Calvin Pitts analyzes Amelia Earhart’s last flight

Calvin Pitts is best known for his 1981 world flight, when he and two co-pilots commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Wiley Post-Harold Gatty World Flight in 1931.  The 1981 flight was sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Air & Space Museum to honor the Oklahoma aviator Post. 

Calvin’s first co-pilot was Jerry Kuzia, an FAA inspector from Cleveland, who helped with many of the detail preparations during 1980.  After a cancelled clearance due to high-frequency radio failure over the Atlantic and the subsequent two week-delay, Kuzia ran out of vacation time.  NASA engineer Emmett Fry flew to Germany to replace Kuzia, and competed the flight back to Manchester, New Hampshire.

But instead of replicating Post and Gatty’s 15,474-mile world flight, an unforeseen circumstance changed their plans.  A clearance across Siberia was cancelled due to an HF radio failure over the Atlantic, which in turn caused a delay in Germany.  Additionally, several mechanical and red tape delays extended the trip to nearly 25,000 miles from Manchester, departing on June 23, 1981, instead of Post’s flight of 15,000-plus miles, which began exactly 50 years earlier, on June 23, 1931.  They flew a single-engine 1980 Beechcraft A36 Spirit of Winnie Mae, named after Post’s Lockheed Vega, the Winnie MaeTo read Calvin’s recollections of his around-the-world journey, please click here.

Calvin Pitts in 1981, with The Spirit of Winnie Mae and the thermos Amelia Earhart carried with her on her solo Atlantic Crossing in 1932.  The thermos was on loan from Jimmie Mattern, Wiley Post’s competitor who flew The Century of Progress Vega in an attempt to beat Wiley in the 1933 solo round-the-world race, but Mattern crashed in Siberia.  Calvin brought Amelia’s thermos along with him on his own successful world flight in 1981. 

During his long and accomplished aviation career as an instructor, corporate pilot, airline pilot, flight manager, training manager and engineering test pilot, Calvin has flown antique planes to airshows, trained pilots and flown a multitude of single and multi-engine aircraft, including Twin Otters, DHC-7s, Aero Commanders, Metro IIIs, Lear Jets and Boeing 727s.  He also worked for 10 years in public affairs for NASA at the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field Naval Air Station, Calif.; and NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Calvin, 84, lives with his wife Wanda in the small Kentucky town of Sadieville, where he has alog house on a small river, surrounded by wild life, fish, otters, beavers, and beautiful bluegrass and trees,and where he stays busier than ever.  Occasionally someone asks him to go flying, he says, “but time keeps flying even when I’m grounded.  It’s great to be alive with good health and lots to do with good friends.  Life has never been better, blessed and more challenging.

In the past year, his complimentary comments have been a welcome addition to this blog, and recently he told me much more about his longtime fascination with Amelia’s disappearance.  He’s known many of her friends, including Mae Post, Wiley’s wife; Gordon Post, Wiley’s brother; Clarence Page, Director of the former Oklahoma Air & Space Museum (now the History Museum of Oklahoma); Ernie Shults, Wiley’s mechanic, and Jimmie Mattern (1905-1988), who flew The Century of Progress Vega against Wiley Post in the 1933 solo around-the-world race, but crashed in Siberia.  “It was Jimmie who loaned me Amelia’s thermos from her Atlantic flight to carry on a successful flight RTW,” Calvin wrote in a recent email.  

Mattern carried the thermos with him in 1933, but failed to finish the flight,Calvin went on.  “Finally, Amelia made it all the way around the world with me, even with the delays, disappointments, conquered challenges and final success. I have pictures holding that thermos with the Spirit of Winnie Mae in the background before the flight, and with 99’ers drinking from Amelia’s thermos in Lexington, Kentucky after the flight.  Thoughts of her were very intense, especially as we flew near Howland after leaving Tarawa.  Ironically, our fight began with Wiley in New York, transitioned to Amelia over the Pacific, and then ended with Wiley and Amelia as we returned to have dinner with a close friend of them both, Fay Gillis Wells.  It was, to say the least, a surreal experience where you imagined you could actually feel their presence.

Fay Gillis Wells (1908-2002) was the first woman pilot to bail out of an airplane to save her life, and one of the original founders of the Ninety-Nines, the international organization of licensed women pilots that now numbers over 6,500 members.  “Her stories about Amelia were priceless,” Calvin wrote.  “Fay was not only an intimate friend of Amelia, but was also the person who arranged Wiley’s fuel stops in Siberia in 1933 where her father was a businessman.”

Fay Gillis Wells, the first woman to save her life by jumping out of an airplane in a parachute and a close friend of Amelia Earhart.  “She helped Amelia organize the ‘99s for female aviators,” Calvin Pitts wrote in a recent email.  “She lived in Alexandria, Va., allowing me a chance to have meals with her when I was transferred to Washington, D.C.  Her stories about Amelia were priceless.”

Ernie Shults, Wiley Post’s mechanic in Bartlesville, Okla., was another old-timer who knew Amelia, Calvin recalled.  His stories about the difficulties of the 1934-’35 stratospheric flights in a wooden plane with a normally aspirated engine were priceless.  Because of his mechanical stature, he had many contacts with Amelia.”  Louise Thaden, the first woman pilot to win the Bendix Trophy Race and who is largely credited, along with Amelia Earhart, as the co-founder of the Ninety-Nines, used an engine Shults rebuilt.  Shults passed away in 1997 at age 99.

Ernie Shults (right) and Paul Garber, “two good friends whom I have known for years,” Calvin Pitts wrote.  “I visited in the Shults’ home in Burbank, Calif., many times. We visited the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose in Long Beach, Calif.  Ernie  maintained the Pratt and Whitney engines on Howard Hughes’ plane, which was on display next to the Queen Mary.  I  took them flying in the Spirit of Winnie Mae after my ’81 RTW flight.  They were thrilled because they had also flown in the Winnie Mae Vega with Wiley Post.  He was Wiley’s mechanic. He became a father-figure for me.”

Still two more of Calvin’s aviation acquaintances were Joe Crosson and his wife, Lillian.  Joe was the first to fly over Antarctica and the first to make a landing on Mount McKinley’s glaciers, and was celebrated on radio, newspapers and even comic books.  He helped Wiley Post complete his first solo flight around the world in 1933, and flew to Barrow, Alaska to retrieve Post and Will Rogers’ bodies in 1935.  Post and Rogers stayed with the Crossons in Fairbanks before leaving for Barrow and their untimely deaths. 

“Lillian fed them their last meal before the crash,” Calvin quoted her as telling him.  “It bothered her, she told me, to think that they died a few hours later with her food in their stomachs.  She and Joe were good friends with Amelia, and Joe’s sister, Marvel, was a competitor of Amelia’s in air races and knew her very well.  Their family stories are treasures.  There were numerous others, which gives me the feeling that I knew Amelia.  (Italics mine.)

“Because of this,” Calvin continued, “with great information from EarhartTruth postings,  I have spent literally hundreds of hours reading and writing about Amelia’s disappearance.  Since I have a close friend who still lives in Saipan, my communication with her has verified the fact that the local rumors there are so well known, so numerous and so widely accepted that locals find it strange that Americans even question her presence there.  My friend lives near the Japanese Jail where Amelia and Fred were taken.  I have a passionate desire to visit Saipan, but age and expense will probably not allow me to realize that dream.  All of this, and much more, is merely a way of illustrating that I share your deep interest in The Amelia Story.”

Thus in Calvin Pitts and Saipan’s Marie Castro, we have two of the last living links to Amelia Earhart, slightly indirect though they may be.  I’ve never met Amy Kleppner, Amelia’s niece through her sister Muriel and only surviving direct relative, now 87, who publicly echoes the official, anachronistic crashed-and-sank line whenever asked.  But if anyone else is out there who knew Amelia and is still living, I’m unaware of it.

Calvin has also extensively investigated the 1935 deaths of Wiley Post and Will Rogers in a plane crash in Alaska, and has written critically about the U.S. government’s failure to conduct a proper investigation into the tragedy, but it’s his interest in the Earhart disappearance that concerns us now.

