Crash Story File: The Morphing Fantasies of Billy Brophy About His Airman Father

Crash Story File: The Morphing Fantasies of Billy Brophy About His Airman Father
Kneeling: USAF officer William J. Brophy, Jr. (photo circa 1951). Color insert: William P. "Billy" Brophy, son of the long-deceased pilot, and teller of morphing tales about UFO crashes.

By Douglas Dean Johnson

Original publication: May 1, 2023

@ddeanjohnson on X/Twitter

You are in the Crash Story Files, a series of investigative reports examining claims that a UFO crashed and was recovered near San Antonio, New Mexico, in August 1945. To go back to the Crash Story hub and index, click here. This article was originally published on May 1, 2023. The most recent update was on December 21, 2023. A log of subsequent updates appears at the bottom of the article.

In 2003, three successive issues of the British Flying Saucer Review published letters by William P. Brophy, each dealing with purported UFO crashes, and with the claimed involvement of his deceased father, William J. Brophy, Jr. (1923-1986), in the aftermaths of multiple UFO crashes.

I am going to refer to William P. Brophy, the author of those letters, as “Billy Brophy,” to avoid confusion, and because that is how he is known to his family. When I am referring to his father, the deceased pilot, I will use his full name – William J. Brophy – or employ a descriptive term such as “airman” or “pilot.”

Official photograph of William J. Brophy, Jr., as a major in the U.S. Air Force (April, 1967). Courtesy of Frank Warren, veteran UFO researcher and editor/publisher of The UFO Chronicles.

I have reproduced as graphics the complete text of each of the three 2003 Billy Brophy letters, exactly as they appeared in the Flying Saucer Review. I will also quote selectively from the texts, because that will be easier to read on some devices, and to highlight certain points.

The first Brophy letter was written on March 18, 2003, and was published in the Spring, 2003 edition of Flying Saucer Review (Vol. 48, No. 1). In this letter, which was written about six months before the first public disclosure of the Baca-Padilla UFO crash story in the Socorro County Mountain Mail, Brophy wrote as follows (all spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are reproduced here as closely as possible to the original):

My father, Lt. Col. William Brophy was a witness to the UFO crash in Mexico, DEC 5-6, 1950. It was shown on television, the Mexicans and news media got to the crash site before the Airforce did.

Len Stringfield was warned by the C.I.A. not to mention the 1950 UFO crash in Mexico when he spoke to the M.U.F.O.N. symposium in 1978. Now, certain “ufologists” who work for the C.I.A. want to cover this very real UFO retrieval up; they don't mention that the C.I.A. and F.B.I. were going crazy DEC 6, 1950 trying to shut the TV broadcasts of the UFO crash off, and that President Truman ordered the Airforce on alert that day, DEC. 6, 1950.

Also, sirs, I would like to write UFO investigators Timothy Good and Jean F. Gille about the UFO crash in the San Bernardino mountains (Mt. Harrison) in California during the “Battle of Los Angeles".

Thank you very much, William P. Brophy, 18 March 2003 [address omitted]

P.S. Marilyn Monroe told Mexican film director, Jose Bolanos about the 1950 Mexico UFO crash. Jose Bolanos died on June 11, 1994. June 11 is the anniversary of the June 11, 1933 UFO crash in Italy at Milan.

So, on March 18, 2003, Billy Brophy wrote that his father, “Lt. Col. William Brophy,” not only knew of but “was a witness to the UFO crash in Mexico, DEC 5-6, 1950.”

The second Billy Brophy letter appeared in the Summer 2003 edition of the Flying Saucer Review (Vol. 48, No. 2), dated by Brophy as written on July 8, 2003. (This was about four months before the Socorro County, New Mexico Mountain Mail published the first version of the Baca-Padilla story.) The letter is too long and rambling to quote here at length, but I highly recommend that you read the entire text as it appears in the embedded graphic. It will give you a glimpse into the mind of Billy Brophy, whose stories attributed to his long-deceased father are given heavy weight by Jacques Vallee and Paola Harris in the Second Edition of Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret (August 2022), and in their media interviews and podcasts.

Billy wrote of a UFO crash said to have occurred:

on the McDonald Ranch (White Sands Missile Range) in New Mexico in 1947, which killed two tall blond Nordic aliens...

My father was Lt. Col. William J. Brophy, U.S.A.F., a B-29 pilot at Alamogordo A.A.F. [Army Air Field] in New Mexico. He flew frequently to and from that base...

