The 1945 Padilla Ranch UFO Crash – Another Covered-Up Retrieval Mission?

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
January 10, 2024
Estimated Reading Time
12 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Cover-Ups

Several weeks after the United States had unleashed atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to bring the Second World War to an end, at some point between August 20th and 25th, 1945 on the other side of the world in New Mexico, the United States military discreetly loaded the remains of an alleged vehicle from another world onto several heavy-duty flatbed trucks, at least according to some reports.

According to the research of Ben Moffett, two young boys witnessed the affair with their own eyes on Padilla Ranch while searching for missing cattle. The witnesses had reached the crash site by chance, and, from a safe distance several days later, watched the entire operation. Officially, of course, nothing of consequence happened.

The military told the Padilla family that all that had come down on their land was a weather balloon while instructing them to tell any members of the public who asked questions that the military presence was due to a mining operation. Just what did come crashing to the ground that day remains a complete mystery.

As the years went on and the two boys became adults, each would leave the state of New Mexico. It was only decades later when the two witnesses communicated online as adults that the event was brought back to the forefront of their minds, so much so that they decided to make a report.

A Flash Of Light And A “Crunching Sound” That Made The Ground Shake

On the morning in question, 9-year-old, Jose Padilla and 7-year-old Reme Bara were on horseback on Padilla’s father’s ranch looking for a pregnant cow that had gone missing. [1] As they did so, each noticed how the air was filled with the scent of greasewood (or creosote). Each boy was savvy enough to know that this smell was only normally so strong when there was moisture in the air, suggesting to them that thunderstorms could break out at any time.

Eventually, the deeper into the ranch they went, the terrain began to become increasingly difficult for the horses, and Jose decided to tether the horses so they could continue on foot. However, as they made their way across one of the fields, the thunderstorm that had been threatening suddenly appeared, lightning strikes and all. They decided to take cover under a rocky ledge until the storm passed.

A short time after it began, the intense rain stopped, and the two young boys set out in search of the cow once more. However, after they had taken only a few steps there was another flash of white light from above, followed by a “crunching sound” that quite literally made the ground shake. They immediately knew that it wasn’t thunder and lightning, and each considered whether the loud sound and flash of light were connected to the nearby White Sands Air Force Base. However, both agreed that it sounded much closer than that, almost as close as the next canyon. And it was in that direction they both went.

A “Gouge In The Earth As Long As A Football Field!”

Before they reached the canyon near Walnut Creek, however, they came upon the missing cow. What’s more, she was standing next to a newborn calf. Forgetting about the crashing sound, they quickly made their way to the animals, checking everything was well with both of them. After satisfying themselves that both were healthy and unharmed, they decided to sit down where they were and eat the tortillas they had brought with them.

As they were eating, though, Padilla noticed smoke rising in the distance – in the same direction as Walnut Creek. They immediately forgot what they were doing and headed in the direction of the smoke. As they came to a rise overlooking the valley, however, they were stopped “dead in their tracks”.

Reme later recalled that there was a “gouge in the earth as long as a football field, and a circular object at the end of it”. Because of the amount of smoke, the object was “barely visible”, but he could make out that it was a “dull metallic color”.

They cautiously moved forward toward the bizarre scene, the heat from the burning wreckage already having an effect on them. Reme recalled that they could “feel it through the soles of your shoes” and the heat was such that it was “hard to get close”. When the heat became too much, they backed away from the scene so they could discuss what they should do.

A Material Similar To The Roswell Crash

One of the first things they considered was whether or not there might be casualties among the wreckage. Ultimately, they decided to attempt to get closer once more. Once again, though, they were forced to stop before reaching the wreckage and remained where they were as they waited for the heat to die down. As they did so, they looked around them, taking on the surreal nature of the scene for the first time.

