About Roswell

a traveler's notes

  author of "Roswell Encounter Gallery"

Rodney Pygoya Chang
July 10, 2007

 

 

1.  The airport was originally called Walker Air Force Base from 1941-1967.  Today it’s named the Roswell Industrial Air Center or the Roswell International Air Center.  When the base closed it really hurt the economy of the town of now about 50,000.  Interesting right after that (1970s) interest resurfaced over the Roswell Incident.  Then in the 80s-90s Hollywood took off on it and make the incident famous in the whole world.  The UFO museum there was founded in 1991 by aging men involved in the incident.  Lt. Walter Haut, Public Information Officer of the 509th, and Glenn Dennis, a local funeral worker who delivered coffins to the air base during the Roswell Incident.

2.  It is a large paved air field that was important for World War II and the Cold War with the U.S.S.R.  The Enola Gay bomber took off from here to bomb Japan. The field is so large and there is little commercial traffic now that large jumbo jets now create an eerie “graveyard” of retired airplanes.  It has become the “final destination” or final “arrival” for many retired airplanes. 

3.  The field now is also used by Flight Research Training Center, a joint industry-university initiative.  5 founding members include New Mexico State Highway & Transportation Department, Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell, the City of Roswell, Calspan-U Buffalo Research Center, and Veridian Corporation.

4.  Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport is tiny. The elevation is 4197 feet.  Our 6 p.m.  flight out of Roswell had 3 persons and we came here before arriving at Albuquerque.  It was raining and nobody else was seen at the airport, other than 1 baggage worker.  Told to the pilot: “Nobody’s coming on, I don’t why you guys even came here.”  There’s a sign at the “terminal” entry: “N.M. Airport of the year 2001”

5.  On Corn Ranch, where the Roswell Incident occurred in 1947, there’s tarantulas, scorpions, bull snakes, rattlesnakes, and turkey buzzards.  The latter will dig out the eyes of dying cattle, then eat out its tongue, and finally rip out its innards. Maybe this is what people find when they talk about “cattle mutilations” said rancher Corn.

6.  The crash site on Corn ranch has received “visitors from around the world,” including Japan, Australia, China, and Europe.

7.  The falling object came in a southeastern direction and crash here.  3 aliens were found, one was sitting where the orange marker is before it got rifle-butted or something like that.  The debris crash occurred further south about 30 miles away near Corona.  Before, visitors could view the site from above that ledge.  His father bought the ranch in 1979, father died in 2005.  There’s vandalism, one of the towering stones was tagged close to the top.  It’s greener now than usual.  The military back then created a 5 mile corridor where nobody could get in.- Rancher Corn

8.  There seems to be  political and economic in-fighting between the UFO museum and the City.  This is the first year that the UFO Festival is sponsored by the city instead of the museum which started it back in 1995.  It seems visitor attendance has been dropping since the end of the 90s, It seems tourism is the major goal now of the museum instead of UFO research which is why it was founded by Haut and Glenn Dennis, both now deceased. It was tough for visitors like me who wanted to attend lectures both at the UFO museum on 2nd/Main and the Roswell Museum and Convention Center up at 6th/Main.  In hot July weather it’s tough to walk the distance. There was no busy during this festival time and taxi is expensive.  One had to choose between two competing lists of speakers.  This year the vendors were inside the Convention Center, not like last year where the booths were outside the entrance of the UFO museum and in the 100F heat.

9.  Just going to Roswell is surreal with all the alien themed shops and stores (for example MacDonald’s is designed as a flying saucer and Walmart’s front has UFO decoration).  But one of my best 2 experiences this year (my 2nd visit to Roswell) is getting buzzed and shot at by a World War II Japanese fighter plane!  Yeah, just standing there at the airport waiting for my flight out to Albuquerque, to start the 19 hour journey back to Honolulu (via Albu., Alamogordo, Las Vegas, Oakland; to get here it was Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Albu.).  Suddenly this plane came straight at me, at about only 25 feet off the ground.  At about 50 yards it opened up its machine guns (blanks) at me.  As it flew over me I saw the red Rising Sun insignia.  Turns out there was a air show going on as part of the UFO Festival that I was not aware of.  Very cool experience giving me some idea of how it felt to be surprised at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  How ironic I thought, the Enola Gay took off from this airfield and today I get shot at by a Kamikaze!