Lillian Crosson, Fanny Quigley and Joe Crosson (left to right) at Kantishna, Alaska in the early 1930s, whom Calvin Pitts knew and read about back in the day.  Joe Crosson was the first pilot to land at the mining camp, and Lillian fed Wiley Post and Will Rogers their last meal before their fatal plane crash in 1935. 

Calvin has asked me to keep the spotlight away from him and on his analysis of Amelia and Fred’s last flight in this post, but it’s important for you to understand and appreciate what he has achieved — and who he’s known — in his extremely impressive aviation career.  Calvin brings a lifetime of well-earned credibility, as well as objectivity and honesty, to his analysis of Amelia Earhart’s final flight

At a time when the entire Western establishment’s hatred and aversion to the truth in the Earhart disappearance has never been worse, it’s heartening that a man who has been a well-known figure within that establishment comes forward to fully embrace the truth without apology.  Following is Part I of Calvin’s analysis of Amelia’s last flight.

CLUES

Amelia Earhart: DISAPPEARING FOOTPRINTS IN THE SKY

By Capt. Calvin Pitts, PART I

Purpose

The following is a summary of a few clues which lead directly to Amelia’s fateful decision to disregard a previous Contingency Plan, designed by her and Gene Vidal, director of the Bureau of Air Commerce.  By intent, it appears she made a deliberate decision to forget what had been agreed upon, going instead to the Japanese-controlled Marshall Islands — on purpose.  I posit here the tentative belief that ending up in the Marshalls was not the result of merely being lost, but was intentional, the details of which are just a little more than intriguing in the following post.

 

Introduction

Any attempt to unravel the not-so-mysterious mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance must deal with both a WHAT and a WHY.  After years of searching for answers by competent researchers, it is more than reasonably undergirded with solid evidence that the Electra’s pilot and navigator ended up on Saipan as prisoners of the Japanese.

After decades of work by men such as Paul Briand Jr., Fred Goerner, Jim Golden, Vincent V. Loomis, Oliver Knaggs, Thomas E. Devine, Donald Kothera and Bill Prymak, and recent investigations at Mili Atoll by Dick Spink and Les Kinney, as well as others like Mike Campbell writing about the answer to the Earhart disappearance, we can feel assured that we know WHAT became of the Electra pair.

They were captured by the Japanese near Barre Island at Mili Atoll where they crash-landed, taken to Jaluit Atoll, the Japanese headquarters in the Marshall Islands, and then flown to Saipan where they spent time in the Japanese Jail in Garapan, eventually dying while in captivity.

While that may be the end of the 1937 story, it is not THE END of the story that subsequent generations have extracted from tons of available evidence.  We now know WHAT happened to them.

But the question remains unanswered: WHY?

Why did the Electra with such precious cargo as two beloved aviation professionals end up so far from Howland, and in Japanese hands in the Marshall Islands, a hotbed of war activity?  Our government knew that a pending attack was coming by the Japanese on China.  Our government knew that those islands should be avoided by civilians.

This was the official flight plan, 2,556 statute miles from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island. The 337-157 line of position, or sun line, passed through the Phoenix Islands, near Gardner Island, now known as Nikumaroro, and the popular theory, though completely false, is in part attributable to this phenomena.  (Map from Amelia Earhart’s Flight Into Yesterday: The Facts without the Fiction.)

Based upon firsthand sources, my actual course for the Electra is not a straight line from Lae to Howland Island.  Instead, due to a massive low-pressure system and serious thunderstorms sitting directly on the pre-planned course, the Electra flew directly east from Lae to the Solomon Islands, then northeast to the Nukumanu Islands (also known as Nukumanu Atoll and formerly Tasman Islands) hence northeast to Nauru Island, and then east toward Howland where the course turned dramatically northwest to the Marshalls from a distance approximating 200 miles from Howland, a small island 30-city-blocks-by-10-blocks wide.

Or could it be that the fact that our government knew these things was the very reason that The Amelia Story ended as it did?  That is not an idle question.

In fact, Japan’s declaration of war on China (July 7, 1937) which was the precursor of World War II four years later against the United States (Dec 7, 1941), did actually happen a mere five days after the Electra’s disappearance on July 2, 1937.

So, WHY did Amelia and Fred end up at the Marshall’s Mili Atoll, approximately 750 statute miles from their decision point northwest of Howland Island?

Our government knew all of this because they had already broken the Japanese Diplomatic Code, as well as all their naval codes.  Our leaders, especially President Franklin D. Roosevelt, knew that the Japanese were about to explode in war against China, at the time a U.S. ally. 

Our leaders, especially FDR, knew that war between Japan and China was on the horizon, if not with us.  THAT was no secret.  Our government, especially FDR, knew this.

But the world also knew something else, namely that Earhart and Noonan were actually making a civilian round-the-world flight at that very time, and would be passing within close proximity of serious military activity in the Marshall Islands.

Our government, especially FDR, knew all of this — and more. So why didn’t they issue a clear warning to Amelia to be extremely careful on that leg from New Guinea over the Gilbert Islands en route to Howland – or did they?

Has something been kept from the American public for over 80 years?  And one more WHY?  Why, after all these years, is it impossible to see the classified records that deal with what they call a mystery disappearance, especially the details about the Navy’s efforts to find Amelia, Noonan and the Electra?  If it truly is amystery, why not let us read the records for ourselves, so we can help solve this?  Why the secrecy?

Why is this civilian event, eight decades old, still off-limits to history researchers?  What is our government still trying to hide — and WHY?  Give that at least five seconds thought.  A civilian flight in 1937 is still off limits for researchers.  Why?  Give us the records and we’ll tell you why.

Two men who knew plenty more than they ever revealed about the fate of Amelia Earhart: Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. (left) and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1934. Neither man ever revealed his knowledge or was called to account for his role in the Earhart disappearance, her death on Saipan or the subsequent cover-up that continues to this day.

Nevertheless, in this search for a reasonable answer, there are some key events and realities which provide clues for removing another factual layer from thismystery onion.”  Aside from the government’s role, here is a sampling of a few clues which lead up to the point of Amelia’s fatal decision to change something significant in her plans.

1. Drift Bombs:  Noonan forgot the drift bombs at Lae, New Guinea, making it impossible with the drift indicator to determine daylight drift from the strong southeast crosswinds en route for the 2,556 statute mile, 18- to 20-hour flight in search of a very small island.  Not knowing the amount of drift complicated the question about how far north-northwest they were from their course upon arriving within about 200 miles of their destination.

Those bombs were ceramic-type cylinders filled with either bronze or aluminum shavings dropped from about 1000 feet, breaking as they hit the water and spreading a reflective surface on the water that could be tracked with the drift sight, estimating both the direction and speed of the wind. After dark, magnesium water lights were available.

Some Electras had a Mk IIB Pelorus drift sight which could be used on either side of the aircraft provided the Sperry “Auto Gyro Auto Pilot” created a stable flight. With turbulence, accuracy was virtually impossible.

Amelia’s sister, Muriel Earhart Morrissey, offered a description of how the Electra’s type D-270 Speed & Drift Indicator worked:An arrangement has been devised to open the cabin door about four inches, where it is held rigidly in place. A Pioneer drift indicator is mounted for use looking down through this aperture to check wind drift on the earth or sea below. For this work flares are used at night over water, smoke bombs in daylight.” (Morrissey, Muriel Earhart, Osborne, Carol L., Amelia, My Courageous Sister, Osborne Publisher, Inc., Santa Clara, 1987, p. 192)

There was some uncertainty regarding drift because Noonan forgot the “drift bombs.”

2. International Date Line:  They crossed the IDL when within about 200 statute miles of Howland.  Actually, according to my calculations on Google Earth, at an average ground speed of 145 to 150 mph, the Electra was within about five miles of the IDL at 1745z (Greenwich Mean Time, 6:15 a.m. local Howland time), when that important transmission of “about 200 miles out” was made, which was the time of sunrise at their destination.  If due to extreme fatigue or busyness, Noonan forgot to adjust for that change in days, then the accuracy of his celestial calculations would be off by at least 60 nautical miles or more.

