Colonel William "Butch" Blanchard
Colonel William "Butch" Blanchard was, according to many of the Roswell books, a key player behind the scenes in the recovery of the Roswell disk.
A West Point graduate, Blanchard rose rapidly through the ranks during World War II, and by 1947 was considered a rising star in the Air Force. By 1966, he was a 4-star general, Vice Chief of Staff, and a "sure bet" for the Joint Chiefs. Unfortunately, he died from a massive heart attack at the Pentagon, cutting short his illustrious career.
Despite his achievements in the Air Force, Blanchard is best known today as the Commanding Officer of the 509th Bomber wing and Roswell AAFB during the Roswell Incident.
The Roswell Incident first became public when the now famous Press Release was sent out by RAAFB Public Information Officer Lt. Walter Haut on July 8, 1947. It is widely believed by many UFO researchers that Col. Blanchard had been ordered by the Pentagon to issue the news released as part of a carefully calculated plan to cover up the recovery of a real extraterrestrial spaceship and its alien crew. The news of a "Captured Flying Disk" prompted many reporters to try and contact Col Blanchard for comments, but all they got from his office, during the afternoon of July 8th, was that "no further details were available".
By the the late afternoon of July 8, callers to the office of Col Blanchard were told that he had "left on leave"!! Roswell proponents have long claimed that this leave was just a ruse to get Blanchard out of the limelight while he commanded the effort to complete the recovery efforts and send the debris and bodies to more secure areas. This claim is based on surmise, and the comments from some of the witnesses interviewed by researchers.
Assigned to Strategic Air Command's Eighth Air Force Headquarters as director of operations in 1948, General Blanchard helped direct the atomic training of crews for B-36s, our first intercontinental bombers. After commanding B-50 and B-36 bomber units of SAC, he was assigned as deputy director of operations for that command in 1953.
In June 1956, he was a member of a select group of U.S. Air Force officers who accompanied General Nathan Twining, then chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, on an official visit to the Soviet Union which included a conducted tour of points of military interest in the Moscow and Stalingrad areas.
General Blanchard assumed command of SAC's Seventh Air Division in England in 1957. Returning to SAC headquarters three years later, he was assigned as director of operations.
After 15 years of continuous service in SAC, he was appointed the inspector general, U.S. Air Force, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. In August 1963 he was named deputy chief of staff, programs and requirements in Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and assumed the duty as deputy chief of staff, plans and operations, in February 1964. He was assigned the additional duty as senior Air Force member, Military Staff Committee of the United Nations, later that year.
On Feb. 19, 1965, General Blanchard became vice chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, with promotion to four-star rank. In this position, he bears a large share of the responsibility of managing the vast human and material resources of the world's most powerful aerospace force.
General William H. Blanchard died May 31, 1966.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the presidential Unit Citation and the Asiatic Pacific Medal with six bronze stars. He wears the missile badge and command pilot wings.