Report on Project Mogul

Synopsis of Balloon Research Findings



On July 7, 1947, W.W. (Mac) Brazel, a rancher from approximately 75 miles northwest of Roswell, NM, contacted the local sheriff and reported that some metallic debris had come to rest on the ranch on which he worked near the town of Corona, NM. This was during the "UFO Wave of 1947," and he told the sheriff that he thought this debris may be part of a "flying disc." (1) The sheriff contacted Roswell (Army Air Field) AAF, which in turn sent intelligence officer, Maj Jesse Marcel, and two Counterintelligence Corps Agents, Capt Sheridan Cavitt and MSgt Lewis Rickett, to evaluate the debris. The officers collected a portion of the material and brought it back to Roswell AAF on the evening of July 7. (2) The following day, the Public Information Office released a statement saying that the Army Air Forces had recovered a flying disc. This press release was provided to local newspapers who sent it out to wire services. Meanwhile, Brig Gen Roger Ramey, Eighth Air Force Commander, ordered that the debris be flown to Eighth Air Force Headquarters at Fort Worth AAF, TX, for his personal inspection. Upon viewing the debris, he and his staff recognized parts which looked similar to a weather balloon. He then summoned the base weather officer, who identified the debris as the remnants of a weather balloon and its attached metallic radar target. (3) General Ramey then invited the local press to view and take photographs of the materials and he declared the episode to be a misunderstanding (Atch 1).

The above summarizes the previously reported information of what happened on July 7 and 8, 1947. Before now, however, a larger portion of the story was never told. Recent research indicates that the debris recovered from the ranch on July 7, 1947, was a weather balloon -- but it was not being used strictly for weather purposes; its real purpose was to carry classified payloads for a Top Secret US Army Air Forces project. The project's classified code name was MOGUL.

The current investigation discovered that an experimental balloon project was being conducted at nearby Alamogordo Army Airfield (now Holloman AFB, NM) during the summer of 1947. (4) An examination of unclassified technical and progress reports prepared by the balloon project revealed that a highly classified program, Project MOGUL was the ultimate reason for the balloon experiments. Project MOGUL was classified Top Secret and carried a priority level of lA. (5) It is Project MOGUL that provides the ultimate explanation for the "Roswell Incident."


1. Roswell Daily Record, Jul 9,1947, p.1.
2. Intvw, Col Richard L. Weaver with Lt Col Sheridan Cavitt, USAF (Ret), May 24,1994.
3. Intvw, Lt Col Joseph V. Rogan with Irving Newton, Jul 21,1994.
4. Ltr, Lt Col Edward A. Doty to Mr David Bushnell, Mar 3, 1959.
5. Ltr, Brig Gen E. O'Donnell, Deputy Chief, Engineering Division, HQ AMC, to Commanding General, USAAF, subj: Change in Classification of MOGUL, Item 188-5, Jul 8,1946.


Project MOGUL was first conceived by Dr. Maurice Ewing of Columbia University, NY, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA. Dr. Ewing had conducted considerable research for the Navy during World War II, studying, among other things, the "sound channel" in the ocean. He proved that explosions could be heard thousands of miles away with underwater microphones placed at a predetermined depth within the sound channel. He theorized that since sound waves generated by explosions could be carried by currents deep within the ocean, they might be similarly transmitted within a sound channel in the upper atmosphere. The military application of this theory was the long-range detection of sound waves generated by Soviet nuclear detonations and the acoustical signatures of ballistic missiles as they traversed the upper atmosphere. He presented his theory to General Carl Spaatz, Chief of Staff of the Army Air Forces, in the fall Of 1945. (6) The project was approved, and research was begun by the scientific research agency of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF), the Air Materiel Command (AMC), early in 1946 The project was assigned to HQ AMC, Engineering Division, Electronics Subdivision, which in turn assigned the project to AMC's Watson Laboratories, Engineering Division, Applied Propagation Subdivision, located in Red Bank, NJ.