Just before this critical time of 6:15 am (1745z), here is some of Noonan’s workload:  (We will assume that he had not been drinking the night before, and was not hung over, although there is one report to the contrary.  We will assume that he was only dealing with extreme fatigue caused by much loss of sleep.)

(1)  due to the reported clouds north and northwest of Howland, was he able to get good celestial calculations for an approximate position?

(2)  what guess did he make for their unknown drift due to a strong crosswind, where the drift meter was not usable due to his forgetfulness?

(3)  plotting that position on a chart;

(4)  determining their distance from Howland;

(5)  relaying this information to Amelia, via a fishing pole and card, for an important radio transmission at 6:15 (1745z), Howland’s sunrise, in compliance with their standard calls at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour;

(6)  reviewing the “celestial landfall” approach;

(7)  reviewing the “expanding box” technique of increasing the search area;

(8)  fighting off the mental fog from extreme fatigue;

(9)  remembering to change charts when passing over the International Date Line;

(10)  preparing for the next fix 30 minutes later at 6:45 a.m. (1815z) where the deviation for the celestial landfall approach would be initiated;

(11)  did Noonan take another star or moon shot to update their position?;

(12)  did he forget to use a different celestial chart for the next day as they crossed the IDL?  If he did, then his calculations were all wrong.  This we will never know.  But the coincidence of the mandatory 6:15 (1745z) radio call occurring at the very same time they were crossing the IDL was ironic, and was no small matter.

A view of Howland Island that Amelia Earhart never enjoyed.  The island, a property of the United States, about 8,000 feet long and 2,600 feet wide, remains uninhabited, but has always been quite popular among thousands of birds that nest and forage there.

3.  Celestial LandfallDid Noonan suggest to Amelia that they use the “celestial landfall” technique for approaching Howland?  As an instructor with Pan Am, it was Noonan’s practice to teach new navigators the technique of using a celestial Line of Position (LOP) as an imaginarylandfall, whereby they would deliberately aim some miles north or south of their destination so that upon arriving at the celestial landfall, or sun line, they would know which way to turn toward their intended runway.

As one who professionally taught this method of approaching an island in an ocean, such as Wake Island on Pan Am’s scheduled route, it is inconceivable that he himself would not use it with Amelia when approaching such a small island as Howland.  It is reasonable to assume that Noonan aimed north rather than south of their destination for the simple reason that their emergency landing occurred in the Marshall Islands, north of Howland.

Complicating this is the matter of cockpit communication.  With their cramped quarters and navigation table between the two of them, how did Noonan explain this approach to Amelia?  Did he do this at Lae, and if so, did such a detailed explanation register fully during the pressure of executing such an approach while fatigued and being distracted by various radio problems?

4. Expanding Box:  In addition to the above, if one had difficulty locating an island with the celestial landfall approach, then Noonan taught an additional method which was called theexpanding box technique.  This maneuver consisted of a series of 90-degree turns with expanding legs of the box.  This expanding box around a given point would hopefully and eventually allow them to locate their island.  Time and heading, corrected for wind, was the key for executing this method of surrounding a point with an expanding box.

5. Explaining celestial landfall:  As it applied to this specific approach to Howland:

(A)  It was defined by the Line of Position (LOP) which occurred over Howland at 6:15 a.m. (1745z) sunrise.  That definition is an imaginary line perpendicular to the sun’s azimuth listed in the navigational almanac for July 2, 1937, i.e. 067 degree azimuth creating a perpendicular “sun line” or LOP of 337 degrees NW or 157 degrees SE. 

(B)  However, the LOP at that time actually consisted of an imaginary zone of approximately 60 nautical miles in width from 6:15 a.m. (1745z) to 7:17 a.m. (1847z), the length of time the sun’s azimuth (the direction of a celestial object from the observer, expressed as the angular distance from the north or south point of the horizon to the point at which a vertical circle passing through the object intersects the horizon)** remained at 067 degrees. That meant that 7:16 am (1846z) was the outside limit of the existence of a “sun line” of 157°-337°, because the sun’s azimuth changed at 7:17 a.m.

** Put that into street language:  Standing on Howland, you are standing at the center of an imaginary compass. Look due east.  That is 90 degrees.  Turn left 23 degrees. You are now looking at 67 degrees where the sun will break over the horizon.  That gives you the sun’s azimuth at sunrise, 6:15 a.m. on July 2, 1937, a number published in the almanac that Noonan possessed.

(C)  Translated:  When you have time to explore some of the sites below, you’ll begin to see the impossible job Noonan had in explaining the concept to Amelia, and the impossible task she had trying to fly accordingly.  If you’re on the 157-337 sun line or LOP between 6:15 a.m. (1745z) and 7:17 a.m. (1846z) within 60 nautical miles of Howland, you might have success.  If you’re a novice, you might want to think twice about actually trying this for the first time out over the open Pacific. 

For more information, see The myth of the “sunrise” LOP – Fredienoonan;  Single LOP Landfall procedure – Fredienoonan;  American Air Navigator, Mattingly (1944) – Fredienoonan.

6.  CONFUSION: At 8:43 a.m. (2013z, according to the Itasca log) almost 90 minutes after 1846z, Amelia made a radio call to the Coast Guard Cutter Itasca at Howland, stating that they were running north and south on the (sun) line 157°-337°.  That, of course, was impossible since the sun’s azimuth had changed from 67° about 90 minutes earlier, thereby making a 157°-337° LOP nonexistent.

The difference in heading or course was minimal, but that is not the issue.  Instead, the issue was the confusion illustrated by such a transmission.  Noonan had undoubtedly used those course numbers more than an hour earlier, but obviously failed to explain how they changed with the sun’s changing azimuth.  At 8:43 a.m. (2013z), Amelia was flying a heading, not a course.  And with a very strong crosswind from the east, her position east and west was changing by the minute, even if her NW heading was a constant 337 degrees.

The Coast Guard Cutter Itasca was anchored off Howland Island on July 2, 1937 to help Amelia Earhart find the island and land safely at the airstrip that had been prepared there for her Lockheed Electra 10E.

This confusion was greatly complicated by much additional radio confusion, which was extremely concerning to the Itasca crew who were doing their best to communicate.  (The Itasca log and radio transmissions will be discussed later.)

7.  Position:  At 8:43 am (2013z), making an estimated calculation of her average ground speed of approximately 145-150 mph, PLUS making an estimated calculation for drift divergence from her desired easterly course, PLUS making an estimated pattern calculation for the celestial landfall approach, PLUS making an estimated pattern calculation for the expanding box technique, PLUS her radio transmission at 8:43 (2013z) stating that she was running north and south on the  nonexistent (sun) line 157-337, all provide a reasonable and realisticarea of position some 150-200 miles NW of Howland.

At 8:43 a.m. (2013z), with the last transmission (was it?) from Amelia as shown on the Itasca log, it had been 20-plus hours since their takeoff from Lae at 10 a.m. local Lae time (0000z):

  • where they had a serious thunderstorm diversion and strong low pressure area;
  • where they bucked excessively strong winds;
  • where the clear night sky turned to overcast coverage making star sightings and celestial calculations impossible for long periods of time;
  • where the drift meter was useless due to forgetting the drift bombs at Lae;
  • where radio problems surfaced and transmissions from Lae and the Itasca were mostly unheard, a repeat of an earlier case of losing their receiver;
  • where the Itasca had sent numerous Morse code messages (shown in the Itasca log), which went unacknowledged by the Electra, a verbalized frustration expressed by Bellarts and his radio crew;
  • where there was confusion regarding direction finder homingon a signal which could not be received;
  • where previous radio problems and incompatible frequencies re-appeared;
  • where Amelia had discounted the pleas of George Putnam and Gene Vidal to abandon the flight in Lae;
  • where Noonan’s drinking problem re-surfaced in Brazil and Lae;
  • where the human factor of fatigue, due to excessive stress and lack of sleep reared its ugly head, and
  • where Amelia was down to one last decision concerning the pre-flight Contingency Plan to reverse course for the Gilbert Islands.

