had large heads, darkish complexion and very thinly constructed bodies. He also detected a strange odor within the tent.

Benthal said that his picture-taking was sharply supervised by an officer who did not want Benthal to make sustained observation of the creatures. He stated that all of his photographs and equipment were then confiscated and he and his Colonel companion were debriefed that they were to say nothing of this as a matter of national security and then were flown back to DC. 

And just like Col. Lewis Bohanon (who commanded the 3rd Photo Unit at Roswell) was transferred out of the base after the crash, Frederick Benthal reported that after the crash incident, he too was “transferred out.” 

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Someone really didn’t want Fred talking. He was reassigned to Antarctica “to study the effects of cold on pieces of equipment.”

AJB 

37 Comments:

  • Nice job as always Tony.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, July 24, 2013  

  • I'm afraid that I need to play the "Doubting" Thomas card on this one.

    Let's talk about the the Roswell Stigmata where I need to poke my fingers thru the holes. Tony provides photos of the photographers. What about his photo of the Alien on the slab. Real or pulled off the internet for "illustrative purposes?"

    The answer to the above dictates the rational view point that the reader may take. (hint: I totally dislike internet file photos of dead aliens as its seen as an attempt to psychologically entrap the reader.)

    A silly observation of mine, but as they say in court: "goes towards the credibility of the witness, your honor."

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Wednesday, July 24, 2013  

  • Tim:

    I'm taking that alien image as a hint.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, July 24, 2013  

  • Rich,

    As did I, but couldn't help myself with out a reply. :)

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Wednesday, July 24, 2013  

  • Interestingly a reverse image search yields few results

    http://goo.gl/PSDnKC

    It appeared atop an article by Nick Redfern in January this year, all other appearances (apart from AJB's piece) appear to be foreign language interpretations of Redfern's original article.

    By Blogger Ross, at Wednesday, July 24, 2013  

  • Another image closer up is in the Redern article, it too does not seems to have appeared elsewhere per reverse image search

    http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2013/01/roswell-endless-entertainment/

    This is not to suggest the the image(s) are new evidence hidden in plain sight, but would be interesting to find out where they originated

    By Blogger Ross, at Wednesday, July 24, 2013  

  • That photo looks like it comes from the Roswell movie made for Showtime back in the 90s. It's pretty good.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, July 24, 2013  

  • Tony picked the photo, from whence it comes I don't know....but it's not the new discovery hinted at elsewhere or here.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, July 24, 2013  

  • Looks like a cutscene from a video game, no idea which though.

    By Blogger Ross, at Wednesday, July 24, 2013  

  • It kind of reminds me when, in my youth, we would have a carnival in town and the barkers would be promoting the "petrified woman or giant." Of course it would cost you 50 cents to a dollar to go into the dimly lit tent for a passing peek.

    There were other attractions designed to separate me from my allowance which I happily gave away!

    Anyways, it would be nice if Tony would annotate his photos, but the article definitely has Tony's DNA all over it. :)

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Wednesday, July 24, 2013  

  • Ross:

    The Mysterious Universe people should be able to tell you where they get the images.

    I do a lot of articles for MU, and the way it works is like this: I provide the text of the article, with 4 or 5 links to other articles that are relevant.

    But, all the artwork is obtained, compiled and inserted into the article by the MU editors, not the writers.

    So, I don't know where it's from, but they should be able to tell you.

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Tony:

    Did you ever find any info on these re the photo angle:

    Captain Ed Guill (source believed he lived in Los Angeles and worked in the movie business before WW2).

    Roland S. Cliff.





    .



    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Hi Nick-

    Sure did check out those leads and unfortunately both Guill and Cliff are deceased.

    I am going to privately email you about Zerbe...

    Thx,
    Tony

    By Blogger Anthony Bragalia, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Something new and exciting from AJB.

    He has located three new people, none of whom saw anything or did anything. Instead they insist another photographic unit mysteriously arrived from DC to do their work!

    Eventually AJB locates one guy from DC who actually did take some pics, or says he did. Then, soon after, he gets shipped out to Antarctica!

    Poor guy. But where are the photos he took? Where are the other photos supposedly taken by 'the boys from DC'?

    This cover-up surely requires a congressional investigation, now!

    By Blogger cda, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • cda,

    Corpus delicti is for the courtroom

    By Blogger Ross, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • ...put aside the rampant and irrelevant conjecture that comprises the bulk of this article.