Project MOGUL initially focused on three areas of technology: (1) an expendable microphone, capable of detecting, at long range, low-frequency sound transmissions generated by explosions and missiles; (2) a means of telemetering these sounds to a ground or airborne receiver; and (3) a system from which to suspend the microphone and telemetering device in the upper atmosphere for an extended period of time. To meet these criteria, contracts were awarded by AMC to Columbia University (AMC contract no. W28499-ac-82) for the acoustical equipment, and to New York University (NYU) for the development of constant-level balloons (AMC contract no. W28-099-ac- 241). After the initial contracts were awarded, Project MOGUL branched out into many areas related to the geophysical properties of the upper atmosphere, including radiowave propagation, radar propagation, ionospheric physics, solar physics, terrestrial magnetism, meteorological physics, and weather forecasting. Considerable resources were devoted to Project MOGUL which included numerous bomber and transport aircraft and two oceangoing vessels. At one point the staff, exclusive of contractors, numbered over 100 persons. To accommodate this sensitive, high-priority project, facilities of the secluded Oakhurst Field Station of Watson Laboratories were used. Balloon operations associated with Project Mogul were conducted at various locations throughout the United States and the Pacific, the latter in reference to acoustical detection research associated with the Sandstone atomic tests at Entiwetok Atoll in April and May 1948. (7)


6. Rprt, Maurice Ewing for General Carl Spaatz, "Long Range Sound Transmission in the Atmosphere," n.d.
7. Rprt, HQ Fitzwilliarn Fwd, "Sonic Balloon Test Kwajalein," May 17, 1948 (hereafter "Sonic

By December 1948, serious concerns had arisen regarding the feasibility of the project as first conceived. Even though the principle on which the project was based was determined to be sound, questions concerning cost, security, and practicality were discussed-that ultimately led to the disbandment of the project, and Project MOGUL as first conceived was never put into operational use. However, MOGUL did serve as the foundation for a comprehensive program in geophysical research from which the USAF and the scientific community have benefited to the present time. These benefits included constant-level balloon technology, first developed by NYU for Project MOGUL.


The organizational structure of Watson Laboratories Applied Propagation Subdivision, which was established primarily for MOGUL, as it appeared in January 1947, is shown in Attachment 2. Over the course of the project, MOGUL had three military project officers, or "chiefs": Maj Robert T. Crane, spring 1946-July 1946; Col Marcellus Duffy, August 1946-January, 1947; and Capt Albert C. Trakowski, January 1947-May 1949. Major Crane had been personally recommended by Dr. Ewing, originator of the project, but by June of 1947, MOGUL had not met the expectations of HQ USAAF, and Colonel Duffy replaced Major Crane. (8) Colonel Duffy was a respected, highly capable career Army Air Forces officer. During World War II, Colonel Duffy had reported directly to General Hap Arnold, Chief of Staff USAAF, as the Army Air Forces Liaison Officer to the US Army Signal Corps, with primary duties for securing meteorological equipment from the Army for use by the USAAF. Colonel Duffy had a reputation for accomplishing difficult assignments by getting the most out of his personnel exactly what was desired by HQ USAAF to solve the numerous administrative and personnel problems that had arisen in Project MOGUL under Major Crane. In a short period, Colonel Duffy was able to make the necessary corrections and was reassigned to become the Assistant Chief, Electronics Plans Section, Electronics Subdivision, HQ AMC, at Wright Field, OH. Colonel Duffy also continued to monitor "the upper air research program" (i.e., Project MOGUL) in addition to his duties as the Assistant Chief of the Electronics Plans Section. (9) The primary scientist for MOGUL was Dr. James Peoples, assisted by Albert P. Crary, the Field Operations Director. Both scientists had previous associations with Dr. Ewing: Dr. Peoples at Columbia, and A.P. Crary at Woods Hole. Both scientists were assigned to MOGUL for the entire length of the project.


From September 30, 1946, until December 31, 1950, the Research Division of the College of Engineering of NYU conducted research under contract for the Army


Balloon Test Kwajalein").
8. Memo, Brig Gen Tom C Rives, Chief, Electronic Subdivision, Engineering Division, AMC, to Maj Gen Curtis LeMay, subj: Relief of Major crane as Project Officer MOGUL and TORRID, Jun 8,1946.
9. Memo, Maj Gen Curtis E. LeMay, Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Research and Development, to Maj Gen L.C. Craigie, Chief Engineering Division, AMC, Apr 16,1947.

