IS THERE A UFO CONNECTION?
When I acquired the Frank McCoy McMullen/Clements McMullen collection, I was unaware of the general’s claim to fame in regard to the Roswell UFO event. I am a collector of USAF general officer uniforms and militaria, a Borderlands historian, and not a person who studies UFO phenomena. I was just as surprised as anyone when I learned the papers, photos and documents were from a man who had such close ties to the UFO event in 1947. Personally, I believe in life on other planets and it’s naive to think all the multiple universes were made just for us. However, what I feel or believe to be correct and what is factual, in many cases, may be two different things. As a historian, I feel I am bound by empirical evidence and factual documentation.
Since I have written the biography on General McMullen, a number of people have asked if there is anything in regard to UFO’s in the documentation from his son’s estate. The direct answer to that question is an emphatic, NO! Sorry, no smoking gun. The words disc, flying, saucer or any other combinations of words thereof are found NOWHERE in the documentation. People seem to always look for the “smoking gun” in order to substantiate a historical event or idea. Don’t get me wrong. A “smoking gun” is great if one can be found but it’s not necessary to prove an event if there are enough documented correlated events and related activity.
As a historian, I am compelled to be open to the idea that a correlation may exist and someone may not directly document an idea or event for it to be correct. Prior to our knowledge of cigarette smoking, it was around for a long time before anyone thought there was something wrong with inhaling smoke. No one documented smoking was bad for you but a correlation existed between people dying of lung related diseases compared to those who smoked. In addition, once the correlation was recognized and gained public momentum, the powerful tobacco companies went out of their way to historically document the opposite. Bringing together correlated information and coming up with a conclusion is part of historical research. Hopefully, the conclusion is correct but in some cases it is not. That’s why some history books have changed over time.
What I present to you in regard to the documents in the McMullen collection is correlated activities and more unanswered questions. I am afraid I have no firm conclusions and maybe it just speculation. There will always be a multitude of historical differences in opinion and interpretation. At the end, you will have to come to your own conclusions.
Allow me to ask you a question:
What would you do if you were a USAF general, you had insider knowledge of top secret information, the information was state-of-the-art and you knew it had the potential to be a trend for the future? Would you:
a) Maintain the information as it is classified?
b) Advise your country and the people who had the need to know?
c) Advise your son’s on a related career field in the US Air Force
without jeopardizing the security of the information?
d) All the above?
I choose the letter “D.” Let’s start by examining the information found in the documentation and photos from the estate. For the most part, Colonel McMullen’s early career in the Army Air Corps was, for a lack of better words, normal. He graduated from West Point, followed through on assignments with multiple transfers, was shipped overseas as a pilot during World War II and was awarded the Air Medal, had a military transfer from the European Theater of Operation to the Asian Theater of Operations close to the end of the war and everything seems to be carried through normal military channels with the proper military documentation. Whether dad had an influence over his military activities is not clear. Everything seemed to be according to military protocol.
Normal military protocol seems to change on 10 December 1947. On this date Captain McMullen receives orders, while stationed in occupied Japan, to report directly to his father at Andrews Field, Washington, D.C. which, at the time, was the Headquarters for the Strategic Air Command of which his father was both Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander. The Roswell incident was around 4 July 1947. By December it was publicly defused and no longer mentioned.
Figure 1: The orders which Captain McMullen receives having him report
directly to his father at Strategic Air Command Headquarters located
at Andrews Field, Washington, D.C.
While Captain McMullen is at Andrews Field with his father he receives a notice that advises him he is no longer part of the US Army but has been transferred to the newly established United States Air Force. This notice is clearly identified to the captain, placing him at Andrews Field, Washington, D.C. around 31 December 1947.
Figure 2: Notice that informs Captain McMullen he is part of the newly established
United States Air Force, dated 31 December 1947, and placing him at Andrews Field,
While he is at Andrews Field with his father he learns of his next assignment which he decided to write on the top right corner of the notice. I can only assume his father informed him of his next assignment, the 509th Bomb Wing located at Roswell, New Mexico. This was the base that was directly involved with the Roswell UFO incident. His effective transfer date must have been 23 December 1947 as marked on the top right of the notice.
There are no official orders going through regular military protocol or channels assigning him to the 509th Bomb Wing. That I can tell, he was assigned to the location by his father. The next set of official orders he receives is from Headquarters, 509th Bomb Wing, Roswell Air Field, Roswell, New Mexico. The orders are dated 16 January 1948 and he is assigned to the 393rd Bomb Squadron by orders of Colonel William Blanchard.
At this point, questions arise. Why did the general who allegedly covered up the Roswell UFO event have his son personally ordered to the site of the incident? Why the lack of military protocol and documentation? Why the urgency during the holiday season? Why not a direct transfer to the new location as had been done in the past? I guess we will never know.
