"Always Telling the Truth Means Never Having to Remember Anything"
By Dennis Balthaser
In previous editorials I have on occasion expressed the frustration involved in doing UFO research, sometimes to the point that I even thought about giving it up. That frustration comes from various sources, of which I think the “run-around” and denial by the government or military are probably the most obvious. Other sources of frustration are those individuals that comment about Ufology with a closed mind, or believe anything they are told.
I normally receive between 150 to 200 emails a day, of which I delete about 90%, due to them being spam or totally unrelated to my research. Of the remaining 10%, I receive; they are a “mixed-bag” of information. Some are directly related to my research, some are comments about Ufology in general, some are totally unrelated to my research, while still others are comprised of the UFO lists that are so evident on the web today.
Recently one gentleman wrote to inform me that he thought researchers Pflock and Korff had made a good case for the Roswell Incident as being a balloon, since their theories coincided with the Air Force report. I have found over the years, that most people who find fault with the Roswell Incident, or Ufology in general, have not done the research required to be commenting on the subject. There are of course other things that add to the frustration a serious researcher has to contend with such as; FOIA, (Freedom of Information Act requests), disinformation, and those individuals that appear to have their own agendas related to this research.
Periodically however, I receive information or requests for information that make this research totally worthwhile and give me personal satisfaction in knowing that I might, in some small way, be able to assist them with their request. My favorite requests for information are those that I receive from young school students who are doing a writing project for a particular class at their school, and are in need of information to complete their reports. They usually write to me, tell me who they are, what their project is, and wonder if I would answer some questions for them. Some are fairly easy to respond to, while others require some research on my part to answer. Having young people involved in the research of Ufology is so important to me that I request their permission to post their reports on my web site. See Kid's reports on UFOs
In a few of the email requests I receive, the information being sought is sometimes unrelated directly to my research, which turns out to be a “Side Benefit of UFO Research”, when I’m able to assist someone in their search for information. I had one such case recently, when a woman from the Midwest United States contacted me, seeking information about her father. She, and two other siblings had been adopted as infants, and for the past 30 years she had been trying to obtain information about her birth father. She finally located a brother who was also adopted out by another family as an infant, who had lived in Rome, Italy and passed away in 1987 at the age of 42. Based on the information she shared with me in her original and subsequent emails, it was obvious that she had made this a life long ambition to resolve. Some of the information she had already acquired during her 30 years of searching, indicated that her Dad was stationed at Walker Air Force Base here in Roswell in the 1950s and was a pilot with the elite 509th Bomb Wing, having flown 52 combat missions over France and Germany, as well as receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster.
Apparently while doing her research for information about her father, she had done an Internet search of the 509th Bomb Wing or Walker Air Force Base and located my web site. (I have a lot of references to the 509th and the Roswell Incident on my web site.) So she contacted me hoping someone here might remember her Dad or have additional information about him.
She also had a street address where her Dad lived, and wondered if the house was still here, some 50 years later. She knew the name of the church he attended while living in Roswell, and that he had been killed in a plane crash in Arizona in 1953.
With all of the information she had provided to me, I was anxious to see what additional information I could obtain, or at the least verify for her. I have access to Roswell City Directories through the public library and the archives of the Historical Society Museum of Southeast New Mexico, which have over the years provided me with essential information on witnesses and people involved in the Roswell Incident. Obituaries, marriages and other vital statistics can also be obtained through microfilm copies of the Roswell Daily Record newspapers, which predate the 1947 Roswell Incident.
The part of the information that she provided to me that was the most astonishing was the name of the church her Dad attended here in Roswell in the 1950s---First Baptist Church. That happens to be the same church that my wife and I are members of today. A quick search of the enrollment books of First Baptist Church provided the information I was seeking. Her Dad and his wife in 1954 were listed in the Church membership book as members no. 860 and 861. While searching the Roswell city directories from 1951 through 1958, the 1956 and 1957 directories listed her Dad’s name and the same address she had given to me. (It’s possible that he may have lived on the base in years prior to 1956, since she believed that he came to Walker Air Force base about 1953.) In the city directories his occupation was listed as USAF (United States Air Force). I furnished copies of the church membership and city directories to her. Unfortunately during my research I was not able to locate any individual here in Roswell that remembered her Dad from 50 years ago.
Pertaining to the address we had for her Dad, I was able to locate the house and took two photographs of it, which I also gave to her. 50 years later, the house is worn down and not kept well, so she was slightly disappointed when she received the pictures from me, but was amazed that the house is still here.
Since the plane that crashed in Arizona with her father and 15 other crew members on board in 1957 was stationed here in Roswell at Walker Air Force Base, I assumed the crash would have been reported in the local Roswell Daily Record newspaper, particularly since there were no survivors. My assumption was right and I found three articles in the newspaper microfilm at the public library. The October 30, 1957 paper had a headline and article about the crash. The next day, on October 31, 1957, an article about the crash contained a photograph of the crash site and listed her Dad’s name as one of the crewmembers. A week later, in the November 8, 1957 newspaper, the funeral arrangements for her Dad were listed along with names of survivors, all of which I copied and mailed to her.
It was well worth the time and effort away from my normal UFO research, to assist this woman, if only in a small way, to verify some of the information she already had, and to provide her with additional information, in her 30-year search for information about her father. It also made me appreciate the family history I have on my own family, and reminded me to not take that for granted.
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