Around them were lots of pieces of shiny material that looked similar to the tin foil in old cigarette packets. Reme picked one of the pieces up. He recalled that the piece he picked up was “folded up and lodged underneath a rock”. However, as soon as he picked it up, the foil-like material “unfolded all by itself”. He then proceeded to refold it but it “spread itself out again”. He folded it once more and put the material in his pocket. Of course, this material is very similar to the alleged material discovered at the Roswell crash two years later.

After a short time, the heat had decreased enough for the two boys to get closer to the remains of the object. They stopped dead, however, within several feet of the craft. Partly because the heat was still quite considerable, but mostly because of the movement they could see inside the object.

Reme recalled that they could clearly see “strange-looking creatures moving around inside” the object, elaborating that they appeared to be “under stress”. He continued that they “moved fast as if they were able to will themselves from one position to another in an instant”. He further stated that they were “shadowy and expressionless, but definitely living beings”.

We “Found Something Else!”

At this point, Reme suggested that they leave the area immediately. It wasn’t so much that they were scared of the creatures inside, but they were unknown to them, and it was also beginning to get dark. They eventually backed away from the scene, completely forgetting about the cow and the newly born calf, and made their way back home. By the time they arrived, it was now completely dark.

To begin with, Jose’s father, Faustino Padilla, was more interested in where the missing cow was. However, when the boys informed him that they had “found something else” it was clear they had his attention. They immediately launched into their account, telling him of the huge gouge in the ground at the end of which was a “long and round” object, and, of course, of the strange entities they had seen moving around inside it, telling him that they “didn’t have hair” and that they were “running back and forth, looking desperate”.

Although Faustino listened patiently, he decided that what they had seen was likely “something the military had lost” and that they “shouldn’t disturb it”. As it was late, Faustino told Reme to leave his horse at the ranch and he would drive him home, which he duly did.

Although that was the end of the strange events for that night, two days later, the encounter would unfold further.

Evidence Of A Clean-Up Operation

Faustino would eventually call upon his friend, Eddie Apodaca, who was also a state policeman, to come to the ranch and investigate the apparent wreckage, and two days after the boys’ encounter, he arrived to do just that. With Faustino driving his pickup truck and Eddie following in his patrol car, the two boys directed them to the location of the crash. They eventually stopped their vehicles and began hiking up the hill that overlooked the canyon.

To begin with, after reaching the top, they couldn’t see the wreckage. However, after moving down the hill towards the clearing, it soon came into view. They could see that the craft was partially covered in dirt, almost as if someone had visited the location and covered it purposely in an effort to hide it.

The two men ordered Reme and Jose to stay a short distance from the object while they went inside to investigate. It was as the two boys were standing there that they first noticed markings on the ground that looked as though someone had dragged a rake over it. They realized that the “huge field of litter had been cleaned up”. Now, only the main part of the craft remained, partially covered and with “odd pieces dangling everywhere”.

When the two adults returned, they ordered the two boys not to tell anyone about what they had seen. They further added that as Reme’s father had just begun “working for the government”, it could “cause him trouble” if he were to find out about the downed object. In fact, it wasn’t just Reme’s father who was employed by the government.

“The Government Calls Them Weather Balloons!”

Faustino was also a government employee, working for the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Even the ranch that he leased was on federal land. What’s more, he was a particularly patriotic man. After all, we should remember the era the incident unfolded. In part, because of this, he and Eddie would “work out the recovery with the government”.

The boys recalled that Eddie had stated that “the government calls them weather balloons” and that “they’ll want this thing back”. The boys countered that the object didn’t appear like any weather balloon they had previously seen. And furthermore, they asked, what about the strange figures they had seen? To this, Faustino simply offered that “maybe you just thought you saw them”.

With that, the group left the area and headed back to the main ranch house. Several days later, however, a member of the United States military – Sergeant Avila – arrived at the ranch. According to what Faustino later told the two boys, Avila appeared to confirm that a “weather balloon” had come down on his land. Furthermore, the military needed to “install a metal gate and grade a road to the site to recover it”, adding that they would have to “tear down a part of the fence adjoining the cattle guard”.

