Colonel William "Butch" Blanchard was, according to many of the
Roswell books, a key player behind the scenes in the recovery of the
Roswell disk and developing the cover-up conspiracy that many maintain
still exists today.
A West Point graduate, Blanchard
rose rapidly through the ranks during World War II, and by 1947 was
considered a rising star in the Air Force. By 1966, he was a
4-star general, Vice Chief of Staff, and a "sure bet" for the
Joint Chiefs. Unfortunately, he died from a massive heart attack
at the Pentagon, cutting short his illustrious career.
Despite his achievements in the Air
Force, Blanchard is best known today as the Commanding Officer
of the 509th Bomber wing and Roswell AAFB during the Roswell Incident.
The Roswell Incident first became public
when the now famous Press Release was sent out by RAAFB Public Information
Officer Lt. Walter Haut on July 8, 1947. It is widely believed by
many UFO researchers that Col. Blanchard had been ordered by the
Pentagon to issue the news released as part of a carefully calculated
plan to cover up the recovery of a real extraterrestrial spaceship and
its alien crew. The news of a "captured Flying Disk" prompted
many reporters to try and contact Col Blanchard for comments, but all
they got from his office, during the afternoon of July 8th, was that
"no further details were available".
By the the late afternoon of July 8, callers to the office of Col Blanchard were told that
he had "left on leave"!! Roswell proponents have long
claimed that this leave was just a ruse to get Blanchard out of the
limelight while he commanded the effort to complete the recovery efforts
and send the debris and bodies to more secure areas. This
claim is based on surmise, and the comments from some (but not all!) of
The Witnesses interviewed by researchers.
So where was Col Blanchard during first
two weeks of July, 1947?
(This article is based in part on
the work of UFO Researcher Robert
Todd. His complete analysis can be found in his Cowflop
Quarterly newsletter of July 5,
Researchers have over the past 20 years
scoured countless FOIA documents, newspapers, and unit histories looking
for the "smoking gun" that would prove their claims.
Regarding the whereabouts of Col. Blanchard, their efforts have turned
up some interesting information:
There is decent evidence that Col
Blanchard and his wife were on vacation for a little over two weeks,
starting on July 9, 1947!
Lets look at the evidence accumulated to
- In the Morning Report of the
Roswell Army Air Force Base for July 8, 1947, we find that Col Jennings,
who was second in command of the 509th, officially assumed command of
the 509th and the Roswell AAFB. This is standard procedure on a
military base when the Commanding Officer leaves the base for an
extended period of time.
- Next, we have the content of a
telegram dated July 9, 1947 informing the Commanding General of the US
Army Air Force that Blanchard had an appointment with the Gov of New Mexico on the 9th of July to ask him
about proclaiming Air Force Day in New Mexico.
Regarding TWX AFDOI One Five
Zero dated Seven July Colonel William H Blanchard
and Mr. Oliver LaFarge have appointment with Governor Mabry for Nine
July to request his proclaiming of Air Force Day pd.
- Then there was this AP item in the July
10th edition of the Albuquerque Journal datelined Roswell, NM, July 9:
here today for a
three weeks vacation in Santa Fe and Colorado."
"William Blanchard, commanding
officer of the Roswell Army Air Field, left
Also, according to the July 9th edition
of the Albuquerque Journal, The Gov and Mrs. Mabry were scheduled to
leave on July 9th on a weeks automobile trip to attend the governor's
conference in Salt Lake City. So apparently, Blanchard drove up to Santa
Fe and was to see Mabry prior to Mabry's leaving for Salt Lake City, but
Mabry didn't sign the Air Force Day proclamation as he didn't have the
time or they hadn't been able to get together for the photo op.
- In the July 15th edition of the
Atomic Blast (RAAF's base paper) there is this news:
Acting Governor Montoya
today (July 14th) proclaimed Aug. 1 as Air Force Day in commemoration
of the Army Air Force's 40th anniversary, and the week of July 21 to 27 as New Mexico Aviation week....
Col. William H.
Blanchard, commanding officer of the Roswell
Army Air Field, and Oliver LaFarge, Santa Fe author who was
with the Army Transport Command during the last war and who now
represents the Air Force Association, a
national organization of ex-air force men which is trying
to organize a 'wing' in New Mexico, were present.
- The July 18th edition of the Atomic
Blast printed the text of a telegram sent by Blanchard
congratulating them for winning first place in the Eighth Air Force
Group competition. The competition ended on July 11th so the telegram
had to have been sent between then and when the base newspaper had
been put to bed prior to the 18th.
- Page one of the July 25th, 1947
edition of The Atomic Blast carried a photo of Acting Governor Montoya
signing the Air Force Day proclamation, with Lafarge and Blanchard
witnessing him signing it.
So Blanchard seems to have been in Santa
Fe on July 9th and was there on July 14th and was probably there during
all the days between. The telegram was probably sent from Albuquerque to
Roswell since on the 11th of July the competition ended and Blanchard
would want to know the outcome of this important event to his group.
Finally, in a 7/90 video-taped
interview with Haut conducted by Fred Whiting for the Fund for UFO
Research, Whiting asked Haut if he could remember Blanchard ever
mentioning the "flying saucer" matter after the official
weather balloon line was established. Haut replied that he did, at a
staff meeting a week or two later. He recalled Blanchard opening the
meeting with a comment something like this: "Well, we sure shot
ourselves in the foot with that balloon fiasco. It was just something
from a project at Alamogordo, and some of the guys were here on our base
later, too. Anyway, it's done and over with."
Keep in mind that Haut made this statement long before Bob Todd was
able to link the NYU team at Alamogordo and the Mogul project to the