By the documents from the estate, Captain McMullen is assigned to Roswell Air Field from 16 January 1948 to 22 March 1949. Shortly after his arrival the name of the base changes from Roswell Air Field to Walker Air Force Base. There is no trace as to all the activities of which the captain was involved while stationed at Walker Air Force Base. He seems to have a regular work load, is placed on routine TDY assignments as a pilot and for testing “special” equipment.
There is one document dated 17 August 1948 in which the captain is appointed as the Summary Court Officer for the purpose of administering the personal effects of T/Sgt Clyde N. Vanderslice, deceased. The orders do not say what caused the death of TSgt Vanderslice. However, his son, Rick Vanderslice, is a personal acquaintance of mine and he explained to me that his father died in a B-29 crash which departed from Roswell Air Field. He continued to state that the plane was overloaded with men and cargo and went down. Rick Vanderslice, though very young, did not remember any personal effects from his father. To date, I have found no records of a B-29 crash that departed from Roswell Air Field within the time frame mentioned. However, I have to admit, more research is needed in regard to the B-29 crash.
Another observation which I believe needs to be mentioned is the lack of photos Colonel McMullen retained on himself. Most of the photos obtained from the estate were of his father, the major general. There were only a few photos retained and kept with his orders and documents, the remainder were with his father’s documents. For the most part, his father’s photos have been identified; however, a few of the colonel’s photos remain unidentified. Maybe you can help.
Figure 3: Photo 1 - Colonel William Blanchard.
In regard to photo one, why would Captain McMullen retain a photo of Colonel Blanchard, Commander of the 509th and not a photo of all the other commanders he served under in the past or future? The photo in itself is common. It is an official photo that was widely circulated. Colonel Blanchard was directly involved with the Roswell UFO incident.
Figure 4: Photo 2 - Major General Clements McMullen and who and where?
Clearly a candid shot of Major General Clements McMullen standing next to his staff car shaking hands with an unknown full colonel in the middle of nowhere. Who is the colonel and where is nowhere? That I know, General McMullen never visited Roswell Air Field. At least I can find no record of such a visit but then this photo could be anywhere in the middle of nowhere. Identifying the colonel may place the location. The photo is dated by the uniforms they are wearing and the year of the staff car. The uniforms are US Army Air Corps which places the year before 1949. The car is a 1946 or 1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster. Why was this photo so important and kept with the photo of Colonel Blanchard? One can also see what appears to be a water tower to the immediate right of the trees.
Figure 5: Photo 3 – Captain McMullen (right) shaking hands
with an unknown colonel at an unknown base.
More unknowns! Another one of the few pictures Colonel McMullen retained with his documents. The third photo is of an unknown colonel shaking hands with Captain McMullen at an unknown base. The photo is dated between 1945 to 1949 by the uniforms they wear and Captain McMullen’s rank. He was promoted to captain in 1945 and the US Air Force uniform was introduced in 1949. Both men are clearly wearing US Army Air Corps uniforms. Identifying the colonel would place the photo and help with the date. There were five other photos with Colonel McMullen documents, a portrait of himself, two other pilot friends with their baggage packed for shipping, an unknown air field which was photographed from the air, the Meiji Building in Tokyo, Japan dated 1 August 1947 on Air Force Day, and a Mount Fuji photo taken from the air.
During and after Captain McMullen’s assignment to Walker Air Force Base, he will complete courses which will allow him to have ratings as Aircraft Observer (Navigator) and Aircraft Observer (Bombardment). General McMullen, as Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of the Strategic Air Command, was pushing a strong cross-training program for his pilot officers. I would think, as the general’s son, he tried his best to keep up with the cross-training program. Eventually, the cross-training program introduced by General McMullen was discontinued.
As Colonel McMullen continues his career, he attended courses in 1959 on Celestial Mechanics at Georgetown University and completes his MS (Masters of Science) degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, Cambridge Massachusetts in 1962. By May 1963 he is working for the Air Force Special Weapons Center (AFSC) at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico and later the Office of Aerospace Research in Washington, D.C.
Eventually, the Air Force Special Weapons Center will change its name to the Air Force Special Weapons Laboratory and be part of the Air Force Systems Command. However, in December 1949, it started as the Special Weapons Command. Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico was the headquarters for the newly formed command. The Air Weapons Command became the Air Force Special Weapons Center on April 1, 1952. Its command status was changed and it became a unit of the Air Research and Development Command (ARDC), the original name of Air Force Systems Command. The Air Force Systems Command, under General Bernard A. Schriever, USAF (ret. 1966), became the center and hub of activity for the Air Force’s ballistic missile and military space program.
