Carroll Harris, Joe Wenger, and the Crane files

In service to the higher cause of disseminating truth about Amelia Earhart’s tragic disappearance and our government’s continued refusal to admit or reveal it, and at the risk of giving away the store, today’s post is basically an extract of a subsection of Chapter XIV, “The Care and Nurture of a Sacred Cow,” in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at LastI’ve taken a few editorial liberties, made some additions and subtractions, but most of this subsection, “Carrol Harris, Admiral Joseph Wenger, and the Crane Files,” is presented below.  Since I’m quoting from my own work, I will not indent as I would with quoted material from others.

Carroll Harris, of Sacramento, California, a retired Highway Patrol dispatcher and Navy veteran, contacted Fred Goerner in 1980.  Harris told Goerner that he’d worked for the chief of naval operations in Washington from 1942 until early 1945, and was responsible for the office’s highly classified vault.  Harris said a top-secret file on Amelia Earhart was maintained during the war, and he saw it many times.”  Harris often worked the night shift,” Goerner wrote to Jim Golden in 1982, “and to speed the time he familiarized himself with many of the files. There were many files on the USS Panay bombing by the Japanese, files on the Pearl Harbor attack, and a file (about 2/3 of a drawer or about 26 inches of material) dealing with Earhart.”

Jim Golden, Washington, D.C., circa mid-1970s. As a highly placed U.S. Justice Department official, Golden joined Fred Goerner in the newsman’s unsuccessful search for the elusive, top-secret files that would finally break open the Earhart case. During his amazing career, Golden led Vice President Richard M. Nixon’s Secret Service detail and directed the personal security of Howard Hughes in Las Vegas.  (Courtesy Jim Golden.)

Harris said the file covered a wide variety of issues, including the logistics of the flight, official positions to be taken in the event information about Earhart was made public, radio transmissions, and most importantly, “attempts at rescue and communications with Earhart (AFTER HER CAPTURE),” according to Goerner. “Harris said the file was added to during the war after the invasions of the Marshalls and the Marianas. He says it was basically the same info we have come up with concerning Japanese capture (of AE).”  (Emphasis Goerner’s.)

In a 1982 letter to Goerner, Harris said the office that housed the Earhart files was the “Secret and Confidential Mail and File Room—OP 020.”  A year later Harris wrote to Vice Admiral Kent J. Carroll, head of the Military Sealift Command, providing extensive details of OP 020 in the misplaced hope that Carroll, who was friendly with Goerner, would help locate the missing Earhart records. 

According to Harris, the Secret and Confidential Mail and File Room was located in Room 2055, in the “Navy Department building on Constitution Avenue (officially known as the Main Navy Building).  The vault containing the secret files “was located in one corner of Room 2055,” Harris wrote. “After being there several months I was authorized full access to the vault, as one of the enlisted group cleared to handle and transmit TOP SECRET matter. Chief John Aston showed me where ‘special’ files/documents were: The Wiley Post/Will Rogers crash; The Panay Yangtze River Gunboats Inquiry; The Pearl Harbor Inquiry and The Amelia Earhart File.  All these items were retained in one file cabinet; the Earhart file and the Wiley Post/Will Rogers crash papers were contained in one drawer. . . . The Earhart papers had been filed under numerous classifications and been gathered under the number(s) A12/FF.”  (Emphasis Harris’.)

In mid-1944, Harris said he was ordered to microfilm the secret files in Room 2055.  Once the job was completed, he told Goerner that a “copy went to the Naval Historian at Annapolis, Maryland, one copy went to the Naval Ammunition Depot at Crane City [sic], Indiana and we retained one.”  The original records, Harris said, were packed loosely so that upon arrival at National Archives they could be placed in a chamber for fumigation . . . prepatory [sic] to refilming on 35mm. The Earhart material was among these records.”  This aspect of Harris’ account is troubling.

Why would the classified Earhart files be sent to a Navy historian and the National Archives, when neither is known for housing such sensitive documents?  Goerner’s files provide no answers about why such volatile secrets would be sent to those locations.

Naval Support Activity Crane is located approximately 25 miles southwest of Bloomington, Ind.  NSA Crane was originally established in 1941 under the Bureau of Ordnance as the Naval Ammunition Depot (NAD) for the production, testing and storage of military weaponry. The Naval Security Group Detachment was established at Crane in 1953 and disestablished in 1997, moving to the Commander Naval Security Group Headquarters at Fort George G. Meade, Md.  Despite the best efforts of Fred Goerner and Jim Golden, the alleged Earhart files stored at Crane have never been found. 

Goerner focused on the Naval Ammunition Depot at Crane, where The Naval Security Group Detachment was established in 1953 and disestablished in 1997, moving to the Commander Naval Security Group Headquarters at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.  In my December 2008 e-mail correspondence with officials at Crane, now known as Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, they were unable or unwilling to shed any light on whether the facility was receiving classified material from other Navy agencies in 1945.

“It took me more than three years to get the Navy to admit the records existed,” Goerner wrote to Jim Golden in 1988. “Through the Freedom of Information Office of the Chief of Naval Operation, Ms. Gwen Aiken in charge, I filed for access to the records.” After twenty-eight months of silence, Aiken finally told Goerner that many records had been sent to Crane and asked him to be patient while a “couple of officers” reviewed them.

Goerner’s patience was running out, so he contacted his old friend, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who had favorably reviewed his book for San Francisco magazine.  Several months later, Weinberger informed Goerner that Crane held “some 14,000 reels of microfilm containing Navy and Marine Corps cryptological records, which, under National Security Regulations must be examined page-by-page.  They cannot be released in bulk.  To date, over 6,000 reels have been examined in this manner and the sheer mass prevents us from predicting exactly how long it will take to examine the remaining reels.

Carroll Harris’ story wasn’t the first time Crane had come to Goerner’s attention.  In April 1968 he met retired Rear Adm. Joseph Wenger, a pioneer in the development of cryptanalysis machines and head of the Navy Security Group Command in Washington during most of World War II.  A few months later, Goerner reminded Wenger of his April statement that he’d “gained permission to investigate intercepted Japanese messages from the period of our concern . . . I believe you mentioned the documents were in storage at NSD [Naval Supply Depot] Crane, Indiana”   Goerner also wrote to ask Wenger if Ladislas Farago’s claim in his 1967 book, The Broken Seal, that “Commander [Laurance] Safford had all the Japanese codes and ciphers cracked” in 1936 was correct, in light of other books advancing differing claims.  Wenger replied that he was “not at liberty to comment on the discrepancies” because the “Department of Defense has adopted a strict ‘no comment’ policy about such matters.”  