UNDER THESE CONDITIONS, IT IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND WHY DECISION MAKING COULD BE IMPAIRED AND MISTAKES COULD BE MADE.  BUT THE REALITY IS THIS:  MUCH OF THEIR RADIO CONFUSION WAS SELF-INDUCED, WHICH CREATED PROBLEMS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED.

AS ONE LOOKS BACK TO HONOLULU AT HARRY MANNING’S DECISION TO LEAVE THE FLIGHTDUE TO INADEQUATE RADIO CAPABILITY,” WE CAN APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT THEY HAD SET THEMSELVES UP FOR PROBLEMS WHICH NEED NOT HAVE HAPPENED.  FOR THIS REASON, ALONG WITH THE MILITARY CONNECTION, WE WILL NEXT TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT WE CALL THE RADIO DISCONNECTION.

FURTHER, IF THERE WAS A BIGGER PLAN IN PLAY, AS WE WILL EXPLORE, THEN THE RADIO ISSUES COULD TAKE A BACK SEAT TO WHAT MAY REALLY HAVE BEEN HAPPENING.

End of “Clues” Part I

Your comments are welcome.  Though I agree with much of Calvin’s analysis, some points of disagreement are to be expected in any analysis of Amelia’s last flight, when so much is yet unknown and educated speculation is the best anyone can do.  I will refrain from expressing my views until Calvin’s complete analysis is published.  For now, I want to extend my most sincere appreciation and thanks to Calvin for his learned and timely contribution. 

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Did Nina Paxton hear Amelia’s calls for help? “Absolutely,” says longtime researcher Les Kinney

Another July has nearly passed, a month when, for decades, two things have been certain.  Many will flock to Atchison, Kansas for the annual Amelia Earhart Festival love-in on her July 24 birthday, and a new dose of recycled snake oil purporting to solve the so-called “Earhart Mystery” as dictated to media stenographers by Ric Gillespie of TIGHAR, the only “internationally recognized expert” to whom anyone should listen, will be injected into a culture sodden with lies about Amelia’s fate.  We’ve been watching this revolting circus of endless deceit for 30 years now, with no relief in sight.

Last year Gillespie brought cadaver dogs to Nikumaroro to search for the remains of the lost fliers.  Words fail to express how utterly ridiculous this idea was, once one understands how many people lived and died there since the late 1930s, none of them Earhart or Fred Noonan!  Even more ludicrous, the U.S. and world media reported this absurd spectacle as if it were a serious attempt to find the lost fliers, while an ignorant, incurious public looked on without a word of protest against this attack on all common sense.

(Editor’s note:  Soon after this post was published, TIGHAR’s Tom King Ph.D. wrote to inform us that “Ric didn’t take the forensic dogs to Nikumaroro; he opposed our taking them. You can blame National Geographic and me for that outrage.”)

Amelia turned 121 on July 24, but who’s counting? Once in a blue moon the lady who was part tomboy, part grease monkey and all pilot would dress up for a photographer, and at these times she could be quite stunning, as in the above. Happy Birthday, Amelia! (Courtesy Bachrach.)

We can fairly wonder why our esteemed media gatekeepers never asked TIGHAR’s boss why he would be looking for Earhart’s bones on Nikumaroro, when the bones found there in 1940 were long gone, and according to University of Tennessee professor Richard L. Jantz, were almost certainly Earhart’s?  On March 7, 2018, The Washington Post covered the story thusly: Bones discovered on an island are hers, a new analysis shows.” 

This July, Gillespie didn’t ask the credulous to believe that a jar of freckle cream, discarded pieces of aluminum, an old shoe sole, a zipper, a woman’s compact or even long disappeared human bones are proof that Earhart and Fred Noonan landed on Nikumaroro in the Phoenix Islands and died of starvation a week later on an island overflowing with food and water sources.

Gillespie has taken a more subtle approach this year, perhaps realizing that nearly everyone except the truly brain dead have had their fill of the annual hysteria and phony hype about the imminent “solution to the Earhart mystery” that he and his minions will soon produce.  These disinformation drills are always followed by absolutely nothing, as another worthless claim is debunked and falls by the wayside, relegated to the garbage pile of the assorted flotsam and jetsam that Gillespie and his cronies have scraped and dug out of Nikumaroro, where hundreds of native settlers and even U.S. Coast Guardsmen lived from the late 1930s to the ’60s.

In a lengthy paper titled “The Post-loss Radio Signals” he authored with Robert Brandenburg, Gillespie brings out his trademark bells, whistles, colorized graphs and charts that have long dazzled and bamboozled the unwary and made him infamous among the literate to proclaim:  “As with Dr. Jantz’s findings, the patterns and relationships emerging from the data show that TIGHAR has answered the 81-year-old question: what really happened to Amelia Earhart?”  None of this is new, and nothing Gillespie conjures up will ever place the lost fliers on Nikumaroro, because they were never there, as a mountain of legitimate evidence tells all who bother to take their eyes off the shiny objects TIGHAR is constantly waving at them.

The Washington Post, long a stalwart in the TIGHAR water-carrying brigade, led the way in this season’s current propaganda blitz with its July 25 story, Amelia Earhart’s last calls: Research suggests dozens heard radioed cries for help.”  Here’s the key excerpt from the Post story we will focus on forthwith:

On July 3, for example, Nina Paxton, an Ashland, Ky., woman, said she heard Earhart say “KHAQQ calling,” and say she was “on or near little island at a point near” . . . “then she said something about a storm and that the wind was blowing.”

“Will have to get out of here,” she says at one point. “We can’t stay here long.”

Note that the Washington Post says nothing about where the radio signals came from that Paxton claims she heard, despite the fact that Paxton named that location in some of her letters.   Of course not, because the Marshall Islands are nowhere near Nikumaroro, where Gillespie and TIGHAR’s cash cow lives. 

Fox News, along with the rest of the usual suspects, followed the Post story with its own version of the same agitprop, and three comments with my name and Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last were expunged shortly after they appeared on the Fox News site.  This was reported to me by staunch supporter William Trail, who notices such things.  When it comes to the Earhart story, Fox News is far worse than the hated Washington Post, which Fox demeans as being too liberal.  Can you blame me for despising this “fair and balanced” news Gestapo? 

At least the Post briefly mentioned Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last in its new article, and even provided a link to its July 11, 2017 story, which gave me a few paragraphs to vent, thanks to Amy B. Wang, the story’s co-author who took the time to briefly interview me.  Pigs will fly before Fox News or any of the other mainline media would even consider doing such a thing.

In a letter to Fred Goerner describing her July 3 radio reception, Nina Paxton wrote, “We lost our course yesterday and came up here.  Directly Northeast of a part of Marshall Islands near Mili Atoll.”  (Photo courtesy Les Kinney.)

Longtime researcher Les Kinney has plenty more to say about Paxton’s claims, and he doesn’t file his stories with Fox News, the Washington Post or any other news organizations, for obvious reasons.  Occasionally he brings his work here, where the truth is always welcome and most appreciated, especially when it sheds new light on nagging questions.

The last time we heard from Kinney was his March 9 dismantling of the aforementioned TIGHAR-Richard Jantz-bones fantasies.  Although we still differ over his belief about the identity of the figure sitting on the dock in the Jaluit-ONI photo of History Channel infamy, as far as I can discern, we agree on virtually everything else of significance. 

Without further delay, here’s some real Earhart news, courtesy of an Earhart researcher whose findings, with one well-known exception, will not be found in our corrupt media. (All boldface mine.)

The Nina Paxton Papers
By Les Kinney

At about 2:20 in the afternoon of July 3, 1937, Nina Paxton was fiddling with the tuner on her Philco radio in Ashland, Kentucky.  Suddenly, she heard Amelia Earhart “In a very clear strong voice.” For a few seconds, Nina attended to the needs of her five-year old son thinking Miss Earhart must be on a training flight.  When she then realized Amelia was crying for help, she listened and took a few notes.  A few minutes later, Earhart was gone.