The MJ-12 documents also cover up the Nordic UFO crash on the McDonald Ranch, night of July 3-4, 1947. My Dad knew that from his friends at Alamogordo A.A.F. (later called Holloman A.F.B.)....

If Jim McDonald found out about anything having to do with the 1947 retrievals, that would cause the U.S. Gov’t to destroy him, as he had the same name as the McDonald Ranch where the two tall twins lost their lives July 3-4, 1947.

The rest of the second letter (of July 8, 2003) elaborated on his father’s connection to the purported 1950 crash in Mexico. Recall that the earlier (March 18, 2003) letter Billy said that his father was “a witness” to the 1950 crash, but as near as can be discerned from the July 18 letter, Billy merely meant that his father encountered a UFO while flying over Georgia on December 5, 1950, and that the next day, some media carried a report of about a UFO crash at a location in Mexico. The connection of pilot Brophy to the crash Mexico was apparently only the temporal proximity of seeing a UFO and then seeing a TV report about a UFO crash (at a location about 1,200 miles from his airborne encounter).

I turn now to the third and final of Billy Brophy’s three letters, published in the August 2003 edition of Flying Saucer Review (Vol. 48, No. 3), on pages 25-26. This letter contains no specific date, but it was published in the journal’s fall edition. It is highly likely that the letter was written before the Mountain Mail newspaper in Socorro County, New Mexico, published the first public account of the Baca-Padilla story of a 1945 UFO crash on October 30, 2003. Even if Brophy wrote his letter shortly thereafter, it is unlikely that a story appearing in a newspaper with a circulation of about 1,000 in Socorro County, New Mexico, would have come to Billy Brophy’s immediate attention.

In this third letter, Billy again makes no mention of any connection between his father and a UFO crash in New Mexico in 1945, even though he had previously established that his father had been a military pilot stationed in New Mexico during that era. Instead, Billy elaborated on his father’s purported knowledge of the July 1947 crash on the McDonald Ranch and the Nordic aliens:

I thank you for publishing my letters about my Dad, Lt. Col. William J. Brophy, and the UFO recovery on the McDonald Ranch, July 3-4 (night) 1947, which killed two 7-ft tall blond Nordics.

Your father’s UFO sighting in 1941 in China is very interesting to me, as my Dad told me those tall blond aliens operated in the Tibet area as well as Puerto Rico, where my friend Jorge Martin has reported them at Lake Cartagena and El Yunque National Forest.

The tall blonds are related genetically to the Irish and the Basques. Jorge Martin tells me Lake Cartagena is the area in Puerto Rico where the Basques live.

The UFO on the McDonald Ranch was recovered by Air Corps personnel from Alamogordo A.A.F. in New Mexico. Col. Paul F. Helmlek and Lt. Col. Harold R. Turner were in charge of the recovery...
P.S. My Dad was a B-29 bomber pilot at Alamogordo A.A.F. and retired here in Miami at Homestead A.F.B. where parts and bodies of the 1947 N. Mexico and 1950 UFOs (Mexico) were kept. The McDonald Ranch crash site is south of the Trinity Bomb Site. 1947 is the Chinese year of the pig. This is why J.F.K. and the C.I.A. changed the Cuban “Brigada 2506” landing from “Trinidad” Cuba to the “Bay of Pigs”—W.B.

To summarize, then: By late 2003, Billy Brophy had taken the trouble to write three letters, working hard to associate his deceased father with two different UFO crashes, and attributing to his father knowledge about the activities of Nordic aliens. It was a big deal to Billy, in 2003, that his father merely knew of a July 1947 crash on the McDonald Ranch, yet Billy said nothing about his father flying over and observing a crashed UFO just a few miles northwest from the McDonald Ranch in August 1945, much less his father being assigned to supervise the initial recovery of that crashed UFO.

Once the Baca-Padilla story spread beyond the confines of Socorro County, however, Billy was all over it.

By 2005, the Baca-Padilla story was getting around among those with special interest in UFO “crash retrieval” stories, notably Ryan S. Wood. Wood invited Reme Baca to give a presentation at “The Third Annual Crash Retrieval Conference” in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November 2005. Baca agreed to do so, but cancelled at the last minute. Wood himself gave a presentation, using a PowerPoint slideshow and a manuscript submitted by Baca. Wood was the first to publish detailed narratives of the Baca-Padilla story directed to ufological audiences, both in the 3rd Annual UFO Crash Retrieval Conference Proceedings, November 4-6, 2005, Las Vegas, Nevada, and in his 2005 book Majic Eyes Only, a collection of UFO crash accounts, which included a four-page chapter summarizing the Baca-Padilla story.

