Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt with the prize witness, who was later found to be nothing more than a liar and hoaxer (Klass)

Chapter 13: Every Circus Needs a Clown

By Timothy Printy© 1999 rewritten November 2008

 

Probably the most interesting character to date associated with the Roswell story is somebody who would tell a story so wild that it was amazing that anybody believed him.  Originally he was called Steve Mackenzie or Jack Osborne.  Later it was revealed his name was Frank Kaufmann and he had been an associate/friend of Walter Haut, who already had become key individual in the Roswell story. Frank’s story read something like a cheap spy thriller and some UFOlogists rejected it as too far fetched.  However, thanks to a glowing endorsement by Walter Haut, Kevin Randle and Don Schmitt eagerly accepted the story especially when it was discovered the Kaufmann knew where the spaceship had crashed.

 Frank was pretty crafty in his story-telling.  While he would keep the basic outline with most interviews, he tended to shift and move details about.  Every so often he would add more details that would appear credible but would raise further questions. Trying to write this story in a few short paragraphs does not do it justice.  It is easier to produce an outline with select quotes to demonstrate how his story evolved and twisted about: 

Kaufmann’s role at Roswell

  1. Frank never told Randle any rank but it appears he was some sort of special agent that was independent of the Roswell chain of command.
  2. Frank told Klass, "My rank fit the occasion" (Klass Real 107).
  3. Kaufmann told Tim Shawcross that he entered the service in 1941 and was assigned to Roswell air base the year after as "Non-commissioned Officer in Charge" (Shawcross 24). Kaufmann then left the military in October 1945 but was asked to continue at his post in a civilian capacity concerning base security.
  4. He told the Albuquerque Journal in 1997 that he was assigned to an intelligence unit, S1.
  5. He told Jack Rodden that he was in charge of screening people for classified assignments. His work was so good that he was a contact man for a "Major Thomas"  with AF intelligence. After the war he became a civilian but performed the same work he did before in the military. The title of the article stated he was an Army CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps) agent.
  6. It was later discovered that Kaufmann was nothing more than a staff sergeant and a clerk, who later worked at RAAF in personnel office after he left the service. Many of the records he would wave in front of interviewers were all hoaxed using an old typewriter, some glue, old documents, and some official blank paper he retained over the years.

Robert Thomas

 

  1. Robert Thomas was a warrant officer that Frank worked with, who was stationed in Washington D.C.
  2. Thomas showed up at Roswell on the afternoon of July 4th
  3. He told Jack Rodden, "…About July 2, Thomas (Frank now states that his rank is a major), arrived in Roswell. The radar problem still existed so we went to White Sands. On July 3, radar screens still showed erratic movements pulsating several times. Then the blip exploded into a star burst on the radar screen..." (Rodden 43).
  4. According to Kent Jeffrey, Frank even stated that Thomas was a general. Jeffrey researched this in an apparent attempt to find the elusive Thomas. However, there was no such man listed. When Jeffrey confronted Kaufmann with this, Kaufmann went to a fall back position and stated that Thomas was a "code name".

The date and time

  1. He told Randle and Schmitt that it occurred on the night of the 4th of July around 11:20 PM.
  2. He told Jack Rodden that it was July 3rd.

The radar at White Sands

  1. He was monitoring the UFO on radar for 24 hours without break on orders from General Scanlon of Air Defense Command. He had to use a mirror system to monitor the radar when he went to the latrine.
  2. Kevin Randle would later state he did not get this right and Frank was not on a 24-hour watch.
  3. He told Randle that radar at Roswell and other locations were also tracking the UFO.
  4. Frank would later tell Jack Rodden, "Occasionally, we went to another room. A radar operator put a mirror on a chair, and if something unusual happened he bounced a light off of it into our room to alert us" (Rodden 42)
  5. Just before the UFO crashed, the UFO "Blossomed into a sunburst" (Randle and Schmitt Truth 6).
  6. Professor Charles Moore explained the radar at White Sands could only detect targets at a maximum range of about 39 miles and could not see over the mountains to the north of the base.
  7. Radar does not allow a target to blossom unless it happened when the antenna, which was rotating, was directed at the target the instant it "exploded".
  8. There is no indication that there were any radar units at Roswell in July of 1947.