Until her death on Christmas Day, 1970, Nina Paxton told anyone who would listen that Earhart had crash landed in the Marshall Islands.  She tried to remember everything she heard that day. She began standing vigil over her radio listening to the short wave band hoping to hear Amelia again.  A few years later, Nina wrote to Rand McNally looking for information on the Marshall Islands.  She developed a guilt complex and believed she hadn’t done enough to save Earhart’s life. She searched for new memories, words or phrases Amelia might have said on that early July afternoon that might have previously escaped her.  No one seemed to believe her.  In the mid-1940s, she wrote to the Office of Naval Intelligence, Walter Winchell, and the FBI.  Toward the end of her life she corresponded with Fred Goerner, the bestselling author of The Search for Amelia Earhart.  Nina’s letters always carried the same general message: Amelia Earhart landed in the Marshall Islands.

Skeptics said Nina could have gotten her information from newspapers, radio, and seeing the 1943 movie Flight for Freedom.  The fact that Nina waited a full week to tell her local newspaper didn’t help her credibility.  On July 9, 1937, the following brief article appeared in the Ashland Daily Independent. It differs from Nina’s notes from July and August 1937.  Nina had more to say than the local reporter sent to print:      

Mrs. C.B. Paxton, 3024 Bath Avenue, told the Independent she heard the distress message of Amelia Earhart noted American woman flyer lost in the Pacific ocean last Saturday afternoon at two o’clock.  Miss Earhart and her navigator Frederick J. Noonan, last were heard from in the air at 2:12 EST last Friday when they said they had only a supply of gas good for thirty minutes.

This news story appeared in the Ashland (Kentucky) Daily Independent on July 9, 1937.

The message came in on my short wave set very plain,” Mrs. Paxton said,and Miss Earhart talked for some time.  I turned the radio down one time to talk to my little child and then turned it back up to catch the last part of the message.

I didn’t understand everything Miss Earhart had said,” Mrs. Paxton told the Independent, because there was some noise.  She gave the following message as she understood it:

“Down in ocean,” then Miss Earhart either said ‘on,’ ‘or’ [sic] near little island at a point near. . . .” After that Mrs. Paxton understood her to say something about “directly northeast,” although she was not sure about that part. “Our plane about out of gas.  Water all around very dark.” Then she said something about a storm and that the wind was blowing. ‘Will have to get out of here,’ she said. “We can’t stay here long.”

The message was preceded by Miss Earhart’s call letters, “KHAQQ calling, KHAQQ calling.”      

Because Nina’s letters in the 1940s were so passionate, I suspected what she had to say was true.  Why would she lie? Nina was educated, married, a registered nurse, and had no bone to pick.  When I started investigating her background, I found out she died a widow in Ashland, Ky., Christmas Day in 1970.  She left no family.  Her husband passed away in 1954.  Her son got into one scrape after another until he ended up in prison.

It took me three years and quite a bit of luck to locate the Paxton papers.  Eventually, I discovered Nina’s Earhart files at tiny Mars Hills University in the mountains of western North Carolina.  They were donated to the university by a wife of a doctor that had worked with Nina in the 1950s.  The Paxton box had been collecting dust in a library storeroom since 1975.

I planned to report the Paxton findings in the book I am writing on the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.  Recent events caused me to change my mind.  TIGHAR just released a new Post Loss Radio Study touting the claims of Betty Klenck in 1937 as a 15-year-old claimed to have heard Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on her home radio for several days.  None of the post-loss radio messages collected by TIGHAR give a location where Amelia and Fred went down.  The Paxton papers tell us Earhart and Noonan went down in the Marshall Islands.  Mars Hills University recently put a few of Nina Paxton’s letters on the internet:  http://southernappalachianarchives.org/ /show/4It is time to share my findings.

There are over a hundred letters, some notes, and a few newspaper and magazine clippings making up the Paxton material.  I copied them all.  The first letter is dated July 14, 1937.  Nina continued to write and offer insight into the Earhart disappearance until close to her death.  After reviewing all the files, it appears there might be a few writings and reference notes missing.

At about 2 p.m. on July 3, 1937, local time, Nina Paxton heard Amelia Earhart’s distressed voice announce she had gone down in the Marshall Islands.  Nina had no idea where the Marshall Islands were located.  Nor did she know the call sign for Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra wasn’t KHABQ.  After hearing Earhart on her radio, Nina went to the Ashland Police Department and then to a nearby Coast Guard Station to report what she had heard. They laughed at her and said the call sign for Earhart’s Electra was KHAQQ.  It was for this reason that Nina didn’t tell the local press of Earhart’s distress message until July 9, 1937.  Nina had no idea the call sign for Earhart’s previous plane, a Lockheed Vega, was KHABQ.  A tired, exhausted, worried and emotionally drained Amelia Earhart blurted out her old call sign the day Nina heard the distress message on July 3, 1937.  It would have been an easy thing to do.

“There is a picture of Amelia and Fred on the internet standing next to the tail of the Electra looking over such a map,” Les Kinney writes.  “If they relied on that map, Fred would have only had a general idea where he and Amelia had gone down.”

Nina Paxton heard the only post-loss radio report giving a specific location where Amelia and Fred landed.  During the two months following Earhart’s disappearance, Nina enclosed her rough notes in the letters she sent to Mrs. Noonan, George Palmer Putnam, Walter Winchell and Congressman Fred M. Vinson.  Nina typed the rough notes out twice and tried not to embellish what she had heard.  She created spaces where she was unsure of a word or phrase.  The first rough note is without a heading.  The second one is titled, “Call of a Courageous Lady.”  She didn’t like that either and scratched it out.

In some of her later notes, which aren’t on Mars Hill’s web site, Nina wonders why Amelia used the time of her arrival as 2:20.  She possibly thought Earhart might have converted the time to Eastern Standard Time and makes that point in later letters.  Nina puts this confusion in parentheses.  Nina’s two rough notes held by Mars Hill University seem to be a cumulative compilation she completed sometime in August 1937.  Nina says “the plane was damaged in landing near a part of Marshall Islands.” Amelia says Noonan was injured, and that he “doesn’t walk very well, and that he (Noonan) bruised his leg badly when landing.”

(Editor’s note:  This detail about Noonan’s leg injury is directly reflected by eyewitness Bilimon Amaron’s account to several researchers, including Vincent V. Loomis.  See pages 107-108 in Amelia Earhart: The Final Story.)

In a letter to George Putnam dated Aug. 5, 1937, Nina writes she found a piece of scratch paper she had written while listening to Earhart. Miss Earhart mentioned three little islands.  The little one (perhaps a reef) they were on, north of Howland Island at a point very near an island she called “Marshall.”  (Sadly, this little piece of scratch paper is missing from the Mars Hill holdings.)  Rather naively, Nina tells George Putnam in a letter dated Aug. 5, 1937, “If there is an island known by the name of Marshall and it can be contacted, I believe it well worthwhile to do so at once as I am sure Miss Earhart, and Captain Noonan will be found in this area.”  

Early researchers Vincent Loomis and Oliver Knaggs in the late 1970s and early 1980s focused their attention on the middle of three islands at Mili Atoll.  On my recent trips to Mili Atoll, we discovered airplane artifacts in the middle of three small islands.  Nina’s rough notes indicate she heard Earhart say, “Directly north-east of a part of Marshall Islands, 90 ****173 longitude and 5 latitude. We missed our course yesterday and came up here.”

This section of the “Sketch Survey” of Mili Atoll taken from U.S. and Japanese charts focuses on the northwest quadrant of Mili Atoll, where Barre Island is clearly noted.  Native witnesses saw the Electra come down near Barre, and Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were seen embarking the Electra and seeking shelter on one of the tiny Endriken Islands nearby.  Recent searches of the area by Dick Spink and Les Kinney have uncovered several artifacts that might have come from the Earhart Electra, but testing has not solely linked them to the Earhart plane to the exclusion of all others. 

No one knows whether Fred Noonan carried sectional maps for the Marshall Islands.  The U.S. Navy hadn’t the opportunity to map the area since the Japanese took control in 1914.  It wasn’t on their planned route and its likely Fred had to rely on an old British map of the Pacific from his seafaring days.  There is a picture of Amelia and Fred on the internet standing next to the tail of the Electra looking over such a map.  If they relied on that map, Fred would have only had a general idea where he and Amelia had gone down.

