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(Originally published June 2020)


Metal Cloth, enhanced with Photos.png


In an extraordinary confirmation that the Roswell UFO debris was tested by select engineers and scientists, a noted historian has come forward to state that his father, the former Commander of White Sands Missile Range in the 1940s, was made to analyze some of the material found at the crash site.

Robert Mclaughlin best, enhanced with Ph
Capt. Robert B. McLaughlin
White Sands Proving Ground, NM
“It Was a Metal-Like Fabric that was Indestructible”


Robert McLaughlin, who died in 2000, was an engineering graduate of the US Naval Academy who had a remarkable career. With a demonstrated expertise in intelligent missiles, in time he was assigned to White Sands Proving Ground (now White Sands Missile Range) in New Mexico, as Commander overseeing all naval research units, and was also the Chief of the Naval Rocket Unit. He rose to the rank of Captain and was a patent-holder with Top Secret clearance.


His research skills and management skills were integral to the continued success of White Sands' most vital programs in the 1940s. As such, he circulated on a personal and professional level with such well-known personages as Dr. James Van Allen (the Van Allen Belt), meteorologist Charles Moore, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh (the discoverer of Pluto) and aerospace and rocket pioneer Werner von Braun. McLaughlin had several German V-2 rocket engineers under his auspice.


McLaughlin maintained an interest in the UFO phenomenon. He reported his own UFO sighting of May 9, 1949 during a rocket launch at the Proving Grounds, and even wrote a piece for True magazine in March 1950 titled “How Scientists Tracked a Flying Saucer”. His son tells me that somewhere in storage he has correspondence of McLaughlin and James Van Allen discussing the possible origin of the disks.

This author has long suspected that White Sands' capabilities would be tapped if the crash was of extraterrestrial origin. I located and contacted the son of Capt. McLaughlin, John McLaughlin. John is the President of the Silicon Valley Historical

Association and is an acknowledged authority on the history of high technology companies in Silicon Valley.


Robert McLaughlin passed away in 2000, and from his son John we learn what he confessed about his involvement with the uncanny metal-like material that he was asked to have tested.

John McLaughlin, larger, enhanced with P
John McLaughlin
Son of Capt. Robert McLaughlin
“What He Said About 1947, the Strange Material and Roswell”


In the late 1960s, when John was in his early 20s, there was interest in UFOs amongst many young people, and John was no exception. He had a copy of the classic ‘60s book “Flying Saucers: Serious Business” by Frank Edwards. When he got the chance and the time was right, he discussed his father’s prior involvement in UFO study and an item that he had read in Edward’s book. Edwards makes one of the very few public references to Roswell prior to the early 1990s with the influx of Roswell books and documentaries. Edwards, on page 76 of his book, says: “There are such difficult cases as the rancher near Roswell, New Mexico, who phoned the Sheriff that a blazing disc-shaped object had passed over his house at low altitude and had crashed and burned on a hillside within view of his house. We were not told, however, why the military cordoned off the area while they inspected the wreckage."


John was also astounded to see that his father was mentioned in the book. He is referred to as “R.B. McLaughlin” for his True article on flying saucers. Knowing this, and of his father’s high-level technical position at White Sands at the time of the Roswell crash, he asked his father about it. Was he aware of anything?

His father replied that in fact he himself knew something, implying that it might relate to the UFO subject they were discussing. He related to his son that in late 1947 an unusual event had occurred while at White Sands. McLaughlin was visited by an Army Major from the Roswell base (about a 45 minute flight) who arrived at McLaughlin’s office with a very strange piece of material. McLaughlin described it as a metal-like cloth or fabric with a peculiar drape or bend. But the feature that stuck in his mind the most was its sheer toughness and material strength. Two decades on and McLaughlin could still recall to his son the incredible, impenetrable properties of this material as the damndest thing.


The Major had one request of McLaughlin: Try to punch a hole in it. The military labs apparently did not have the needed equipment to try to penetrate the material because they were unsuccessful, but White Sands might. They took it to the workshop there. The metallurgical technicians tried repeatedly to drill the material to make a hole in it with an advanced carbide drill. John states: “According to my father, they couldn’t even make a scratch.” No doubt both perplexed and disappointed, the Roswell Army Major took back the material and abruptly left without elaboration.


