Lae radio operator recalls Earhart flight in ’61 letter

More has been written about Amelia Earhart’s final flight and the hours immediately preceding and following it than any other aspect of her disappearance.  With the 85th anniversary of Amelia’s last flight now in our rear-views, we hear from Harry Balfour, the radio operator at Lae, New Guinea, officially the last person to carry on a two-way conversation with the doomed flier. 

The following letter appeared in the July 1998 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters.  I don’t have Joe Gervais’ letter that elicited this response from Balfour.  Boldface emphasis mine throughout. 

“A Letter to Joe Gervais from Harry Balfour, Radio Operator at Lae, New Guinea July 1937″

Cairns, Australia
March 4, 1961

Dear Captain Gervais,

I received your letter and the log copy of the Itaska [sic] upon my arrival at Cairns.  Both are very interesting, BUT THE LOG IS CONFLICTING.  I feel I must give you a picture of the radio setup at Lae and what took place before and after AE arrived at Lae.

The radio equipment [on Lae] was composed of two transmitters, one of 300 watts phone fed into a dipole antenna cut to 3 megacycles [3000 kilocycles or kcs].  This transmitter was remotely controlled from an operating position in the cargo store on the airstrip and was normally operated by the cargo superintendent (Mr. Farnham) for the purpose of getting cargo information from Salamoa, Wau, and Bulolo on phone usually on 6540 kcs; a separate receiving antenna was swung between the hangar and the cargo store.

Harry Balfour, circa 1937, the radio operator at Lae, New Guinea, the last person to carry on a two-way radio conversation with Amelia Earhart.

The second radio transmitter was in the cargo store for the purpose of receiving early morning weather reports from inland, and for communication with Rabaul and Salamoa coast stations which sent and received all our commercial traffic.  All AE’s weather reports were received over this circuit from stations on her route, and weather forecast and past weather from Howland.  This transmitter was both phone and key, power one kilowatt. The company had one Lockheed and one 5AT Ford fitted with radio.  The three Junkers G31 and the Junkers W34 were open cockpit machines, and therefore were not fitted with radio although plans were, I understand, that these machines were to be fitted by the previous manager.  But when Eric Chater took over the management he was not so progressive.  Although he was a pilot, he had never, to my knowledge, flew a radio equipped aircraft, nor had any other of the pilots in the company.

I had two jobs at Lae: Radio Operator in Charge, and Electrician in charge.  Our power supply was a diesel electric generator 3 phase 50 cycle AC 150 kw.  This power was more than adequate for the day and night load at Lae.  I was also Flight Engineer at weekends occasionally.

We received messages of AE progress from Java onwards to Lae.  A message was finally received from Darwin, giving information that she had finally taken off for Lae and giving her estimated ETA.  I called the aircraft on 6540, but received no reply at any time, but that was explained later; she had no knowledge that we were equipped for aeronautical communication.  On arrival, she was met by all the necessary big shots and plans were made to give them both a great social round-up.  She acknowledged the welcome, and was very nice to everybody, and was photographed quite a lot by an amateur photographer, T. O’Dea, who was a part-time manager of Stephens Aircraft Co., a pilot, and a publicity seeker also.  But at that time he was not in the employ of Guinea Airways.  AE eventually snubbed him; she disliked him.

AE and Fred eventually settled into the hotel at Lae and would not see anyone, but sent a message that she particularly wanted to see me.  I went down to the hotel and she wanted all the weather, plus her private messages that had stacked up for her.  I went over all these with her in detail, and she asked me if I could come to the hotel every day and bring the weather reports, and any other traffic for her.  Fred trotted around quite a bit, I cannot remember everywhere he went, but AE was so enthusiastic over the flight that she did not want to go anywhere or be entertained by the local ladies (much to the anger of the local ladies)!  She never even dressed like a woman while she was in Lae. 

She had her hair cut short like a man, and wore trousers and checked shirt, and from a short distance looked like a slim, freckled-faced youth.  But to talk to, she was very charming and seemed to take in all that was said to her.  She was an excellent pilot, and won the respect of our pilots for the way she handled the Lockheed.

In this rarely seen photo taken from Last Flight, Amelia Earhart is shown shortly after her arrival at Lae, New Guinea on June 30, 1937.

 I made arrangements to keep the station open for long periods in the evening in case any extra traffic came in via Rabaul.  She was very grateful for the extra service, but the management did not like it.  However, it was on my own time, and I felt that anything I could do was my business, and that the radio communication was going to be an important factor in the flight.  I was anxious to prove to AE that my transmit could (under normal conditions) hold communication with her to the end of her flight (modulation was always very clear on phone).  She seemed to be very happy and relieved to know this. The only thing was that it took 15 to 20 minutes to change frequency to 3 megacycles.  It meant that I would have to walk to the station, change coils, tune, and walk back to the control room.  This I explained, and if she wanted to go to the night frequency she was to allow me that time before coming on again.  I was not happy about it because I had never ever used 3 mcs — only for testing with our own Lockheed.

