Part-1 of this article began as follows: “When it comes to the matter of the strange events that occurred on the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico in the summer of 1947, there are widely differing opinions on what was found. And for those who may be wondering what I’m talking about, it’s the ‘R Word.’ Roswell. I’m not going to go into detail about all of the various theories that have been offered to try and explain the still-enigmatic event (you can find my 2-part ‘theories for Roswell’ article here and here). Instead, I’m going to focus on the words of one man who likely took to the grave what he really knew about the Roswell affair. That man was the late Sheridan Ware Cavitt. In the summer of 1947, he was Captain Sheridan Cavitt, an officer with the Counter-Intelligence Corps, based at the old Roswell Army Air Field.”
Part-1 continued: “Getting people to agree on the intricacies of Roswell is like getting people to agree on their favorite food, movie or band. But, there is one thing that just about everyone – believer, disbeliever, or skeptic – agrees upon when it comes to Roswell. Namely, that Sheridan Cavitt was at the crash site of whatever “it” was that came down. Even Cavitt himself admitted to that – albeit sometimes grudgingly and hesitatingly. The big questions are: What did Cavitt see on the Foster Ranch? What did he know? And, did he keep a deep and dark secret until his dying day? Let’s see.”
As I also noted in part-1, there is an intriguing – but, admittedly, unclear – connection between Sheridan Cavitt, a colleague of his named Lewis “Bill” Rickett, and the matter of “bodies” allegedly found on the Foster Ranch. But, bodies of what? Or of who? With that all said, onto part-2.
In 1993, the Government Accountability Office (at the time, the General Accounting Office) got involved in the Roswell controversy, as a direct result of certain inquiries of the late New Mexico Congressman, Steven Schiff. He took a keen interest in the case, asked questions, and – as a result – was far from satisfied by what he perceived as a runaround by the National Archives and the Department of Defense. It wasn’t just Schiff and the GAO that were looking to come up with an answer to Roswell. The Air Force was busy doing likewise. On this very matter, in its report on Roswell – dated July 28, 1995 – the GAO stated the following:
“DOD [Department of Defense] informed us that the U.S. Air Force report of July 1994, entitled Report of Air Force Research Regarding the Roswell Incident, represents the extent of DOD records or information concerning the Roswell crash. The Air Force report concluded that there was no dispute that something happened near Roswell in July 1947 and that all available official materials indicated the most likely source of the wreckage recovered was one of the project MOGUL balloon trains. At the time of the Roswell crash, project MOGUL was a highly classified U.S. effort to determine the state of Soviet nuclear weapons research using balloons that carried radar reflectors and acoustic sensors.”
During the course of its quest to uncover the truth of Roswell, the Air Force interviewed Sheridan Cavitt in his home. Also present was Cavitt’s wife, Mary. It was May 24, 1994 when Colonel Richard L. Weaver, USAF, spoke with Cavitt. The Air Force’s reason for interviewing Cavitt was a highly valid one, as the following extracts from its massive, two-and-half-inches-thick, report reveal. Titled The Roswell Report: Fact versus Fiction in the New Mexico Desert, it states in part that:
“Sheridan Cavitt, Lt Col, USAF, (Ret)…is credited in all claims of having accompanied Major Marcel to the ranch to recover the debris, sometimes along with his Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) subordinate, William Rickett, who, like Marcel, is deceased. Although there does not appear to be much dispute that Cavitt was involved in the material recovery, other claims about him prevail in the popular literature. He is sometimes portrayed as a closed-mouth (or sometimes even sinister) conspirator who was one of the early individuals who kept the ‘secret of Roswell’ from getting out. Other things about him have been alleged, including the claim that he wrote a report of the incident at the time that has never surfaced.”
The Air Force continued: “Since Lt Col Cavitt, who had first-hand knowledge, was still alive, a decision was made to interview him and get a signed sworn statement from him about his version of the events. Prior to the interview, the Secretary of the Air Force provided him with a written authorization and waiver to discuss classified information with the interviewer and release him from any security oath he may have taken. Subsequently, Cavitt was interviewed on May 24, 1994, at his home. Cavitt provided a signed, sworn statement of his recollections in this matter. He also consented to having the interview tape-recorded.”
The report adds further: “In this interview, Cavitt related that he had been contacted on numerous occasions by UFO researchers and had willingly talked with many of them; however, he felt that he had oftentimes been misrepresented or had his comments taken out of context so that their true meaning was changed. He stated unequivocally, however, that the material he recovered consisted of a reflective sort of material like aluminum foil, and some thin, bamboo-like sticks. He thought at the time, and continued to do so today, that what he found was a weather balloon and has told other private researchers that. He also remembered finding a small ‘black box” type of instrument, which he thought at the time was probably a radiosonde…Lt Col Cavitt also stated that he had never taken any oath or signed any agreement not to talk about this incident and had never been threatened by anyone in the government because of it. He did not even know the incident was claimed to be anything unusual until he was interviewed in the early 1980’s.”