At the time, White Sands (which is adjacent to and supports Holloman AFB) had a world-leading capability in aeronautical metals technology. There was astonishment that even with best-available equipment, they were unable to dent, scratch, or in any way perforate a metal fabric!

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Frank Edwards'
“Serious Business” Classic


There were many types of debris found at the Roswell crash site from memory metal to larger, canoe-shaped pieces, to a weird filament-like material, to a metal-like I Beam with embossed ethereal violet hieroglyphic symbols. But another type of material found at the crash was a mysterious “metal cloth” or fabric that was very light and tough. This debris is not often discussed, but in fact several witnesses spoke of a similar metal-fabric material that was also recovered at Roswell:


Roswell base intelligence agent Jesse Marcel spoke of several types of debris including a dull, metal-like, porous fabric-like material with memory properties.


Dr. Robert Sarbacher, former consultant to the US R&D Board at the time of the crash, said that some of the debris comprised a strange, lightweight fabric. The structure of the "metal-fabric" didn't become apparent until the 1960s when they finally developed suitable microscopic analysis tools. He was likely referring to the advent of the scanning electron microscope in the 1960s. He said they found out that the fabric had been "welded" or "machined" at the molecular level. This yielded impossibly tough material.


Mac Brazel's neighbor Sally Strickland Tadolini recalled that as a child she was shown an odd piece of material by Bill Brazel, the young adult son of Mac Brazel, the manager of the ranch where much of the craft debris fell. It impressed her so much that even decades later she was able to vividly recall the metallic looking memory metal fabric that was incredibly strong, yet had a fine “hand” to it, “smooth, like silk or satin.”


The fact that in the late 1960s Capt. McLaughlin said to his son that he suspected that the debris he investigated in 1947 was related to the crash, and that it was a strange, tough metal of a clothlike consistency, is extraordinary. The corroboration of some of the fallen debris being similar to an “indestructible metal cloth’” was not known until testimony was secured decades after the 1960s. It certainly makes the Captain’s claims to his son more credible.


And Even More Corroboration


Nothing short of amazing is that other sons of US Navy research officers have offered me similar stories as John McLaughlin.  This includes the namesake son of George Hoover. His father is considered the “Godfather of Satellite Technology”. He was with the Office of Naval Research for many years and worked closely with Werner von Braun on various projects. Hoover’s namesake son, George Hoover Jr., JD, is an engineer and US Patent and technology attorney of some renown. He states that, like John, in the 1960s his father related to him his involvement in analysis of the debris material from the 1947 crash while he was a high-level officer with the Navy. This was itself corroborated by a researcher who met Hoover in retirement, where the senior Hoover confirmed this.


A common pattern to this aspect of the Roswell story is that when a materials scientist or engineer is presented with a piece of unusual material to test, they are never told that the material is from a UFO crash. They gather that because they know when a material is engineered, and what is possible to engineer on Earth. An unnamed officer presents a sample of the material to a laboratory with a simple, singular directive to achieve something with it or learn something about it. He returns, gets the material and results, and leaves without comment. He offers no explanation, no back story on the material, and often not even his name. This is precisely Capt. Robert McLaughlin’s experience.


McLaughlin Knew About Mogul and that Roswell Was Not That


Incredibly, Robert McLaughlin knew all about “Mogul” – the balloon project to ‘eavesdrop’ on the Soviet Union's nuclear detonations that was the Air Force’s later explanation for what had crashed at the Foster Ranch near Roswell in July of 1947. In fact, McLaughlin knew about this project (and therefore that it could not be the cause of the Roswell debris field) back in the 1940’s, decades before it was proffered by the government as the cause of the Roswell Incident.


Writing in his blog in September 2008, noted researcher Kevin Randle states that in a letter dated May 12, 1949 to famed astronomer James Van Allen (the Van Allen Belt), Robert McLaughlin tells Van Allen about military meteorologist Charles B. Moore, “who has been head of Project Mogul for the Air Force.”  This letter can be seen here.


The Metal’s Meaning

Some have speculated that the silver metal-like, porous “cloth” with unique drape as described by McLaughlin and others may be the material of the silver-metal, ultra-tough, skin-tight space suits, clinging around the alien bodies in the desert and difficult to remove. Maybe it is a material of construction of the craft. Or perhaps it was meant to cover or shield something. Though its existence will now forever be known, its purpose may never be…

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