In the summer of 1947, William Brazel working on the J.B. Foster ranch in Lincoln County found "a large area of bright wreckage made up of rubber strips, tinfoil, a rather tough paper and sticks". He first reported this in Corona and it was reported in the Roswell Daily Record on July 8, 1947.
Mr. Brazel hand-delivered a box of accumulated debris to Sheriff George Wilcox in Roswell. Sheriff Wilcox contacted Colonel William Blanchard at the Roswell Army Air Field, who sent agents to the site to gather the remaining material.
What happened next is the stuff of legend. The Army's public information officer Walter Haut is said to have issued a press release on July 8: "The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disk through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff’s office of Chaves County".
This was reported in the Roswell Daily Record along with the news that Major Jesse A. Marcel, the group intelligence officer, was dispatched to the scene. He’d gone with Counter Intelligence Corps officer Sheridan Cavitt, but on his way back took a detour to his own home, whipped out a couple of boxes of debris that he’d popped into the trunk of his car and showed it to his 10-year-old son, Jesse Jr. One of the objects was said to have hieroglyphic-like markings, something that stuck in the boy's mind that he later reported.
As news of the story began to become widely known, the Army took action to squash the story. The day after the press release, after government scientists began to arrive at the scene, the Army claimed that the debris was actually from a crashed weather balloon, and Marcel was asked to be pictured at a press conference with the debris allegedly found. And that was that, case closed. The incident has become a part of American pop culture and may be THE source of the alleged cover up of UFO sightings by the US government. Maybe it is. We will probably never know.