In addition, Timothy Good, who had visited with Baca in Seattle in 2004, gave brief treatment to the Baca-Padilla story in his book Need to Know, which came out in 2007.

I have found no record that Billy Brophy ever mentioned the 1945 Baca-Padilla crash before Wood and Good wrote about it. But once the Baca-Padilla story was circulating in UFO-crash circles, I found no instance in which Billy ever again mentioned his father in connection with the purported 1947 and 1950 crash events. Billy switched the focus of his father's UFO-crash involvement to the newly revealed 1945 tale, and set to work spreading the word.

In 2009, Billy Brophy drew the case to the attention of Paola Harris. “The case was passed on to me on May 4, 2009,” Harris said in an article published November 30, 2010. (UFO Chronicle) “I originally got this story from a man whose father was the pilot that said he flew out the bodies of the 1945 San Antonio crash,” Harris said on Coast to Coast AM on December 1, 2010. (We'll come back to "the bodies" later.) Harris subsequently became very engaged with the case. The 10-page transcript of an interview of Brophy by Harris, apparently conducted in 2010, appeared in the book Born on the Edge of Ground Zero, by Reme Baca, published in 2011 and long out of print. I have reproduced that entire interview in Crash Story File: The Suppressed Tale of the Captured Alien.

Paula Harris accepted each reiteration of Billy’s information about the purported 1945 events with wide-eyed enthusiasm, and the hoaxers played along. On the back cover of Reme Baca's 2011 book Born on the Edge of Ground Zero, we read:

It was there, near San Antonio’s Walnut Creek, according to William Brophy Jr. the son of a B-47 Pilot, Lt. Col. Brophy Sr. assigned to the 231st Army Airforce unit in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Lt. Col Broy [sic] was placed in charge of a space craft recovery on the Padilla Ranch in August of 1945, by his commander. An incident had been reported to the base, and later while arriving at the crash site were they surprised when they discovered that it was not a plane but a downed space craft...

While at the site, Lt. Col. Brophy observed two Indian boys sitting on their ponies observing the activity. After the crew left, he observed the Indian boys going to the crash site and picking up small pieces of debris, and dragging some larger ones and burying them in a crevice. The remainder of the recovery effort was assigned to the Army Air Corps.

Notice that in the Billy Brophy story as recorded in 2010, William J. Brophy does not fly overhead and witness the crashed craft and the two boys. No, airman Brophy is merely on the base when a report comes in from a training flight, and Brophy is assigned to start recover the crashed thing. Later at the crash site, airman Brophy somehow stands by unobserved and sees the boys engaged in various activities (the very activities that Billy had seen described in the now widely circulated Baca-Padilla narratives).


As already noted, Reme Baca devoted 10 pages of his 2011 book to a transcript of Paola Harris interviewing Billy Brophy. At the beginning of the interview, Harris and Brophy referred to a talk that Brophy had given at a UFO conference in Milan, Italy. Billy wrote a letter afterwards summarizing his presentation in Italy, which appeared in a publication called Filer’s Files for June 16, 2010. I have reproduced below an image of the entire item. Here, I quote only the paragraphs dealing with Billy’s father—and they will give you another glimpse into the workings of the mind of Billy, Vallee-Harris’s star “corroborating witness”:

My father Lt. Col. William J. Brophy was a B-29 bomber pilot with the 231 Air Base Group at Alamogordo, NM and witnessed the Trinity Bomb. He told me the silver-plate B-29 bomber was named after the Los Angeles 1942 disks.

One month later on August 16, 1945, my father helped his commanding officer Col. Maurice A. Preston recover an oval shaped UFO with three very strange small light grey aliens with praying mantis features on their eyes and face. The UFO had destroyed a communications tower belonging to Stallion Site in the crash near Walnut Creek in San Antonio, NM. My father told me President Eisenhower met with the tall blonde-haired people involved with the 1933 Italy crash at Edwards AFB on February 20, 1954. Eisenhower invited Cardinal John McIntyre to the meeting since Pope Pius 11 had told Roosevelt about the Nordic 1933 Magenta, Italy crash.

