Vetting Information or Another Way to Chase Footnotes

Posted On By skvaller
Here’s something that relates to my “Chasing Footnotes,” posts. Over the weekend (June 1 and 2), I ran into an article that was related to Roswell told by Raymond Szymanski (which I commented on here a few days ago). As I was working on that article, I had a number of questions that weren’t answered by any of the sources that I could readily access. I was worried about the claim that Raymond Szymanski had worked in some high-level jobs at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for thirty-nine years. I didn’t know if this was true and if those who had written the various articles had bothered to verify the information.
Don’t get me wrong here. I have no evidence that Raymond Szymanski’s self-reported credentials are anything less than the truth. I just don’t know if anyone attempted to verify the information with independent third parties.
Robert Willlingham circa
This is a question that has been raised in the past about other witnesses (and other claims as well). For example, it was reported, repeatedly, that Robert Willingham was a retired Air Force colonel and fighter pilot. Everyone seemed to take these facts as accurate but I learned that no one had bothered to check. True, there were pictures of Willingham in uniform from the 1960s and 70s, which tended to support his claim.
Given that, I decided to look a little deeper and learned that Willingham had a mere 13 months of active military service. He left as a low ranking enlisted soldier with no indication of flight training, flight status, or a commission. Those pictures turned out to be of Willingham in the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the Air Force that does important search and rescue work and training for teenagers interested in aviation and the Air

Civil Air Patrol identification on
Willingham’s uniform.

Force but that is not the same as being in the Air Force.

The point is that everyone, including me, had reported that Willingham had been a colonel in the Air Force, each of us thinking someone else had verified the data. No one had. They accepted what Willingham said, the photographs he offered as proof, and documentation that he handed them. It wasn’t until I secured the documentation from an independent, meaning government source, the Records Center in St. Louis and another Air Force records center in Denver that we all learned the truth.
CAP collar insignia. In the Air Force his rank insignia
would be pinned there instead. More proof of his
status in the CAP rather than the Air Force.
The same can be said for Frank Kaufmann, who claimed he had been trained in intelligence, had been a master sergeant and was a member of Colonel Blanchard’s staff. He provided a picture from the 1947 Yearbook and other documentation to prove it. When documentation was recovered from an independent third party, again the Records Center in St. Louis, we found that Kaufmann had no training in intelligence, had been an administration specialist, and that he was not a master sergeant as he had claimed.
There is, of course, Gerald Anderson, who told of seeing a crashed disk on the Plains of San Agustin in 1947. He said that Adrian Buskirk was the archaeologist involved… but Buskirk turned out to be his high school anthropology teacher. Other parts of Anderson’s story broke down and it was learned that he had forged a number of documents to prove his tales. That verification took several months. Ironically, when it was learned that Anderson had forged a telephone bill to make me look bad, it was reported that Stan Friedman had discovered the evidence. That didn’t happen until after I had presented that same evidence to CUFOS, FUFOR and MUFON.
Here’s the point. We have had a number of witnesses, and that number continues to grow, who claim inside knowledge of the Roswell case in particular and UFOs in general. Too often, when we begin to check these things out, we find that some have taken liberties with the truth. They weren’t the military officers they claimed to have been, they weren’t involved in the investigations as they claimed to be, or they weren’t at the locations they said they were.

So, when I read about Raymond Szymanski and his pal, Al, I was skeptical. I have no information that verifies the claim but I suspect we’ll learn that Szymanski was at Wright-Pat for all those years and held the positions that he claimed. That, of course, doesn’t mean the tale told to him by the mysterious Al is true. It just means that we have no evidence that it is, and in the world today, we need to see more than just a first name.


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