When Nina heard Amelia Earhart on the afternoon of July 3, 1937, she scratched down a few words where Amelia said they had landed. 90 ******173 longitude and 5 latitude.  If you look on a map, 5 degrees North latitude and 173 East longitude is not far from Mili Atoll.  (End of “Nina Paxton Papers.” )

I devoted nine pages of Chapter III, “The Search and the Radio Signals,” in Truth at Last, a section titled “The ‘Post-Loss’ Radio Messages,” (pages 40-49 TAL 2nd Ed.) to an examination of most of the significant alleged receptions from Amelia, but omitted Nina Paxton’s claims because at the time I wasn’t enthusiastic about them and hadn’t properly researched the Paxton claims to write about them intelligently.  Thanks to Les Kinney, we’re now much smarter about Nina Paxton.

So what are we to believe?  Did Amelia Earhart send radio messages from her downed Electra, transmissions that were heard by Nina Paxton in Ashland, Ky., by Pan American Airways, U.S. Navy stations in the central Pacific and numerous amateur radio operators in the continental United States?  I’m not technically smart enough to claim any special insights, but I’ve presented the educated verdicts of several experts in radio propagation and reception capabilities of the day in several posts.  For what its worth, I think Nina Paxton’s account could be the most compelling of all these alleged messages, and should be taken seriously at the very least. 

You can find an extensive discussion of the significant post-loss messages in the three posts I wrote on this subject in 2014:

Earhart’s “post-loss messages”: Real or fantasy? published April 30, 2014, followed by Experts weigh in on Earhart’spost-loss’ messages two weeks later, and finally Amelia Earhart’s alleged ‘Land in sight’ message remains a curiosity, if not a mystery | Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last on May 27, 2014.

Noted Earhart book review removed from Internet

In the entire history of reviews of the handful of books that present aspects of the truth in the Earhart disappearance, only two are memorable.  The first was the Sept. 161966 Time magazine unbylined attack against Fred Goerner’s The Search for Amelia Earhart, titled “Sinister Conspiracy?and still available online, though you have to subscribe to the source to see it now.  My commentary about Time’s hit piece, “The Search for Amelia Earhart”: Setting the stage for 50 years of media deceit,” was posted June 21, 2016; you can read it by clicking here.  Goerner, a KCBS radio personality in San Francisco, was the only real newsman to ever seriously investigate the Earhart case.  

The only other significant review of an Earhart disappearance work was Jeffrey Hart’s examination of Vincent V. Loomis’ Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, which appeared in William F. Buckley’s National Review in the Oct. 18, 1985 issue, but is no longer available online.

Hart wasn’t an Earhart researcher, and his belief about the reason Earhart reached Mili is the same pure speculation that Loomis advanced.  But Hart was a well-known establishment pundit, critic and columnist, and wrote for National Review for more than three decades, where he was senior editor.  He wrote speeches for Ronald Reagan while he was governor of California, and for Richard Nixon.  Now 88, Jeffrey Hart is professor emeritus of English at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire.  No one of similar stature has ever written a review of an Earhart disappearance book.

I’ll have a bit more to say, but here is Jeffrey Hart’s review of Amelia Earhart:  The Final Story, originally titled “The Rest of the Story.”   Boldface is mine throughout.

AS A BOY I was thrilled with horror when Amelia Earhart disappeared somewhere out over the Pacific during the summer of 1937.  She had been the first woman to fly the Atlantic, and now she and her navigator were trying to circle the globe at the equator.  She rather disliked being called “Lady Lindy” by the press, because she wanted her own independent identity, but the odd thing was that she looked a little like Lindbergh: thin, with short hair and a wide grin, somehow quintessentially American.

Vincent V. Loomis’ 1985 book is among the most important ever written about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, and solidly established her presence, along with Fred Noonan, in the Marshall Islands soon after their July 2, 1937 disappearance.

On her last flight she and her navigator Fred Noonan, flew an advanced-model twin-engine aluminum Electra specially designed for the trip.  It was known to the press as the “Flying Laboratory.”  On July 2, 1937, all contact with the plane was lost, and searches by U.S. ships and planes failed to turn up any trace of Miss Earhart, Noonan, or the plane.  As far as anyone at the time knew, they had simply disappeared into that vast blueness, like Hart Crane off the Orizzaba.

It turns out that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were the first casualties of the coming Pacific war with the Japanese.  Vincent Loomis, a former USAF pilot with extensive Pacific experience, became fascinated with the Earhart mystery and made it his business to solve it, which he had done. lt is a remarkable, enormously romantic, and heartbreaking story.  Loomis went to the Pacific, traveled around the relevant islands, and found natives who had seen the plane crash and had seen Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. He interviewed the surviving Japanese who were involved, and he photographed the hitherto unknown Japanese military and diplomatic documents.  The mystery is a mystery no longer.

For all her frame and accomplishments, Amelia Earhart was an innocent flying out over the Pacific.  She and Noonan were also incompetent navigators and did not know how to work their state-of-the-art equipment.  They were thus more than a hundred miles off course flying right into the middle of the secret war plans of the Japanese empire* when they ran out of fuel and had to ditch the Electra.  (Editor’s note: Amelia never claimed to be a navigator at all, but Noonan was recognized as among the best in the world at the time of the final flight.)

By 1937 the Japanese had long since concluded that war with the United States for control of the western Pacific was inevitable.  They were hatching plans with Hitler to divide up the British, French, and Dutch possessions that would be vulnerable as a result of the coming European war.  The projected Japanese empire, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, would have its large mainland anchor in a China the Japanese were attempting to conquer, and The Pacific islands would be the first line of defense against the U.S. Navy. The Japanese knew that the United States was unlikely to tolerate their geopolitical plans and would be decidedly hostile to any monopolistic co-prosperity sphere run from Tokyo.

The Japanese had acquired control of the key Pacific islands at the end of World War I under a League of Nations mandate.  In violation of international law, they were pouring military resources into them.  All Japanese military personnel worked in civilian clothes.  Newly paved airstrips were marked as “farms” on the maps.  Foreign visitors were absolutely excluded.  If the local natives obeyed the Japanese rules they were treated fairly, and the Japanese even married some of them.  An infraction, however, could mean instant death.

Jeffrey Hart, undated, from Hart’s  Wikipedia page.

On July 2, 1937, bewildered and lost, Amelia Earhart crash-landed in the middle of all this, putting the Electra down and running into an atoll near Mili Mili a principal military position in the Japanese Marshall Island chain.  The Japanese took her and Noonan prisoner and tried to figure out what to do with them.  They could hardly release them, not knowing what they had seen.  Perhaps the American fliers could blow the whistle on the whole secret operation.  They might even be spies.  Actually, they had seen nothing.

The two Americans were shipped to Japanese military headquarters on Saipan and jailed.  The conditions were miserable, but not unusual for that time and place.  The jail was not set up to serve food to the prisoners, mostly natives, whose meals were brought to them by relatives.  But the jailers did provide the two Americans with soup, fish, and so forth, though of very poor quality, and with medical treatment.  When an exasperated Fred Noonan threw a foul bowl of soup at a Japanese jailer, he was forced to dig his own grave and was immediately beheaded.  Japanese culture was not especially permissive in 1937.

After a while, Miss Earhart was allowed a limited amount of freedom and made friends with native families, some of whom Loomis interviewed.  She was permitted visits to these friends, and her diet and spirits improved.  In mid-1938, however, life in the tropics proved too much for her and she came down with a severe case of dysentery, weakened rapidly, and died there on Saipan.  She does not seem to have grasped the significance of what she had stumbled upon and witnessed; ironically enough, she was a philosophical pacifist.  The Japanese military asked the natives to provide a wreath for her, and she was buried with Noonan.

Vincent V. Loomis at Mili, 1979. In four trips to the Marshall Islands, Loomis collected considerable witness testimony indicating the fliers’ presence there. His 1985 book, Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, is among the most important of the Earhart disappearance books, in that it established the presence of Amelia and Fred Noonan at Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands following their disappearance on July 2, 1937. (Courtesy Clayton Loomis.)