The Office of Aerospace Research (OAR) was a separate and independent operating agency of the US Air Force. The OAR was “responsible for planning, programming and managing the basic research programs and a portion of the exploratory development programs of the Air Force.” The objective of the OAR was “to increase the fund of scientific knowledge and to analyze advanced concepts which may increase the Air Force’s ability to develop superior aerospace weapons systems.” The OAR was closely associated to the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) in physical proximity to each other and professionally. In matter of fact, they were in such a close proximity to one another that on 16 May 1966 the Department of the Air Force used the same official memo titled to both agencies to let them know they were moving to the Architect’s Building in Arlington, Virginia. The AFOSR is interested in “long-term, broad based research into aerospace-related science and engineering.” The AFOSR continues to exist today but as a component of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) with headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. If it is any indication, in 1969, the OAR and the AFOSR was interested enough in UFOs that they requested the Library of Congress, Science and Technology Division, to prepare an annotated bibliography titled UFOs and Related Subjects.
We have Colonel McMullen’s job title at the Air Force Special Weapons Center which is Development Engineering, Research and Technology Division. His job title while working for the Office of Aerospace Research is Chief, Engineering Science Division, Directorate of Research Programs. We also know he had a Top Secret security clearance. However, we do not know the type of activities of which he was involved and probably will never know. Was it space research or weapons research or both? Whatever the activity, it seems like someone gave him good advice in the past. After Roswell, Colonel McMullen made changes in his career field which were quit profound. If someone was going to work on new alien technology, he couldn’t have picked better places to be assigned. He retired from the US Air Force in 1969 leaving his job at the OAR.
Lieutenant General Thomas H. McMullen was the third son of Major General Clements McMullen’s four sons. Taken from his biography off the official USAF web site, the following are general McMullen’s degrees and qualifications: Bachelor of Science degree in Military Engineering from West Point in 1951; Master of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1964; Master of Science degree in Administration from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. in 1971; and graduate from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C. in 1971.
Following his graduation in 1964 from the Air Force Institute of Technology, “he was assign to the Space Systems Division at Los Angeles Air Force Station, California as project officer in the Gemini Launch Vehicle System Program Office.” He was part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Gemini program. In March 1968, he joined NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C as the Assistant Mission Director of the Apollo program. He was directly involved with Apollo missions six through thirteen. Our first landing on the moon was the Apollo eleven mission.
Thomas was a test pilot and assisted in the development of aircraft. He graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1971 and was assigned to the Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. By 1975, he was the commanding officer of the US Air Force Tactical Air Warfare Center at Eglin Air Force Base. In a few short years he became the Chief of Staff for Systems, Air Force Systems Command with headquarters at Andrew’s Air Force Base and in 1982 became the commander of the Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
Lieutenant General Thomas H. McMullen is a true American patriot and served his country with valor and distinction in both the Korean War and the Vietnam War. However, when ones examines his education, and the types of work of which he was involved, it makes one think that he was formed by the same influences of his brother Frank, Major General Clements McMullen.
Lieutenant General McMullen retired in 1986 and presently lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Seems like there are a lot of people with high level security clearances retired in Alexandria, Virginia. I’ll bet they have nursing homes there that do not appear on paper.
But then, the above could all be a coincident and the events at Roswell could have been nothing more than a big military blunder. In 1947, New Mexico was no more than a big laboratory because of its isolation and security factors. An atomic bomb was developed at Los Alamos and exploded at the Trinity Site in New Mexico and it was so isolated that the general public did not know the truth. Over time the public has figured out there were a number of classified military projects going on in New Mexico. One of the projects could have inadvertently, directly or indirectly, affected the general population.
An event which the public knows little, or remembers, took place at the White Sands Proving Grounds (WSPG). By 1946, the US was already test firing the V-2 Rockets brought back from Nazi Germany and reassembled at White Sands. The rocket testing was no secret and in the May 27, 1946 issue of Life Magazine there is an article with photos dedicated to the test firing of V-2 rockets at White Sands. However, what they don’t tell the public is how little control they had over the rockets and they were a threat to any one of a number of population centers in New Mexico and surrounding areas. In matter of fact, one missile got away from them and hit a population center. At least I guess you could call it populated. In May of 1947, one of the V-2 rockets test fired out of White Sands “strayed to the south instead of heading north over the White Sands Range. The missile flew directly over El Paso, Texas and eventually crashed into the Tepeyac Cemetery in Juarez, Mexico.” The US inadvertently bombed Mexico. No one alive was hurt but it did cause an international incident in which reparations had to be paid. It became painfully clear that the rocket age placed population centers at risk.
The inability to control V-2 rockets test fired out of White Sands has been further documented by one of the geophysicists present at the early test firings. The scientist, Monroe G. Cheney, Jr., working for the Naval Research Laboratory, never published his observations but he was one of the early scientists that worked with Wernher von Braun and the V-2 program. He made a personal video tape of himself in the 1990s recalling his experiences. Mr. Cheney retired as a professor from the University of Texas at Arlington and has since passed-on. In my quest for USAF general officers items, I obtained the video-taped material from his estate. In the video tape he clearly states that “they stationed me by the calculated rocket impact point and from what I seen it was the safest place to be in the whole desert.” He continued to state “they just never knew where those rockets were going to go.”
Maybe its they were influenced by a downed rocket.
Is it conclusive, NO! Does it make you think, YES! The conclusion is up to you.