Interview of Roswell Incident First-Hand witness
|By Dennis Balthaser|
In memoriam of Art McQuiddy, former editor of The Roswell Morning Dispatch, we re-present Dennis Balthaser’s "exclusive interview" with him, where he recounts events from historic UFO crash (originally published November of 2012); may he rest in peace—FW
Considering that the Roswell Incident occurred some 65 years ago, interviewing first-hand witnesses has become more difficult each year, as they become fewer and fewer each year. I have during the past 16 years interviewed several, and each one has been valuable in perhaps getting new information, or even better for me, confirming what is already known, as I have always felt verification and confirmation remain an important part of doing this research.
Such was the case recently when Stanton Friedman, the original Roswell civilian researcher contacted me about the name of such a person he wanted me to talk to. As it turned out this individual, (now in his 90’s) lives in Roswell, so I placed a phone call to him and had an interesting 30 minute discussion with him, agreeing to meet him for coffee to continue our discussion when I returned to Roswell from a speaking engagement in Texas. That follow-up meeting lasted 1½ hours over several cups of coffee. The gentleman I interviewed was the editor of the Roswell Morning Dispatch newspaper in 1947, when the Roswell Incident occurred.
The gentleman struck me as extremely sharp for his age, with good knowledge of locations, people and most dates. During both interviews he emphasized the fact that I probably knew everything he was telling me, however I explained the importance of verification of the information we were discussing. I prepared several pages of questions and comments for our second interview and will show my questions as “DGB” and his responses as “Editor.”
DGB: Can you share a little background about yourself?
Editor: He was born in 1918 in Sedalia, Missouri, a civil war town of some 21,000 people. He attended the University of Missouri, majoring in American History. He worked for the Sedalia newspaper and also the Kansas City Star as a “cub reporter”, and later as a reporter. He was proud of the fact that he was a reporter for the first NCAA Basketball Tournament held in Kansas City in 1939.
DGB: You told me on the phone that you were a Navy Pilot in WWII. Where were you stationed and what did you fly?
Editor: He graduated from flight school in 1942 and flew twin-engine PBY’s (patrol plane bombers), being stationed all over the south Pacific.
DGB: What occupations did you have over the years in addition to being editor of the Roswell Morning Dispatch newspaper?
Editor: His list of jobs and locations was quite impressive to me having worked for several oil and gas companies and US Steel in charge of Public Relations in places like Washington, D.C., New York City, Salt Lake City, Utah etc.
DGB: When were you the editor of the Roswell Morning Dispatch and for how long?
Editor: For 2 years, 1946-1948.
DGB: On the phone you mentioned having a daughter in Maine. Do you have any other children?
Editor: An older daughter attended Purdue University, majoring in Journalism, worked for the Artesia radio station as the news director, and in 1948 worked for the Roswell Daily Record newspaper.
DGB: Tell me about your wife going to high school with mortician Glenn Dennis?
Editor: My wife and Glenn Dennis were in the same class in high school. He mentioned that his wife passed away 7 years ago, after 59 years of marriage and he was still trying to get accustomed to living alone.
Editorial note: From this point on in the interview my questions were basically related to the 1947 Roswell Incident and his involvement.
DGB: Mr. Friedman had asked me to talk to the editor about several of the people directly involved with the incident to get his comments on each one.
Editor: On Colonel Blanchard, (the RAAF Base Commander) he knew Blanchard well and considered him a close friend. He vividly remembered visiting with Blanchard at the Base Officers club, and specifically asked the Colonel to tell him about the 1947 incident. After some hesitation the Colonel said, “what I saw I had never seen before, and never want to see again.”
On Walter Haut, (The Public Relations Officer) he knew Lt. Haut through press releases he had brought by the newspaper as the Public Relations Officer at the base.
DGB: I asked him what Haut said when he brought the press release by the newspaper?
Editor: He didn’t see Haut as it was around noon and he was out of the office at lunch or at a noon civic club meeting. The Roswell Morning Dispatch was the last media to get the press release, since it was a morning paper. The Roswell Daily Record and two radio stations normally got the RAAF base information before the Morning Dispatch.
On Frank Kaufmann, he thought Frank had a lot of information about the Incident, until I informed him that several of us researchers had discovered that most of what Frank had revealed through paperwork and comments was proven to be false or hoaxed.
On Glenn Dennis, (the mortician at Ballard Funeral home), he considered Glenn a close personal friend. He had heard that Glenn’s health was not good today, and talked a little about the alleged nurse. He said the nurse had called Glenn at the funeral home asking him how many children’s coffins he had at the funeral home. Glenn told the nurse they were in the attic and he’d have to check. She decided to stay on the phone while he looked since she was not at her normal place of duty where he could call her back. When Glenn told her he had 3, the nurse told him where to bring them and she would meet him there. She had him put them in the yard and told Glenn to leave. Glenn also told him that the nurse had been put in a Catholic convent for protection.
On Major Jesse Marcel, (the Intelligence Officer of the 509th bomb wing), he believed that Major Marcel probably took the heat for the cover-up story put out by General Ramey. He heard about Major Marcel’s son Jesse having a book out, but hadn’t read it.
On Mack Brazel, (the ranch foreman that found the debris), he said he never met him.
DGB: After the story broke in the Roswell Daily Record (July 8, 1947), and you issued the Morning Dispatch the next morning, you said you received a lot of phone inquiries about the Incident. Where were those calls from?
Editor: Basically all over the world –places like Paris, Italy, and Australia. There had been other reports about people seeing flying saucers, and he thought the cold war was heating up, so people were interested in hearing about it. He also said that New Mexico State Senator Dennis Chavez called the KGFL radio station owner to tell him the FCC would pull their radio station license if they aired the wire recording of the rancher they had done.
DGB: What about the story that the military picked up the newspapers in town after the story broke?
Editor: No, Walter Haut had given the media outlets the press release around noon and came back that afternoon to get the press release since he said, “it was the wrong story.” He believed this was done at both newspapers and both radio stations.
DGB: What do you know about U.S. 285 being closed to the public after the military got involved?
Editor: He believes that is true and that the road from Roswell north to Vaughn was closed to the public for about a day and a half. Didn’t know any other details, and also doubted the story that has circulated for years that the Roswell Fire Department was involved in some way, but had never heard that.
DGB: What was the reaction of the local residents when the Incident went public in the news media?
Editor: Some local’s thought it might be some secret aircraft of ours, while others believed it was a flying saucer as originally reported. He mentioned 3 prominent people that saw what appeared to be flying saucers in the sky on 3 separate occasions years ago, in the Roswell / Artesia, NM area, and mentioned the Wilmots who also reported seeing something about the time of the Incident from their home in Roswell.
DGB: That leads me to my final question---what is your personal feeling about what happened in 1947 and what do you think it was that crashed on the ranch northwest of Roswell?
Editor: He believed it was from another galaxy possibly here to see what we were doing after testing the atomic bomb just south of Roswell, and the other bombs that were tested in the Pacific. He mentioned that several astronauts have seen unexplainable things while in space.
Before ending our interview, I explained that I write editorials for 30 websites and UFO magazine, and requested his permission to use the interview for that purpose. He gladly agreed, and thought it might be best to just refer to him as the editor of the Roswell Morning Dispatch rather than using his name. I agreed, thanked him for the interview, and he asked that I keep in touch with him, which I will gladly do.
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