10.

Ate at the Cover-up restaurant located right next to the UFO museum on 2nd and Main.  Food took very long to get to    us.  Didn’t taste great.  Turns out the owner is the former wife of the owner of the adjacent new UFO gift shop, the Planet Roswell,  I liked the ambiance inside. The waitresses wore military wardrobe and 40s music played in the air.  The Jerry Pippen radio show spent some time at a makeshift table at the front of the restaurant.  But for the most part the show was conducted in the Convention Center.  On July 5, 2007, I was interviewed about my Roswell Sci Fi novel, “Roswell Encounter Gallery,” in the Convention Center with Jerry Pippen.

    11. 

    The weather was better this year. Last year it was sunny and HOT and humid, about 100F.  This year it felt about 90 and we were even treated to a sudden lightening and thunder rain shower.  It lasted however only about 1-2 hours or so on

12.  Roswell air base was one busy place in the 1940s.  First there was the Enola Gay with the atomic bomb in August 1945 and then dead aliens in a hanger in July 1947. About the Enola Gay:

At 02:45 A.M. August 6th, the Enola Gay lifted off North Field with Paul Tibbets and his crew en route to Hiroshima. At exactly 09:15 plus 15 seconds the world's first atomic bomb exploded. The course of history and the nature of warfare was changed.  From this historical site

13. History of Roswell- By Dennis G. Balthaser

The town of Roswell had a population of 343 in 1890. Ten years later Roswell had grown to 2049. In 1947 the population of Roswell was about 22,000, and Chaves County was 35,600. Today the city of Roswell is approaching 50,000. New Mexico Military Institute (pictured left) was established in 1891, and by 1947 had an enrollment of 600 boys. Today NMMI is co-ed and has an enrollment of approximately 1000. The only newspaper today is the Roswell Daily Record, which was started in 1891. In 1947 Roswell had 2 newspapers---the Roswell Daily Record and the Roswell Morning Dispatch. Telephone service failed in 1894 but was successful in 1899. In 1947 most telephone numbers consisted of only 2 or 3 numbers, unlike the 7 digit numbers we have today. Roswell Seed Co. was started in the late 1890s and is still in business today. The railroad also arrived in Roswell in the 1890s. Electricity lit up Roswell for the first time in 1901. KGFL and KSWS were the only two radio stations in Roswell in 1947. KGFL, prominent in the Roswell Incident of 1947, went on the air in 1931. In 1947, postage rates were a little lower than they are today. 1st class letters were 3 cents per ounce; post cards were 1 cent and airmail was 5 cents to anywhere in the United States. Roswell had 25 churches of various denominations in 1947, and 2 banks, First National Bank and Roswell State Bank.

Robert Goddard, (pictured left) the "Father of Modern Rocketry" moved to Roswell in the 1930's, where he made man's first attempt to explore outer space. Well known artist Peter Hurd was born in Roswell in 1904. Several other locals achieved national fame in sports over the years, including Tom Brookshier, Pete Jaquess and Chick Smith. Roswell's All-Stars became Little League World Champions in 1956. Roger Staubach former Dallas Cowboy quarterback, attended New Mexico Military Institute for a year in the 1960's before attending the Naval Academy. Women's PGA golfer Nancy Lopez is from Roswell and "Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr." was born in Roswell in 1943 at St. Mary's hospital (established in 1906). You know "Deutschendorf" better as the famous entertainer "John Denver". Denver's dad was stationed at Roswell Army Air Field as a pilot-instructor in the early 1940s. Movie superstar Demi Moore attended school in Roswell before becoming a Hollywood actress.

The Mayor of Roswell in 1947 was Thomas J. Hall. The Governor of New Mexico was Thomas J. Mabry and the Lt. Governor was Joe M. Montoya, who according to some researchers had witnessed the bodies in the hangar in 1947. New Mexico Legislature representatives for Chaves County in 1947 were State Senator Clarence E. Hinkle, while A. B. Carpenter, Ellis Whitney and Wayne W. Adams represented Chaves County in the New Mexico House of Representatives. George Wilcox was the Sheriff of Chaves County, who Mack Brazel contacted when he arrived in Roswell from his ranch, with debris he had recovered on the ranch a few days earlier in July 1947.