In other letters during the two-year period prior to his death in 1970, Wenger assured Goerner he was looking into the naval intelligence intercepts at Crane, and asking former cryptologists at the key communications intelligence radio stations about their recollections of the July 1937 period.

Rear Adm. Joseph N. Wenger, the first cryptologic flag officer of the Navy and head of what would become the Naval Security Group from 1944 to 1949.  During Fred Goerner’s early 1960s Earhart investigations., Wenger led the KCBS newsman down the garden path, promising much and delivering nothing.

Wenger wrote that the Navy had high-frequency direction finding stations in 1937 at Mare Island, California; Honolulu; Guam; and Cavite, Philippines.  Though Wenger said he had no knowledge of any Navy ships with such HF/DF (high frequency/direction finding) capabilities, Goerner believed it was possible that some may have been using it on an experimental basis.  “If so, it was a secret then and is still so today, he told Fred Hooven in 1971.  “The HF/DF to track Japanese fleet movements could have been the black box of 1937.  As the Captains have indicated, however, we soon found out that Japan, Germany and England were all ahead of us in the development of HF/DF in 1937.” 

From Wenger, Goerner learned the Japanese had at “least a dozen radio directionfinder [sic] stations in the Marshall Islands by 1937 and were monitoring U.S. Fleet activity on a regular basis. All of this, I think, has some bearing . . . on the matter of the Earhart flight,” Goerner wrote, “and all the hassle about direction finders and messages received from the aircraft after the disappearance.”

Wenger, assigned to OP-20-G, the Navy’s signals intelligence and cryptanalysis group, from 1935 to 1938, told Goerner in 1968 that he could “recall nothing whatever from that time which had any bearing upon the [Earhart] flight, nor, when questioned, could one of my former subordinates who was likely to have known had anything been obtained.   In August 1969, Wenger claimed he had “personally reviewed all materials pertaining to the particular areas and time . . . but discovered nothing of any relevance [to Earhart] whatever.

Somewhere along the way, Goerner must have realized he had encountered another bureaucratic stone wall, despite Wenger’s apparent willingness to help.  “It occurs to me that if the Earhart affair became a matter of Presidential classification and a responsibility of COMINCH [Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet] Staff, all references to the subject may have been directed to one location,” Goerner wrote to Wenger in March 1969.  Goerner was politely telling the admiral that he suspected any Earhart-related material found in the intelligence intercepts at Crane had been reclassified at the highest level and squirreled away long agoIn retrospect, it’s clear that Wenger was leading Goerner down the garden path and protecting the sacred cow, never with the slightest intention of helping the newsman.

Fred Goerner’s “old friend,” Caspar Willard “Cap” Weinberger, secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1987, was another highly placed government official who helped erect and maintain the stone wall of silence around the top-secret Earhart files and led Goerner on a fruitless goose chase, telling him that The Naval Security Group Detachment at Crane, Ind., held “some 14,000 reels of microfilm containing Navy and Marine Corps cryptological records, which, under National Security Regulations must be examined page-by-page,” strongly suggesting that the Earhart secrets might someday be found there.

In a 1978 letter that eerily presaged Michael Muenich’s 1992 missive [to be featured in a future post], Fred Hooven explored the military and political dilemma that Navy intelligence intercepts of Japanese radio messages revealing their capture of the fliers would have presented our leaders in 1937.  Suppose that the Navy had been monitoring the Japanese communications and ship movements in the Pacific sufficiently to have learned, or at least to have gotten a pretty good idea, that the Japanese had abducted Earhart and Noonan,Hooven wrote.

What could they have done?  They could not have taken action short of a military intervention to recover the fliers, and they could not have announced the fact (even if they were certain of it) without revealing the extent of their coverage of Japanese communications and operations, and their source of knowledge. It would also have raised an enormous storm of protest and indignation as well as being a national humiliation that we could ill afford, if we did not take bold action to recover the fliers.  It could also be that we were pretty sure, but not sure enough to raise an international incident about it.

This would explain all the secrecy, the strident insistence that the messages received from the plane were all hoaxes, and the equally strident insistence that the plane had fallen into the sea.  It would explain the tampering with the log to say one-half hour of fuel left, the male-chauvinistic references to Earhart sounding hysterical,  etc.  Since no such policy could have been decided without White House consultation, it would even explain the White House type interest in the situation.

Shortly after Hooven presented these ideas in his 1982 paper, Amelia Earhart’s Last Flighthe added a small caveat in a letter to Goerner: “So far as our theory about the US govt [sic] knowing about the Japanese abduction of the fliers, if so it must have been a secret shared by relatively few people, otherwise it would have leaked long before this.”

Caspar Weinberger may have believed he was being honest with Goerner, but his statement that the secrets of the Earhart disappearance were being stored among thousands of microfilm records of cryptological intelligence radio intercepts seems far-fetched.  Then again, Weinberger might have expected Goerner to recognize his letter as a pro forma evasion.  The defense secretary probably knew nothing about the Earhart case before Goerner told him about the alleged records at Crane, but Weinberger was soon informed about the special nature of the Earhart files. Goerner, of course, had no clearance to view the material even if something were found at Crane.

As Weinberger was leaving office in late 1987, he sent the newsman’s request to Navy Secretary James Webb, who told Goerner it wouldtake ten years or more to deliver an answer about any Earhart information at Crane. “Never mind that the Navy claims ALL records from pre-WWII and WWII have been released,” an irate Goerner wrote to Jim Golden. “Never mind that we WON WORLD WAR II in a little less than four years. [Emphasis Goerner’s.]  It will take more than a decade to look at some records. Never mind that in ten years most of the people from WWII will be dead. They don’t deserve to know of their own history.”

Goerner didn’t express his frustration to Weinberger or Webb, but he must have known that the Earhart files were not among the 8,000 reels that still needed review, according to Weinberger. Gad, some of those people who have been trying to cover up for so long must hate my guts, Goerner told Golden. “But, damn it, I won’t give up as long as I have a breath.” (End of Truth at Last excerpt.)

 

 

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Art Kennedy’s sensational Earhart claims persist: Was Amelia on mission to overfly Truk?

