Goerner’s ’91 letter to Life magazine: Fred Hooven created Nikumaroro theory, not Ric Gillespie

In my Oct. 26 post, we saw Fred Goerner’s rather moderately toned March 1, 1990 letter to TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie, in which he gently warned the TIGHAR boss that the media would not long tolerate his false claims about Amelia Earhart’s alleged July 1937 landing on Gardner Island (now Nikumaroro). Of course Goerner, who died in 1994, couldn’t imagine the depths that our media would eventually plumb in their enthusiasm and commitment to disseminating anything that continues to keep the public stupid about the Earhart disappearance.  

Fourteen years after Time magazine ripped The Search for Amelia Earhart as a book that “barely hangs together” and urged its readers not to waste their time on “conspiracy” theories about Japan’s pre-war atrocities, Goerner still didn’t fully comprehend the media’s deceitful Earhart agenda.  But in his letter to Life magazine’s Ed Barnes, he adamantly insisted that Life should table any notions they had about promoting Gillespie’s Nikumaroro fantasies.

A previously unpublished photo of Navy enlisted man Fred Goerner, circa 1943, with two Navy buddies. (Photo courtesy Lance Goerner.)

A previously unpublished photo of Navy enlisted man Fred Goerner (center) circa 1943, with two unidentified buddies. (Photo courtesy Lance Goerner.)

The below letter is most instructive, especially for those unfamiliar with the true history of Earhart research, and clearly illuminates the salient details of the Nikumaroro fallacy. The fact that Goerner was ignored by Life leaves no doubt about how far the media, in this case one of the pre-eminent news magazines of the day, will go to support the bogus over the true in the Earhart case.  Whatever Barnes thought of Goerner’s letter — and I’ve seen nothing hinting at that — Life published Gillespie’s self-aggrandizing propaganda piece in its April 1992 edition, countering the TIGHAR falsehoods only with a small, easily overlooked boxed insert that quoted a few experts who exposed Gillespie’s claims as pure kaka. Here’s Goerner’s letter, as relevant today as it was in 1991: 

FREDERICK ALLAN GOERNER
Twenty-four Presidio Terrace
San Francisco, California 94118

October 11, 1991

Mr. Ed Barnes
Life Magazine
Time/Life Building
ROOM 447
Rockefeller Center
New York, N.Y. 10020

Dear Mr. Barnes,

It is with some trepidation that I provide this information to you.

I stand behind the evidence I am presenting to you herewith, but I make it clear that I prefer not to be brought into what I consider to be the bogus claims of Dr. [sic] Gillespie, Ms. Thrasher and the organization known as TIGHAR: The International Group For Historic Aircraft Recovery.

You may use my name only if it is absolutely needed for verisimilitude.

First, I believe it is important for you to know that the McKean and Gardner (Nikumaroro) Islands theory is not the property of or the result of the work of Gillespie and TIGHAR [all bolded emphasis mine, capitalization emphasis Goerner’s throughout].

The work is the result of the efforts of Professor Frederick Hooven of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.  Hooven conducted a series of computer studies on the Earhart matter at Dartmouth, and I urged him in 1982 to write a paper regarding his conclusions that I might present to the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., at the time I was participating in an Earhart symposium at NASM in 1982.

The late Fred Hooven, the noted engineer, inventor and creator of the Gardner Island (Nikumaroro) landing theory, was adamant that some of the post-loss transmissions originated from Amelia Earhart's Electra 10E.

Undated photo of the late Fred Hooven, the noted engineer, inventor and creator of the Gardner Island (Nikumaroro) landing theory. To this observer’s knowledge, Hooven, who later abandoned the Nikumaroro landing idea after closely studying the history of the island and its many inhabitants, has never been publicly acknowledged by Ric Gillespie as the progenitor of the Nikumaroro “hypothesis,” as Gillespie calls it. 

Professor Hooven did so prepare the paper, and I presented it to Ms . Claudia Oakes, who was then Associate cuator at NASM and who had arranged the symposium. A copy of Hooven ‘s work is herewith attached.

I should here inform you that Frederick Hooven, among many, many impressive accomplishments, was the inventor of a low frequency air direction finder that was used for several decades aboard commercial and military aircraft. Hooven and the then U.S. Army Air Corps allowed one of those (then new) direction finders to be installed aboard Earhart’s plane, and Hooven met directly with Amelia Earhart. Because of pressures from her friend, Eugene Vidal, and a division of Bendix Radio, Earhart removed the Hooven device and replaced it with an older null-type, high­ frequency direction finding device then used by the U.S. Navy.