Now comes a very interesting part.  During one of our conferences between AE, Fred and myself at the hotel, I was explaining to them how they could make use of shipping along the route, and that I could arrange that she could communicate with ships in range.  Also that Rabaul and Nauru could warn ships and keep a lookout for them on 500 kcs or give them weather en route.  It was then they both admitted that THEY COULD NOT READ MORSE * and were only able to pick out an individual letter! 

* (Prymak note) AES DOES NOT BUY THIS. . . BALFOUR OBVIOUSLY HAD PERSONAL SELF-AGGRANDIZING MOTIVES TO SPREAD THIS LIE. . . . SEE PG. 6 FOR FRED NOONAN’S TRUE MORSE CODE CAPABILITY.

And the night before the flight, they were seriously thinking of making an offer to take me with them.  She asked me if I would go along if they decided they could manage with the extra weight.  I said that I would consult my wife about it, and let her know later in the evening.  However, my wife thought it would be all right.  I told AE, and she decided later that I would be of more use to the flight by looking after her interests at this end at the radio station.  Furthermore, they would have to sacrifice gas load.  I still maintained that a radio operator would have been more use than the extra gas, and that handling a fully loaded machine in any weather is a full-time job unless there are adequate radio facilities along the route.  Before she had arrived at this decision she informed me that they were going to arrive in the US [sic] on the 4th of July, if all went well, and that it would be the National Holiday, and that if I had to lose my job by coming with them, she would see that I got a job with PAA.

Apart from the test flight which I mentioned in my letter to you, I checked her DF on the ground.  But only two points were checked 000 degrees and 090 degrees, with Salamoa radio station on 500 kcs.  The plane at that time was not loaded.  Fred was quite happy about it.  AE was around the aircraft quite a lot during the day, watching our mechanics going over her engines, and asking quite a lot of questions.  I do not recollect what was done to her machine mechanically.  That part of the job was in charge of a chap by the name of Herman Hotz, who was an excellent mechanic and a thorough tradesman in every way.  The mechanic in charge, or Chief Engineer, was Ted Finn, also a very capable man.  Mr. Chater did not like her about the workshop, but he never got around to telling her.  He did not appear to go out of his way to help, but only to do the necessary things and no more — or the things HE considered ought to be done.  Mr. Chater seemed to consider that the flight was a bit of a nuisance, and that they were upsetting the routine of the company, and that is where I tangled with him.

View of group posed in front of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Model 10-E Electra (NR 16020) at Lae, New Guinea, July 1937. From left to right are Eric Chater (Manager, Guinea Airways), Mrs. Chater, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

My own personal opinion about the flight was that it was not particularly hazardous, because she had a good machine, good radio, a navigator who was an ex PAA man, with radio assistance at both ends, plenty of fuel, and up-to-date weather reports with an excellent forecast before take-off.  I have since flown with Quantas many trips 3,600 miles non-stop, carrying mail and passengers on twin engine Catalinas through Japanese occupied territory from Perth to Ceylon — 29 to 30 hours from take-off to landing.  I would consider our conditions almost similar to hers — just a flying gas tank.  But we had to put up with radio silence.  I did remark to AE one day, looking inside the fuselage, that even if she had to ditch, that enormous cylindrical gas tank that she carried inside would keep them afloat.  I doubt it would ever sink — that is if it did not break up on landing.

Now with regard to the airmail covers, I have no reason to doubt that they were on the inside.  I did notice a couple of bags or sacks in the tail end.  They were not very big, but I don’t know what they contained.

The items she left with me were: radio facilities, books, personal telegrams, pistol and ammunition, a spare jacket, and clip board.  These items are all scattered; I don’t remember what happened to the jacket, the radio facilities book with her notes, and telegrams.  As far as I know, they are still in Sydney.  I have not seen them for a long time.  I did not have time to try and get them in Sydney as our stay was too short, and also my wife and I have been separated now for some years.  She still has them — also photos.  With regard to the log, I have written Mr. [Jim] Collopy, who may be able to dig it up from the archives at civil aviation headquarters in Melbourne.  He was at that time Govt. Aircraft Inspector, living in Salamoa, but more about that when I see you.  My log and my report was handed over to Mr. Chater, and it was shortly after that I had a big disagreement with the management, resigned, and went to sea until I joined Quantas.  I did criticize the company in my report for not allowing me more time in which to carry out further checks on her radio equipment, and that I was told to close the station after 8 P.M. the day of her take-off.  We had no means of taking any radio bearings at Lae, but I felt that if I had stayed on all night, I may have been able to pick up something or QSO [contact] the Itasca.