We begin 2019 with a closer look at one of the more controversial characters in the history of the Earhart saga.  Art Kennedy was an aircraft technician for the Pacific Airmotive Company in Burbank, Calif., during the 1930s, and first met Amelia in 1934 when he serviced her Lockheed Vega for a Bendix Trophy race.  Later, he directed the repairs of the Electra when it was shipped back to Burbank in boxes following the March 20, 1937 accident at Luke Field, Hawaii, during her takeoff on the second leg of her first world-flight attempt, which could have easily resulted in her death.

Much speculation surrounded the cause of the Electra’s so-called ground loop, and Amelia herself said thatpossibly the right landing gear’s right shock absorber, as it lengthened, may have given way. . . . For a moment I thought I would be able to gain control and straighten the course.”  Army aviation expertsexpressed unofficial opinions that a landing gear failed just before the right tire of her plane burst, but Harry Manning, who was in the co-pilot’s seat that day, said Amelia “lost it on takeoff. 

 “The plane began to sway during takeoff, and according to Manning, Earhart tried to correct with the throttles and simply over-corrected, Fred Goerner wrote in a 1992 letter to Ron Reuther.   He said it wasn’t a matter of a tire blowing at all.  It was pilot error with a load of 940 gallons of fuel.  He added it was a miracle there was no fire.

The seriously damaged Electra 10E after Amelia’s Luke Field, Hawaii “ground loop” on March 20, 1937.  Amelia and Fred can be seen standing next to the pilot’s side of plane.  The Electra was sent back to the Lockheed plant in Burbank for months of costly repairs, including bigger engines, according to Art Kennedy, who worked on the Electra during that time.

In his 1992 autobiography co-written by JoAnn Ridley, High Times — Keeping ‘Em Flying, Kennedy offered a far more sinister explanation for the crash.  After a close examination of the plane’s damaged right wing, right gear, brakes and propellers, Kennedy said he realized the ground loop was not normal, but “forced,” and that Earhart purposely wrecked the plane.  When confronted by Kennedy, she “told me not to mention it and to mind my own business,” he wrote.

Kennedy, who passed away in September 1998 at 85, said he reminded her that an inspector was due the next day to make an official accident report and would recognize the plane’s condition would never have been caused by an accident. Damn! I forgot about the gear,  Kennedy claimed she said.  Art, you and I are good friends. You didn’t see a thing.  We’ll just force the gear back over to make it look natural. Will you promise me never to say anything about what you know?”  Kennedy complied and swore he kept his word for 50 years.

Most recently we heard from Kennedy when his account was featured in Did Earhart crash on purpose in Hawaii takeoff?” on Nov. 2, 2018.  The following interview, titled “A Visit With Art Kennedy in Portugal,” by Bill Prymak, appeared in the February 1993  Amelia Earhart Society Newsletter.  Prymak described Kennedy, who then lived in Cellerrico De Beria, Portugal, as a “walking encyclopedia on every aspect of airplanes in the Golden Years of Aviation and at the age of 81 [in 1993] his mind is incredibly sharp. . . . It is with a feeling of deep veneration that we sit and break bread with a man who knew Amelia Earhart so intimately, a man who worked with her, laughed and joked with her, took her home at nights when she didn’t have the car, dined with her.  There is virtually no one alive today who knew her as well as Arthur Kennedy.

As an added feature in this interview, still relevant after 25 years, Kennedy lent his considerable expertise to the early TIGHAR claims that made so much international noise in its early days, and sadly, continues to do so, though only those without critical thinking ability pay any attention these days.  We begin:

AES:  Art, you spent quite a bit of time with Amelia, both professionally and personally.  What was she like?

KENNEDY:  Bill, this gal was a true lady . . . lots of class, but no snob, friendly with all the shop guys, very inquisitive about the work being done on her airplane.  Always looking over the shoulder, but never interfering with the mechanics.  She and I developed a special relationship as I was the only one, once she got to know my work, who she would allow to work on her engines.  Polly (Art’s high-school sweetheart and wife of 45 years, who died in 1978), Amelia and I would go out for supper many times when we were working late.  On one occasion she lamented how she was tiring of all the notoriety, sick of all the false fancy friends, fed up with George’s constant pressures, and simply yearned once more to be a simple American gal who could enjoy her privacy like the rest of us could.  Polly and Amelia got along great, went shopping together, had girl-to-girl private times, and really developed a close friendship.

Undated photo of Art Kennedy, back in his heyday.  According to Bill Prymak, who knew him well, Kennedy fabricated stories about what Amelia Earhart told him after she crashed the Electra on takeoff from Luke Field in March 1937.  These tales from Kennedy have been cited by some as strong evidence that Amelia was ordered to ground loop her plane, change directions of her world flight and even embark on a spy mission.

AES:  If they went shopping together, did they ever shop for shoes, and if so, do you recall if Amelia’s shoe size ever came up?

KENNEDY:  If you’re alluding to Mr. Gillespie and his size 9 theory, with all the hoopla I’ve recently read about this great discovery, let me put it to rest once and for all.  Polly wore a size 7 and COULD NOT fit into Amelia’s shoes . . . not by a longshot.  That TIGHAR theory is pure baloney.  (ED. NOTE: Art was more inelegant in his choice of words, and we simply had to clean it up.)  Where did they find this guy?

AES:  What about Paul Mantz?

KENNEDY:  Paul was one of the finest pilots I had ever met, but everybody used to call him the HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR BOY, and I did quite a bit of work for him before I moved over to PAC, and it was Paul who first introduced me to AE.  He gave her countless hours of dual (instruction) in the Electra and Paul was pretty satisfied that she could tackle the world flight.  He could never figure out the groundloop [sic] at Hawaii . . . that puzzled him to his dying day.  But Paul in his business dealings was a bulldozer, and quite a wheeler and dealer.

AES:  Did you ever meet her husband George?

KENNEDY:  No, but I saw him several times looking for AE in the shop, and, on one occasion, when she saw him beckoning with this finger, AE pleadingly caught my eye, and her facial expression seemed to say: Gad, why did he have to show up at this time, when I was really enjoying these guys around me and my airplane!  Polly and I never went out with the Putnams as a foursome.  George was too big to socialize with a ramp rat.  Amelia was different that way.

AES:  You indicate in your book that Amelia told you that she was told, immediately before takeoff at Hawaii bound for Howland Island, to somehow abort the flight.  This is potent stuff, Art, and not many are buying this.  Can you expand on this?

