Article by Janice Dunnahoo
Roswell Daily Record
ROSWELL — Following is a little-known story about military secrets around Roswell during the war and post-war times of the 1940s.
Is the UFO incident reported in the Roswell Daily Record three years later related in some way to this story? Was it all military related? Was it secret tests in relation to the war or something extraterrestrial? What was it? Maybe just a routine weather balloon, but then again, probably not. What was it then?
The year was 1944. World War II was in full swing with Normandy, the Battle of Saipan, and troops in the Marshall Islands and the Philippines.
The list was long for the military and events were rapidly changing, military wise, every single day. Scientists in Los Alamos were busy developing the Manhattan Project. A lot was happening in the world and in this state at that time.
Located off Pine Lodge Road at the foot of the Capitan Mountains, the Shanks Ranch sat somewhat geographically close to the purported site of the famous 1947 UFO crash. Sheep and cattle ranchers are a breed apart from the general population. They are always aware and being good stewards of their land, roads and natural resources. Their entire lives and livelihood are connected to the land, as they depend on the environment.
The Shanks were the typical ranchers with a passion for their land, the care for the land and the care of their livestock. It only would be natural for them to have concern over what was to happen next.
George and Audie Shanks were driving back home to their ranch one day after running errands in town. Their ranch was approximately 10 miles northeast of Arabella. It was winter and there had been a snow; the snow melt had made the roads muddy and a little harder to maneuver.
After going through their gate and driving a bit further, they spotted something strange out in one of the pastures by their No. 4 windmill. Driving up as close as they could, they got out and walked over for a closer look.
It was a large parachute lying on the ground with a form underneath it. As they got closer to it, they could hear a ticking noise. They decided they had better get away and go back to the house and notify authorities.
When they arrived at their ranch house, George Shanks called the Roswell Army Air Base, thinking they would be the appropriate ones to call, but the Roswell military were not the ones to respond. Within a short period of time, military arrived from El Paso and cordoned off the whole area. There were many different types of heavy military vehicles, planes and other equipment.
Military presence was in the area for more than a day. A main concern for George Shanks was that all the heavy equipment on the already-muddy roads had torn them up.
Visitors and family coming and going from and to the ranch were very clearly and abruptly directed away from the area. The Shanks’ oldest son, Carroll, had been injured in the war and was coming home from a VA hospital. He was surprised to see military presence on his own home land. When he stopped to inquire what was going on, he was immediately directed away. Imagine that for a homecoming!
George Shanks, who was upset about the condition of his roads and how they had been torn up by the military, decided he needed to go talk to those in command.
When he went to inquire about his roads, he was told “not to worry about it and to forget about what he’d seen there.”
Within a day to a day and a half, the military left. The only sign that anything or anybody was there was the condition of the roads.
That is the end of the story — a story the Shanks family kept mostly to themselves for all these years. George and Audie Shanks, as well as their two sons, Carroll and G.W., have all passed from this life and their ranch has been sold. But the story is still there.
What was it? If it were a simple weather balloon, why was George Shanks told to “forget about what he’d seen there?” Why was the military called in from El Paso instead of the Roswell Army Air Base? Why were friends and family directed so abruptly and briskly away from that area?
Will we ever know for sure?
Article reprinted here by permission of Tom McDonald
Gazette Media Services Community News Exchange
Owner Guadalupe County Communicator, Santa Rosa, NM