My last schedule with her was at either 7:15 or 7:45 PM Lae time, in which she reported everything O.K. and on course at 7,500 feet — and she would change to 3105 [kcs] for next schedule.  In the meantime, I rushed home and had something to eat and drove back to the strip as soon as possible.  Without my log I cannot remember whether it was 7:15 of 7:45 that I last contacted her on 6210/6540 [kcs], but she was loud and clear.  I particularly asked her not to change frequency because there was no need to do that.  Communication up to that time was excellent, and during the day people working in the cargo store could hear her over the loud speaker.

AES Newsletter caption: A rare photograph of Amelia and Fred with local mechanics checking out the ship. . . Lae, N.G.”

My opinion why she wanted to change frequency was to try and contact the Itasca, thinking that the night frequency was better.  I did hear her voice through the static, but unable to distinguish any sense from the signal.  In fact I could not even say if it was her. The signal I received may have been from the Itasca.  It was a night of fairly heavy static for phone operation, but a radio operator using Morse could have gotten through.

With regard to AE’s papers, I could obtain them, or you could, as they are of no use to anyone else but you.  If you do go to Australia, you certainly could get them.  I will fix that up.

Yours very sincerely,

H. Balfour

 

Regarding Bill Prymak’s note that readers should SEE PG. 6 FOR FRED NOONAN’S TRUE MORSE CODE CAPABILITY, he’s referencing a 1988 letter from Alan Vagg, a radio operator at Bulolo, New Guinea, 40 miles southwest of Lae, to Fred Goerner, in which he makes some confusing, even conflicting statements, the truth of which remains fuzzy.  In writing about this letter in Truth at Last, I made the mistake of omitting a key sentence, which I will include now.

On page 46 of Truth at Last (2nd Edition), I wrote: 

Although most researchers believe the Electra carried no telegraph key on its flight to Howland Island — a reasonable assumption based on Earhart’s own statements — we cannot be certain.  Noonan could have kept a telegraph key for emergency use without telling anyone.  Alan Vagg, the radio operator at Bulolo, forty miles southwest of Lae, claimed he had radiotelegraph communication with Noonan during the Electra’s flight from Darwin, Australia, to Lae.  In a 1988 letter to Fred Goerner, Vagg said he “was impressed with the quality of Noonan’s Morse.  Slow but very clear and easy to read.  This is based on the first contact made with the plane when I contacted it on its flight to Lae from Darwin.  This was done following an instruction from our Head Office in Sydney to endeavor to contact them.

The foregoing could easily influence the reader to believe that Noonan used Morse code to communicate with Alan Vagg during his approach to Lae, but I inadvertently omitted statements by Vagg in the same letter to Goerner that might contradict his assertion about Noonan’s Morse usage.

“Re the Amelia Earhart case,” Vagg wrote in the second paragraph, “I found the copies of correspondence that you sent of great interest, and realize that it is quite possible that I was wrong in stating that Morse was used.  I am surprised that Balfour did not mention that we both worked in it together, and took alternate turns to work the aircraft throughout the day.”

Much later in Vagg’s letter, he returned to the subject of Noonan’s alleged Morse usage:

As Harry and myself were communicating with each other frequently during the day in question and taking it in turns to work the aircraft, we could have been constantly changing from voice to aircraft and Morse between stations, which was normalThis and the time lapse could account for my mis-statement [sic] re the methods of communication.

Others were more familiar with Noonan’s radio capabilities, including Almon Gray, who, with the possible exception of Paul Rafford Jr., was qualified to discuss Amelia Earhart’s radio arrangements and behavior.  In Gray’s “Amelia Earhart and Radio” his lengthy analysis that first appeared in the June 1993 issue of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters, he wrote in part: 

From personal observation the writer knows that as of late 1935 Noonan could send and receive plain language at slow speeds, around eight to 10 words per minute.  Recent research by Noonan biographer Michael A. Lang has revealed that circa 1931 Noonan held a Second Class Commercial Radio Operator license issued by the Radio Division of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Second Class licenses of that vintage certify that the holder has been examined and passed the following elements:

. . . (c) Transmitting and sound reading at a speed of not less than sixteen words a minute Continental Morse in code groups and twenty words a minute in plain language.  (Italics mine.)

So much for Noonan’s alleged Morse code usage during the world flight attempt, for what it’s worth.  For many more discussions by experts on various aspects of the final flight, please click here.

Happy 125th Birthday, Amelia Earhart!

July is Amelia Earhart’s month, and today, if she had successfully completed her 1937 world flight and gone on to become a medical miracle for the ages, Amelia Mary Earhart, born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897, to Amy Otis and Edwin Stanton Earhart, would be celebrating her 125th birthday.  

For the few who honor Amelia’s enduring legacy, today is another milestone, an opportunity to pause, reflect and renew our determination to never cease reminding our truth-averse establishment that its 85-year-old lies and denials about Amelia’s untimely passing on Saipan are not believed by everyone.  Not by a longshot. 