KENNEDY:  I never did ask her who ordered her to abort at Hawaii and it really was none of my business, and she probably would not have told me even if I did ask her, but indeed she did state that she was ordered to abort.  I can think of only two reasons for this; something was not ready downstream, or, somebody figured she needed bigger generators as the existing generator blew fuses or burned out on the way to Hawaii.

AES:  But Art, if somebody wanted to abort an airplane, I could think of a dozen safer ways to do it — run the wing into a telephone pole, hit a pickup truck, slide into a ditch, fake a brake failure and run into a brick wall . . .

KENNEDY:  Yea, I know, but she was probably planning on a very slow, deliberate ground loop at very slow speed, where she figured there’d be no risk with all that has on board.  But in a situation like that, if you start the takeoff roll and hesitate for just a fraction of a second, bam . . . you’re already past thesafe zoneand you find yourself doing things that are absolutely crazy!  One spark in the wrong place and they all would have been fried.

AES:  Was she really a good pilot?

Bill Prymak and Joe Gervais traveled to the Marshall Islands to visit with the iconic Earhart eyewitness Bilimon Amaron at Amaron’s Majuro home in 1991.  A year later, Prymak and Gervais journeyed to Art Kennedy’s home in Portugal to interview the controversial expert who personally worked on Amelia Earhart’s Electra 10E.

KENNEDY:  Bill, I flew with a bunch of the old timers, even got a pilot’s license myself.  A lot of the final checkouts, such as rigging and engine performance, had to be done in flight . . . and yes, Earhart was a good solid, pilotI flew with her many times, even once watched her bring in the Electra down to the runway with a 25 mph crosswind straight as a die.  When the Bendix rep who was halfway down the runway during the ill-fated Hawaii takeoff told me that her tailwheel was already high when the groundloop began, I could not believe it!  Even a dumb student pilot does not groundloop on takeoff at 50 mph.   Something very fishy here.

AES:  You’re still convinced she was on a spy mission?

KENNEDY:  Absolutely!  I’m 81 years old and have no need for storytelling or ego trips at my age.  I have only one trip left, and that’s to meet my Maker.  I can’t tell you everything she told me about the mission because other people were involved who might still be alive, but I will tell you thisShe mentioned the mission taking her over Truk, the big engines received brand new from Pratt & Whitney in May 1937, were modified by me personally to accommodate the bigger generators, and even though her regular engines were being overhauled, these two new super engines were charged to NR 16020 — her airplane!  Many strange things and many strange people were involved in her last flight.

AES:  How do you address the claim by TIGHAR [The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, which has never recovered a single historic aircraft, to my knowledge] that the piece of aluminum they found came from the belly  of NR 16020?

KENNEDY:  This simply cannot be!  When the damaged aircraft came back from Hawaii, Amelia Earhart and I personally and meticulously went over the entire fuselage.  We had to raise the fuselage high enough to get a low-boy tractor underneath for transport to the Lockheed factory on the other side of the field.  In lifting the fuselage, Amelia and I got a good look at the belly, and there was absolutely no damage, not even dirt, from the groundloop accident.  There was however, cable sling damage from hoisting the airplane onto the boat from Hawaii, and in unloading same stateside.  Cable sling damage was observed at Station 239, where two stringers were buckled in, and it was here that Lockheed removed and replaced stringers and full skin sections, NOT patches, as TIGHAR claims.

AES:  But Gillespie claims that Lockheed people like Ed Werner and Harvey Christen are wrong when they state that the rivet and stringer spacing could not vary from the original specification, as found on TIGHAR’s piece of aluminum.

KENNEDY:  I don’t remember Ed, but if Harvey Christen says after studying the TIGHAR piece that it could not have come from the Electra, well you can bet the farm, the wife, and your bottom dollar that it did NOT come from an Electra.  Let me tell you something about Harvey . . . there was a guy, who in the early days of Lockheed, started as a wrench rat and who, through his some forty years with the firm, rose to be Vice-President of Quality Control Engineering.  He was revered, respected, and loved by everybody, and nobody knew his job better than Harvey.  There is no greater authority on this argument than this man.  For Gillespie to say that Lockheed “could have changed” original design integrity is ludicrous, stupid and pretty damn arrogant of him.  He must have a lot of money riding on this piece of aluminum.

High Times — Keeping ‘Em Flying, Art Kennedy’s 1992 autobiography with Jo Ann Ridley, is “a lively account of growing up in early West Coast aviation, working on famous aircraft with famous flyers; of practical jokes and competitive dirty tricks; and of significant innovative contributions to aircraft safety. . . . Aviation has given this old ramp rat one hell of a great life!”

AES:  But TIGHAR claims that the piece has an ink-stained stencil reading 24S-T3, in red ink, and that because it was hand-stampedat the factory, it had to be pre-World War II.

KENNEDY:  All aircraft companies bought their aluminum from ALCOA starting in 1932.  24S-Condition 3 was used on all aircraft prior to World War II.  24S-T3 was produced right through the beginning of WWII and was used on tens of thousands of American aircraft, including the PBY, DC-4, P-38, P-51, P-47, and the 247D.  Lockheed and other airplane manufacturers were stacked to the rafters with 24S-T3 on the onset of WWII, and as far as identifying the date of manufacture of a piece of stamped aluminum, hell, I saw the stamps put on in blue, red, green, black . . . they used every color under the sun, and sometimes they stamped with the grain, sometimes against the grain, diagonally, every which way.  Nobody today, shown a piece of 24S-T3, can pinpoint the date of manufacture just by the color of the ALCLAD stamp or by the shape of the letters.

AES:  You have seen a sketch of the TIGHAR artifact.  Comments?

KENNEDY:  Absolutely no way would Lockheed permit a change of rivet spacing on the replacement of a skin panel . . . it would never pass inspection.  Nobody in their right mind . . . in any repair situation, would ever change the pattern of the rivet holes and make different holes thru stringers, circumferentials [sic], keels, and other attaching structures and put more holes in these structures and thusly compromise the structural integrity of the original design.  This TIGHAR piece of aluminum might have come from the nose gear door of a Catalina Flying Boat because they got easily damaged and were always in constant repair.  You might also check the bottom of the floats as they have a rivet pattern similar to what you showed me.  Lockheed did skin replacements, not patches.

