1st Lt. Walter Haut died on December 15, 2005 at the age of 83, he was the public information officer (PIO) at the 509th Bomb Group based in Roswell, New Mexico during 1947.
Born in Chicago, Illinois on June 3, 1922, during World War II, he was a bombardier flying 35 missions against Japan.
At Operation Crossroads, the A-bomb tests at the Bikini atoll in the summer of 1946, he dropped instrument packages to record data from the bomb blasts.
In 1947, he became the public information officer for the 509th Atomic Bomb Group at Roswell Army Air Field in New Mexico.
Early on July 8, 1947 he was ordered by the base commander, Colonel William Blanchard, to draft a press release to the public, announcing that the United States Army Air Forceshad recovered a crashed “flying disc” from a nearby ranch.
The press release garnered widespread national and even international media attention. The U.S. Army Air Force retracted the claim later the same day, saying instead that a weather balloon had been recovered.
Haut also received some criticism and ridicule in the nation’s press for putting out the original press release. The series of events eventually became known as the Roswell UFO Incident.
In the first book on the subject, The Roswell Incident, Haut was said to be “not a witness.” He told interviewers in 1979 that base commander Colonel William Blanchard asked him to write and distribute the press release but when Haut asked to see the object in question was told “his request was impossible.”
In a July, 1990 video-taped interview with Haut conducted by Fred Whiting for the Fund for UFO Research, Whiting asked Haut if he could remember Col.
Blanchard ever mentioning the “flying saucer” matter after the official weather balloon line was established.
Haut replied that he did, at a staff meeting a week or two later. He recalled Blanchard opening the meeting with a comment something like this: “Well, we sure shot ourselves in the foot with that balloon fiasco.
It was just something from a project at Alamogordo, and some of the guys were here on our base later, too. Anyway, it’s done and over with.”
Haut left the military in 1948 and spent the rest of his life in Roswell, where he and his wife, Lorraine, raised two daughters, Marabeth and Julie.
Haut worked as an insurance agent for many years in his later life, but the mystery of the so-called Roswell incident continued to fascinate him.
With Max Littell and Glenn Dennis, Haut founded the International UFO Museum and Research Center in 1991.