Air Forces, in conjunction with Project MOGUL. (l0) The NYU "balloon group" was to develop and fly constant-level balloons while simultaneously developing telemetering equipment to transmit data obtained in the upper atmosphere. (11) Group members launched, tracked, and recorded data only in regard to constant-level balloon flight and telemetering of information. They did not have access to observations and measurements that had military applications. MOGUL, in other words, was conducted as a compartmented, classified project in which participants knew only what they needed to know, and no more. Due to the compartmentations balloon flights made by NYU were divided into two categories, "research" and "service. (12) Research flights tested balloon controls and telemetering systems and were fully reported in the unclassified NYU reports. (13) A total of 110 research flights were flown during the contract. Service flights were flown at the direction of Watson Laboratory personnel, but the military purpose was Top Secret. These flights carried classified equipment, which could not be fully reported in the unclassified NYU documents. Further evidence of the exclusion of classified information from the reports is the lack of data for balloons flown in association with the Sandstone nuclear tests held in April and May of 1948. (14) In recent interviews with former NYU personnel, Dr. Athelstan F. Spilhaus, NYU Director of Research, and Professor Charles B. Moore, NYU Constant-Level Balloon Project Engineer, stated that they were never informed of the classified name, MOGUL, nor did they ever have access to the scientific data that was obtained by the USAAF as a result of their efforts. In response to inquiries, professional or casual, project personnel simply said that they were engaged in balloon research. (15)

The first balloon launches associated with Project MOGUL were carried out at several locations on the east coast of the United States. (16) However, unfavorable winds, conflicts with commercial air traffic, and the need to gather data on the V2 flights currently being conducted at White Sands Proving Ground, NM, led the NYU group to conduct further tests from Alamogordo AAF. (17) The NYU group would make three "field trips" during the summer of 1947 for test and evaluation, labeling them Alamogordo I, II, and III. The majority of the balloon flights over the next four years originated from Alamogordo AAF.


10. Research Division, College of Engineering, NYU, Technical Report No. 93.03, Constant Level Balloons, Final Report, Mar 1, 1951 (hereafter NYU, Final Report), p. 3.
11. Research Division, College of Engineering, NYU, Technical Report 93-02, Constant Level Balloons, sect 1, General, Nov 15, 1949, p. 5.
12. NYU, Final Report, p. 13.
13. Research Division, College of Engineering, NYU, Technical Report No. 1, Constant Level Balloon, Apr 1, 1948, Table VII, summary of NYU Constant-Level Balloon Flights" (hereafter NYU, Technical Report No. 1, Table VII); ibid., Technical Report No. 93.02, Constant Level Balloons, Sect 3, Summary of Flights.
14. "Sonic Balloon Test Kwajalein."
15. Athelstan E. Spilhaus, C.S. Schneider, C.S. Moore, "Controlled-Altitude Free Balloons," Journal of Meteorology, 5 (Aug 1948): 130-137.
16. NYU, Technical Report No. 1, Table VII.
17. Research Division, College of Engineering, NYU, Progress Report No. 6, Constant Level Balloon, sect II, June 1947 (hereafter Progress Report No. 6, sect II), p. 4

New York University, in accordance with contractual requirements, produced monthly progress reports, technical reports, and final reports detailing the various aspects of the balloon and telemetering research. In addition, Crary maintained a detailed journal of his work throughout his professional career to include the summer of 1947. The following discussion is based on these two documents and interviews with Moore, who was present on all three of the Alamogordo field trips, and, with Trakowski, who was present at the Alamogordo II and III field trips.

NOTE: Technical Report No. 1, Table VII, "Summary of NYU Constant-Level Balloon Flights," and Technical Report No. 93.02, Constant Level Balloons, Section 3, "Summary of Flights," do not fully account for all balloons flown during the initial stages of the contract to include the Alamogordo I field trip. Absent from the reports are service flight nos. 2, 3, and 4. Flight no. 2 was flown on April 18, 1947, at Bethlehem, PA, in an attempt to obtain acoustical data from the explosion of 5,000 tons of TNT by the British on the German island of Helgoland. (l8) NYU flight no. 3 was flown on May 29, followed by NYU flight no. 4 on June 4. Both launched from Alamogordo AAF.

ALAMOGORDO I (May 28, 1947-June 7, 1947)

The first NYU "field trip" departed Olmstead Field, Middletown, PA, by C47 for Alamogordo AAF on May 31, 1947, arriving on June 1, 1947. (l9) Present on this flight was C.B. Moore, NYU Project Engineer, Charles S. Schneider, NYU Project Director, and other supporting staff members from both NYU and Watson Laboratories. A.P. Crary, along with other personnel from Watson Laboratory, were already present in Alamogordo, but they did not conduct any balloon operations. During this time, Crary and several technicians detonated ground explosives, or "shots," for sound-wave generation purposes, on the nearby White Sands Proving Ground. These detonations were monitored by ground-based GR3 and GR8 sound ranging equipment at locations in New Mexico and West Texas. (20) On May 28, the advance party of the balloon group arrived by S17. (2l) On May 29, the advance team made the first launch for Project MOGUL from Alamogordo (NYU flight no. 3). The equipment carried on this flight was identified as essentially the same as that carried on NYU flight no. 2 (Atch 3 ). (22) NYU flight no. 4 was launched on June 4, with a configuration the same as on flight nos. 2 and 3. Crary's diary indicated that flight no. 4 consisted of a "cluster of (meteorological) balloons" and a "regular sonobuoy." (23) Presumably, flight no. 3 was configured the same.


