Here's a brief excerpt from Loren
Gross's excellent UFOs: A History Volume 1: 1947 detailing
just how quickly the press release was
Washington was caught flat-footed. So many reporters jammed the Pentagon
press room one would think money was being given away. Lt. General Hoyt
Vandenberg, Vice Chief of Staff, Army Air Corps, dashed to the press
room to take charge personally and bring some order out of the chaos.
Fending off the pad and pencil boys, General Vandenberg got Fort Worth,
Texas, Eighth Air Force Headquarters on the phone and conferred with the
officer in charge, Brig. General Roger Ramey. Nearly every major
American newspaper, plus some foreign ones, tied up the phone lines to
the Roswell Sheriff Office of George Wilcox. The San Francisco
Examiner, however, correctly surmised that the Commanding Officer of
the Eighth Air Force was its best bet and got through just ahead of its
After Vandenberg hung up, General Ramey made himself available to the
press. The San Francisco Examiner, a Hearst paper, was the first to get
through to the General. The Examiner found General Ramey in a seemingly
jocular mood whose first words when picking up the receiver were:
"Everybody in the country is trying to get through on this telephone."
His statement on the saucer matter was less sensational than those
coming from Roswell. The fragments, General Ramey said, were "flimsy,"
of a foil construction of some sort. The General had the word of Warrant
Officer Irving Newton, the Fort Worth Air Base forecaster, that the
thing as only a beat up weather balloon radar reflector. The Fort Worth
commander expressed his consolations that he had to disappoint the news
media by stripping the saucer find of its glamor.
The tumult had lasted an hour.
After the capture story had swelled and then burst like a bubble, military
officers at Roswell Field received, according to sources known to United
Press, a "blistering rebuke" from Air Corps Headquarters in Washington
for their part in the panic.