When Faustino asked why they couldn’t simply use the gate that was already there, he was informed that the gate simply wasn’t big enough for the equipment and vehicles they would need to use. He would be “compensated, of course”.

A Recovery Unit That “Wasn’t Too Efficient!”

Before the sergeant left, he asked Faustino for a key for the gate until the military had installed their own. Faustino was also asked to “make sure nobody goes to the site unless they are authorized”, adding he shouldn’t “tell anyone we are here”. Faustino asked what he should tell people he was told simply to say “The equipment is here because the government needs to work a manganese mine” in the area.

Reme would state years later that he had heard this same excuse used by the military on several occasions, one just two years later concerning another apparently downed craft near Datil in 1947.

A short time after Avila left the ranch a military unit arrived, bringing an abundance of equipment with them. As well as constructing the road and gateway, they were seen removing smaller, more manageable pieces of debris onto smaller trucks. And this work went on for a considerable time.

Reme and Jose – without Faustino knowing – would often sneak up to the hill and watch the military with a pair of binoculars. Reme would recall years later that the unit “wasn’t too efficient”, adding that they “threw some pieces (of the wreckage) down a crevice so they wouldn’t have to carry them” kicking “dirt and rocks and brush over them to cover them up”.

The two boys noted that at least four soldiers were stationed with wreckage at any one time and that these soldiers would be changed every 12 hours. Reme recalled that one of the soldiers “stayed at a tent as a guard and listened to the radio”. However, rather than maintain a presence for the entire shift, Reme stated they would often “work for an hour and then lock the gate, climb into their pick-ups, and go to the Owl Café, where they would look for girls”. He would further offer that his cousin (who was older than Reme) had seen them herself in the café and told Reme.

Eventually, after several days, the flatbread transportation had been built. Jose recalled that they had constructed “an L-shaped frame” that was tilted so it would fit on the tractor-trailer. As a testament to how large the remains of the object were, the extended gateway the military put in was over 25 feet wide. Once the remains were secured to this flatbed transportation, the military unit left, presumably taking the remains to the nearby White Sands Missile Range.

Things Don’t Quite Add Up

Following the removal of the mystery vehicle, things went back to normal on the ranch. And although Faustino toed the line that the military had asked of him, over the years, at least privately, he began to doubt that the object was nothing but a weather balloon.

Like the boys, he had seen plenty of weather balloons during his time at the ranch, with at least half a dozen crashing on the ranch. Each time he, along with the boys, would gather them up and return them to the military. And these remains were more akin to “big box kites” than the huge, metallic structure that was discovered in the summer of 1945. And there was no locking down of the land or the need to build special roads to recover the previous crashed weather balloons.

Whether the military knew what the object was or not remains open to debate. We might recall, for example, that the boys witnessed them dropping pieces of it down a crevice and covering them over (might these remains still be there today?), as well as abandoning their posts to venture into the nearby town. If the object was a vehicle from another world, we might expect this behavior wouldn’t have occurred. Perhaps only the heads of the unit knew the true identity of this mysterious object.

And who had visited the crash site in the days between Reme and Jose first discovering the craft and then returning with their father and Eddie Apodaca? Whoever it was, they had clearly retrieved and covered what they could until they could make arrangements to return. Was this group the same as the unit that eventually arrived to retrieve the main body of the object?

We Had “Never Heard The Term, UFO!”

When Reme and Jose later revealed what they had witnessed in the summer of 1945 over half a century later, one of the things they called on the authorities to allow was an in-depth search of the crevice where they had seen soldiers burying pieces of the wreckage. Interestingly or not, it came to light that the crevice in question had recently been filled in and covered over by a bulldozer as part of “flood control work”. Of course, whether this is pure coincidence or whether it was filled in due to knowledge of what might be buried there is perhaps open to debate.