18. Research Division, College of Engineering, NYU, Special Report No. 1, Constant Level Balloon, May 1947 (hereafter NYU, Special Report No. 1), p. 27.
19. Personal journal of Albert P. Crary, p. 13.
20. Ibid., pp. 4-16.
21. Ibid., p. 13.
22. NYU, Progress Report No. 6, Sect II, p. 5.
23. Crary personal journal, p. 12.

The objective of this trip, so far as NYU was concerned, was to perfect the handling of large flight trains of meteorological balloons and to evaluate the operations of altitude controlling and telemetering devices. (24) Already established before the trips to Alamogordo was that the use of the standard, 350-gram meteorological balloons, constructed of neoprene, was, at best, a "stop gap" method of achieving constant-level flight. (25) Balloons most suitable for this type of work were made of polyethylene, a very thin, translucent plastic. These balloons, however, had just been developed, and, although the NYU group had contracted for some of them, the balloons had not been received until after the group departed for Alamogordo. (26) For Watson Laboratory scientists Peoples and Crary, the purpose of this trip was to experiment with different types of equipment to collect and transmit sound waves in the upper atmosphere. Therefore, just as the "balloon group" was using meteorological balloons as a stopgap method in attaining constant-level flight, the Watson Laboratory scientists utilized an AN/CRT-1A Sonabuoy while awaiting the delivery of acoustical equipment specifically designed for Project MOGUL. (27) The NYU personnel developing the telemetering equipment experimented with components of the sonabuoy, which was cylindrical, nearly 3 feet long and 4 3/4 inches wide, and weighing 13 pounds (Atch 4). The sonabuoy contained both the acoustical pickups, known as hydrophones, and the means of telemetering the sounds by use of a FM transmitter, the T-lB/CRT-1.

Soon after arriving at Alamogordo AAF, a problem developed. Dr Peoples, Project Scientist, decided not to bring the radiosonde recorder (an AN/FMQ1 weighing approximately 500 pounds), due to the weight and space limitations of the B-17 aircraft originally scheduled to transport the equipment from Olmstead Field. Radiosondes were a widely used and accurate method of tracking weather balloons consisting of a transmitter, which was carried aloft by the balloon, and a ground-based receiver/ recorder. Radiosondes, along with aircraft, were to be the primary method to track the Project MOGUL balloons. (28) Dr. Peoples, however, believed that the radar currently in place at Alamogordo for tracking V-2 firings would be sufficient for tracking the balloons trains. However, this radar did not work well and often lost contact with the balloon while it was still within visual range. Accordingly, Moore, the project engineer, experimented with an "unorthodox" method, in the absence of a radiosonde recorder. He tried to track the balloons using multiple radar targets. (29) A radar target was a multisided object, which, in appearance, resembles a box kite constructed of balsa wood and metallicized paper (Atch 5). Moore and his technicians conducted test flights, attempting to obtain a better radar return by attaching additional targets. They


24. Research Division, College of Engineering, NYU, Progress Report No. 7, Constant Level Balloon, sect II, Jul 1947 (hereafter NYU, Progress Report No. 7, sect II),p.5.
25. NYU, Special Report No. 1, p. 26.
26. NYU, Progress Report No. 7, sect II, p.6.
27. Research Division, College of Engineering, NYU, Progress Report No. 4, Radio Transmitting, Receiving and Recording System for Constant Level Balloon, sect I, Apr 2, 1947,p.1.
28. Intvw, Col Jeffrey Butler and 1st Lt James McAndrew with Professor Charles s. Moore, Jun 8,1994.
29. Moore intvw, Jun 8,1994.

received satisfactory results when the number of targets was increased to between 3 and 5. (30) Interestingly, during July of 1948, a similar test would be made at Alamogordo AAF by another organization. (31) This test confirmed Moore's theory that when targets were increased to at least three, satisfactory returns were received by the radar. This procedure, according to Moore, was employed on flight nos. 3 and 4, but it was only marginally successful. This prompted Moore and his associates to configure the two remaining flights of Alamogordo I, flights #5 and #6, with radiosonde transmitters.

