Roswell / Walker
Air Force Base
The former Walker Air
Force Base, also known as Roswell Army Air Field, consists of
approximately 5,072 acres. The site was deactivated on 1 July 1967 and
declared excess some 5,055 acres to the General Services Administration
(GSA) and the lease on 17.2 acres. The property was transferred to the
city of Roswell, Eastern New Mexico University, Roswell Independent
School, and the State of New Mexico Health (Rehabilitation) Hospital.
The transfer included a valid recapture clause of the airport property.
Several condition were included in the transfer of this property which
insures the continued use of indenture releasing the U.S. Government
from restoration liability. The city leased some of the land to private
individuals and industries.
The site was acquired in 1941 for the purpose of
establishing a Military Flying Training Center and Bombardier School.
Although there was a bombing target adjacent to the runway, the only
items dropped from an aircraft were bags of sand or flour. The practice
bombing and gunnery ranges were due south of the air field and on
Matagorda Island. The 509th Wing, training on the B-29 aircraft, dropped
the first special weapon on Japan. The Army Air Corps utilized the
airfield until June 1949, when it was transferred to the Department of
the Air Force, thereafter known as Walker Air Force Base.
Strategic Air Command
In May 1946, the Army Air Forces (AAF) gave SAC the
responsibility of delivering the atomic bomb. Only one of the command’s
bombardment units, the 509th at Walker Air Force Base (then Roswell
Field) in New Mexico, was trained and ready for the atomic bomb mission.
Walker, and Kirtland to the north in Albuquerque, would quickly become
the bases around which this mission first centered.
The 6th Bombardment Wing, Medium was established on December 20, 1950.
It was activated on January 2, 1951 at Walker AFB, NM. It then
flew the B-29 Superfortress. In
August of 1952, it received the new B-36 Peacemaker and the unit was
redesignated the 6th Bomb Wing (Heavy)
of disk, reportedly found near Roswell
from Alien Autopsy Movie
The Roswell Incident
The modern preoccupation with what ultimately came
to be called Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) actually began in June,
1947. Although some pro-UFO researchers argue that sightings of UFOs go
back to Biblical times, most researchers will not dispute that anything
in UFO history can compare with the phenomenon that began in 1947. What
was later characterized as "the UFO Wave of 1947" began with 16 alleged
sightings that occurred between May 17 and July 12, 1947, (although some
researchers claim there were as many as 800 sightings during that
The "Roswell Incident" refers to an event that
supposedly happened on July 2nd 1947. A "flying disc"
crashed during a severe thunderstorm near Corona, New Mexico.
After studying the wreckage, strewn over half a mile, examining the
light plastic, but terribly strong materials, everybody up to the
country sherriff, George Wilcox, and Colonel Blanchard, the officer in
charge of the army air force base at nearby Roswell concluded it was of
alien origin. On July 7th the local KSWS radio station started
reporting the news, but the transmissions were mysteriously cut off.
On July 8th Blanchard ordered a press release confirming the UFO, but by
then Washington wished to quash the story and on the same day General
Roger Ramsey in Fort Worth held a press conference claiming the wreckage
was the remains of a 'Project Mogul' balloon designed to monitor soviet
nuclear tests. Soldiers subsequently removed the wreckage, and
witnesses were incarcerated, but already the story was out.
There are those that maintain the "Roswell Incident" was not
even considered a UFO event until the 1978-1980 time frame. Prior to
that, the incident was dismissed because the AAF originally identified
the debris recovered as being that of a weather balloon. Subsequently,
various authors wrote a number of books claiming that, not only was
debris from an alien spacecraft recovered, but also the bodies of the
craft's alien occupants. These claims continue to evolve today and the
Air Force is now routinely accused of engaging in a "cover-up" of this
In 1978, an article appeared in a tabloid
newspaper, the National Inquirer, which reported the former intelligence
officer, Marcel, claimed that he had recovered UFO debris near Roswell
in 1947. Also in 1978, a UFO researcher, Stanton Friedman, met with
Marcel and began investigating the claims that the material Marcel
handled was from a crashed UFO. Similarly, two authors, William L. Moore
and Charles Berlitz, also engaged in research which led them to publish
a book, The Roswell Incident, in 1980. In this book they reported they
interviewed a number of persons who claimed to have been present at
Roswell in 1947 and professed to be either first or second hand
witnesses to strange events that supposedly occurred. Since 1978-1980,
other UFO researchers, most notably Donald Schmitt and Kevin Randle,
claim to have located and interviewed even more persons with supposed
knowledge of unusual happenings at Roswell.