In Boston in late June 1932, Amelia and her mother, Amy Otis Earhart, enjoy the acclaim that her May 23, 1932 solo Atlantic crossing bestowed, when she became the first woman and second person to accomplish the feat, at a reception attended by the mayor and other luminaries.  In the background, not easily seen, is Amelia’s Lockheed Vega, in which she overflew the Atlantic, landing in a field in Londonderry, Ireland.

This has been an uneventful year in Earhartland; little if any noise has been heard from the usual suspects, whose names are unnecessary here.  Everyone knows who they are, and I suppose we can count our blessings that these vermin have temporarily run out of new scams to run on us.  I have little doubt, however, that most will return sooner or later with fresh lies and renewed encouragement from their rotten media accomplices. 

On Saipan, long-suffering Marie Castro, 89, and the Amelia Earhart Saipan Memorial Monument Inc. (AESMMI), the small group she created in 2017, continue their futile efforts in a political environment so virulently hostile to an Earhart Monument that even the usually optimistic Marie recently described as “hopeless.”

AESMMI and guests gather to celebrate Amelia Earhart’s 125th Birthday.  Front row: Vice President Frances Sablan, President Marie Castro, Mary and Dany Martinez.  Second row: Ted and Sophia Perez, Edith Guerrero, Irene Cleven, Stanley Torres McGinnis, Betty and Sylvia Frain, Remi Sablan, Allen Castro.  Third row: Manny Borja.  Fourth row: Robert Romolor, Del Benson, unidentified and Richard Warber and son, Brad Cleven, Carlos Torres and Mathew Igisaiar.  Not shown: Ed Williams and Glenn Mangloña.  Thanks to AESMMI Vice President Frances Sablan.

It is long past the time to recognize and acknowledge the significant history of Amelia Earhart, who died here on Saipan, Marie wrote in a recent email.  Yesterday, Marie and the AESMMI celebrated Amelia’s 125th at the American Memorial Park Visitor Center, where the group was treated to a slide-show presentation that included rare Earhart photos compiled by American collector and AESMMI member Jeremy Palermo, enjoyed the traditional birthday cake and welcomed some special guests, as Marie explained:

Today, a few of the families of the deceased Saipan eyewitnesses in 1937 join us in celebrating Amelia’s 125th Birthday:  Josephine Blanco, Matilde F. Arriola, Joaquina M. Cabrera, Jose Sadao Tomokane, Manuel Aldan, Jesus Salas, Antonio M. Cepeda, Pedro Sakisat, Carlos Palacios, Jesus Boyer, Gregorio Camacho, Francisco Diaz, Francisco Tudela and more.

Marie Castro narrates a photo presentation for AESMMI members and guests at the American Memorial Park Visitor Center auditorium on July 23.  Note the sparse attendance, directly reflective of the lack of interest in Amelia Earhart throughout Saipan.

Despite the overwhelming resistance to building an Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan, Marie refuses to surrender, and she’s renewed her dedication with a brand-new mission statement for the AESMMI, which she titled Courage With Determination:

 COURAGE WITH DETERMINATION

The AESMMI is determined to fight the challenge to have a Memorial Monument for Amelia Earhart, who changed the role of women worldwide.  Amelia was a unique woman who overcame numerous seemingly insurmountable obstacles — a woman of character who prevails in our hearts and minds as one of the greatest models of all times. 

A Memorial Monument of Amelia Earhart on Saipan will serve as a model of Courage and strong Determination to rise above any challenge — a constant reminder for all of us to strive for successful outcomes in our own lives. 

Ed Williams and Marie Castro pause in front of the American Memorial Park Visitor Center during the AEMMI’s Amelia Earhart Birthday commemoration there July 23.  “I brought two guests and around 20 people showed,” Williams told me in an email.  Marie gave a good talk and had some videos.  Would have been nice to have more guests, but the people [who were there] were very interested.

In Atchison, where the truth is treated like an actual pandemic, the Covid-terrorized citizenry cancelled their trademark Amelia Earhart Festival once again in 2021 for the second straight year in cowering fealty to the demonic Dr. Anthony Fauci, the CDC and their damnable Covid lies.  The festival returned in 2022 on the traditional third weekend in July, but nothing significant has ever happened in Atchison besides Amelia’s birthday, and some there believe Amelia is still floating around in the ether somewhere, searching for Howland Island, lost forever. 

This yearly festival on the third weekend of July celebrates Amelia Earhart and her accomplishments with a weekend full of family entertainment for Atchison residents and visitors, the Visit Atchison website tells us.  The 1st Annual Amelia Earhart Festival was held in 1997 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Amelia Earhart.