For these two final flights, Moore devised a method of manually determining azimuth and elevation, in the absence of a radisonde recorder, by counting clicks as pressure-sensitive contacts closed. NYU Technical Report No. 1 shows two "interpretations" of the data which confirm that manual calculations were used. In regard to flight no. 5, it appears there was a typographical error in Technical Report No. 1, Table VII, for the time of launch which is erroneously listed as 1517 MST, contrary to figures 32 and 33 in Technical Report No.1 and Crary's diary (Atch 6). The correct time of launch for flight no. 5 appears to be 0516 MST. With the launching of flight no. 6 at approximately 0530 on June 7, the NYU group departed Alamogordo via a B-17 for Newark AAF, NJ. NYU flight nos. 14 are summarized below:

* Depictions of flight nos. 3 and 4 are not provided in the NYU reports. According to NYU Progress Report No. 6, Section II, p. 5, the equipment to be used for the Alamogordo field trip in June was consistent with the depiction of flight no. 2. This information also concurred with Crary's partial description of flight no. 4 in his diary.

Note: An attempt to launch a balloon-train assembly which would have been NYU flight no. 3 was made on May 8,1947, but due to strong winds, restraining lines failed before the acoustical payload was attached. Since the launch was unsuccessful, no flight number was assigned.


30. Ibid.
31. Rprt, Holloman AFB, "Progress Summary Report on U.S.A.F. Guided Missile Test Activities," Vol 1, Aug 1,1948.

ALAMOGORDO II (June 27, 1947-July 8,1947)

On the morning of June 28, 1947, personnel from NYU and Watson Laboratories arrived at Alamogordo AAF to resume balloon flights. Present during this field trip were Dr. Peoples, A.P. Crary, Captain Trakowski, C.B. Moore, and Charles Schneider. The objective during this trip was to experiment with the newly developed polyethylene balloons which replaced the neoprene meteorological balloons used on the previous field trip. Also tested was an improved aluminum ballast reservoir that had been developed to replace the plastic tubes used during the June field trip. (32) Another improvement that resulted from the experiences in June was the presence of a radiosonde receiver/recorder for improved balloon tracking and plotting. This eliminated the need for radar "corner reflectors" on the balloon train since radar was not to be used as a primary method of tracking the flights. This is confirmed by Technical Report No. 1, Table VII, "Radiosonde Reception %," which indicates the use of the radiosonde recorder on all flights except for no. 7. Flight no. 7 was not recorded by radiosonde because the equipment was not operable. (33) Also Figures 36, 39, 42, and 44 in Technical Report No. 1, corresponding to the July flights, do not depict corner reflectors. All numbered flights (except for no. 9) flown during the July field trip were summarized in NYU Technical Report No 1, Table VII. Flight no. 9 appeared to have been launched on July 3. (34) On July 8, their work completed, 23 members of the combined NYU and Watson Laboratory group boarded a C-54 aircraft at 1030 AM and returned to the east coast. (35)

Based on the above, it appeared likely that the debris found by the rancher and was subsequently identified as a "flying disc" by personnel from Roswell AAF was, with a great degree of certainty, MOGUL flight no. 4, launched on June 4, 1947. This conclusion was based on the following:

1. Descriptions of the debris provided by Brazel, Cavitt, Crary's diary, and the photos of the material displayed in General Ramey's office. These materials were consistent with the components of a MOGUL service flight, with neoprene balloons, parchment parachutes, plastic ballast tubes, corner reflectors, a sonabuoy, and a black electronics box that housed the pressure cutoff switch (Atch 3).

2. According to Brazel's July 8 statement, the debris was recovered on June 14, obviously eliminating any balloons launched in July.

3. Only two flights launched in June were unaccounted for, i.e., flight nos. 3 and 4. Flight no. 3, most likely would not have had the "unorthodox" configuration of corner reflectors devised by Moore, who did not arrive until June 1, three days after flight no. 3 was launched.