I gave Roberto Pinots a book on the F-102 jet fighter, which has photos of two of the early model F-102 jets that were being tested at Edwards AFB on the flight line when the tall blonds met with Eisenhower and Cardinal McIntyre. Another meeting took place in 1955, at Holloman AFB which had to do with the San Antonio, NM crash of 1945 as well as the San Augustin 1947 crash. We have an ongoing investigation into these events. The public in Italy are very interested in the Magenta-Milano crash of 1933, and its relation to other crashes and the Eisenhower meetings.


In the first edition of Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret, published June 2021, the name “Brophy” never appeared. However, the index contained six listings for a “Bill Brothy.” The first listing, on page 33, quoted a statement by “Bill Brothy” from an book review (actually posted by Billy Brophy in 2012), claiming, “My Dad’s B-29 bomber group, the 231st at Alamogordo Army Air Force in New Mexico, recovered this spacecraft August 15-17, 1945.”

The first edition of Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret also contained a muddled footnote no. 29 (on page 307), stating that “Mr. William Brothy, Sr. (an experienced pilot based in Alamogordo) told his son Bill that the crew of a B-49 on a training mission over Walnut Creek had reported seeing some smoke that day. They thought a plane might have hit the tower and crashed. According to Bill Brothy, his father’s commanding officer, General Maurice Arthur Preston, put William Brothy, Sr., in charge of the investigation, which reportedly led to Brothy seeing the crashed object and the ‘two little Indian boys’ on horseback. He was in charge until the next day, when Army Colonel Turner took over responsibility for the recovery of the craft. If this is true, then William Brothy Sr. might have evacuated the craft's occupants, partially camouflaged it, and cleaned up the crash site.”

That information may have been drawn from Harris’ interview with Billy Brophy, conducted in 2010, which appears on pp. 151-160 of Born on the Edge of Ground Zero, pages that I have reproduced in Crash Story File: The Suppressed Tale of the Captured Alien. In that interview, Billy Brophy claimed:

A B-49 bomber crew on it last training mission going over Walnut Creek had reported smoke in that vicinity. There was a communications tower that had been destroyed by something. They thought a plane might have hit the tower and crashed on this ranch out there. My dad’s commanding officer, Colonel Maurice Preston was briefed on this. They were under the impression that it might have been a plane, but when they finally got out there, they found something a little different. (pages 154-155):

The Brophy-based information in the First Edition of Trinity: The Best Kept Secret endnote did not fit well into the original Baca-Padilla story as told to Ben Moffett in 2003, in which the boys returned to the site on the second day following the crash, in the company of Faustino Padilla and New Mexico State Police officer Eddie Apodaca, and found nobody there—no humans, no aliens, dead or alive. Neither William J. Brophy nor Colonel Turner, nor any person who might fit their roles, appears in the original Baca-Padilla narrative, as recorded without investigation by Ben Moffett. In any event, the Brophy ("Brothy") material was inconspicuous in the First Edition.

However, in the Second Edition (published August 2022), airman “Lt. Col. William Brophy” (now spelled correctly) assumed major importance. In the new and inconsistent version presented in the Second Edition, it turns out that William J. Brophy himself piloted a plane that flew over the crash site, saw the newly crashed craft and two “Indian” boys from overhead. Only after that did Brophy return to base, and subsequently was assigned to begin the recovery.

It is not clear to me exactly when Vallee and Harris decided to incorporate this new fly-over claim—which, obviously, came from the ever-fertile and very elastic imagination of Billy Brophy. There was a “revised” version of the First Edition that was issued September 2021, to which I do not have access. However, I did encounter a press release dated May 6, 2021, apparently originating with the publisher, that stated:

Given the most recent discovery of the third witness in this book, initially planned and pre-announced as an e-book, has now been re-edited.

While in retrospect the "third witness" referred was clearly Billy Brophy, the May 2021 press release gave no details regarding Brophy's contribution. The first record I have of the new overhead-witness details were in an appearance by Vallee on The Paracast on September 5, 2021:

There is an airplane coming in, which is a bomber, and probably a B-29. We know who the pilot was. The pilot writes a report...he reports that the tower has been damaged, and he sees fire in the brush. The fire comes from a place where the object has crashed. So he describes the object. And he sees two little kids on horseback [sic] next to the object. So we have corroboration that, yeah, the kids were there.

