Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Lorenzo Kent Kimball: An Inconvenient Witness

There are myriad Roswell "witnesses" it seems. Which is why it's surprising to me that the account provided by Captain Lorenzo Kent Kimball (no relation) is so little known or discussed. Indeed, pro-Roswell researchers rarely, if ever, reference it. Stan Friedman, for example, who interviewed Kimball in 1992, makes no mention of him in either Crash at Corona (written with Don Berliner), Top Secret / Majic, or, to the best of my knowledge, in any of his papers or public appearances discussing Roswell. This seems strange, as Kimball was the Medical Supply Officer at the Base Hospital. As such, he was in a particularly good position to observe the arrival of any alien bodies, as Glenn Dennis suggested happened.

Captain Kimball's complete account can be found at:

www.roswellfiles.com/Witnesses/CaptKimball.htm

It makes for fascinating reading. Here, however, are some interesting excerpts that relate to the Glenn Dennis testimony.

Excerpt #1

"In Crash at Corona, Glennn Dennis... is reported as having brought an injured GI "to the base infirmary, which was in the same building as the hospital and mortuary. Dennis is also quoted as saying he had received numerous calls from the Roswell AAF mortuary officer concerning sealed caskets...

FACT: There was no mortuary on the base. There was no AAF mortuary officer with such an assignment. As Medical Supply Officer I was responsible for obtaining, maintaining and issuing all supplies and equipment for the Base Hospital and any functions of a mortuary officer would have been within my responsibilities. I never met Glenn Dennis and I don't recall ever calling him for anything."

Excerpt #2

"One of the photographs [in Crash at Corona] is captioned "Rear of the hospital at Roswell Army Air Field. It was here that Glenn Dennis parked and walked in while small humanoid bodies were being prepared for shipment...

FACT: The photograph cited is of a two story brick structure. The entire hospital complex was a World War II cantonment type, one-story, wooden fram structure. There were NO two story buildings and NO brick structures in the complex."

Excerpt #3

"Dennis, in his statements, tells of discussions with a young nurse, later identified as Naomi Maria Selff, who told him details about "three little bodies" being autopsied at the Base Hospital...

FACT: There was no nurse named Naomi Maria Selff assigned to the Base Hospital during the period I was assigned there (1946 - 1948). I was well acquainted with all five nurses assigned during this time and none of them anywhere near fir Dennis' description of the nurse he knew.

Excerpt # 4

"In their book, The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell, Randle and Schmitt state that a Major Jesse B. Johnson, Squadron M, 509th Bomb Group, was the base pathologist, who assisted in preliminary autopsies on alien bodies. In their footnotes to Chapter 10, Randle & Schmitt claim that 'Johnson's position as a pathologist has been verified by a number of former members of the 509th Bomb Group [and] verified by the 509th yearbook and the RAAF unit history.'

FACTS:

1. There was a physician named Jesse B. Johnson assigned to the Base Hospital. However, he was a 1st Lt., not a Major, and he was a radiologist, not a pathologist. He had no training as a pathologist and would have been the last member of the medical staff to have performed an autopsy on a human much less and alien!! He is identified as a 1st Lt. in the 509th Yearbook.

2. After I learned of these assertions, I called Doctor Jack Comstock, who, as a Major, was the Hospital Commander in 1947. I asked him if he recalled any such events occurring in July of 1947 and he said absolutely not. When I told him that Jesse B. was supposed to have conducted a preliminary autopsy on alien bodies, he had a hard time stopping laughing - his response was PREPOSTEROUS!!

3. Major Comstock lived in the Hospital BOQ, located in the hospital complex. Any unusual activity was immediately reported to him by members of the medical and nursing staff. He told me that NOTHING of this nature occurred in July 1947 at the Base Hospital."

Note: Major Comstock is not referenced by Friedman and Berliner in Crash at Corona either, even though he would seem an obvious and authoratative source of information about what might have happened at the Base Hospital.

Excerpt #5

"Conclusions and Observations:

From first-hand knowledge, I am reasonable certain that no alien bodies were brought to the Base Hospital in July 1947 where preliminary autopsies were supposedly conducted. There was no nurse by the name of Naomi Maria Selff ever assigned to Squadron M, 509th Bomb Group. The statements made by Glenn Dennis are not credible. The accounts in the Randle Schmitt book concerning Jesse B. Johnson are fiction."

Ufologists who accept Roswell (or Aztec, or any of the crash retrieval stories) are always talking about all the "witnesses" they find which back up their claims. Yet, here, with Roswell, was one who was interviewed by Stan Friedman in the fall of 1992, and whose account from the beginning completely discredited the Glenn Dennis story and called into question the research of Friedman, Randle, et al. Yet he was ignored.

Hmm...

Perhaps it was because Kimball was not credible?

Uh, no.

Lorenzo Kent Kimball retired from the military in 1962, after a distinguished career, as a Lieutenant Colonel, posted to the Surgeon General's office in Washington from 1960 to 1962. Following his retirement, he returned to university, where he earned a BA in Political Science in 1963 from the University of Utah, and a PhD in Political Science from Utah in 1968. He was a member of the Political Science faculty at Utah from 1967 until 1987, and was Chair of the department from 1973 to 1981. He retired as Professor Emeritus, after which he served as the Director of Outreach Programs for the Middle East Center of the University of Utah (retired in 1996).

