Jesse Marcel III Recounts his Grandfather’s Life
Testimony Of Jesse Marcel III
I am here today not to speak as an expert witness to what I have heard and researched, about Roswell but simply to help you to get to know two great men, my grandfather, Maj. Jesse Marcel Sr., and my father, Dr. Jesse Marcel Jr.
My grandfather was a simple man who just wanted to lead a simple life. Starting at a very early age when he wasn’t helping the family with the farm, He would sneak away to find parts to build radios.
Later in life before entering the war he would use these skills to build a Ham radio that would become a lifelong passion. He would spend endless ours chatting with people from around the world. Things would change rapidly as we were pulled into the second world war. On his own accord He went from his job as a civilian draftsman to joining the war effort where he exceled in his duties from the very beginning.
His superiors recognized his aptitude towards problem solving and sent him to intelligence school. Again he excelled in his courses and was asked to teach the next incoming classes. He would eventually end up on the Roswell Airbase working in our nuclear bombing program with the 509th Bomb Group.
With the war over and life returning to a sense of normalcy Grandpa would receive a simple order, an order that would change his and most of our lives forever. The heavens would send us a visitor that would establish the words Alien and flying saucer in the English vernacular; and it was him they sent to investigate our visitors…
Decades later, my father followed in grandpas footsteps as a military man serving in the navy to train to be a medical doctor,
soon after he would settle down in Clancy Montana to raise a family and to continue in the reserves to become a helicopter pilot.
As the only ENT in town, I remember as a child going with my father on his rounds, not the ones in the hospital, but the ones where he would visit his patients in their homes. He would carry in his little black bag and take care of his patients, in the same caring way that he would take care of the rest of us. Back in his office, if a child showed up in ratty shoes to his appointment, a new pair would be waiting for that child on his next visit.
My father introduced me to many things, the telescope that he built in the back yard where we often gazed at stars, the Science Fiction of Kubrick, and technology before its time. I remember very fondly watching him not only build the telescope, but his design and construction of a computer guidance system for his telescope, long before there was such a thing at least on an
amateur level. He spent endless hours wrapping small green glass switches that would eventually become the “brain”.
In the summer we would all pile into a van, rv, or whatever form of transportation that we would have available to us and head to Houma, Louisiana where my grandparents had returned to live out the rest their lives.
I remember so clearly driving down their shell covered road leading up the their house
with the most notable feature being a huge green house that easily equaled the size of their residence, that my grandfather lovingly built for his wife Viaud. My grandmother had a green thumb like no other. My father would send her a tomato plant that could barely survive the short Montana summers into immense vegetation that would reach from floor to ceiling.
Each morning my grandfather would lead me to his shop occupying a space between the house and garage. He would reach up into the rafters and pull down fishing poles that had been there for decades. These poles were not made of fiberglass but of bamboo, very simple but effective in their trade
I Recall leaning against a table saw in his work shop watching him attach the reel with a hand that was missing a digit from some long ago battle.. with that very same table saw.
He would add the weights and the bobber from two rusty old tackle boxes and finish the
Session off with showing me how to delicately hook the work without injuring myself, although this was not always the case.
We would make our way out the back door and onto his lawn that ran up against a bayou. After a couple of casts, we could sit back and talk and enjoy each other’s company.
My grandfather’s other great passions were sports, LSU provided the teams that he most favored and occupied his weekend TV viewing hours. I will always remember Grandpa as a gentle giant who somehow lived the life of a southern gentleman who would be at least partially responsible for changing the way people of our world would look into the nights sky and think to themselves maybe, just maybe, someone was looking back…
Once we were back home and settled into our normal routines, well almost normal, we always had little reminders that our family was not alone in all of this, usually receiving a friendly call from the 301 area code to see if we were back home.
Today I share these same stories that I learned as a child with my own kids, Roswell is now a topic of conversation between the kids and their teachers in there elementary school.
This legacy will go on….