As you will note, Professor Hooven’s 1982 conclusions have been taken without attribution by TIGHAR. The very odd thing is that Hooven reached a conclusion before his death in 1985 (see attached obit) that NEITHER Gardner (Nikumaroro) or McKean could have been the landing places of the Earhart plane. His thinking was based upon a thorough research we conducted regarding the histories of both of these islands.

The initial Hooven research (represented by the paper presented to NASM) reached Gillespie and TIGHAR in this manner.

A gentleman named Hardon McDonald Wade, Jr., of Atlanta, Georgia became deeply interested in the Earhart mystery. He contacted me and learned about the Hooven paper. I wrote to Claudia Oakes at NASM on his behalf, and he was given a copy of Hooven’s work. Shortly thereafter Mr. Wade began to try to raise funds for an expedition to McKean and Gardner (Nikumaroro ) Islands. He, too, presented the Hooven material without attribution.

Mr. Wade formed a partnership with a Mr. Thomas Willi of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and the two of them continued to attempt to raise funds. Finally, it was announced in the press (see attached item) that Wade and Willi had failed in their efforts to raise sufficient funds for the venture.

There was acrimony between Wade and Willi. According to Wade, he, Wade, “Kicked Willi out of the nest because he was trying to claim my work as his own.” This despite the fact the material belonged to Hooven.

Mr. Willi then formed a relationship with a gentleman named Thomas Gannon and they took the Hooven material without attribution to Dr. Gillespie and TIGHAR.

Dr. Gillespie telephoned to me in the spring of 1989 and told me of plans for a soon to be accomplished visit to both McKean and Gardner (Nikumaroro) Islands.

I in turn told him it was NOT ethical to use Hooven’s material without attribution, and I also told Gillespie that Hooven and I had long since reached the conclusion that McKean and Gardner (Nikumaroro ) could not have been a landing place for the Earhart plane. I explained in detail the facts we had learned about both of the islands.

Mr. Gillespie admitted that he was aware of Hooven’s connection to the material, but he did not explain why he was not crediting Hooven other than to say that he, Gillespie, and TIGHAR had conducted additional research which firmed the conjecture about McKean and Gardner (Nikumaroro).

I further pointed out to Gillespie that the chart in TIGHAR ‘s prospectus which showed the Pan Am direction finder bearings intersecting in the vicinity of McKean and Gardner Islands were identical to those of Hooven with the exception that one 201 degrees bearing from Wake Island and the 157 degrees bearing from Howland Island had been erased. He stated this was done because the material “was not relevant to the McKean/Gardner Island scenario. “

Captain John Lambrecht of Dowagiac (center) and brother Marine Major Pete Lambrecht (left) aboard the aircraft carrier Makassar Strait, World War II.

Capt. John Lambrecht (right) and his brother, Marine Maj. Pete Lambrecht, aboard the aircraft carrier Makassar Straight, in an undated World War II-era photo. As a lieutenant assigned to the battleship U.S.S. Colorado in 1937, Lambrecht overflew Nikumaroro just days after the Earhart disappearance and saw no signs of the missing fliers or the Electra.

I told Gillespie that it was TOTALLY relevant because high frequency direction finder bearings circa 1937 were not considered to be accurate to within five degrees. The 201 degrees bearing showed that inaccuracy and the 157 dgrees bearing taken from Howland Island showed the direction finder operator could not tell from which side of the loop he was receiving the signal. It could be 157 and it could be 337.  It was unethical of TIGHAR not to make that clear.

I detailed the following information Professor Hooven and I had developed to Gillespie in 1989 both by telephone and letter.

We had personally contacted the three pilots from U.S.S. COLORADO who had overflown McKean and Gardner (Nikumaroro) Island in July, 1937, one week after the Earhart disappearance.

No sign of life or wreckage was seen on either of the tiny islands (McKean is less than 1 mile long and 1 mile wide. Gardner (Nikumaroro) is only 3.8 miles long and 1.1 miles wide at its broadest end.

Captain John Lambrecht, USN (Ret.), (who was the senior Navy aviator aboard COLORADO in 1937 and overflew both McKean and Gardner (Nikumaroro) one week after the disappearance, sent me his reports and they indicated “signs of recent habitation” had been observed on Gardner (Nikumaroro). Captain Lambrecht told me the “signs of recent habitation” were the crumbling walls of what appeared to have been buildings.