The reader of the Second Edition was first presented with the new version of airman Brophy’s role on page 20:

We have strong independent evidence that the crash did happen as the kids describe it. It comes from the crew of a B-25 on a training mission, flying over Walnut Creek, who were directed to the site by Alamogordo controllers when the communication tower was destroyed.

The pilot, Lt. Colonel William J. Brophy, reported seeing the smoke and the bent tower. He circled the area, saw the crashed object in the vegetation and radioed back that “two little Indian boys” were close to the site. [Both italics and bold in original.]

Lt. Col. Brophy (Fig. 8) told his son in 1978 that he was the first adult witness over the site, but he didn't get near the craft on the ground until the next day...”There were lots of pieces,” according to Brophy.

It is glaringly obvious that Billy Brophy here casts William J. Brophy in a much more expansive role than in the version that Billy had offered in his 2010 interview with Paola Harris. It differs also from Billy’s summary in his 2012 review of Baca’s book. In those versions, the crew of some plane on a training flight sees smoke; airman Brophy and other officers on the base hear about it, and Brophy is sent to the site the next day; airman Brophy’s personal role was limited to brief on-site supervision of the crash site clean up. It was that modest claim that Vallee-Harris picked up in their First Edition, but relegated to an endnote.

But perhaps Billy was not happy with the low-profile treatment he received in the First Edition, not to mention the misspelling of his name. In any event, his new story – although drastically different – was enthusiastically received by Vallee and Harris, who ignored its incompatibility with the earlier Billy Brophy accounts. Perhaps they regarded it as just too perfect to scrutinize. After all, what more could you ask for? A “lieutenant colonel,” flying overhead, viewing the whole scene – the just-crashed alien craft, and the two boys looking on from nearby. “Corroboration” made to order.

Besides departing sharply from the earlier Billy Brophy accounts, the newly minted Billy Brophy fly-over claims were in direct conflict with the directly recorded words of Reme Baca and Jose Padilla in 2010 and 2011, in which they insisted that they were absolutely alone when they viewed the craft and “creatures” on the day of the craft. For example, as Padilla recited the story of the crash event on Coast to Coast AM, December 1, 2010, George Noory interrupted to ask, “Were you two alone at the time?” Padilla answered, “There was nobody there! It had just happened.” In the same interview, Padilla said there was no military presence until days after the crash.

But after Billy Brophy had provided the new recollections of his dad flying overview viewing the entire scene, Padilla’s oft-touted “photographic” memory conveniently conformed to the new version. In Vallee-Harris’s Trinity Second Edition, we read on page 144:

Mr. Padilla recalls seeing an airplane circling around, confirming what we know from an Army Air Force pilot of long experience, namely Brophy who left important details.

So, let’s summarize: For about 18 years, Baca and Padilla did not mention any airplane circling overhead as they watch the crashed craft with distressed alien creatures scurrying about inside. Indeed, the presence of a military aircraft circling overhead is completely inconsistent with the entire original narrative of the crash-site events (“everything appeared very still”—Baca, Born on the Edge of Ground Zero, 2011, p. 39), and inconsistent with narratives about the subsequent discussions among the adults about when and how the military would get involved. Moreover, in response to a specific live-radio question from Noory in 2010, Padilla said emphatically, “There was nobody there!”

But Vallee-Harris seem to have forgotten all that– or at least, they want us to forget about it.

Vallee himself again presented the new, improved version of Billy Brophy’s tale, in an interview with broadcaster George Knapp published on October 21, 2021.

I’ve had a chance with her over the last four years to re-interview Mr. Padilla, Jose Padilla, who is still very much alive, has an extremely good memory, which I envy, I don’t have a good memory. And we reconstructed everything. And we found a third witness, and a fourth witness. There was a bomber that was coming in for landing at Alamogordo. Alamogordo is the airbase inside White Sands, which is an enormous area, as you know. And he was told by the control tower to take a look at the communication tower because they had lost communication with the north end of the range. So he circles a tower. He [pilot Brophy] says the tower has been hit by something. So it confirms what the witnesses are telling us. And then he sees the fire and the smoke. So he circles the object. He describes that there is an object there, and two little Indians. Well, they are not Indians, you know, but they were their horses, so we have a check from everything.