AES:  TIGHAR claims that they have evidence that Amelia and Fred removed a fuel cell from the cabin and with an engine cover jury-rigged a water-catchment device on Gardner Island, using only a screwdriver.  Your comments?

KENNEDY:  Bill and Joe, you guys can’t be serious that somebody would try to bamboozle the American public into thinking that AE and Fred would even attempt such an impossible job on a deserted island.  First, you’d have to remove the radio blocking your way to the fuel tank to be removed.  Then you have to tear apart the floor boards of the entire rear of the airplane . . . then you need special wrenches to get at the nuts tying down the tank; then you need BIGGER 1.5-inch wrenches to release the B-nuts  tying the vent lines to the other tanks.  And when this is all said and done what have you got?  I’ll tell you what you’ve got!  Ever try drinking water out of an aluminum can that’s been full of aviation gas for two months?  It’ll kill ya, and Fred certainly knew better.  Didn’t I read someplace that somebody suggested that if they really were down on a deserted island they simply would have deployed their life raft for water-catching purposes? 

AES: Yeah, we suggested that in a previous AES Newsletter.

KENNEDY:  And another point . . . the engine covers were never taken on the final flight.  I remember walking into Firman Grey’s office at Lockheed several weeks after she went down and seeing engine covers in the corner stenciled NR 16020.   Firman said Amelia thought they were too bulky and heavy to be trucking around the world.

AES:  But AE’s book Last Flight states that they used engine and prop covers at Timor.

Art Kennedy, Alverca, Portugal, 1991.

KENNEDY:  That’s baloney.   Putnam wrote that book and filled in all that fancy prose.  Amelia was too busy and dog tired at every stop to write notes for George.  GP got a few scraps of information from phone calls to AE and from the press, but there was no press or telephone at Timor, so George filled in some empty space with his own creations.

AES:  Art, you’ve been a superb host, and a fabulous source of “firsthand” information on the greatest Lady of Aviation.  In closing, what do you feel really happened?

KENNEDY:  I am convinced she went down in the Marshall Islands, as so many researchers besides you two guys have theorized.  Something BIG has always bugged me: I kept immaculate fuel low records from the tests cells on her engines, and so help me, from her last message to Itasca at 20 hours and 14 minutes into the flight, she had AT LEAST five hours of fuel left.  Think about it: if you’re really lost, then when your fuel runs out, you’re about to die, and you know it.  Talking to somebody there on the radio is your only lifeline, and it costs you nothing to talk and yell for help, as the average pilot would have done in this situation.  The silence with an operational radio and five hours of fuel left really bugs me.  That was not the Amelia I knew.  She had somewhere else to go to.  It was planned.  (End of Kennedy interview.)

In High Times, Kennedy wrote that Earhart told him she was ordered to abort the Luke Field takeoff and did it the only way she knew how.”  According to Kennedy, she saida lot depended on my keeping quiet about what I’d seen because she was going on a special mission that had to look like a routine attempt to go around the world.  She said, ‘Can you imagine me being a spy?’ then she sort of tittered and added, ‘I never said that!’” Several researchers, including some who knew him well, have looked askance at Kennedy’s claims and pointed to his reputation as a well-known “bullshit artist,” as he himself admits in his book’s prologue.  Who knows for sure?

Bill Prymak, who knew Kennedy well, was among those who agreed with Fred Goerner in dismissing Kennedy’s claim about the Luke Field accident.  On the other hand, Prymak wrote that Joe Gervais (who accompanied Prymak to Portugal) and I were left with some lasting impressions of Art Kennedy, not the least being his total love and admiration for Amelia, his uncanny knowledge of the Lockheed Electra, and his unquestioned honesty and resolve not to embellish when we quizzed him on matters that happened 55 years ago that since became fuzzy.  We appreciated that kind of candor.”  So what are we to think?

Was this Amelia Earhart’s ill-fated flight route on July 2, 1937?  This map appeared in the September 1966 issue of True magazine, along with a lengthy preview of Fred Goerner’s soon-to-be-published The Search for Amelia Earhart.  Art Kennedy may have thought so, and to this day the true path of Earhart’s last flight eludes us, and remains the biggest mystery of the Earhart saga.

It’s hard to buy Kennedy’s claim about the ground loop, as it’s difficult to imagine that Amelia would purposely endanger Harry Manning and Fred Noonan, who were both aboard.  It’s more likely that she honestly blew the takeoff at Luke Field, but what of Kennedy’s assertion about Amelia’s “mission taking her over Truk,” and that the Electra received “big engines” in May 1937 that he personally “modified” for the flight’s extra miles?  We have no credible evidence that supports the idea that a new pair of “big engines” was put on NR 16020, but could it have happened?

The total distance from Lae to Truk to Howland Island is 3,250 statute miles, compared with 2,556 statute miles when flying direct from Lae, well within the Electra’s normal range of 4,000 miles, even without modified enginesCan we so easily dismiss these separate and altogether plausible — at least in this observer’s opinion — claims from Kennedy?  Most probably the fliers reached Mili in a different way, but a definitive answer continues to elude us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!

“Courage is the Price”

Courage is the price that Life exacts
for granting peace.
The soul that knows it not
Knows no release from little things:
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
Nor mountain heights where bitter
joy can hear
The sound of wings
How can life grant us boon of living, compensate
For dull gray ugliness and pregnant hate
Unless we dare
The soul’s dominion? Each time we
make a choice, we pay
With courage to behold the resistless day,
And count it fair.

— Amelia Earhart

Our welcoming hearts go out to all our friends and supporters of the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument in the U.S.A. and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.        

Marie S. Castro (third from right, sitting), and the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Committee welcome Josephine Blanco Akiyama (sitting next to Marie, left) back to Saipan at a reception Oct. 9, 2018.

Let us join hands this Holiday Season in celebrating the 81 years of the long-overdue recognition of Amelia Earhart’s presence with her navigator, Fred Noonan here on Saipan, the great aviators of the 20th Century.

Merry Christmas and a Happy, Prosperous New Year  2019 

— From President Donald Barcinas, Vice President Marie S. Castro, Secretary Frances Sablan, all the members of the Saipan Earhart Memorial Monument Committee, and Mike Campbell, Jacksonville, Florida.

