The platoon of men sent out by Blanchard were not the only ones looking for the Debris Field that day. When the press release announcing the crash of a flying saucer went out on the Associated Press (AP) wire it provoked a massive response. Among the first to move was the AP itself. It advised its many media clients that it was chasing the story, and turned to its nearest staff reporter to do the job. That man was Jason Kellahin who was based in Albuquerque to cover New Mexico for the AP. Kellahin was instructed to drive down to Roswell to find out everything he could about the story. He was also told to take photos and send them back to the AP by wire. Kellahin knew that sending photos over telephone wires required some complex equipment and was not certain that he was competent to deal with the technical issues involved in sending photos from a small town like Roswell. He therefore took with him a technician named Robin Adair.
Interviewed in the 1980s, Kellahin said that he and Adair drove down the main road toward Roswell, stopping at Vaughn for a break. In Vaughn Kellahin asked around for information about Brazel and his ranch. He was given directions on how to reach the ranch house by driving down the Highway 285, then turning off along dirt roads. Kellahin followed the directions, but before he actually reached the ranch he saw a group of military vehicles parked in open country with some men standing around them. Assuming that this military activity marked the location where Brazel had found the Debris Field, Kellahin stopped his car and with Adair walked over the rough ground to join the men. It is generally believed that these men encountered by Kellahin were the squad sent out by Blanchard to clear the Debris Field.
This part of Kellahin’s statement has caused some controversy since. The site that is generally recognised as being the pasture where the Debris Field was located lies about 2 miles from the nearest dirt road, and yet Kellahin says that he and Adair walked to the Debris Field in just a couple of minutes.
Some have suggested that the military had deliberately constructed a false “debris field” close to the road to mislead any snooping journalists - such as Kellahin. Others have sought to use the discrepancy to discredit Kellahin as a witness, implying that if he was mistaken about this point then his memory cannot be trusted on other matters. Of course, it may be that after 40 years, Kellahin’s memory was slightly at fault at this point. Perhaps he saw the military vehicles parked at the side of the road, but the Debris Field was some distance away. Perhaps the vehicles were a mile or more off the road, but he was able to drive his road car some distance over the pasture so that his walk was as short as he believed.
Whatever the truth about the location of the military vehicles, Kellahin says that he and Adair reached them on foot to find a handful of officers, a larger number of enlisted men and a civilian. The civilian turned out to be Mac Brazel, one of the men the AP had instructed Kellahin to interview. Whipping out his notebook, Kellahin got on with the job unhindered by the military men. So far as Kellahin could recall, Brazel repeated the facts about finding the debris, reporting it to Sheriff Wilcox and assisting the military in the retrieval operation.
While the interview was going on, Adair was photographing the enlisted men at work. They were collecting up pieces of debris and loading it on to trucks. Kellahin recalled that the pieces were all fairly small. He said that they were of two types, first a silver-coloured foil material and second what looked like narrow wooden sticks. One officer asked Kellahin not to touch the debris, so he did not. He thought that the debris covered a fairly small area, he estimated it as about 100 yards square or so. Asked what he thought the debris had come from, Kellahin said “It looked more like a kite than anything else”.
When Kellahin finished speaking to Brazel he tried to interview a couple of the officers. They refused to talk to him, saying that they knew very little about the affair except that they had been ordered to collect up the pieces of debris lying about. Then one officer announced that they were finished on the ranch and had to head into Roswell.
Kellahin recalls staying behind on the site for a while after Brazel and the military men had gone. There was, he said, not much to see. The bits and pieces of debris had all been collected up leaving behind just grass and scrub. Adair recalled it differently. Also speaking some 40 years after the event, Adair said that “You could tell something had been there”. These signs included scorched shrubs and burned grass. There were also a number of marks in the ground as if something large and heavy had touched down briefly. Perhaps a flying object had come down at speed, then glanced off the ground to bounce back into the air. Whatever the state of the ground Kellahin and Adair did not stay long but headed into Roswell to continue their assignment.
This is an extract from Roswell: Uncovering the secrets of Area 51 and the fatal UFO crash by Rupert Mathews