Of more intrigue, the two witnesses would also like the material they managed to secure from the wreckage examined and analyzed, although they didn’t wish to hand the material over to any third party. Indeed, they are correct in stating that there have been many people over the years who have handed over materials for testing and then simply not received them back.

Perhaps bizarrely, and certainly something that slightly hurts the credibility of the account, is the admission from Reme that he used the second piece of material (the foil that would unfold itself) to fix a leaking pipe on a property around a decade later. He offered that while he regretted doing that now, it was the nearest thing to hand at the time. Furthermore, he claimed that this potentially alien material secured the leak for years, much longer than he would have expected. Unfortunately, the building was pulled down decades ago, so locating the foil in question is almost impossible.

Despite this, the witnesses would appear to be, by and large, credible and genuine. And at the time the incident unfolded, neither Reme nor Jose had “never heard the term, UFO”. As they saw reports of sightings increase during the remainder of the 1940s and into the 1950s, however, they became increasingly certain that they had very likely witnessed an object, and creatures, from another world.

Two People With Reputations To Lose?

It is perhaps worth our time, in terms of their credibility, to examine the paths Reme and Jose took following the encounter.

Reme, for example, would eventually relocate to Tacoma, Washington around a decade after the sighting, before going on to serve in the Marines, during which time he would serve in Vietnam. He then went on to work as a tax compliance officer for the Washington (State) Department of Revenue. He would even become involved in state politics, serving on the Washington State Governor, Dixy Ray Lee’s staff, with Reme playing a big part in his election campaign.

Reme Bara

With such an accomplished background, we might ask, why would he risk his reputation with such a bizarre tale if it wasn’t true?

Similarly, Jose also spent time in the military before moving to California and serving over three decades as a safety inspector with the California Highway Patrol. And while not living a public life like Reme, seemingly had a lot to lose when speaking of the alleged events of the summer of 1945.

Both men still have family in the state of New Mexico, and so risked bringing unwanted attention to them, something we might imagine they wouldn’t have done unless they genuinely believed what they were saying was accurate and true. It is certainly something to keep in mind when examining their claims.

More UFO Crashes In New Mexico Than We Think?

If we take Reme’s and Jose’s accounts as unquestionably accurate and credible for a moment, then we have to ask, just what did crash on the Padilla Ranch in the summer of 1945 in the weeks leading to the official end of the Second World War? Was it some kind of experimental military aircraft? Or could it really have been a vehicle from another world? And was this otherworldly intelligence drawn to the region due to the recent nuclear bomb tests that had taken place only weeks earlier – tests that preempted the atomic strikes in Nagasaki and Hiroshima?

It is also worth noting that this alleged downed UFO is just one of many in this part of the United States in the second half of the 1940s. Once more, if we assume these objects were extraterrestrial in nature, then were they attracted to this location due to the nuclear testing that took place there? Or might, given the many military installations in the region, offer proof that the vehicles that crashed in the region were top-secret military aircraft?

Ultimately, while we should treat most claims of downed UFOs with a pinch of salt, the details in the alleged Padilla Ranch crash resonate very nicely with other apparent downed alien objects. Indeed, we just might contemplate just what was taking place in western states of the United States following the end of the Second World War, and how it connects with what we know about the UFO and alien question.

The short video below looks at some of the most interesting UFO encounters on record.


1 New Mexico UFO Crash Encounter In 1945, UFO Evidence

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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1 Comment

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  • Julio Mariano Barriere says:

    I have triangular motherships following me around the world. Anyone can witness these starships with their naked eyes on any clear night skies while I am in the presence. Theirs Pleidians, arcturians and Sirius B on these starships. If you have anime that’s interested in witnessing these starships and take photos or videos they’re welcome. Also if they want to make a story about these starships. I know a number of ambassadors like myself that they too have starships that they can also show you in person. Those ambassadors that I’m talking about are from all around our world.

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