The Military Period for Roswell was from 1940 until 1967, which will put us in the time period of the July 1947 UFO crash. Military presence at Roswell began with the installation of a military flying school, which later became Roswell Army Air Field and when the Army and Air Force became separate entities in 1948, the name of the base was changed to Walker Air Force Base. During WW II, Camp Roswell was a large prisoner-of-war camp at Orchard Park, housing 4800 German prisoners. During the 1960s, the federal government built Atlas missile sites and Nike missile installations within a twenty-five mile radius of the Air Force base, which were only operational for a few years. Walker Air Force Base was closed in 1967 and was converted into the Roswell International Air Center, as it remains today.

After WWII, Roswell Army Air Field became the home of the only atomic warfare group, the 509th Composite Bomb Group, who helped end the war by dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The "Enola Gay" B-29 bomber (pictured above) was part of that group and stationed here.

In July 1947, something occurred on a ranch northwest of Roswell, near Corona New Mexico, that warranted a press release by then LT. Walter Haut (Public Information Officer of the 509th pictured left), under orders of the base commander Colonel William Blanchard, stating "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region". That article was distributed to both newspapers and both radio stations on July 8, 1947 by Haut, and from then on the world knew about the Roswell Incident of July 1947.

In 1991 the International UFO Museum and Research Center was founded by Walter Haut, local Mortician in 1947 Glenn Dennis, and local business man Max Littell. The museum is now in it's third location since being incorporated and annually draws 200,000 visitors to Roswell.    More history

14. Lt. Walter Haut died in 2005 and left a  document to be opened after his death:

Lieutenant Walter Haut was the public relations officer at the base in 1947 and was the man who issued the original and subsequent press releases after the crash on the orders of the base commander, Colonel William Blanchard.

Haut died last year but left a sworn affidavit to be opened only after his death.

Last week, the text was released and asserts that the weather balloon claim was a cover story and that the real object had been recovered by the military and stored in a hangar.

He described seeing not just the craft, but alien bodies.

He wasn't the first Roswell witness to talk about alien bodies.

Local undertaker Glenn Dennis had long claimed that he was contacted by authorities at Roswell shortly after the crash and asked to provide a number of child-sized coffins.

When he arrived at the base, he was apparently told by a nurse (who later disappeared) that a UFO had crashed and that small humanoid extraterrestrials had been recovered.

But Haut is the only one of the original participants to claim to have seen alien bodies.

15. International UFO Museum director, Director Julie Shuster, told me they are on schedule to construct the new museum complex at 7th/8th/Main Street and should be open in about 3 years.

16. Last year I was totally mesmerized by all the alien imagery about town and especially the alien head shaped lime yellow post street lights.  This year it felt more like commercial marketing, almost tacky.  It reminded me somewhat of our own Waikiki, Lahaina, and Kona resort areas designed to attract the tourist traffic and buck.

17. Mesa Airlines provided air travel  into Roswell  since the 80s, now wants to quit flying into Roswell.  The federal aviation administration won't permit them to stop flights until another airline can be found for the route.  When I was leaving Roswell only 3 passengers were aboard including myself.  The two prop plane has only 19 passenger seats. On the way to Roswell there were only 9 of us.  I read that the feds subsidizes the airline for such less trafficked and profitable rural routes.

18. There were 2 cab companies this year whereas none existed last year during the July UFO festival. No buses again. Cab fare from the Hampton Inn to the UFO museum (36 blocks on Main Street) was about $16 and with tip, pushing $20. One way.

19. One cab driver said "90% of the folks that live here don't care about the UFO business.  Many are elderly and just want to live out a normal life in an affordable place.  Roswell's not good for anyone between 20 and 45; there's nothing exciting for them here."