One curious footnote to the story is that the present Japanese government, democratic and pro-Western as it supposedly is, has been covering the whole thing up.  Today’s Tokyo will not admit, in the face of absurdly obvious proof, that the imperial government was violating the terms of its mandate by militarizing the islands, claiming that everything the islands, claiming that everything going on had to do with “culture” and fishing — no one here but us Japanese Margaret Meads and a few fishing boats.  Nor will today’s Tokyo admit that the imperial government lied fifty years ago when it covered up the Amelia Earhart matter.  Of course no U.S. Navy search vessels were allowed anywhere near the Marshall Islands.  The Japanese claimed that they themselves were doing all the necessary searching.  Loomis shows that the “search ships” were in Tokyo Bay at the time. It is odd that the present government cannot admit to the demonstrable facts; it must represent some sort of face-saving.  But Tokyo has run out of luck on this one.  Vincent Loomis has the documents, the testimony of the Pacific islanders, local Catholic nuns, Japanese medics and seamen.

It is all very poignant.  One sees that the Japanese military among whom Amelia Earhart lived for about a year could not begin to comprehend her, this woman pilot, this . . . American.  But the evidence is that the Japanese who knew her, if from a very great cultural distance, nevertheless bemusedly admired her.  (End of Hart review.)

Hart wrote an accurate, unbiased review of The Final Story, but neither the U.S. government or anyone else in the media got his memo that “the mystery is a mystery no longer.”  Not only did they disagree, and still do, but Hart’s review has been expunged from the Internet, where the hard copy I have is taken from Encyclopedia.com in 2007.  I don’t know when the review was removed, but there’s no doubt about why it’s gone, and I’m not going to repeat here how sacred cows get even better with age. 

Within the past year, plugging the name Amelia Earhart into the Amazon.com search engine has resulted in over 1,500 results for books; recently, for some unknown reason, that number has fallen to “over 1,000” in the same category.  Nevertheless, many books have been penned about our ageless American heroine, but of these thousand or so, only about 10 actually present aspects of the truth about the Earhart case.  The rest, 99.9 percent, are biographies, novels, children’s books (the biggest sellers) and assorted fantasies — all except the good biographies only muddle the picture and further obscure the truth.

Fred Goerner in his heyday at KCBS San Francisco, circa 1966. (Courtesy Merla Zellerbach.)

The indisputable fact that this phenomenon exists tells us something is very wrong with the media’s relationship to the Earhart story.  For the most recent example of media propaganda and malfeasance, we need only turn to our trusted Fox News and its June 27 non-news piece, Amelia Earhart signed document discovered in attic box.”  Moreover, Fox News has never allowed my name or the title of Truth at Last to stand in the comments section of any of its Earhart stories, to my knowledge.

As I wrote at the top of this post, Fred Goerner was the only newsman to ever publicly advocate for the Saipan-Marshall Islands truth in the Earhart disappearance.  When you consider the few important books written about the so-called “Earhart mystery,” consider also the authors of these works.  Obscure non-journalists such as Thomas E. Devine, Vincent V. Loomis, Oliver Knaggs, Joe Davidson and T.C. “Buddy” Brennan produced the important tomes about the Earhart matter.  Paul Briand Jr., who authored the seminal work of the genre, Daughter of the Sky, in 1960, was an English professor at the Air Force Academy.  Bill Prymak, an engineer by trade, was not an author, but his assemblage of Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters is as important as any but a few of the books, though the newsletters are unavailable to the public.

Why hasn’t any newsperson, author or journalist except Fred Goerner ever investigated the Earhart story?  The question is rhetorical, of course, as the few who read this blog know, but its answer reveals the real problem. 

July 2, 2018: 81 years of lies in the Earhart case

For the few who pay attention to the ongoing saga of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, today marks another year’s passing, the 81st, and it’s not been uneventful.

Most will recall last July’s History Channel flap over the bogus claims about the Office of Naval Intelligence photo found at the NARA Archives in College Park, Md., by researcher Les Kinney several years ago and presented in the odious Morningstar Entertainment-produced “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.”  To refresh your memory, here is my review of that July 9, 2017 abomination:History’s ‘Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence’: Underhanded attack on the Marshalls-Saipan truth.

Much more was written here during that time frame about that over-hyped disinformation drill, but at the end it was all smoke and mirrors.  Just as the lowlifes who ran that deceitful operation had planned, nothing changed in our cowardly media.  Our Fourth Estate’s aversion to publishing anything related to the truth continues unabated, and anything even hinting at the Marshalls-Saipan truth continues to be blacklisted across all news and media outlets, as does Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.

Amelia Earhart soon after her landing in a pasture at Culmore, north of Derry, Northern Ireland, on May 21, 1932.  She had spent the last 15 hours tossed by dangerous storms over the North Atlantic, contending with failing machinery and sipping a can of tomato juice to calm her queasy stomach.  She had planned to end her journey at Paris’ Le Bourget airfield, where exactly five years earlier Charles Lindbergh had completed the first solo transatlantic flight. When her Vega’s reserve fuel tank sprang a leak and flames began engulfing the exhaust manifold, however, Earhart wound up in a Northern Ireland pasture. From that moment, Amelia Earhart’s star shined brightest, and her like has not been seen since.  The site is now the home of a small museum, the Amelia Earhart Centre.

Early in 2018, however, something quite unexpected finally appeared on the heretofore dismal Earhart horizon, with the announcement that appeared in the Feb. 7 Marianas Variety (“Micronesia’s Leading Newspaper Since 1972″), Group to build Amelia Earhart monument on Saipan.” 

On Feb. 14, Marianas Variety published my letter to the editor, Amelia Earhart’s Saipan fate,” that enthusiastically welcomed the news of plans to honor the First Lady of Flight at the location of her tragic and untimely death sometime after she failed to reach Howland Island in early July 1937.  You might recall my March 2 post that announced that recent development  on Saipan,Finally, some good Earhart news from Saipan.

Several stories have been published here and in the Marianas Variety on the proposed Earhart Memorial Monument, including Marie Castro: Iron link to Saipan’s forgotten history,in praise of the intrepid soul who birthed the bold plan to build the Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan, and who continues her brave efforts, with little help, and hopes that need serious bolstering  in light of the very bad politics that surround the memorial initiative on Saipan.

The situation on Saipan is a constant concern, and a minor miracle will be necessary to bring the Earhart memorial to the light of day — a wonder for which we will sincerely thank Marie Castro, her unyielding devotion to the truth and her constant prayers for moving God to grant, if indeed it ever happens. 

I think today’s anniversary is an appropriate time to present what I define as my general Position Statement regarding the Earhart matter, especially its relationship to our broken culture and the feckless media who are largely responsible for creating it.  I’ve sent various parties versions of the below statement, and have updated and revised it slightly to conform as closely as possible to the current state of affairs.   I only wish that just a few in the media who have not been bought and sold by the establishment would grow a backbone and step forward to support what is clearly not an “aviation mystery,” but an obvious truth lying in plain sight, as well as a worthy and long overdue cause.  

Many won’t like the words they read below, and will strongly disagree with this little treatise, learned the hard way during 30 years of focus and work on the Earhart matter.  But nobody will send anything that credibly refutes any of it, because the truth doesn’t change and is not a matter of opinion, but a specific, discrete series of events that occurred involving the doomed fliers, beginning on July 2, 1937.  All who desire to rebut the below are welcome to send their statements to the comments section, so that others can judge for themselves the merit, or lack of same, in those assertions. 

Following is my statement on the Earhart situation, and I’m sticking to it.  Boldface is mine throughout:

The very idea that the disappearance of Amelia Earhart is a “great aviation mystery” is arguably the most despicable of all the prevailing myths of mainstream American history.  So effective has the U.S. government been in creating, maintaining and protecting this straw man as the unquestioned narrative, that it has become a fixture in our cultural furniture, and because of its universal acceptance by the gullible, incurious masses, the phony phraseology “Earhart mystery” defines and dominates all public dialogue about the Earhart case, while the fact of Amelia’s wretched and unnecessary demise at the hands of the prewar Japanese on Saipan is ignored or labeled “conspiracy theory,” advanced only by and for the fringe conspiracy lunatics of society.

