- Metal Found in 'Disc' Probe Reported On Plane
Which Carried Army Intelligence Men To Death
- Idaho Daily Statesmen
August 3, 1947
By Dave Johnson
- Note - Dave Johnson, the author of the foregoing article
was the "aviation editor" for the Statesman, as well as one of
the first people to see a UFO shortly after Kenneth Arnold's sighting.
In fact, due to his association with Arnold and having "covered"
that "news breaking event," he was on assignment to find a flying
disc when after 3 days of an aerial search paid off. He witnessed for 45
seconds a circular object dart about in front of a cloud bank.
- Six pieces of metal or lava obtained for investigation
in connection with the flying disc mystery were being carried back to Hamilton
Field, Calif., from Tacoma, Wash., in a B-25 bomber which crashed and burned
near Kelso shortly after take off from McChord Field, it was learned tonight.
- The pilot and co-pilot of the twin engine bomber were
members of army intelligence, stationed at Hamilton Field, and had been
assigned to investigation of the flying disc mysytery.
- They were Captain William L. Davidson and Lt. Frank M.
Brown, both of whom were instantly killed when their bomber plummeted to
earth after the left engine burst into flames.
- Disclosed by a UAL pilot
- That they were carrying with them six pieces of metal
or lava substances was made by Capt. E. J. Smith of United AirLines, who
was in Tacoma with Kenneth Arnold of Boise.
- Davidson and Brown had gone to Tacoma in response to
a message from Arnold, who had told them he "might have something
interesting to show them," according to Brig Gen. Ned Schramm of the
Fourth Air Force at Hamilton Field.
- Smith who on July 4 reported seeing nine flying discs
while his airliner was roaring over southern Idaho said that he and Arnold
had given the six pieces of metal or lava to Davidson and Brown shortly
before they took off from McChorf Field about 10 a.m. Friday for Hamilton
- "Extremely Heavy" Substance
- Smith said the pieces of metal or lava were "extremely
heavy" and when he and Arnold obtained them, showed evidence of having
been subjected to extreme heat.
- Arnold had gone to Tacoma earlier this week to investigate
a story told by Harold Dahl and Fred L. Crisman of Tacoma who operate a
concern known as Harbor Patrol, according to Arnold.
- Boat Hit By "Disc in Trouble"
- Dahl and Crisman, according to Arnold, said that their
boat was struck by portions of what had appeared to be a flying disc "in
trouble" and they had recovered portions of the metal.
- Smith telling his story to the Idaho Statesman by Telephone
from Tacoma, had gone to Tacoma to join Arnold in ther latter's check of
the Dahl-Crisman story.
- Smith would say nothing for publication beyond the fact
that he and Arnold had talked at length with Brown and Davidson and had
given them pieces of metal or lava.
- Smith says he does not know what happened to the objects
after the B-25 crashed and burned.
- Lt. Brown and Capt. Davidson had been in Boise several
weeks ago where they interviewed Smith during a stop over at Boise air
terminal and spent most of the day talking to Arnold about what he and
Smith had seen of flying discs.
- It was Arnold who first started trhe nation with his
story of flying discs weaving and irregular flight path between Mt. Rainier
and Mt. Adams in Washington state.
- In San Francisco, Gen. Schramm, chief of staff of the
Fourth Air Force, told The Statesman by telephone that Brown and Davidson
had been engaged in gathering material on flying discs and that this material
was being passed on to "higher headquarters."
- Doubtful of Sabotage
- Schramm said he did not know what had caused the airplane
accident. Informed that there were stories circulating to the effect the
plane had been sabotaged to prevent the six objects from reaching Hamilton
Field, he said he doubted if that could be true.
- He said that no special emphasis should be placed on
the fact Brown and Davidson's reports were being passed on to higher headquarters,
as that was normal procedure.
- Schramm said he did not know of his own knowledge if
there were anything aboard the plane or any information on discs in the
plane "except what Brown and Davidson were carrying in their heads."
- Two Chute To Safety
- He said from information he could gather concerning the
wreck of the B-25, it burst into flames in flight. Two members of the crew,
both enlisted men, escaped death by bailing out apparently on command of
- Gen. Schramm said that Brown and Davidson wanted to continue
their mission in investigation of the disc stories that have swept the
nation since the day Arnold made his report of the objects near Mt. Rainier.
- Schramm said the two intelligence men were experts on
"questioning people" and had not been sent to Tacoma to "get
anything" but to talk to Arnold in response to his "suggestion
of interest" for them.
- They thought, said Schramm they would "learn something
new" and therefore went to Tacoma in pursuance of their efforts to
"leave no stone unturned" in unraveling the disc mystery.
- Not Original Object
- That they received from Smith and Arnold six pieces of
some metal or lava apparently was not the original cause of their going
to Tacoma, as far as it could be learned.
- Schramm said he "couldn't visulize the boys' having
picked up something" but added that he was not in the position to
say if they were carrying anything when they crashed.
- Schramm's telephone interview was made before Smith revealed
in Tacoma in response to a direct question that he and Arnold had given
the intelligence operatives the objects.
- Since arriving in Tacoma, Smith and Arnold have been
extremely reticent to say anything for publication. Smith indicated that
whatever had been published in Tacoma concerning their visit had not come
directly from them.
- They virtually had gone into seclusion Saturday and Smith
was contacted only after United Airlines in Seattle, which refused to reveal
his whereabouts, sent him a telegram asking him to telephone The Statesman.