 

Listen to Goerner’s first KCBS radio report on Saipan

Gary Boothe, of Floyd County, Va., lived on Saipan as a child from 1958 to 1962.  Both parents were teachers for the U.S. Navy civilian administration, teaching local students at Saipan Intermediate School.  They also taught for the U.S. Trust Territory in the Caroline islands at Chuuk and Yap.  Gary is retired from the U.S. Postal Service and has made several trips to visit islands in Micronesia, including Saipan, where the below photo was taken in June 2018.

Photo taken during Gary Boothe’s June 2018 visit to Saipan.  From Left: Dominique Boothe (Gary’s daughter), Gary, Marie S. Castro. Congressman Donald Barcinas, Mrs. Evelyna Shoda, Mr. Carlos Shoda. 

Recently Gary listened to an old reel-to-reel tape that his father left, and he made an amazing discovery.  It appears to be the first KCBS radio report filed by Fred Goerner upon his return to San Francisco following his late June to mid-July 1960 investigation there.

This is the first time I’ve ever heard this recording.  Moreover, I’ve never heard another researcher claim to have it.  This is a rare collector’s item that I gladly share with you, dear reader.  Since my WordPress blog format will not allow the posting of MP3s or other audio formats, my friend Dave Bowman, author of Legerdemain (2007), The Story of Amelia Earhart (2012), A Waiting Dragon: A fresh and audacious look at the Mystery of Amelia Earhart (2017) and others, has agreed to host the MP3 file of Goerner’s 1960 KCBS production on his websiteTo listen to Goerner’s report please click here.

At nationally broadcast KCBS news conference in San Francisco, November 1961, following Goerner’s second trip to Saipan, the author (at table, right) is questioned by newsmen about package of remains being flown in from Saipan.  Don Mozley, KCBS news director, is at the table with Goerner.  (Photo courtesy Lance Goerner.)

The 15-minute report parallels Goerner’s narrative in his bestseller, The Search for Amelia Earhart (pages 41-52, First Edition) about his initial Saipan visit, in mid-June 1960.   He speaks of how he “set about enlisting the aid of the fathers of the Church,” as virtually all the locals on Saipan were Catholic.  Monsignor Oscar Calvo, and Fathers Arnold Bendowske and Sylvan Conover served as translators during Goerner’s interrogations of what he variously reported as 200 to 300 potential witnesses, ensuring he would be getting the truth, in contrast to the lie so often spread by our media that the Saipan witnesses told Goerner “what he wanted to hear.”

The report doesn’t state its airing date, but it was on or about July 1, 1960, the date of Linwood Day’s stunning, front-page story in the San Mateo Times, headlined “Amelia Earhart Mystery Is Solved,” and an “all media news conference . . . in Studio B at KCBS in the Sheraton-Palace Hotel in San Francisco, according to Goerner (p. 62 Search).

He names only a few of his original 13 witnesses named in his 1966 bestseller, but quotes native dentist Manual Aldan, whose patients were Japanese officers:  I didn’t exactly see the man and the woman, but I heard from the Japanese official about one woman flier and a man that landed at a place (unintelligible) now called Tanapag. . . . I dealt with high officials on the island and knew what they were saying in Japanese.  The name of the lady I heard used. This is the name the Japanese officer said — Earharto!”

Jose Rios Camacho (identified as Rios R. Camacho) told Goerner, I was working at Tanapag Harbor.  I saw the plane.  It was heading across the island . . . in a northeasterly to southwesterly direction.  It crashed in Tanapag area.  I saw a Navy launch bring them to the beach.  I saw the lady pilot and the man.  She was dressed like a man. Her hair was short, it was brown. Afterwards they kept her in Tanapag.”

Gary Boothe, left, circa 1960, at age 5, and friend enjoy another idyllic Saipan day near their Navy Seabee-built Quonset homes on Saipan. “The photo was taken in the housing area by the lighthouse on Navy Hill” Gary told me in a recent email.  “The building up the hill at the top of the photo is the island commander’s compound.  The ones in our housing area were moved there from somewhere else on the island in the mid ’50s. They were hot, but not as bad as you might think.  The only place to find any air conditioning out there at the time was on Guam, and it was pretty rare there.  We loved our Quonsets, and it was sad to return after many years and not have a single one in sight.  It was the dominant architectural feature back in the day.  (Photo courtesy Gary Boothe.)

“The testimonies go on and on,” Goerner said. We have two-and-a-half hours on tape.”

In concluding, Goerner jumped the gun a bit in his enthusiasm to claim the salvaged parts might have come from the Earhart Electra, but that’s understandable.  We know that they were later confirmed as coming from Japanese-made planes.  

Still germane today is the yet-unanswered question about the plane that brought the fliers to Saipan.  Was it a seaplane, as one would tend to believe, or a land-based plane that landed in the harbor because it was in trouble? 

Goerner said that the plane that the two Saipanese dove on in Tanapag Harbor was the same one that brought the fliers to Saipan in 1937, and he may have been correct in this.  If it was true, the plane that took the fliers to Saipan was not a Japanese seaplane, but a land-based plane that probably originated at Kwajalein, as two witnesses have attested (p. 150-154 Truth at Last). 

This would have been more evidence to support the land-based-plane-crash-landing scenario at Tanapag Harbor, already strongly supported by several Saipanese witnesses who used the word “crashed” in describing the plane’s arrival.  Seaplanes landing on water are not normally said to be “crashing.  This conundrum is discussed at length in “The Saipan Witnesses” chapter of Truth at Last.

Was Amelia Earhart buried on Tinian?

Tinian is best known as the launching pad for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb Little Boyon Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945, followed by a second atomic device, Fat Man,dropped on Nagasaki by the B-29 BockscarBut if the site an American Marine was shown by a native Hawaiian who worked under the Japanese in 1937 and claimed was the grave of Amelia Earhart could be found and verified, Tinian’s notoriety in world history would be exponentially increased.  (Boldface mine throughout.)

St. John Naftel was a Marine gunner’s mate assigned to the 18th AAA Marine Battalion stationed on Tinian shortly after the American invasion of July 24-Aug. 1, 1944.  The 8,000-man Japanese garrison was eliminated, and the island joined Saipan and Guam as a base for the Twentieth Air ForceJapanese losses were 5,543 killed, 2,265 missing and 252 captured, while 326 Americans died and 1,593 were wounded.