20. I found no interest in my Sci Fi book about the Roswell Incident among Roswell leadership.  No response from the UFO museum, the Roswell Daily Record, the Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor's office, or The Gallery.  I found  fierce competition to be going on among commercial elements WITHIN Roswell.  So nothing against my book, they all had enough material and media ground to fight for against each other.  At the UFO museum there was a big UFO book sale.  And unlike last year when the main room was filled with chairs for speakers, this year the chairs were minimal to make room for book vendors!  They didn't need another book competitor.  I wonder if deals were made between authors and the museum premium space allotment.  I noticed all books supported the UFO phenomenon and offered a research or witness approach to the subject.  My book is pure fiction, probably not compatible with a  UFO museum that has a "research center."  Also of note is that less desired (?) authors and their books were in vendor booths which they paid for at the Convention Center.  So competition to get ones publication in front of the public was fierce during the festival weekend.  The public was inundated with so much literature on the subject.  My "Roswell Encounter Gallery" was just another new publication competing for visibility.  Too bad, -it's a pertinent love/adventure story that make a new spin on what happened in 1947 and takes the reader's imagination to the year's 60th anniversary of the Incident through the arrival once again of the aliens during the festival.  So there I was, during this moment, waiting to see if the story would indeed come true, and nobody else unfortunately knew about it.  I was, however, able to express all this content of the novel on national radio through the Jerry Pippen UFO Radio Network show.  I hope the book does find its way to those who want a fresh new approach to the Roswell Incident through fantasy and imaginative art.

21. Plan 1 year ahead for a UFO festival in Roswell to get the best price on accommodations as well proximity to the activities.  This year had hot balloon rides, some carnival rides, a costume dance, rock concert (War), Alien Chase run, lectures, as well as famous Saturday night "Light Parade" where the town people dress up in alien costumes. This year was special with some major motorcycle group participating in the parade. 

22. There are plans for a theme park in Roswell but an important bird told me it isn't going well at this point.

23. The Gallery displays traditional Southwestern art and not UFO/Alien artwork.

24. There exists a "Hawaiian Shave ice" red vendor van in Roswell.  The hotdog wasn't very good.

25. Hanger 84 where the dead aliens were kept before flown out , still exists.

26. The famous Military Institute, which as fabulous grounds (NFL quarterback Roger Staubauch graduated from there), is hurting now for students because of the Iraq war so I heard.  It is a high school and junior college.

27. The south side of Roswell is mostly Hispanic.  The NE is not the best neighborhood according to the cabbie.  The north new suburbs are were the expensive homes are going up to capture the incoming retirement population.  The NW side is the historic area of fine old homes.  The airport is on the south side of the city.  Roswell is in the SE part of the state of New Mexico.  All about 200 miles away are Albuquerque to the northwest, Luddock , TX to the east, Santa Fe to the north, and El Paso, TX to the south.  The main interstate north-south is highway 285.  Back in 1947 much of it was dirt road said the tour bus driver.  "So it took a long time to get to the Corn ranch 25 miles north of Roswell and back to the air field with the retrieved debris (and possibly aliens)."

28. Yeva, UFO artist and friend, placed a prepared wreath at the crash site.  I took a little rock from there and place it next to my other infamous rock which I picked up in the "yard" of Alcatraz Island. 

29. I met, sat next to, in Planet Roswell gift shop, Patrick Richard.  He's a great artist from Las Vegas, NM.  He was fortunate to interview Betty Hill of the famous Betty and Barney Hill abduction case.  She described the aliens that took them and with this direct information did his famous alien portraits.  See them in my online UFO show.  Patrick and I am now friends.

30.  I sense that the UFO fame and subject is a bit too much for a small town like Roswell to handle.  Protecting one's territory, tacky advertising, lost of the research mission for the sake of capitalism, and yes - greed, is not helping growth and the proper support and  dissemination of UFO research.  I read that many important researchers are not welcome participation in the UFO museum and that is unfortunate for the world's cause to get to the TRUTH.

31. Time is moving on and soon all original witnesses or cast of characters of the Roswell Incident will no longer be with us.   For example, Jesse Marcel, Jr. is now 71. Lt. Walter Haut passed away in 2005.  I believe Glenn Dennis, now in his 80s, have moved away and is at this age reclusive.  It seems Roswell has sold its soul to commercialism of anything UFO, hampering research.  Still, because of its fame the availability of resources - many famous researcher choose to relocate to Roswell, the town still offers us hope that at this Mecca of UFO-logy, true new discoveries can still eventually happen to make the place relevant for all our hopes, dreams, and wonder about the existence of extraterrestrials.

32. Cab driver: They really decorate at Christmas in Roswell.  It's worth coming back just to see all the decorated yards and homes. (a UFO with spinning red and green lights flashed into my mine)