Before we start, let me say this. I have known Robert Hastings for nearly twenty years and I have always been impressed with his integrity and his intellect. I knew Chester Lytle for a long time. He was a man of impressive credentials who had no reason to embellish his position and suggest UFO knowledge if he had none. In other words, talking about flying saucers wouldn’t have done him much good and certainly could have hurt him.
Now both of these men come together in Hastings’ UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites. Hastings had the opportunity to interview Lytle on a number of occasions and Lytle shared an interesting story about the Roswell UFO crash. I will note that Hastings had shared this information with me prior to the publication of his book, so I have known about it for some time, but he asked that I say nothing until his book was available.
According to Hastings, he was interviewing Lytle about his involvement with atomic energy and what he might know about UFO sightings near nuclear plants or facilities. Hastings said that with no prompting from him, Lytle moved on to the Roswell crash and told Hastings that William Blanchard (seen here), who had command of the 509th Bomb Group in Roswell at the time of the crash confirmed the alien nature of the event.
Lytle told Hastings that in February 1953, with Blanchard now a general officer, they were in Alaska while Lytle’s wife was in Chicago about to give birth. Lytle was desperate to get home and Blanchard said that they could take an Air Force aircraft to Illinois, land at one of the bases close to Chicago and Lytle could get home from there.
While on the flight, somehow the subject of UFOs came up, maybe because of a couple of sightings at Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage sometime earlier. Blanchard then told Lytle that an alien craft had crashed near Roswell. According to Hastings, Blanchard told Lytle that four bodies had been recovered.
Surprised by this, Hastings asked Lytle, "Blanchard actually told you that the Roswell object was an alien spacecraft."
Lytle said, "Oh, absolutely."
In break with the traditional story, Blanchard said that some of the bodies had gone originally to Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base), but that they all wound up at Wright Field.
Now, granted, this is second-hand testimony about what Blanchard said, but there is no reason for Lytle to invent it, and it is quite clear that Lytle held many clearances and had been trusted with the secrets of the Manhattan Project. He was a credible man who would not have made up the story.
Of course, it fails on one point and that is that we can’t verify it with either Lytle or Blanchard. Both men are dead. The documentation that exists is quite limited and subject to various interpretations. At this point, this is an anecdote that provides a bit of insight into the crash... and it is the first time that Blanchard, through Lytle, put gave us a number of bodies. Blanchard, according to Lytle, said, "Four."
So what do we do? Add this to the list of stories about the UFO crash at Roswell and continue the search. Look for some additional corroboration but note that we had some reliable information that puts Blanchard in the center of this, just where he would have been as the commanding officer at the Roswell Army Air Field in July 1947.
For those interested in more of what Robert Hastings has reported, you can only order UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites at ufohastings.com.