Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Truth Is Out There ... Just Ask Lt. Haut

This past week brought news out of southeast New Mexico, that an old soldier had passed away. Nothing especially remarkable about that, you might say ... happens all the time, really ... but this was one old soldier who could tell one heck of a 'war story.'

Walter Haut, of Roswell, died Thursday at the age of 83.

Haut was a lieutenant in the United States Army, back in the 1940s, and was the spokesman for the Roswell Army Air Field. Nowadays, he'd probably have a more formal title, like 'Public Information Officer,' or 'Media Liaison Officer' or something like that.

Anyway, it was in his capacity as spokesman for RAAF that Haut issued a news release about the recovery of a flying saucer, on a ranch outside of Roswell, on July 8, 1947 ... certainly the first of millions of documents addressing what is now known as
"The Roswell Incident."

And the rest, as they say, is history. You can read some more about Haut and that history in the
Roswell Daily Record.

In my profession as a reporter and editor, I don't often have occasion to pay tribute to the PIO's of the world ... to be perfectly honest, the relationship between the two can often be antagonistic. But there aren't that many PIO's who have had a chance to contribute so much to our pop culture ... and, really, how many of them ever had a story like THAT to 'get out.'


Pancho said...

Coincidentally, we just drove by the UFO Museum this afternoon [Sat] on the way back from Ruidoso. I was there at the 50th anniversary shindig.

Roswell is an interesting case of lot's of true events being packaged to support the story. Trouble is....about half the facts happened at times differing from the actual event. I guess Haut never got the word about the balloons being built to float across Russia to measure radiation.

Jeff said...

Wallace, thanks for stopping in. Hope your Christmas was a merry one!

The City of Roswell has done an excellent job of taking this bit of American pop culture, and putting it to work for the community's visitor and economic development. Mr. Haut, by the way, was a co-founder of the UFO Museum.

Roswell being halfway between Midland and Albuquerque (or Santa Fe), I often recommend the UFO Museum to friends making the trip, a good spot to get out and stretch their legs.

Speaking of museums, a very different look at 'what's out there' can be found at the Roswell Museum, which has a wonderful tribute to Dr. Robert Goddard and his legacy.