By Aug. 10, 1944, 13,000 Japanese civilians were interned, but up to 4,000 were dead through suicide, murdered by Japanese troops or killed in combat.  The garrison on Aguijan Island off the southwest cape of Tinian, commanded by Lt. Kinichi Yamada, held out until the end of the war, surrendering on Sept. 4, 1945. The last holdout on Tinian, Murata Susumu, was captured in 1953.

On Guam, St. John Naftel hoists the Nov. 7, 2004 Pacific Daily News, shortly before the Tinian Earhart Expedition failed to answer the headline’s question in the affirmative.  (Photo courtesy Rlene Santos Steffy.)

Fast-forward to September 2003, when “It all began with a call from Jennings Bunn to Jim Sullivan on the ‘The Deep,’ a radio talk show aired on K57 radio in Guam,” wrote Rlene Santos Steffy, a columnist for The Guam Daily Post, in The Tinian Earhart Expedition 2004,” still available online:

Jennings was in possession of a letter from Mr. Elliot Broughton, who knew of a WWII veteran claiming knowledge of the fate of Amelia Earhart and her navigator following their much publicized disappearance following their attempted flight around the globe in 1937.  Jennings contacted Mr. Broughton and learned of Mr. St John Naftel, who was stationed on Tinian at the end of the Japanese era of control.  During Mr. Naftel’s time on Tinian, he came to know a conscript of the Japanese army who confided the location of two graves that he had been forced to dig five days after his arrival in 1937.  In these graves, he told Naftel, were buried the bodies of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan.

Jennings’ call to the radio show was a plea for assistance that Jim Sullivan and his guest host that evening Bob Silvers responded to.  After an initial meeting to discuss the details, The Tinian Earhart Expedition [also known as The Tinian Dig] was formed.  During the next month, the group interviewed Mr. Naftel, researched his story, conducted an aerial survey of the area and dug into the historical archives for additional supporting documentation to try to determine the validity of Mr. Naftel’s story.  By the end of September, it was looking very promising and it was decided that the only way to progress further was to bring Mr. Naftel to Tinian to undertake a physical search for evidence of the grave sites.  With great confidence and anticipation, the arrangements were made.

Steffy is an ethnographer, oral historian and research associate at the University of Guam’s Micronesia Area Research Center, and also wrote a review of Truth at Last in July 2017.

Following is Naftel’s account as given to Cassandra Sandy Frost, self-identified as an award-winning e-journalist and editor who has covered the topics of Intuition, Remote Viewing and Consciousness from an Athabascan or Alaska Native point of view the past three years, who also chronicled The Tinian Dig in a series of articles for Rense.com (see below):

The first job for my unit was to clean the place up.

There was a place that I called the stockade which consisted of three sections.  First made up of military personnel, second, island natives (farmers, shopkeepers, etc.), third, the people the Japanese had brought in prior to any military action (they were like slaves to the Jap military).  Because the cleanup operation required a lot of labor, these people could be trusted (used) to help with the cleanup.

My first job was to escort a truck load of these people from the stockade to our camp each day.

JOB — Pick a truck load of these people at the stockade which usually consisted of about 30 people — each day as we loaded the truck (open body) I would ask, Is there anyone that can speak English?  Because these people came from different international locations, there was always some that could speak English.  I would then choose one of them to act as a sort offoreman to help me with the job.

On about the third or fourth day when I asked this question, a man stepped forward speaking good English.  I do not remember this man’s name because I had never known it before.  He told me he was from one of the Hawaii [sic] Islands when he fell for the Japanese promise to come work for them at a good wage.  Only when he along with others arrived at Tinian did they find out that they were actually slaves.

St. John Naftel, left, is accompanied by expedition organizer Jennings Bunn as he arrives on Tinian in early November 2004.  (Photo courtesy Rlene Santos Steffy.)

After the third day that he was on my truck load of people, he began to open up in talking with me while we were traveling to my camp.  On the third or fourth day our conversation went kinda like this:

Man:  On the way in I want to show you something and tell you about it.  Can you have the driver to slow down when I ask you to?

Me:   Yes, no problem.

Man: Can we move over the side of the truck?pointing to the left side

Me: Yes, which we did.  I tapped the truck cab and asked Hall (clarification, C.C. Hall was the truck driver) if he would slow down when asked.  As we began a downward slope toward what was Tinian Town this man asked me to slow down, then Look out there.  He was pointing to the left (on the left was a cliff that the Japs had made in the hillside).  In the cliff there were three man-made caves.  These caves overlooked Tinian Bay.  In each of them the Japs had some large guns.  I had visited these caves earlier.

When the man pointed to the left and said,Look, I replied, Yes, I see the caves.  I have not been in them before.” “No, not the caves,he said.  Look like I am pointing. The truck had slowed down, so the man was kind of pointing back up the slope.

Man:  “Look, see those two graves up there?”

Me: Yes, what about them?

Man:  I have never said anything to anyone about this before because there was no one that I could trust.  I was about the third or fourth day that I was brought here that the Japs brought me and five or six other men here and gave us shovels and picks and pointed out that we were to dig graves.  We were under the guard of two Jap soldiers.  After we dug the graves to please these guards, a truck soon arrived.  There were two bodies in the truck.  One was a man — the other was a woman.  I immediately noted that they were both Americans.  The woman was dressed in pants and a jacket.  On the jacket (he reached his hand across his left chest) was what looked like a wing.  Before I got hooked up with these Japs, I had heard and saw newspaper pictures of this American woman that was going to fly around the world.  I can’t think of her name right now.”

St. John Naftel, right, points out the spot on Tinian he believed to be the location of the gravesite he was shown by the unnamed Hawaiian man in 1944.  “I would bet my life this is where I saw the two graves,” Naftel told Bob Silvers, left, according to Jennings Bunn, who was standing nearby.  (Photo courtesy Rlene Santos Steffy.)

Me: “Would it be Amelia Earhart?”

Man: “Yes, that’s who it was.  As we were instructed we buried the bodies, then the Jap in charge — he could speak English — called us together and told us that we were never to speak to anyone about this, and that if they even thought we had, we could be digging our own graves.  You could not trust anyone in the camp because they tell a guard so they could get a favor.  You are the first and only person I have ever mentioned this to.”

At this point we arrived at my camp and I was called to the office.  I had to take a detail out aboard a ship (several had arrived carrying a lot of cargo and some with a lot of Seabees) and help with the unloading.  This took two weeks.  When I returned to camp we were being divided up into different gun crews — I never saw the man again.  (End of Naftel account.)