32. NYU, Progress Report No. 7, Sect II, p. 5.
33. Crary personal journal, p. 15.
34. Ibid.
35. Ibid., p.16.

On July 7, as the NYU group members were winding down their work and preparing to return to New York City, a train of events began to unfold at Roswell AAF, 60 miles away. Roswell AAF was home of the 509th Bomb Group of the Strategic Air Command's Eighth Air Force, the only unit in the world capable of delivering nuclear weapons. It now appears that the debris from MOGUL flight no. 4 had come to earth on the plains east of the Sacramento Mountains, about 70 miles from the launch point at Alamogordo AAF (Atch 7). The fact it descended there was not unusual. Over the course of Project MOGUL, several balloons had landed and been recovered from that area. In fact, in August 1947, the NYU group had to receive special permission from the Civil Aeronautics Administration to continue to launch balloons from Alamogordo AAF since "balloons have been descending outside of the area [White Sands Proving Ground] in the vicinity of Roswell, New Mexico." (36) According to the sole living participant in the recovery, Sheridan Cavitt, he, Major Marcel, and MSgt William Rickett gathered some of the material, which appeared to resemble "bamboo type square sticks, one quarter to one half inch square," that was "very light" -- reflecting material -- and a "black box, like a weather instrument." Cavitt believed this material to be consistent with what he knew to be a weather balloon. This debris, would soon become, for a short time, the focus of national and even worldwide attention when it was thought to be a "flying disc."

On July 8, the same day that the NYU/Watson Laboratory group departed Alamogordo, the Public Information Office of Roswell AAF announced the recovery of a "flying disc" and that it would be flown to Fort Worth AAF for further examination. How could experienced military personnel have confused a weather balloon for a "flying disc"? The answer was this was not an ordinary "weather balloon." Typical weather balloons employed a single, 350-gram neoprene balloon and a radiosonde for measuring temperature, atmospheric pressure, and humidity, housed in a cardboard box. If it was to be tracked by radar for wind-speed measurement, a single corner reflector was added (Atch 8). The balloon that was found on the Foster Ranch consisted of as many as 23 350-gram balloons spaced at 20 foot intervals, several radar targets (3 to 5), plastic ballast tubes, parchment parachutes, a black "cutoff" box containing portions of a weather instrument, and a sonabuoy (Atch 3). After striking the ground, the radar reflectors, constructed of very light materials for minimum weight, would tear and break apart, spreading out over a large area when pulled across the ground by balloons that still possessed some buoyancy. It should also be understood that the term "flying disc" was not at this time synonymous with "space ship," It denoted a disc-shaped flying object of unknown (or suspected Soviet) origin.

Before the announcement was made, the "disc" was flown to Fort Worth AAF, at the direction of Brig Gen Roger Ramey, Commander, Eighth Air Force. General Ramey personally inspected the "disc," became skeptical, and summoned the base


36. NYU, Technical Report No. 1, Table VII, p.43.

weather officer, Warrant Officer Irving Newton, to make an identification. Newton positively identified the debris as the remnants of a balloon and RAWIN target. (37) With this identification, the incident officially closed.


From research, it appears that the wreckage displayed on July 8 consisted of unclassified components of a MOGUL balloon assembly. Possibly withheld, if it was indeed recovered, was the AN/CRT-1 Sonabuoy, which could have compromised Project MOGUL. Although the Sonabuoy was not itself classified, its association with a balloon would have exposed a specific military purpose, an obvious violation of project classification guidelines (Atch 9). A device described in "crashed disc" publications as "a giant thermos jug" was allegedly transported from Fort Worth AAF to Wright Field. (38) This description is consistent with the appearance of an AN/CRT-1 Sonabuoy such as was used on flight no. 4 (Atch 4). At some point General Ramey decided to forward the material to Wright Field, home of AMC, the appropriate agency to identify one of its own research devices or a device of unknown origin. If the debris was determined to be from an unknown source, the AMC, T-2, Intelligence or Analysis Division, would conduct scientific and/or intelligence analysis in an attempt to discover its origin. But since the balloons, reflectors, and Sonabuoy were from an AMC research project, the debris was forwarded to the appropriate division or subdivision, in this case the Electronics Subdivision of the Engineering Division. There, it was identified by Colonel Duffy, under whose purview Project MOGUL operated. Colonel Duffy, a former project officer of MOGUL with specific directions to "continue to monitor upper air programs," was the appropriate headquarters officer to make an identification, which he apparently did. According to Captain (now Colonel) Trakowski, the officer who succeeded Colonel Duffy as project officer on MOGUL, after returning from the Alamogordo II field trip, Colonel Duffy contacted him by phone at Watson Laboratories and informed him that the "stuff you've been launching at Alamogordo," had been sent to him for identification. He described the debris to Captain Trakowski, and Trakowski agreed that it was part of his project (MOGUL). (39)