For a look at recent Earhart birthdays at the Truth at Last blog, please see “July 24, 2012: Happy Birthday, Amelia”; July 23, 2014, For Amelia Earhart, another unhappy birthday;” “July 24, 2017: Happy Birthday, Amelia;July 24, 2019,For Amelia Earhart, it’s Happy Birthday No. 122!” and July 24, 2021, Castro, AEMMI celebrate Earhart’s 124th birthday.

Happy Birthday with Red Rose​ | Gallery Yopriceville - High-Quality Free Images and Transparent PNG Clipart

UPDATE: Earlier today, July 27, PBS covered the unveiling of a statute of Amelia Earhart in the U.S. Capitol.  In a disgusting display of hypocrisy unequaled in recent memory, fake Catholic Nancy Pelosi leads off a lineup of sellouts, commies, RINOS and career criminals who have never been worthy to empty Amelia Earhart’s garbage on their best days.  If you really want to see thisplease click here.

Papua New Guinea to build Earhart Memorial

Longtime reader and pilot William Trail recently sent me the announcement from Papua New Guinea that plans are officially underway to build a memorial to Amelia Earhart.  Not only is an Earhart memorial in the works, as we see in the story that appeared on June 10 in The World News (a site previously unknown to me that claims billions of views), but officials planto launch a scholarship fund for women and girls to enhance their knowledge of science and technology.

That sounds worthwhile, does it not?  Much better, however, would be a scholarship fund that awards the best non-fiction essay revealing the truth about what happened to Earhart and Fred Noonan after they went missing on July 2, 1937, without the smoke, mirrors, lies and distortions, with a full scholarship to the college or university of the winner’s choice.  Pigs will fly. 

Needless to say, this story got no traction, nobody in this country knows about it and less care.  For the record, I present the entire maudlin article below, and will follow with a few comments.  The photo of the pathetic Earhart memorial already on PNG was not in the original but was added by this editor.

Today, acting Vice Chancellor, Dr. Gary Sali, head of public affairs from the U.S. Embassy, Damian Wampler, and PNG Tribal Foundation signed the MoU to formally agree and enter a partnership.

The idea was formed after U.S. Ambassador, Erin McKee, visited Morobe Province and saw a need to create a statue to honour [sic] the legendary pioneer aviator.

Since then, the three parties have joined in partnership not only to build a statue in her honour, but to launch a scholarship fund for women and girls to enhance their knowledge of science and technology.

At the MoU signing ceremony at Matheson Library, Dr. Sali said: “The Papua New Guinea University of Technology is proud to provide a way not only to honour this brave woman, but to create a lasting partnership between the United States and Papua New Guinea that began 125 years ago in 1937.”

This year July marks the 85th anniversary of Amelia’s disappearance and 125th anniversary of her birth.

Head of public affairs from the U.S. Embassy, Damian Wampler, said: One hundred percent of the population needs to be educated. We hope that this memorial, and the scholarship fund, will motivate women and men, girls and boys, students, faculty and staff in Lae to push the boundaries of science and technology every day.

CEO of the PNG Tribal Foundation, GT Bustin, added that the memorial will serve as a reminder that with determination and courage, women can achieve any height.  And the scholarship fund, which will be created by generous donations from American companies and individuals, will award scholarships for PNG women and girls who want to reach even greater heights in scientific fields.

This is the current Amelia Earhart Memorial on Lae, Papua New Guinea, somewhere near the old airstrip where Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan took off on July 2, 1937.  It’s understandable that a few might want to upgrade it, and one can only wonder why it took so long.  Commenting on this sad “monument” on a tourist website, one reader wrote, “Seriously? Why there is a cannon next to it is anybody’s guess.  You must stop and visit just to say that you have seen the world’s silliest tourist attraction!  Trip advisor you are scraping the bottom of the barrel for this one.”  Another opined, “A stone with a plaque and a gun turret is all that’s here and it’s in a very small park that is not well kept at all.  It is not very safe for tourists in that area as well. Very sad to see that it’s called a memorial.  Give it a miss!”

The Papua New Guinea University of Technology and partners will break ground on the memorial site in July after a design is chosen through open competition.

The winning design concept will win K1500.

About Amelia: A brave young woman from the state of Kansas in the United States, Amelia Earhart made herself America’s most popular aviator by pushing the boundaries of flight. She became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set records for distance and high altitude flying, and became an inspiration for women and girls around the world. She conceived the idea of becoming the first person to fly all the way around the world. She almost made it. But three weeks before her 40th birthday, Earhart disappeared over the Pacific, last seen by the public in Lae on July 2, 1937 (End of The World News story.)

Few if any fliers from the Golden Age of Aviation have been as honored, memorialized and glorified as Amelia Earhart.  Only recently has the multi-generational dumbing down of America succeeded in creating so many millions of functional illiterates that even Earhart’s name has slightly faded as one that virtually all know, like Michael Jordan or Donald Trump. 