Vallee and Harris have emphasized the new fly-over story in media interviews. For example, in the in an interview with a writer for the UK Daily Mail (published December 29, 2022), Vallee said:

The first witness was a bomber pilot who was coming in for landing at Alamogordo [the neighboring airbase]. He was asked by the controllers to look at a communication tower that had lost signal. He told the story to his family. His son gave us the recollection of what his father had described. Flying over, he saw the tower was bent, as if it had been hit by something very hard. And then he saw in the vegetation some distance away a large egg-shaped object. And there were two little kids that he called little Indians, on their horses next to the object.

In Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret (Second Edition, page 137), the authors wrote, “If the soldiers saw them (they probably did at least once, since there is a reference to ‘a couple of Indian children’ in the military records, reported by Lt. Colonel Brophy from his aircraft...” [italic bold added for emphasis]

Likewise, in an appearance on A Different Perspective, a podcast hosted by veteran UFO investigator-writer Kevin Randle, on June 3, 2021, Vallee recited the fly-over story, after which the followed an illuminating exchange:

VALLEE: We know that the boys were not making up a story. They described all that in the military report.

RANDLE: You have a copy of the military report?

VALLEE: We do not have access to the report...I spoke to his [the pilot’s] son.”

[boldface added for emphasis]

In my view, the language used by Vallee and Harris in these presentations about the fly-over story has been extremely misleading. Vallee and Harris have no “military records" on any aspect of the claimed extraordinary events of August, 1945, nor do they have any evidence that there was a “military report.” What Vallee and Harris do have are two contradictory accounts from the disordered mind of a son of the long-deceased airman, who has told a succession of incoherent stories associating his long-dead father with various UFO crashes. Billy Brophy has produced no shred of evidence that the airman himself had anything to do with any of these conflicting accounts.

There is another element to Harris’s 2010 interview with Billy Brophy that is even more disturbing than the conspicuous absence of any claim that airman Brophy was a fly-over witness. However, to introduce that element here would be a digression, so I address it separately in the follow up Crash Story File: The Suppressed Tale of the Captured Alien.

In my opinion, pilot William J. Brophy, Jr. should not be blamed for any of this. If Brophy had told son Billy a story about being involved in a UFO crash, it would have been a single story – not three inconsistent scripts about the same purported event. Moreover, the Billy Brophy letters of 2003, his account of his San Marino presentation, and the Harris-Brophy interview published in 2011 are, on their face, the meandering products of disordered mind. Nothing Billy Brophy says about things his father told him about UFO crashes deserves the slightest credence, in my opinion.


On January 21, 2023, I conducted an interview (on the record and recorded with his permission) of another son of William J. Brophy, Jr.– Sean Brophy. Billy Brophy is 69 years old, and Sean is about 10 years younger.

DOUGLAS DEAN JOHNSON: Do you remember your father ever talking about being involved or witnessing anything to do with a UFO crash?

SEAN BROPHY: No. But he did tell me about a flying incident he had. He was piloting an aircraft and had a personal interaction with an unidentified craft.

JOHNSON: What was the nature of the interaction? Do you remember any details?

SEAN BROPHY: I believe it was around Georgia. Augusta, Georgia, I'm guessing. I believe, recall from memory, around 1947 [note: based on other sources, the date was probably in 1950]. I believe... This is recalling from memory anyway. He told me there was a large metallic cylindrical craft that kept playing chicken with them. It would fly into their flight path. They would evade. They would do evasive was a C-47, he was flying... he said that the thing kept getting in their path, and they would make evasive maneuvers. It kept playing like this with them, until it finally took off at a speed that he's never seen before.

Sean Brophy said this conversation with William J. Brophy occurred when Sean was in “my late teens.” When I edged the conversation back into the details of Billy’s crashed-UFO stories, Sean responded:

SEAN BROPHY: Well, I'm going to be honest with you. My brother might be a little eccentric sometimes, but I do not doubt my father knew a bit about UFOs, and I know about the encounter he told me about. My father was very sober, so we had a good conversation about that. I won't forget it. My dad would never lie to me about something like that.
[extraneous material omitted]
I can't speak for him [Billy] at all when it comes to that. He's on his own for the rest of it. I know nothing about the rest, but I do know about the cylindrical craft that my father spoke to me about. That was quite specific.
[extraneous material omitted]
I can't speak as to the veracity of his stories, but I do know about the one with my dad [the aerial encounter].