There is no dispute that something happened near
Roswell in July, 1947, since it was reported in a number of contemporary
newspaper articles; the most famous of which were the July 8 and July 9
editions of the Roswell Daily Record. The July 8 edition reported "RAAF
Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch In Roswell Region," while the next day's
edition reported, "Ramey Empties Roswell Saucer" and "Harassed Rancher
Who Located 'Saucer' Sorry He Told About It." The first story reported
that the Intelligence Officer of the 509th Bomb Group, stationed at
Roswell AAF, Major Jesse A. Marcel, had recovered a "flying disc" from
the range lands of an unidentified rancher in the vicinity of Roswell
and that the disc had been "flown to higher headquarters." That same
story also reported that a Roswell couple claimed to have seen a large
unidentified object fly by their home on July 2, 1947. The July 9
edition of the paper noted that Brigadier General Roger Ramey, Commander
of the Eighth Air Force at Forth Worth, Texas, stated that upon
examination the debris recovered by Marcel was determined to be a
Finally, in the mid-1990s, Air Force officials
conducted exhaustive research on the incident via documents, eyewitness
accounts and interviews. In two reports, the Air Force concluded that
the saucer debris found near Roswell had been parts of a special balloon
used by an ultra-secret operation, Project Mogul. Project Mogul was
designed to detect radioactive traces resulting from an atomic blast by
the Soviet Union. The reports also concluded that the alien bodies were
likely test dummies used by the Air Force to gauge the effects of
acceleration and deceleration of high-speed aircraft ejections.
With the decision to construct Atlas lift-silos around
Roswell reached in January 1960, the Corps of Engineers Albuquerque
District commissioned soil samples that verified that the region could
geologically sustain the underground complexes. The Albuquerque District
then acquired the 12 sites surrounding Roswell and on May 16, 1960,
advertised for bids to convert the Bechtel Corporation blueprints into
reality. On June 15, 1960, a joint venture consisting of Macco
Corporation, Raymond International, Inc., The Kaiser Co., and Puget
Sound Bridge and Dry Dock Co. was announced as the winning bid. Work
started a week later. In November 1960, as construction continued, the
Albuquerque District transferred responsibility for construction to the
Corps of Engineers Ballistic Missile Construction Office (CEBMCO) based
in Los Angeles.
The last site was completed on January 6, 1962,57
days behind schedule. As at other sites, constant design changes
resulting from the “concurrency” concept as well as some
labor-management problems added days to the construction schedule.
During the project there were six walkouts, which led to a total of
2,512 man-days lost. Several accidents resulted in fatalities.
Seventy-four disabling injuries contributed to 51,086 man-days lost on
Reportedly, the first Atlas missile to
arrive in Roswell received a welcoming parade. New Mexico’s Governor
Mecham gave the keynote speech at a Site 10 ceremony held on October 31,
1961, in which CEBMCO turned the site over to the Air Force. Although
Cheves County residents took patriotic pride in the news of the missile
squadron’s arrival, Roswell residents submitted 10 permit requests for
bomb shelters in October 1961 as construction went ahead. The 579th SMS
received its first missile on January 24, 1962. In April 1962, a
completed liquid oxygen plant built at Walker AFB was turned over to the
Air Force. The squadron completed missile installation approximately 1
month before the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Roswell’s sites developed a notorious reputation due to
three missile explosions. On June 1, 1963, launch complex 579-l was
destroyed during a propellant loading exercise. On February 13, 1964, an
explosion occurred during another propellant loading exercise,
destroying launch complex 579-5. Again, a month later, on March 9, 1964,
silo 579-2 fell victim to another explosion that occurred during a
propellant loading exercise. Fortunately, these missiles were not mated
with their warheads at the time of the incidents. The only injury
reported was that of a crewman running into barbed wire as he fled a
The accidents at Walker and at other Atlas and Titan I
sites accelerated the decision to deactivate these systems. After the
Air Force removed the missiles in 1965, the dozen sites reverted back to
private ownership. Within a year of the deactivation of the 597th SMS,
the Air Force announced that the base would be closed. This occurred on
June 30, 1967.