It’s not surprising that the original idea for this memorial came whenU.S. Ambassador, Erin McKee, visited Morobe Province and saw a need to create a statue to honour the legendary pioneer aviator.” (Italics mine.)  Really?  When has any American public official or personality — elected, appointed, popular or otherwise — given a rat’s behind about honoring Amelia Earhart in the true sense of that word?  You know the answer.

After 85 years of lies, the only way to properly honor Amelia Earhart is to finally come clean and admit the truth of her horrific Saipan death at the hands of the prewar Japanese military, in the case of elected government officials or bureaucrats, or to publicly and vocally support that truth, which one can find here and in several book titles found throughout this blog and available to anyone who can read at a sixth-grade level.  No one described above has ever done this, a testament to the verboten nature of the Earhart truth and its sacred cow status in Washington and in the American and world media.  When it comes to Amelia Earhart and the truth, all are cowards who lack the fortitude to step out from the government-media mob that dictates their compliance.  

Josephine Blanco Akiyama, left, the first and arguably most important of all the eyewitnesses to the presence of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan in 1937, and Marie Castro answer a few questions at the Amelia Earhart Memorial Committee’s reception for Josephine at the Garapan Fiesta Resort and Spa Oct. 9, 2018.

While erecting an Earhart memorial on Papua New Guinea might be nice, considering the embarrassment that currently passes for one there, it’s not as if the people of PNG are clamoring for one.  After all, Lae was just one of many landing-and-jumping-off points on the fliers’ world flight, a facility where they stopped, refueled and pulled themselves together for what promised to be the most difficult leg of their round-the-world-flight, the 2,556-mile ocean trip to Howland Island.  The fact that Lae was the last place the Earhart Electra was seen taking off is certainly significant, but not in the sense that a memorial belongs there, as one does on Saipan.

Contrary to Erin McKee’s vision of a “need to create a statue” in honor of Earhart, there’s never been any call or demand for such a monument on Papua New Guinea.  This is simply another low-class, sleazy political move, another distraction, likely born of the U.S.  establishment’s knowledge that a few good souls on Saipan are still longing for an Earhart Memorial Monument that is very much needed, and long overdue, but which is vigorously opposed by the political class that controls this island territory of the United States, and which owes its fealty to that establishment. 

If you’re new here, you might ask why the fuss about an Earhart monument on Saipan.  It’s really quite simple.  The politicos know that the presence of such a shrine on the island where Earhart and Fred Noonan met their ends would raise too many questions, draw too much attention and could eventually become a huge step toward final disclosure in the Earhart disappearance.  This must be avoided at all costs.

Meanwhile on Saipan, the long-suffering Marie Castro is surrounded by snakes and has endured unending official lies and overwhelming rejection during the past several years in her quest to establish an Amelia Earhart Saipan Memorial Monument, and nothing has changed.   

“I believe [getting] support from the government is a hopeless case, Marie wrote in a recent email.  “The Memorial Monument that I proposed on Saipan for Amelia Earhart was [based on] the actual evidence from local people who described what they saw and became the most significant history of Saipan.  Saipan is the island she was known to have last lived.  Papua, New Guinea is the second island to propose a memorial for the first woman who dared circumnavigate the world.  I hope that the world would eventually acknowledge what has been suppressed for 85 years ago.

For much more about Marie Castro and her unbuilt Amelia Earhart Saipan Memorial Monument, please click here.

85th Anniversary of Last Flight arrives quietly

On July 2, 1937, 85 years ago today, Amelia Earhart and her intrepid navigator Fred Noonan rolled down the unpaved runway at Lae, New Guinea at 10 a.m. in Amelia’s twin-engine Lockheed Electra 10E, NR 16020, officially headed for Howland Island, a tiny speck 2,556 miles to the east-northeast, about 1,900 miles southwest of Honolulu and 200 miles east of the International Dateline.  They would be crossing two time zones and the International Dateline, flying into yesterday, so to speak, scheduled to arrive July 2 at Howland several hours before the time they departed Lae on the same date. 

Perhaps the last photo taken before the flyers’ July 2 takeoff from Lae, New Guinea. Mr. F.C. Jacobs of the New Guinea Gold Mining Company stands between Amelia and Fred. Note that Fred looks chipper and ready to go, not hung over from a night of drinking, as has been alleged.

At 0844 Howland time, 20 hours, 14 minutes after departing Lae, Earhart sent her infamous last message: “WE ARE ON THE LINE 157-337, WILL REPEAT THIS MESSAGE, WILL REPEAT THIS MESSAGE ON 6210 KCS. WAIT LISTENING ON 6210 KCS.”  After about a minute’s pause, she added, “WE ARE RUNNING ON LINE NORTH AND SOUTH.”  The message was received on 3105 at signal strength 5 of 5.  “She was so loud that I ran up to the bridge expecting to see her coming in for a landing,” Itasca Chief Radioman Leo Bellarts told Elgen Long in 1973.