The effort to get out to where the crash occurred

  1. Frank told Randle that after the UFO appeared to crash on radar, he rushed back to Roswell and told Blanchard and Marcel all about it.
  2. He also told Randle that they all proceeded north the 35 miles to the crash site where they had to drive cross country and cut through fences to get to the crash site where they found the wreckage and the bodies

The crash site

  1. The spacecraft was "heel shaped" (Randle Conspiracy 264) or a "wingless airplane" (Sobel Online).
  2. In 1997, Frank stated, "The Stealth bomber is the spitting image of what the craft looked like" (Linthicum Online). This mimics something Frank told Karl Pflock about the spaceship and stealth technology, "See the technology for the stealth bomber, the design of the stealth bomber came from this" (Pflock 49).
  3. Karl Pflock states that at one point Frank stated, "The DISC-SHAPED object was seemingly squared off at its visible end [,] which might have been a result of the impact. It had a slight dome on top and was tipped up at an angle" (Pflock 42)
  4. "The main part of the craft about twenty-five to thirty feet long and twelve to fifteen feet wide, had focirbly crashed into the arroyoat the base of a tall cliff." (Randle and Schmitt Truth 11).
  5. He told Randle and Schmitt that those present at the site were Robert Thomas, Howard Fletcher, and Lucas from Washington DC; Adair and Harris from the west coast; A special unit from White Sands; Colonel Blanchard, W.O. "Pappy" Henderson, Major Edwin Easley, and Lt. Col. Albert Lovejoy Duran.
  6. He told Randle and Schmitt that the area was secured by a special unit of guards, which was a mixture of units from Kirtland, Alamogordo, and Roswell. This special unit, formed up overnight, was constructed such that each individual could not talk to his buddy and compare notes about what they saw.
  7. During interviews with Karl Pflock, Kaufmann stated the MPs all came from Kirtland AFB.
 

The bodies

  1. The bodies, five in number and obviously not human, were not all within the ship...Two of them were found outside the craft, one sprawled on the ground, and the other sitting next to a cliff. Both were dead. (Randle and Schmitt Truth 12).
  2. They were very good-looking people, ash-colored faces and skin. About 5 feet 4, 5 feet 5. Eyes a little more pronounced, a little bit larger. Small ears, small nose. Fine features. Hairless. There were five. They had a very tight, almost a wetsuit, silver colored. I just saw two of them. One was thrown out of the craft itself. And one was half in and half out. They were all dead.(Linthicum Online)
  3. That's the one I cannot forget. It had that damned serene look on it’s face...like it was at peace with the world...I [was] amazed by that (Randle and Schmitt Truth 12).

The clean up

  1. He told Randle and Schmitt, the bodies were retrieved by a "special group", who retrieved them and placed them in body bags.
  2. He told Randle and Schmitt, the spacecraft was loaded onto the back of a huge flatbed trailer for shipment.
  3. ..we made people line up shoulder to shoulder and pick up all the little pieces.  We made more than one sweep of the area and later we brought a large commercial vacuum from the base to make sure we did not miss anything. (Rodden 44)
  4. We directed a bunch of junk, balloon pieces and aluminum scrap from the base to be taken to areas away from the hot spot. (Rodden 45)

The press release and oaths

  1. He had been sworn to secrecy although he did not know that much. He said that they were taken into a room in small groups, ten ortwelve, and told that they had participated in somethign that was of national security interst. They were not to talk about it to anyone. They were told to forget that it had ever happened. (Randle and Schmitt UFO 166)
  2. We orchestrated a press release.(Rodden 45)
  3. According to Randle and Schmitt, Kaufmann stated that Jesse Marcel, Colonel Blanchard, and Major Easely were at the headquarters writing reports and making arrangements for shipment of the bodies.
  4. Kaufmann told Tim Shawcross that the Haut press release was a misinformation program used to confuse everyone and that Major Jesse Marcel was made to be the "fall guy" (Shawcross 31).
  5. Kaufmann even told Tim Shawcross that at the original press conference, the cover was almost blown because Ramey started to open the door and noticed it was the "real debris". He directed the substitute debris be brought in at that point.