St. John was talking about picking up the workers at acamp,that was Camp Chulu,Jennings Bunn told me in a November 2018 email.  I took St. John there, and he recognized the standing façade of the old headquarter building and police station.  Kind of like a city hall.  The workers there were primarily Okinawans who were hired long before the war to work in sugar cane fields on Tinian.

Several established facts militate against the possibility of Earhart or Fred Noonan’s burial on Tinian.  Most importantly, not one of the many Saipan witnesses — people like Josephine Blanco Akiyama, Matidle F. Arriola, Joaquina Cabrera, José Pangelinan, Dr. Manual Aldan, Jesús Salas and others — ever claimed they were told that the American fliers were taken to Tinian or buried there. 

The Tinian Dig begins.  Among those assisting in the excavations were Dr. Hiro Kurishina, University of Guam, who brought his archaeology class; TIGHAR’s Tom King Ph.D.; and Karen Ramey Burns Ph.D., a forensic anthropologist at the University of North Carolina. (Photo courtesy Rlene Santos Steffy.)

Matilde was told the American woman was cremated by an alleged eyewitness, Mr. Tomokane, in an account recently revealed by Marie Castro, in which case no Earhart gravesite would have existed at all.  Don Kothera and the Cleveland Group’s interview of Anna Magofna (pages 245-247 Truth at Last) is a fairly compelling story that suggests Amelia might have been buried outside the Liyang Cemetery outside of southern Garapan, as José Pangelinan told Fred Goerner, and where Marine Capt. Tracy Griswold directed privates Everett Henson Jr. and Billy Burks to excavate skeletal remains of two individuals in the summer of 1944.  Many others, too numerous to mention here, attested to their common knowledge of Earhart’s death on Saipan, none ever mentioning Tinian in any context. 

Further, the idea that the fliers had been buried on Tinian came from just one unnamed eyewitness, who shared his story with Naftel in 1944 under unusual, strained circumstances.  The anonymous Hawaiian’s own words to Naftel could be considered questionable in themselves by a suspicious observer.  “You could not trust anyone in the camp because they tell a guard so they could get a favor,” he told Naftel of his 1937 experience working under the Japanese.  “You are the first and only person I have ever mentioned this to.”  Did the Hawaiian man himself hope to gain a favor from Naftel for this amazing revelation? 

Another provocative detail in Naftel’s story was the Hawaiian man’s description of the jacket worn by the dead woman. “On the jacket (he reached his hand across his left chest) was what looked like a wing,” he told Naftel.  On the back cover of Mary Lovell’s 1989 book, The Sound of Wings, is a small portrait photo of Amelia in a dress with what appears to be three pearl necklaces and a wing device attached.  Also, on page 134 of Carol Osborne and Muriel Earhart Morrissey’s 1987 biography, Amelia, My Courageous Sister, Amelia is shown in June 1932 in two photos with National Geographic officials in Washington, wearing what could be the same wing device.  In the appendix of the same book, on page 302, three different wing devices are shown in very small photos without descriptions.

Was the “jacket” worn by the dead woman a leather flight jacket?  Though many photos of Amelia wearing such a jacket can be found on an internet search and in various books, I’ve not seen any with a wing attached, sewn or embroidered on it, as commonly done among U.S. Navy and Marine aviators, then and now, and which is likely what the Hawaiian man was describing.  The Japanese would have removed a wing device and any other jewelry from a dead body, and would they even bury such a jacket with a body?  

Although a photo of Amelia in a jacket with a wing on the left side would support Naftel’s story, it would not absolutely confirm it.  Naftel’s account doesn’t add up for many reasons, but if you have a photo or can direct us to one that matches the Hawaiian man’s story, please let us know.  

Needless to say, The Tinian Dig did not locate the remains of Earhart or Noonan.  In a series of posts for Rense.com Cassandra Frost traced the roots and progress of the Tinian Earhart Expedition 2004.  In chronological order, here are Frost’s detailed reports:Amelia Earhart’s Grave Found?;  “Earhart – Latest On-Scene Report;  “Earhart Dig – Day One;Earhart Dig – Day 2;  “Interview With Saint John Naftel“Earhart Dig – Day 3 Expedition Shifts Gears; “Earhart Dig – Day 4 Time Travel, High Tech Style”; “Earhart Expedition – The Day AfterInterview With Jim Sullivan “Earhart Expedition – Breakfast With Bob.”

Members of The Tinian Earhart Expedition 2004, left to right: Bob Silvers, Jennings Bunn, St. John Naftel and Jim Sullivan.  (Photo courtesy Rlene Santos Steffy.)

In my closing comments on The Tinian Dig in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last (p. 305), I compare the highly promoted 2006 Nauticos Deep Sea Search for Amelia Earhart,” with The Tinian Earhart Expedition 2004, which was completely ignored by the American media, and came to a familiar conclusion:

The Nauticos search and Tinian Dig are minor footnotes in the long history of failure to find the smoking gun in the Earhart disappearance.  Neither seems worthy of further consideration, but they reveal a disturbing reality when examined from another perspective.  As we’ve seen, the Nauticos effort was well publicized in the months preceding its launching.  News of the Tinian Expedition, by contrast, was found only in small publications such as the Saipan Tribune and Pacific Magazine.  How can big media’s blackout of The Tinian Dig be squared with its boundless enthusiasm for the ill-conceived Nauticos excursion into the empty depths of crashed-and-sank theory?  After all, both ventures were aimed at achieving the same goal: solving the great Earhart mystery.” 

The answer is simple.  The intensity of our media’s passion for the idea that the Electra lies on the Pacific’s floor is equaled only by its abhorrence of the very thought of the fliers’ deaths on Saipan at the hands of the Japanese—now among our strongest allies in the Pacific Rim.  Anything that might lead the public to seek more information about the fate of Earhart and Noonan, such as broadcasting or printing news stories about an investigation into their possible burial site on nearby Tinian, must be strenuously avoided.  Tinian is in the same forbidden neighborhood as Saipan—too close to the truth and strictly off-limits.

St. John Naftel passed away on Feb. 2, 2015 in Montgomery, Ala., at 92.

(Editor’s note:  Jerry Wilson, of Chattaroy, Wash., a longtime Earhart researcher and Tinian advocate, contributed much of the information in this post, which would not have been possible without him.  My sincere thanks and appreciation go out to Jerry, as well as to Jennings Bunn.)

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