As we all know, the fliers were never heard from again — officially, that is.  Instead of reaching their intended South Pacific landfall en route to a world aviation record, Earhart and Noonan allegedly vanished into legend, myth and haunting immortality — a special status reserved for rare sacred cows that continues to this day, thanks to the deceitful machinations of a government-media establishment determined to deny the truth about the fliers’ wretched deaths at the hands of the pre-war Japanese on Saipan from a world that’s long since moved on to more trendy “mysteries.” 

This July the media atmosphere is substantially thinner than in past years; for some reason we’re not being subjected to another big media disinformation campaign, which has been nearly always the case.  Among the most memorable of recent deception operations, of course, was the July 2017 History Channel travesty, “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” which premiered July 9, 2017 on History, better known as the History Channel.

Robert Ballard’s search for Amelia Earhart off Nikumaroro was far less successful than his triumphant Titanic endeavor.  (Courtesy Encyclopedia Britannica.)

We’ve also seen the ballyhooed summer 2019 Robert Ballard-National Geographic search, yet another transparent pretense meant to distract the public and get the surprisingly attention-starved Ballard another payday and more publicity.  After the search, one would have been hard pressed to find any news announcing its failure, as is always the case with these Earhart boondoggles. 

Also as always, I ensured that readers here were informed, doing so with my Aug. 27, 2019 post, Ballard’s Earhart search fails; anyone surprised?

The obvious question was why someone with Ballard’s impressive resume and fame would be so willing to join the long list of fraudsters selling the putrid can of worms that the “search for Amelia Earhart” became long ago. 

The Ballard hoopla was reminiscent of the clatter attached to the similarly hyped 2017 Nauticos search for the Earhart plane in the waters off Howland Island.  Here’s how I began my March 27, 2017 post on that time waster:

One of the better-known definitions of insanity has been attributed to Albert Einstein, who described it as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  I wonder how many times it would take Nauticos, or the rest of clueless crashed-and-sankers to search the Pacific floor without finding the Earhart Electra before they admitted they might be wrong about what happened to Amelia and her plane.  Based on past performances, the answer is, sadly, Never.

Guinea Airways employee Alan Board is credited with this photo of the Electra just before leaving the ground on its takeoff from Lae, New Guinea on the morning of July 2, 1937.  This is the last known photo of the Earhart Electra.

. . . What is really going on here, one might ask.  Can these otherwise well-educated, highly skilled men be so stupid as to actually believe their own press releases about the Electra lying on the bottom of the ocean?  Not likely.  As I wrote in Truth at Last (page 304 Second Edition), Is it coincidence that the majority of Nauticos’ lucrative contracts accrue from the largess of the Navy, whose original Earhart search report remains the official, if rarely stated position of the U.S. government?  Here we see yet another establishment effort to maintain and perpetuate the myth that Earhart and Noonan ‘landed on the sea to the northwest of Howland Island’ on July 2, 1937.”

No discussion about Amelia Earhart and media treatment of her disappearance is complete without mentioning The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (which has never recovered an aircraft, historic or otherwise, to my knowledge), better known as TIGHAR, and its executive director Ric Gillespie.

TIGHAR has been fairly inert for the past few years, possibly because even a corrupt, compliant media deeply in the tank for the big scam might have its limits.  In TIGHAR’s case, for more than 30 years our corporate media has pushed a credulous, gullible public to buy the most ridiculous assortment of dredged-up garbage imaginable as “evidence” that Earhart and Noonan landed on the central Pacific island of Nikumaroro, formerly Gardner Island, and died there of starvation within a relatively short time, despite abundant food and water sources. 

The most perilous leg of Amelia Earhart’s world-flight attempt was the 2,556-mile stretch from Lae, New Guinea to tiny Howland Island, a daunting journey over the vast Central Pacific that had never been attempted.  Note distances from Howland to Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands, and from Lae to Saipan, key locations in the Earhart saga. (Courtesy Linda D. Pendleton.)   

This is not the time to get into details about the countless TIGHAR forays to Nikumaroro or re-examine the garage full of so-called evidencethat Gillespie and his minions have dragged back to continue their Earhart investigations.”  Here’s how I began my brief view of the TIGHAR phenomenon in a subsection titled “The Nikumaroro Hypothesis: Recycled Snake Oil” in Chapter 15: The Establishment’s Contempt for the Truth in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last:

No one in the history of Earhart investigations has made so much from so little as Ric Gillespie. Since the bleak day in March 1992 when Gillespie baldly announced to a worldwide CNN audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that the Earhart mystery is solved, he’s been universally hailed as the world’s leading expert on the Earhart disappearance.  The real mystery is why, after eleven fruitless excursions to Nikumaroro, the media continue to treat Gillespie as if he’s the sole repository of knowledge in the Earhart matter?  How has he gained such worldwide acclaim without producing a scintilla of evidence to support a fourth-hand theory rejected decades ago by researchers whose financial well-being didn’t depend on raising small fortunes for their next trip to Nikumaroro?