The plane flights out

  1. This hanger was guarded by Military Police "armed with carbines" and "orders to shoot anyone who approached without the proper authority" (Randle and Schmitt Truth 15).
  2. Kaufmann told Randle and Schmitt that the bodies were loaded on aircraft at two or three in the morning and flown to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington DC using a B-25 aircraft. The pilot was "Pappy" Henderson because he was the most trusted pilot in the 1st air transport unit and it briefly stopped at Fort Worth. At Andrews, the bodies were available for viewing by Chief of Staff, Dwight D Eisenhower and secretary of war Robert Patterson. The whole mess was then flown to Patterson Army airfield in Ohio.
  3. According to Randle and Schmitt, Kaufmann stated personnel records were altered as well as security codes/code words and serial numbers so the story could not be traced. Several flights were sent out to various destinations and then those destinations were changed while the planes were in flight. This deception plan was to make sure nobody knew where the bodies were flown.
  4. Frank told Leslie Linthicum, "once back on the base, he did not have any further contact with the craft or the bodies" (Linthicum Online)
 

Name dropping

  1. He told Karl Pflock that he went to a "special committee" hearing in congress regarding the Roswell incident. According to Kaufmann, Wernher Von Braun and Lindbergh accompanied him.

Kaufmann’s story started just got worse over the years as he appeared to lose track of where he left off.  Kevin Randle spent well over a decade stating he believed Frank and gave a wonderful defense in his book Conspiracy of Silence. There we find the section, "Appendix A: The Truth About Frank Kaufmann". After a long tirade about the naysayers against Kaufmann, Randle concludes, "For those who don't believe the testimony, they should initiate their own search...What they will find is that Kaufmann is telling the truth" (Randle Conspiracy 269).  According to Randle, Kaufmann’s story is valid because of several reasons:

1. Woody and the nun’s diary confirm the date given by Frank Kaufmann as the date of the crash.

This is an amazing claim because in November 1998, Kaufmann told Jack Rodden the date was one day before the scenario Randle claims the nuns and Woody saw the crash event. Then we have the concept that most of the observations were, more than likely, of bright falling stars. Of course, nobody has ever seen the nun’s diary and the Woody date is highly questionable. So we have a confirmation from sources that are unconfirmable and based on a date that Frank changed in two different interviews.

2. Kaufmann stated the object was "heel shaped" and Lewis Rickett confirmed this before he died.

Rickett, interviewed many times before, never stated seeing the craft until just before he died! Then he described it as "long, thin, with a 'bat-like' wing on it" (Randle and Schmitt Truth 174) and not "heel shaped" or like the stealth Bomber. Karl Pflock states that in his later interviews it appears that Rickett was not in the best of mental health. With gentle prodding from Don Schmitt, I am sure Rickett would have been willing to say anything.

3. There are many witnesses who confirm Kaufmann’s location of the crash.

The problem is many of his witness testimonies are hearsay. They are not based on first hand and their locations are not precise. One witness he relies on is an "anonymous archeologist" (you knew they would bring up archeologists some time) who confirms the unrecorded deathbed story of Dr Holden (another archeologist whom we will discuss a little later on). The other witness (who we will address separately), Jim Ragsdale, also pinpointed Kaufmann's location and then changed his mind. Randle leaves this man out as a confirming witness. All the others, who will be discussed separately, are not first hand witnesses to the event. Lastly, the location pinpointed by Frank Kaufmann could not even have supported the operations he described. According to Phil Klass, Jim McKnight, whose family owned this land and lived nearby in 1947, denies the possibility of a crash at this location. In his affidavit, dated February 3, 1997, Jim McKnight (who was four at the time) states the:

...alleged impact site is located on a part of the ranch that belonged to my aunt and is a little over a mile west of my grandfather's original ranch house...I do not believe that a UFO or anything else crashed at the alleged crash site in 1947 for several reasons. No one in my family had any knowledge of such crash or military retrieval. If a coyote crossed that ranch, my dad or uncle would likely see his tracks...I cannot believe that a convoy of Army trucks and cars could have come and gone without them noticing. It they had seen it, they would have told us about it...

