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.'