And here’s the closing paragraphs of the same subsection:

. . . The TIGHAR website contains an impressive collection of research, but for all its bells and whistles, not one of its documents offers the slightest trace of evidence that ties Amelia Earhart to Nikumaroro—and not one legitimate eyewitness is presented, because none exist.  Ironically, [Fred] Hooven’s 1982 research paper, “Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight, also known as the “Hooven Report,” was added to TIGHAR’s archives in November 2002.  “Last Flight strongly supported the Saipan truth, ridiculed by Gillespie as a festival of folklore, but otherwise a subject assiduously avoided by the TIGHAR chief.

Contrary to his arrogant dismissal of the fliers’ Saipan demise as conspiratorial claptrap, the most ridiculous folk story to infect the Earhart search is that the erroneous ideas promoted by Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR have any relationship to the truth.  But TIGHAR’s unending Nikumaroro searches have managed to reveal one undeniable fact: Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan, and NR 16020 were never there.

I wrote above that the Earhart media atmosphere isthinnerthis year, but it’s not completely empty, null and void, either.  On Sunday, June 26, longtime reader and photographer Phil Broda sent me a vile, studiously deceitful piece of Earhart disinformation from the left-leaning The Daily Beast, titled,The Amelia Earhart Kimono That Spikes a Racist Legend,by one Laurie Gwen Shapiro, who we learn is also writing an Earhart biography, one I will surely never read. 

There’s no point in responding directly to Shapiro or The Daily Beast, as nothing would change, and they might even get a sick sense of satisfaction, that is, if they know anything at all about what honest researchers — few as we are — are doing these days.  This despicable screed, among the most dishonest and twisted I’ve seen, shamelessly slings the old leftist standby, racism, as a weapon at the truth of the fliers’ Saipan deaths and the researchers who discovered it, actually naming and flatly dismissing the seminal work of Paul Briand Jr. and Fred Goerner, while extolling the serial lies of the crashed-and-sank poster boy Elgen Long.  This perverse descent into an especially evil historical revisionism starkly illustrates the cold reality that the U.S. establishment continues to hate and deny the truth in the Earhart matter, perhaps now more than ever.   

I will not quote from or reproduce anything from this contemptable hit piece, but if you want to see for yourself the depths to which some will descend to advance Earhart propaganda and mendacity, you can click on the link above, and tell me where I’m wrong.  A warning: After a few free looks, The Daily Beast will shut you out and try to force you into subscribing before you can view this atrocity again. 

As I told Calvin Pitts when I sent him The Daily Beast story, “It’s not much, but it’s not nothing either.”  It’s just enough to remind us, on this the 85th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s last flight, that the enemies of the truth are always out there, plotting and scheming ways to take advantage of the great lady’s name for their own selfish, nefarious purposes.  

Rollin Reineck’s July 3, 1998 letter to ABC News: Calls “48 Hours” promoting TIGHAR “pure trash”

We continue our excursion into the world of the late Earhart researcher Rollin Reineck, who made his share of noise during his days as a member of Bill Prymak’s elite corps of theorists and truth-tellers in the Amelia Earhart Society.

This letter appeared in the July 1998 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters, and gives us a taste of the reception that Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR’s ideas received from serious researchers who didn’t buy everything TIGHAR and the American media were shoveling down the throats of a gullible public about the fate of Amelia Earhart.  I’ve screened the original article and present it here.  By left clicking on each item, you can enlarge it for easy reading.

Rollin C. Reineck, circa 1945, served as a B-29 navigator in both the European and Pacific theaters during World War II, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Bronze Star.  A true patriot in every sense of the word, Reineck passed away in 2007, but left some very controversial writings about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart Society President Bill Prymak’s brief comment in the editor’s note above is a small sample of the insightful, low-key statements that Prymak was known for during the 1990s when TIGHAR was all the rage in the “search” for Amelia.

You might recall a few of TIGHAR’s vapid claims our esteemed media dragged up to present to the nation, always in ridiculous, self-aggrandizing proclamations issuing in never-ending torrents from the yaps of Gillespie and his minions: 

WE DID IT!

THE CONCLUSION IS INESCAPABLE: THIS IS A PIECE OF AMELIA EARHART’S AIRPLANE!

THERE IS ONLY ONE POSSIBLE CONCLUSION: WE FOUND A PIECE OF AMELIA EARHART’S AIRPLANE!

 THERE IS NO CONFLICTING EVIDENCE: THE CASE IS CLOSED.

And so forth, ad nauseum.  For now, we’ll conclude our brief visit with AES icons Rollin Reineck and Bill Prymak, as well as their favorite media darling TIGHAR chief Ric Gillespie, but there’s plenty more where that came from.   

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