    Would not an application of Occam's Razor to what little actual 'facts' are presented more likely suggest far simpler explanation:

    The only two people interviewed that were at the base as part of the 3rd Photo Unit were NOT called to photograph anything - Because nothing actually happened that needed to be photographed that day???

    By Blogger Kurt Peters, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • KP:

    You're invoking Ockham's Razor?

    Oh my, we have descended into UFO-tyro land.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • It is acceptable to use either spelling.

    By Blogger Kurt Peters, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Ok, now we know that Tony's alien photo is a file shot from the recesses (bowels) of cyber-space.

    And...everyone involved in the photo shot of..what ever..was shipped off to what ever arm pit military installation then in existence or promoted straight from 1Lt to Major...then shipped off via the nearest Greyhound bus stop.

    And said civilian photographers that were actually involved with the real photos where allowed to hang around Roswell for a few hours and shipped back to DC?

    Yet with all of the above personnel movements, there are NO photos to be had of either crashed ship or dead/dying aliens.

    Throw in the Mogul/weather balloons hanging around the landscape like party favors or carnival atmosphere(perhaps for the going away party for the above mentioned "soon to be departed" GIs) and you have solid evidence of what?

    Yep...sounds reasonable to me. :)

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Tim:

    The image proffered by Tony is only a metaphor.

    It wasn't meant to show a real alien.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Rich,

    I understand that...truly I do.

    But my original facetious question about the photo's origin did spawn some interesting conjectures and speculation...more so than I would have thought.

    It's the sarcastic trait of mine which bubbles to the surface...sometimes at the most inappropriate time.

    I'll give it a rest.:)

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Tim:

    You're okay.

    I just wanted to make sure that any dodos reading here - we have a few - didn't think this was an attempt to show what The Randle Dream Team has dredged up.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Funny, but as a dodo I did and do think that this is exactly what AJB and the rest of the Dream Team are going to present to the world.

    By Blogger cda, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Yes CDA,

    But not the "photo" used here by Mr. Bragalia.

    (I needed to make that clear as some were tending to see the "alien image" as something it wasn't. It's only a substantiating metaphor for Mr. Bragalia's piece. I don't know where he gets these things.)

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Professor BRAGalia:

    ..I have on the highest authority that your unimpeachable source, Jack Rodden Jr., was often, during the early 1990s Schmitt/Randle early visits to Roswell, NOT above selling photographs of their research explorations for publication in UFO magazines, WITHOUT obtaining a signed release from the subjects....

    ...any comment, buddy?

    By Blogger Kurt Peters, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • So, perhaps AJB could enlighten us as to when, and indeed if, this compelling bit of photographic evidence may get a public airing?

    No more hints, veiled references, or metaphorical photographs. No more Mogul arguments on Randle's blog, lies on radio shows, and mendacious misdirections.

    Randle has always been very quick to mount a towering steed when faced with the cloak and dagger machinations of certain players in this field. The game afoot at the moment is no different, but I'm sure he's convinced himself otherwise.

    By Blogger Ross, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • I was thinking about this latest AJB discovery, and then I suddenly remembered a TV show I really liked in the last 10 years or so, House M.D.

    This was about a cranky medical diagnostician whose basic approach, mostly successful, to strange patient problems was "Everybody Lies".

    Doesn't this seem like something that totally fits with all the Roswell stories?

    By Blogger Chuck Finley, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • Chuck,

    There is a difference between 'Everyone lies' and 'Everyone lies all the time'

    The former is certainly true, the latter cannot be.

    By Blogger Ross, at Thursday, July 25, 2013  

  • I would call this post a wash, signifying yet another myth, that has nothing to do with any specific criticism of Tony's post, nor his efforts, which indicate that regardless of the quality or veracity of this post, he keeps pushing which I suppose is better than one sitting on their hands proffering opinions, like a sort of idle past time like a good dart game. The game changes nothing of significance yet it is competitive.
    The myth I refer to is the Dream Team itself which I suspect is little more than a social club of like minded history buffs, and the critical assumption that they will find anything other than either a concealed accident, an intelligence misdirection, or some other prosaic and uninteresting example of their own species psychological weakness is a hope against hope. Frankly I think this team is doing nothing except giving nothing a grandiose moniker. All the indications are there. It has gotten so goofy that no news is the equivalent of "they must be onto something" It is a metaphor for the serious study of this phenomenon. A lot of circuitous verbiage attached to a trinket in the curio cabinet as are most conspiracy theories that bypass even the subject of the modern myths of pathological control. As Paul Kimball put it, this is all about sociology, and has little to do with the study of the phenomenon. Anyone who thinks otherwise, is welcome to it as an alternative to Parcheesi.Has anyone noticed the recent experimentation with the creation of macro quantum phenomenon? Of course not.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, July 27, 2013  