Another occurrence sometimes said to "prove" that General Ramey was part of a cover story is that portions of the debris were flown to Andrews AAF, MD. Andrews would have been a probable location to send the debris since it had components of weather observation equipment. Andrews AAF was headquarters of the Army Air Forces Weather Service. It is also interesting to note that the commanding general of the Weather Service, Brig Gen Donald N. Yates, was quoted in wire service newspaper articles on July 9, providing his opinion of the


37. Rawin is short for radar wind, a technique in which a single comer reflector is towed aloft by a single neoprene balloon to measure wind speed by radar.
38. Kevin Randall and Donald Schmitt, UFO Crash at Roswell (New York, 1991), p. l03.
39. Intvw, Col Jeffrey Butler and 1st Lt James McAndrew with Col Albert c. Trakowski, USAF (Ret), Jun 29,1994, p.4.

incident. Additionally, in 1949, General Yates received a full briefing of the projects, including constant-level balloons, that made up Project MOGUL. (40) While crashed disc proponents claim that General Ramey ordered a "colonel courier" to transport portions of the debris in a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist for the inspection of his superior, Maj Gen Clement McMullen, Deputy Commander of Strategic Air Command, it is more likely that any forwarding of such debris was another attempt to identify the research agency to which it belonged. If it did go to General McMullen, it would not have been difficult for him to have obtained the opinion of the Weather Service, since SAC and the Weather Service were located in the same building (no. 1535) at Andrews AAF.


One of the most puzzling aspects of the reports that a "UFO" crashed near Corona in 1947 were the later descriptions of "hieroglyphic-like" characters by seemingly reliable, firsthand witnesses. Research has revealed that the debris found on the ranch and displayed in General Ramey's office probably did have strange characters. These, however, were not hieroglyphics, but figures printed on the pinkish-purple tape used to construct the radar targets used by the NYU group.

The witnesses have recalled small pink/purple "flowers" that appeared to be some sort of writing that couldn't be deciphered. These figures were printed on tape that sealed the seams of the of the radar target. The radar targets, sometimes called corner reflectors, had been manufactured during or shortly after World War II, and due to shortages, the manufacturer, a toy company, used whatever resources were available. This toy company used plastic tape with pink/purple flowers and geometric designs in the construction of its toys and, in a time of shortage, used it on the government contract for the corner reflectors. A depiction of these figures, as described by C.B. Moore, is shown in Attachment 10.

Allegations have also been made that the debris displayed to the press on July 8 and subsequently photographed was not the original wreckage; i.e., a switch had occurred sometime after the debris left Roswell AAF. However, statements made by Moore and Trakowski attested that the corner reflectors they launched during that period had the same flowers and figures that were later reported by Marcel, Cavitt, and Brazel as being on the debris found on the Foster ranch in Corona. In fact, Trakowski distinctly remembered the figures on the tape because, when the targets first were produced, much fanfare was made over the use of a toy manufacturer for production. He related that a fellow USAAF officer, John E. Peterson, monitored the procurement of the targets and "thought it was the biggest joke in the world that they had to go to a toy manufacturer" to make the radar targets and an "even a bigger joke when... the reflecting material on the balsa frames was some kind of a pinkish purple tape with hearts and flowers


40. Rprt, Carnbridge Field Sta, AMC, "Review of Air Materiel Command Geophysical Activities by Brigadier General D.N. Yates, and Staff, of the Air Weather Service," Feb 10, 1949.

designs on it." (41) Furthermore, the Fort Worth Army Airfield Weather Officer, Irving Newton, who was called in to identify the wreckage, also remembers the purple/pink marks. Newton stated that when he was called to General Ramey's Office he remembers meeting Marcel, who attempted to convince him that the wreckage on the floor of the office was a crashed "flying disc." Newton, having seen many weather balloons and targets, positively identified the debris as a weather device. (42) In short, descriptions of the wreckage found on the ranch near Corona and of the wreckage displayed in General Ramey's office are entirely consistent with each other.


On July 10, 1947, a newspaper article appeared in the Alamogordo Daily News displaying for the press the devices, neoprene balloons, and corner reflectors which had been misidentified as the "flying disc" two days earlier at Roswell AAF (Atch 11). The photographs and accompanying article quoted Maj Wilbur D. Pritchard, a Watson Laboratory Project Officer (not assigned to MOGUL) stationed at Alamogordo AAF. This article appeared to have been an attempt to deflect attention from the Top Secret MOGUL project by publicly displaying a portion of the equipment and offering misleading information. If there was a "cover story" involved in this incident, it is this article, not the actions or statements of Ramey.