...during the 1950's I rode horseback all over both pastures around the alleged crash site on a number of different occasions because there were not any roads west from the ranch house. It was not until the early 1960's that my aunt hired a bulldozer to build a crossing on the Macho [a dry creek that becomes flooded after heavy rains].

In addition to our own ranch, it was customary to exchange labor with our neighbors. We had many discussions and some included the military, their practice bombing ranges and crashed airplanes. We had a practice bombing range on the ranch about 10 miles west of the alleged crash site and one airplane crashed on the ranch. Never, never did the subject of such an event as the Roswell [crashed-saucer] incident come up for discussion. I know the people who settled in that harsh environment... No amount of military threats would have silenced them, especially when they talked among themselves... (Klass New)

When Philip Klass talked to Mr. McKnight and asked about getting to the site, he stated, "...to get to the alleged impact site a convoy would have to get across the Macho which was all but impossible in 1947" (Klass New). Can Kevin Randle explain why they did not talk to the McKnights prior to announcing the official crash site or is it just that Randle did not want to get any information that would disprove his theory?

In an interview with Jack Rodden, Walter Haut, made a statement, which could very easily be directed at Frank:

There are many stories that came out about people at the base who were privy to all this information. I don't recall these names. I checked out in the base yearbook for that year. Guess what? I don't find them there. I suppose this type of thing draws all kinds of people out of the woodwork. When there’s a chance of some notoriety, people try to jump on the bandwagon. Occasionally there is some new legitimate information, but most of it I don't buy. (Rodden 47)

 

Only after Frank Kaufmann’s death was it revealed that he forged documents and lied to investigators about his credentials.  With this definitive proof, Kevin Randle had to publicly admit he had been fooled by Frank Kaufmann for over a decade.  Considering the increasing number of times, Kevin has been duped by witnesses and associates; one would think it would improve his skepticism. Unfortunately, when it comes to Roswell, he has not changed much.  It appears that Randle has too much of a vested interest into the crashed spaceship scenario for him to shift away from it.  He still gladly believes the other exotic tales told by individuals simply because nobody can positively prove to him they are lying.

 

Works Cited

HQ USAF. The Roswell Report: Case Closed. Washington: D.C., US Government, 1997

Klass, Philip. The REAL Roswell Crashed Saucer Cover-up. Amherst: Prometheus, 1997

--- "New Witness Debunks Randle/Schmitt/Kaufmann ‘UFO Impact Site’." Skeptics UFO Newsletter. May, 1997.

Linthicum, Leslie. "Roswell '47 - They Lived It." Albuquerque Journal. Online. Internet. Available WWW: http://www.abqjournal.com/roswell/

Pflock, Karl. Roswell in Perspective. Mt. Rainier: Fund for UFO Research, 1995

Randle, Kevin. Conspiracy of Silence. New York: Avon Books, 1997

Randle, Kevin and Donald Schmitt. The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell. New York: Avon, 1994.

---. UFO Crash at Roswell. New York: Avon, 1991.

Rodden, Jack. "The Army C.I.C. Agent." UFO Magazine and Phenomena Report. November, 1998: 43-45.

---. "Roswell Base Press Officer." UFO Magazine and Phenomena Report. November, 1998: 47-48.

Shawcross, Tim. The Roswell File. Osceola: Motorbooks International, 1997

Sobel, Dava. "The Truth about Roswell". Omni Magazine. Fall 1995 Online. Internet. Available WWW: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1430/is_n8_v17/ai_17596045

 

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