There is no doubt at all that the USAAF launched a concerted and determined campaign to hide from the public the truth about what really happened in and round Roswell in early July 1947. The problem that researchers have been faced with is finding out what the truth was that was hidden so effectively.
So far as the press and public were aware in July 1947, the first overt sign that the USAAF were making a concerted effort to kill the story came with Ramey’s press conference at which the general announced that the “flying saucer” was really a weather balloon. Ramey later went on to a local radio station to repeat the story, ensuring that his message was recorded and passed on to radio stations nationwide for them to broadcast either the whole statement or parts of it on their news bulletins.
If that was the first move in the cover up, it was far from being the last. Marcel and other serving military men were given orders never to talk about the incident again. Subject to military discipline as they were, these men could probably be counted on to keep quiet. But civilians had been involved and that meant that there were a lot of loose ends to be tied up.
There was, for instance, Mac Brazel, the rancher who had found the Debris Field in the first place. As witnessed by Kellahin, Brazel was taken on the afternoon of 8 July out to the Debris Field to ensure that the military had picked up everything from the ranch. Brazel was then driven by his military escort to the offices of the Roswell Daily Record. The newspaper had in that day’s edition printed the sensational story about a captured flying saucer. Now Ramey had issued his story that the “saucer” was a crashed weather balloon and it was essential that the newspaper printed both Ramey’s version and an update from Brazel that tied in with this.
Arriving at the offices of the Daily Record, Brazel was escorted in by two officers. Talking to the reporters, Brazel gave an interview that resulted in an article printed the following day. In this version, Brazel said that he had first seen the debris on 14 June when he had been out riding the ranch with his wife and two younger children, but that he had not investigated it closely until early July. The Debris Field was, he said, small and confined, being less than 200 yards across. He said that he accepted the official explanation that the debris had come from a balloon, though that it was unlike that from a weather balloon he had found some time earlier.
As he was leaving the newspaper studios, Brazel passed two men he knew, Bill Jenkins and Leonard Porter. Although the two men said hello, Brazel ignored them and pushed past. The two men thought that this was as odd as the military escort their rancher friend had in tow. The incident certainly shows that Brazel’s mind was preoccupied and is thought by some to indicate that he was acting under duress.
Brazel was then driven to the studios of the KGFL radio station. Whitmore was absent, but Frank Joyce was manning the desk. There Brazel repeated the story that he had told at the Daily Record. Joyce had heard the original version of the story given by Brazel to KGFL and recognised that this new account differed in some key respects. Recalling the incident years later, Joyce said that he pointed out the discrepancies to Brazel, but that the rancher insisted that the new story was the truth. He had then glanced toward his military escort and muttered something about how “things could go hard for me” if he did not stick to the story. Then he had left.
Where Brazel went next and what happened to him are unclear. Bill Brazel, Mac’s adult son, says that he saw his father’s photo in his local newspaper alongside the report of a crashed saucer. Concerned that his father might need some help, Bill drove down to the Foster Ranch a couple of days later to find the place deserted. Knowing what work needed doing around a ranch, Bill set to but by Monday 14 July his father had still not turned up and Bill began to get worried. He drove to Corona and phoned Sheriff Wilcox, who had been named in the newspaper report as the person to whom Mac Brazel had reported his find. Bill Brazel was told that his father was fine and would be allowed home in a day or two. No reason was given as to why he was being held.
When Mac Brazel arrived back on the ranch he was little more communicative. Bill remembered his father saying “Gosh, I just tried to do a good deed and they put me in jail for it.” Bill was also told that the less he knew the better “that way nobody will bother you about it”. He got the impression that his father was upset and annoyed by the way he had been treated by the USAAF. Nevertheless, Mac Brazel said that he had been told that what he had seen and heard related to national security and that he had been instructed not to discuss it. For the rest of his life, Mac Brazel said very little about what had happened. It can only be surmised that he was kept on Roswell air base for the week or so before he was allowed home. Perhaps he was questioned, perhaps not.