As lengthy as the Q&A was, there is one aspect of it which so often fails to get the coverage it deserves. One might imagine that if there was a big, Air Force-driven cover-up of…well, something…in relation to Roswell, Cavitt would have been keen to endorse the Air Force’s conclusions that a Mogul train was the cause of all the fuss. For those who may not know, the Mogul trains were massive arrays. And it’s easy to see why the Air Force and the skeptics came to endorse the idea that Mogul was the answer. But, Cavitt didn’t stand by the Mogul scenario. In fact, he steadfastly upheld the weather balloon story. And he denied the existence of a huge debris field – a huge debris field which was so central and crucial to supporting the Air Force’s Mogul theory.
Cavitt told Colonel Weaver: “…I couldn’t swear to the dates, but in that time, which must have been July, we heard that someone had found some debris out not to far from Roswell and it looked suspicious; it was unidentified. So, I went out and I do not recall whether Marcel went with Rickett and me; I had Rickett with me. We went out to his site. There were no, as I understand, checkpoints or anything like that (going through guards and that sort of garbage) we went out there and we found it. It was a small amount of, as I recall, bamboo sticks, reflective sort of material that would, well at first glance, you would probably think it was aluminum foil, something of that type. And we gathered up some of it.”
Cavitt had more to say: “I don’t know where we even tried to get all of it. It wasn’t scattered, well, what I would call, you know, extensively. Like it didn’t go along the ground and splatter off some here and some there. We gathered up some of it and took it back to the base and I remember I had turned it over to Marcel. As I say, I do not remember whether Marcel was there or not on the site. He could have been. We took it back to the intelligence room in the CIC office.”
There is also the very important fact that when Colonel Weaver asked Cavitt about the size of the debris field on the Foster Ranch, Cavitt replied that it was, “Maybe as long as this room is wide.” That’s right, only the size of the room in Cavitt’s home in which the interview was conducted. Such a small amount of wreckage does not equate with a Mogul train having come down, since the Mogul arrays were gigantic, some in excess of 600 feet, overall. And it doesn’t equate with what just about everyone else involved said of the debris field: it was huge.
Adding to the mystery is Cavitt’s answer to the following question from Colonel Weaver: “What do you think it was when you recovered it?”
Cavitt’s reply: “I thought it was a weather balloon.”
This begs important questions: if one of the key figures at the crash site was so sure it was nothing stranger than a weather-balloon, then why did he not say so to his superior officers? Why did the RAAF put out a statement that a “flying saucer” had been recovered, if one of the central players – who was on-site at the ranch itself – knew pretty much immediately that it was a weather-balloon? After all, Cavitt could have easily put the matter to rest before it all began and before the “saucer” story ever got out to the media. In fact, had Cavitt diffused the matter back then, there would not even have been a story at all!
It seems that whatever Sheridan Cavitt knew of the truth of the Roswell affair, he didn’t tell the whole story. In his foreword to the book The Roswell Legacy (written by the late Jesse Marcel, Jr. and Linda Marcel) Stanton Friedman stated that, in his opinion, Cavitt gave Colonel Weaver “false testimony.”
My own view on this weird affair goes like this: unlike a lot of UFO researchers, I don’t believe the USAF are the bad guys in this story – at all. I believe the Air Force genuinely went looking for answers to Roswell and came up with what they concluded was the likely answer: a Mogul balloon train. However, I disagree with the Air Force’s conclusion – even though I believe it was reached honestly and without any kind of suspicious agenda. But, (A) Cavitt’s insistence on standing by the weather balloon theory and (B) Cavitt stating to Colonel Weaver that the crash site was only the size of the room in his house in which the interview was conducted, is at variance with not just what the UFO community believes, but with what the Air Force believes, too.
This begs the most important questions of all: if Cavitt was determined to hide the truth from even the Air Force, then how far does the secrecy really extend? How high? How deep? Who controls the Roswell truth? How is it that not even the Air Force or the GAO could find or prove anything substantial? Cavitt, I suspect, may have known the answers to those questions. And, whether the incident involved the crash of a craft from another world, a device from another country, or something sinister and homegrown, Cavitt was determined not to let the cat out of the bag. Maybe he had very good reasons. After all, those of us on the outside are only seeing a small portion of the picture. Who is to say how any of us might react when faced with the full story, whatever it might really be?