Kimball was the epitome of a credible witness, yet the Roswell authors ignored him and went with the story told by Glenn Dennis instead. In the years since, Dennis has been discredited, and few if any Roswell researchers now accept his account as credible.

Why?

Kevin Randle made his views clear in 2002, at:

http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2002/jan/m02-020.shtml

He wrote that Kimball's testimony was "of little relevance" to the Roswell investigation. Stan said pretty much the same thing to me a week ago when I asked him about Captain Kimball.

Of little relevance??

The Roswell story is littered with witnesses of far less relevance, and far less credibility (Frank Kauffman and Gerald Andersen pop to mind immediately). On the issue of Glenn Dennis's account, Captain Kimball was extremely relevant (as he was on some of the details that Randle, Schmitt, Friedman et al put forward - erroneously - as facts).

With respect to Kevin and Stan, it is time to take a second look at Kimball's testimony, and to incorporate it into the Roswell story.

Paul Kimball

2 comments:

RRRGroup said...

Paul:

Normally discussing or writing about Roswell would be beating a dead horse. However...

There are tantalizing elements to the Roswell incident which keep UFO investigators such as Friedman and Randle interested.

And here are some of them:

The initial press release by Haut.

The newspaper headlines.

The "I'm being forced to pretend that this is the flying saucer debris" look on Jesse Marcel's face in the photographs with Ramey and the balloon detritus.

The controversial Rudiak interpretation of the Ramey memo in those photographs.

The bizarre behaviour of Mac Brazel in the aftermath of the episode.

The witnesses, all of whom can't be crazy or hoaxers (unless, I grant you, that there's something in the Roswell waters).

The obfuscated or missing Air Force material about Roswell which is evidenced by peripheral legitimate documents.

And so on...

I can see how some would find the supposed 1947 episode fascinating.

Something happened at Roswell. What that is remains a mystery.

Some can't help themselves when it comes to a good mystery, and Roswell is, if anything, a great mystery.

Rich Reynolds

RDB said...

I've just watched another "History" channel documentary that repeated the Dennis story like it was canon law. Sickening.

Something happened at Roswell.

Fine and dandy. Something.

What that is remains a mystery.

Ahh, mystery. Humans love a mystery all to pieces. But mysteries come in packages of various sizes, from very small, to very large:

Examples:

"Where did my car keys go?" This is a small mystery, and trying to explain their disappearance by suggesting they were pilfered by car-key gnomes is probably incorrect. No, scratch that: it's asinine to postulate car-key gnomes.

Even if I never find my car keys, the mystery will still be a small one. At best, it would only be an important mystery to me, but it's not even that. They went missing, I got a new pair. End of story.

"What caused the dinosaurs to become extinct?" From the outset, this was a big mystery, and an important question to all of humanity, a mystery truly worthy of the work of a lifetime. Life-forms which had dominated the earth for millions of years became extinct in a very short period of time. We live on the earth; maybe it could happen again.

Turns out that the dinosaurs may have already been in decline, but that the final blow was an asteroid a couple miles wide slamming into the planet at 85,000 miles per hour. Turns out there's lots of rocks out there, and some of them have earth-crossing orbits. Turns out that based on estimates, there's a lot more rocks undetected.

As noted, this was a mystery that needed to be solved, because the fate of our species depends on it.

Now, let's consider the Roswell thing. It was reported in the papers way back when, the Army-Airforce issued retrations. Years and years later, some people dig the story, and a bunch of witnesses, some who were absolutely with out a doubt liars. Lots of contradictions, lots of controversy, lots of wide-eyed conspiracy theorists jumping on the bandwagon.

Now, 60 years after the fact, in a society that has changed in myriad ways from 1947, some people are convinced that an alien spacecraft crashed at Roswell, while others are still asking the question, "What happened at Roswell?"

For those who still wonder what it was, we have an answer: Something happened at Roswell. What that is remains a mystery.

How importance is it that we know the answer? We can't say with any degree of certainty that it was an alien spacecraft (unless we're Stan Friedman and his adherents). What else, then?

Is it important enough to warrant thousands and thousands of pages of written, yet still largely ambiguous material? Is it important enough to spend a lifetime on?
What about it makes it so important?

Fascination is not a good enough reason to pursue something, in my book. There has to be a reasonable chance of some payoff that is commensurate with the time I spend on it. There are countless paranormal oddities that are fascinating, at least on the surface, but turn out to be so much fluff when one digs into them.

What are the chances that we'll ever have a non-ambiguous answer to the whole Roswell thing? Chances aren't looking too good, if the debate has been raging for sixty years, and it's still being debated.

If I were doing "mystery triage," I would merit that Roswell was more than qualified for shit-canning. There are many more mysteries of a scientific nature, that have the potential for tremendous payoffs in terms of human welfare, that can probably be resolved without ambiguity, and don't have to be held together with spit and shoe-polish, and propped up by pop-culture.

Those are the really interesting mysteries.