The article in the Alamogordo Daily News stated that the balloons and radar targets had been used for the last fifteen months for the training of long-range radar personnel and the gathering of meteorological data. The article lists four officers -- Maj W.D. Pritchard, Lieut S.W. Seigel, Capt L.H. Dyvad, and Maj C.W. Mangum -- as being involved with the balloon project, which was false. Moore and Trakowski could not recall any of the officers in the photograph, with the exception of Dyvad, whom Moore identified as a pilot who coordinated radar activities. (43) Additionally, some of the details discussed (balloon sighting in Colorado, tracking by B-17s, recovery of equipment, launching balloons at 54 AM, and balloon altitudes of 30,000-40,000 feet) relate directly to the NYU balloon project, indicating that the four officers had detailed knowledge of MOGUL. (44) Moore's unorthodox technique of employing several balloons and several radar targets was shown in one of the photographs. Other techniques unique to Moore,


41. Trakowski intvw, Jun 29, 1994.
42. Newton intvw, Jul 21, 1994.
43. Moore intvw, Jun 8, 1994
44. NYU, Technical Report No. 1, Table VII.

including the boiling of balloons before launch (which he personally developed during World War II) and a stepladder used to launch balloons, could not all have coincidentally been used by other organizations. (45)

The details may have been provided to the radar officers by Crary, Project MOGUL Field Operations Director, who did not depart by C-54 with the rest of the NYU/Watson Laboratory group on July 8, but who later left by car on July 9, the day the staged launch took place. Additionally, three of Crary's staff, Don Reynolds, Sol Oliva, and Bill Edmonston, resided permanently in Alamogordo. It was apparent from Crary's diary that he had worked very closely with Major Pritchard and reported to him on occasion (twelve documented meetings from December 1946-April 1947). One instance, on April 7, 1947, Crary gave Pritchard a "progress report for MOGUL project to date," indicating that Major Pritchard had access to MOGUL information. (46) Another statement which appeared to confirm a cover story appeared in the caption below the balloon picture and described a typewritten tag stapled to the target identifying it as having come from Alamogordo AAF. Moore believed this not to be true because any equipment found was not to be associated with the USAAF, only with NYU; therefore flights carried "return to" tags identifying NYU as the responsible agency. (47)


Many of the claims surrounding the events of July 1947 could be neither proved nor disproved. Attempts were not made to investigate every allegation, but rather to start with what was known and work toward the unknown. To complicate the situation, events described here took place nearly 50 years ago and were highly classified. This Top Secret project appeared to have utilized the concept of compartmentalization very well. Interviews with individuals and review of documents of organizations revealed that the ultimate objective of the work, or even the name of the project, in many instances was not known. It was unlikely, therefore, that personnel from Roswell AAF, even though they possessed the appropriate clearances, would have known about project MOGUL. In fact, when the NYU/AMC group returned to Alamogordo in September, their first trip since the "incident" occurred, one of the first activities of the project scientists, Peoples and Crary, who were accompanied by Major Pritchard and Captain Dyvad, was to brief the commanding officer of Alamogordo AAF and the 509th Bomb Group Operations Officer, Lt Col Joseph Briley, on MOGUL. (48)


45. Moore intvw, Jun 8, 1994.
46. Crary personal journal, p. 10.
47. Moore intvw, Jun 8, 1994; Research Division, College of Engineering, NYU, Technical Report No. 93.02, Constant Level Balloons, sect 2, Operations, Jan 31,1949, pp. 36-38.
48. Combined Hist, 50th Bomb Grp and Roswell AAF, Sep 1-30, 1947, p. 79; Untranscribed journal of Albert P. Crary, p. 64.

When the civilians and personnel from Roswell AAF (Marcel, Cavitt, and Rickett) "stumbled" upon the highly classified project and collected the debris, no one at Roswell had a "need to know" about information concerning MOGUL. This fact, along with the initial misidentification and subsequent rumors that the "capture" of a "flying disc" occurred, ultimately left many people with unanswered questions that have endured to this day.

Declassification and Review Officer

Attachments (not available in this online version, but available from the US Government):
1. 4 Photographs of Balloon Debris
2. Organizational Chart -- Watson Laboratories
3. Drawing -- New York University Flight No. 2
4. 2 Depictions of AN/CRT-1 Sonabuoy
5. Drawing of Corner Reflector
6. New York University Technical Report No. 1, Table VII
7. Map of New Mexico
8. Typical Employment of Weather Balloon and Corner Reflector
9. Project MOGUL Classification Letter
10. Drawing of "Hieroglyphics" by Prof. C.B. Moore
11. Alamogordo Daily News Article