I do not have access to the complete military records of William J. Brophy, Jr. In the original publication of this article on May 1, 2023, with respect to the career of William J. Brophy, Jr., I relied on information gleaned from open-source research, supplemented with some details provided by son Sean Brophy in our conversation of January 21, 2023; however, when we spoke, Sean Brophy did not have documents before him with the details of his father's service record, and he did not respond to my follow-up communications.

However, in December 2023, veteran UFO researcher Frank Warren, publisher and editor of The UFO Chronicles, provided me with partial military records on Brophy that he had obtained in 2007 through a Freedom of Information Act request. Those documents are reproduced in total below, under end note [1].

(I should explain here that 62 years after someone is separated from military service, all of his service records become "archival records" and are accessible to the public, which means that the records of those separated from service before 1961 are now public records. Before the 62-year mark, some military records are public, but the most detailed records may only be obtained on request of the veteran or close family. Because William J. Brophy, Jr. retired from the Air Force in 1971, 52 years ago, some of his military records are not yet public records, although certain family members have the right to obtain or release them.)

What follows is a summary based on the documents that I have obtained so far, from the sources described above, with some elements drawn my January 2023 conversation with Sean Brophy. Please note that some of the records are difficult to decipher, and that the records available to me remain incomplete. Therefore, there are some uncertainties in interpretation, and some gaps that remain to be filled.

William J. Brophy, Jr., was born on October 22, 1923, in West Virginia.

He enlisted in the Army in June 1942 as a private, but subsequently was trained as a pilot and commissioned as an offer. He became rated to fly multi-engine planes, and was stationed in a training capacity with the 231st 231st Army Air Force Base Unit at Alamogordo Army Air Field, about six miles west of Alamogordo, New Mexico.

In August of 1945, Brophy was 21 years old and a first lieutenant (not a "lieutenant colonel").

Brophy was discharged from the Army in August, 1946. However, it appears that he continued as an officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. As a reserve officer, he was called to service in the Korean War, where he flew missions in a low-level attack plane called the T-6 Mosquito.

William J. Brophy during the Korean War, in which he flew the T-6 Mosquito low-level attack plane.

After obtaining a master's degree from Columbia University, Brophy worked for a time in the business world, then rejoined the regular Air Force on April 10, 1957. He volunteered for service in the Vietnam War, and served there. He was later stationed in Spain for a time. His last place of assignment was Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

William J. Brophy retired from the Air Force in late June or early July 1971 (sources conflict as to the exact date). The records obtained by Frank Warren give his rank at retirement as major. However, in our January 2023 conversation, Sean Brophy recalled his retirement rank as one grade higher, lieutenant colonel.

William J. Brophy died on Aug. 18, 1986, at age 62. Shown below is his obituary as it appeared in the Miami Herald for August 20, 1986. For reasons unknown to me, the name of William P. Brophy ("Billy") does not appear among the list of surviving family members.

Here ends, for now, my examination of claims that airman William J. Brophy, Jr., was in any way involved with a UFO crash in New Mexico in 1945, or that airman Brophy ever claimed any such involvement.

But I must scrutinize separately a related claim made by Billy Brophy– who is, I remind the reader, the so-called third "eyewitness," the "corroborating" source in whom Vallee and Harris have placed so much credence. I speak now of a claim that Vallee and Harris failed to mention in Trinity: The Best-Kept Secret (Second Edition, August 2022), and have failed to mention in any interview that I have encountered– a claim of such nature that its omission raises troubling questions. I examine that matter in Crash Story File: The Suppressed Tale of the Captive Alien.


[1] Shown below are of the documents on the military record of William J. Brophy, Jr., that were obtained by Frank Warren with a request under the Freedom of Information Act in 2007.

Clockwise from 1 o'clock: Remigio (Reme) Baca, Paola Harris, William P. "Billy" Brophy, Jacques Vallee, Joseph Lopez (Jose) Padilla. To return to the Crash Story hub story, click here.


  1. December 8, 2023: Added official U.S. Air Force photo of Major William J. Brophy, Jr. (April, 1967). Courtesy Frank Warren, veteran UFO researcher and editor/publisher of The UFO Chronicles.
  2. December 21, 2023: Updated with information and documents on the military record of William J. Brophy, Jr., obtained through a 2007 FOIA request by veteran UFO researcher Frank Warren, editor and publisher of The UFO Chronicles.