An artist’s rendition of the proposed Amelia Earhart Memorial on Saipan, displayed by local architect Ramon Cabrera in the Feb. 7 Marianas Variety story that initially announced the plan for the monument. 

But deep in the bowels of the U.S. government security apparatus, some are well aware of the fliers’ true fate, and they protect the physical evidence that would reveal the truth that lies in the deepest recesses of our national security apparatus, known only to these scant few custodians of this precious evidence.  I explain all this in my book and in my blog, and won’t go on at length here.

Discerning individuals who examine the popular Earhart “theories” soon find not a scintilla of evidence for either crashed-and-sank or Nikumaroro that doesn’t break down under the slightest scrutiny.  Not a single artifact in a dozen trips since 1989 that’s been scrounged up from the Nikumaroro garbage dumps has been forensically linked to Amelia Earhart or Fred Noonan, despite the constant drumbeat of our corrupt media establishment telling us to buy this snake oil.  Many of the ignorant and gullible have indeed bought it, much to their chagrin as they realize the Nikumaroro bill of goods is rotten at its core.

Actually, no real “theories” exist in the Earhart disappearance, as the word is properly defined.  We have the truth — supported by several dozens of witnesses and documents — that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan crash-landed in the Marshalls, were picked up and taken to Saipan by the Japanese, and died there at some unknown date before the American invasion in June 1944, likely as many as six years before the Battle of Saipan.  Several small details remain unknown, but the big picture is lying in plain sight, as clear as the nose on Fred Noonan’s face, obvious to all but the blind and the agenda driven.

And we have enormous, transparent lies.  First came the original crash-and-sank myth born in 1937 with the Navy-Coast Guard’s search findings — briefly logical until overcome by the facts — which finally became so ludicrous and unacceptable by the late 1980s that a new deception to distract the sheeple was necessary.  Thus was born the current Nikumaroro virus, which continues to be the media’s default position and infects virtually everything Earhart.  Even the brain dead are no longer fooled.  

The truth is that both of these canards have been glorified and raised to the status of “theories” by a deep-state establishment desperate to protect the checkered legacy of our president at the time of Earhart’s death, Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Thus, when this case is discussed by those considered to be knowledgeable professionals, whose names are well known to readers of this blog and need not be mentioned now, normal rules of investigation, including analysis of evidence and the scientific approach, are thoroughly ignored, and truth is the first casualty.

This headline, from the San Mateo Times of July 1, 1960, is as true today as it was then; only a few small details remain elusive.

As I constantly stress in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last and here on my blog, the truth in the Earhart case has been a sacred cow in Washington since the earliest days of the search.  The time is long overdue for the truth to be recognized and accepted, and for the parasites who have made their livings by peddling lies about Amelia’s sad fate to go away and find more honest ways to earn their livings. (End position statement.)

These are the nuts and bolts, the essence of the endless rigmarole about the so-called Earhart mystery, which I write about constantly in what is usually a vain effort to educate those willing to learn about this ongoing American travesty, this stain upon our great nation’s history. 

No end is in sight, but even if it’s only here on this blog, I’ll continue to expose the lies and enlighten those who remain unblinded by the panoply of falsehood that currently rules the Earhart matter, an insidious rot that has stripped all vestiges of truth from the Earhart situation, and it’s only getting worse.

If President Donald Trump were aware of the disgraceful 81-year suppression of the facts in the Earhart disappearance, I’m confident he would do his best to effect full U.S. government disclosure of the truth, to slay this sacred cow and put a long-overdue end to this ridiculous spectacle of a bogus mystery that’s been solved since the early 1960s, at the very latest.  But who will tell him?

Don Wilson’s bizarre 1994 Earhart encounter

Donald M. Wilson was a veteran of the Battle of Saipan, where he was both a rifleman and a chaplain’s assistant in the 2nd Marine Division, and where he no doubt heard stories about the presence and death of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan in the pre-war years.  He became an ordained minister and served as a pastor and assistant pastor in several churches in Ohio, Michigan and finally in Lake Pleasant, New York, where he passed away on Thanksgiving Day, 2012, at age 86.

Wilson was also an avid student of the Earhart disappearance, and he occasionally corresponded with fellow Saipan veteran Thomas E. Devine.  In 1994, Wilson self-published Amelia Earhart: Lost Legend: Accounts by Pacific Island Witnesses of the Crash, Rescue and Imprisonment of America’s Most Famous Female Aviator and Her Navigator, an obscure anthology known chiefly to habitués of Bill Prymak’s Amelia Earhart Society of Researchers, where he was a respected member.

The following letter, from Wilson to Prymak in April 1994, appeared in the November 1998 Amelia Earhart Society Newslettersconcerns a strange incident involving Wilson and an unidentified man that occurred at an unknown time and location, and in that regard it is reminiscent of several other accounts of unknown provenance that have been passed down to us through the years.  It also reprises some of the more unpleasant possible scenarios of Earhart’s final days on Saipan, and I present it for your consideration.  Boldface is mine throughout.

A STRANGE ENCOUNTER BY DON WILSON

Donald Moyer Wilson
One Woods Point
Webster, NY 14580

April 28, 1994

Dear Bill,

During a book signing recently, a man came up to me and said insistently that Amelia Earhart was captured by the Japanese and executed by them.  He identified himself as a former Marine Corps colonel, who had spent three months at the Pentagon.  He pulled out his wallet to show me some identification.  Unfortunately, I did not look at it carefully, and do not remember his name.

He seemed to be bitter about his experience with the Pentagon.  He said that he had worked with G-2 — Intelligence.  He claimed that he saw secret documents about Amelia Earhart.  He said there were two witnesses to her execution, not just one.  He also said that she had been stripped at the time of her execution and previously raped by her guards.  He also said (and I neglected to tell you this) something about her fingers or fingernails, that they had been mutilated, or possibly her fingernails had been pulled out. He also said (again I forgot to tell you this) that, as I recall, her body had been removed from the grave later, and cremated (possibly by Americans? — I’m not sure of this).

He said that the Earhart plane had been destroyed — I’m quite sure he said by Americans on Saipan.  He was very reluctant to give more details, and when I suggested things like the name of the airfield on Saipan, he would neither confirm nor deny them.  I spoke of the Freedom of Information Act, and asked where the materials might be obtained.  He implied that the Navy might have them.  As I recall, I asked him to get in touch with you,* and I believe I gave him your address.  Also, he mentioned another individual briefly who might have the same (or different) information, and I again said I hoped he would supply more information.

Undated photo of Donald M. Wilson, from his book, Amelia Earhart: Lost Legend.

A couple of thoughts have gone through my mind. He might be telling the truth and was torn between the desire to give information and the fear of risking retaliation of some sort for giving it.  There is a slight possibility that he might have been discharged from the service for homosexual behavior.  Or he might have taken information he obtained elsewhere, particularly the Unsolved Mysteries program with Tom Devine and Nieves Cabrera Blas, among others, and built on their stories — for the fun (?) of it.  He asked me what my interest in Amelia Earhart was, but walked away before I could give him an answer.

(Signed) Don Wilson

*He Never Did

Prymak note: Don Wilson must sure wish he had collared this guy for subsequent interviews. (End of Wilson letter.)

Wherever thisMarine colonelgot this information in the early to mid 1990s, it didn’t all come from the Nov. 7, 1990 Unsolved Mysteries segment, “New Evidence Points to Saipan,” which featured Thomas E. Devine, Robert E. Wallack, Fred Goerner, T.C. BuddyBrennan and even crash-and-sank poster boy Elgen M. Long.  Nothing was mentioned in that program about Amelia being stripped, horribly mutilated or her body’s removal from a gravesite, though all these things could well have happened during her captivity on Saipan.  For more on this theme, please see my June 12, 2015 post, “Navy nurse’s letter describes gruesome end for fliers, but was it true?

Many of the smaller details have yet to be learned, but we do know beyond any doubt that the doomed fliers met their tragic ends on Saipan.  The U.S. government and its media toadies still do not want you to know the truth about the death of Amelia Earhart, for all the reasons I continue to re-emphasize and present to the few who are willing and able to accept the truth.

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