  • BTW..
    Regardless of one's personal opinion of John Keel's work, if we step away from this reaction and examine the wide range of his vocabulary of anomalous manifestations such as in "Our Haunted Planet" it seems reasonable to suggest he was looking at a wide ranging scope, in search of a synthesis, rather than betting on one horse, or worse, having tunnel vision in the studying of self referential categories that are ad hoc in essence.
    I doubt many in so called Ufology know the difference between the scientific terms of closed systems versus open systems. Roswell is a closed system while the universe is an open system. What underlines this is an outdated and discarded concept of the universe being made of nuts and bolts.
    Its a case to be examined by context, ufology as the context for ufology, when I suspect few ( except perhaps Kimball and Redfern and the late Tonnies) have a wider perspective. If I said that science has already created matter that is neither matter or strictly energetic, how many ufo "experts"
    would know this? ( Its true)
    Wouldn't that be a significant match to the phenomenon of aerial anomalies? Ugh...

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, July 27, 2013  

  • I am new to this site and saw it on a link from Coast to Coast AM. Read the article and the comments and thought that I would like to add something. My Uncle had come back from Viet Nam in 1973 and was processing through Wright Pat AFB to be released. He had been a crew chief on a big v3 helicopter. I believe that he was part of the Chopper Cavalry that you see on like PBS documentaries all the time. Anyway he was in a hanger bay and saw what he called some kind of tube that could be looked into and stated quite emphatically that he saw a dead alien in it. And when the AF Security Police noticed that he saw inside that surrounded him and said that he can never mention what he saw and that if he did officially then there would be trouble for him. Since he never signed a security waiver with the AF he said screw you. Told the family about it in about 1976. I remember it clearly. Now I do not know if this was the one from Roswell but it was at WPAFB which is where they were supposed to have taken some of the stuff.

    By Blogger Kevin Cotter, at Saturday, July 27, 2013  

  • I worked with a man who, on his last day before retiring, told me he was on the Army crew that tried to get heavy equipment close to the crashed craft. He drove one, but it stopped a few yards away with technical difficulties. Ditto for the other operators. He said he saw personnel enter the craft and carry out body bags to a waiting freezer semi.

    By Blogger caligirl, at Sunday, July 28, 2013  

  • I always enjoy reading your articles and research. Thank you.

    By Blogger Chris Perridas, at Sunday, July 28, 2013  

  • Unfortunately, there is a huge, gaping hole in this "theory". If you were trying to keep a secret the LAST thing you would do is bring even more people from outside the controlled area in to witness it, regardless of clearance issues. You would simply have those already exposed and under your control sign a non-disclosure agreement. The more people who know a secret the more likely it is that someone will eventually talk. That is the problem with conspiracy theories in general, too many people would have to be involve for it not to have been disclosed. As the Mafia says: Two men can keep a secret if one of them is dead!

    By Blogger James Toupin, at Sunday, July 28, 2013  

  • I have recently become convince that the Roswell crash was not an ET craft. This because Edgar Mitchell's recent sharing that he spoke with the descendents of the man who delivered coffins to Roswell. It seems to me unlikely that the military would bury ETs in coffins. At this point Annie Jacobsen's claim that it was an experimental plane with genetically-engineered child-size pilots seems to fit.

    By Blogger focus, at Monday, July 29, 2013  

  • Re: the image of the "alien" on the hospital bed is from a display in the U.F.O. Museum at Roswell.. anyone that has visited there can verify this. The museum personnel will tell you that the "alien" was a movie prop that was on loan to them. I took some good photos of it some twenty years ago when I drove through town.

    By Blogger 19ken48, at Wednesday, July 31, 2013  

  • I would imagine the use of the photo was not meant to be taken as an actual alien photograph, (as the actual photographs would be headline news worldwide) but rather this image was used only to suggest what may have been photographed.
    The article itself is what's important. However if the concern was keeping a lid on the situation it doesn't make sense to bring in more people and ignore those who are already cleared and involved with the daily operations of the base activities.

    By Blogger 19ken48, at Wednesday, July 31, 2013  

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