Gillespie and TIGHAR have chosen to interpret “signs of recent habitation” (despite Lambrecht’s explanation) as “an Earhart survival camp.”

In October, 1937 (see Maude statement and pages from OF ISLANDS AND MEN), three months after the Earhart disappearance, Henry E. Maude and a team of British surveyors landed on Gardner (Nikumaroro) and conducted a full investigation of the island and lagoon. Nothing was found that would link Earhart and Noonan to the island. The same was true at McKean Island.

In 1938, a joint New Zealand and British team (known as NZPAS, New Zealand Pacific Air Survey), headed by E.A. Gibson, M.W. Hay, R.A. Wimbish, Jim Henderon and Jack Faton, landed on Gardner (Nikumaroro) conducted a full survey. They surveyed for an airfield, and they cleared obstructions in the lagoon.

The survey, the brainchild of sir Ralph Cochrane and E.A. Gibson, had twin purposes: To prepare the islands for defense purposes in the event of a Pacific War. To claim the islands for Britain for possible later use for trans-Pacific commercial aviation [sic]. I obtained the information from the New Zealand National Archives and from Mr. Ian Driscoll the author of the book AIRLINE published in New Zealand.

The 1938 NZPAS survey found nothing that would indicate Earhart and Noonan had ever been on Gardner (Nikumaroro).

In 1939 Henry Maude returned to Gardner (Nikumaroro) with the first contingent of Gilbert Islands settlers. Gardner  was  then  continually  inhabited  until 1964.  A village was built on the island on the area which had been surveyed for the airfield. Thousands of coconut palms were planted. Even a post office was established. During all of this activity, nothing that would connect Earhart and Noonan to the island was found and nothing was reported.

In 1939, the U.S. Navy ship U.S.S. BUSHNELL surveyed Gardner Island for U.S. defense purposes. This survey also included aerial photos and mosaics of the island. Nothing concerning Earhart or Noonan was found or reported.

This photo of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ric Gillespie appeared nationally in all manner of media sites and publications in the spring of 2012, in advance of TIGHAR's 10th trip to Nikumaroro in July 2102. WIth this photo, the feds abandoned all pretense that they are interested in the truth about Amelia's disappearance, and let it be known to all that they are still actively involved in misinforming and misleading the public, always directing us toward false solutions. Which of these two, Hillary or Gillespie, do you trust the most?

This photo of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Ric Gillespie appeared nationally in all manner of media sites and publications in the spring of 2012, in advance of TIGHAR’s 10th trip to Nikumaroro in July 2102. With this photo-op, the feds abandoned all pretense that they are interested in the truth about Amelia’s disappearance, and let it be known to all discerning individuals that they are still actively involved in misinforming and misleading the public, always directing us toward false solutions. Which of these two would you trust the most — or perhaps more appropriately, the least?

In 1943, the U.S. Coast Guard built a Loran navigation station on Gardner. Vehicles, construction equipment and building materials were brought ashore. This facility operated until well after the end of World War II. It is unclear the exact date the Coast Guard departed, but it appears to have been in 1947.  Nothing concerning Earhart and Noonan was found. Coast Guard personnel, who served on Gardner during that period, report that every inch of the island was explored agin and again because there was little else to do save the evening movie. Nothing concerning Earhart and Noonan was found or reported.

Though Gardner was abandoned by its Gilbert Islands settlers in 1964, the island was surveyed in the 1960s and again in the 1970s with respect to the operation of the Pacific Missile Testing Range and NASA operations. Gardner has also been visited by a Smithsonian Institution expedition interested in the bird population of the island.  Gardner has also been visited by private yachts from time to time, including visitors who sailed down from Canton Island to the north.

It is because of the information listed above that Professor Hooven and I reached the conclusion that Gardner (Nikumaroro) could not have been the Earhart/Noonan landing place.

Despite knowing all of this, Dr. Gillespie and TIGHAR spent more than $200,000 (by Gillespie’s statements to the media) on the 1989 visit to Gardner (Nikumaroro), and according to reports is spending more than $400,000 of contributors’ money on the current endeavor.

One may legitimately ask WHY and also ask can Gillespie and TIGHAR afford to come back empty handed?

After the 1989 trip, Gillespie tried to tell the media that a “battery” he had found COULD have come from the Earhart plane. Mary DeWitt, who was a member of the 1989 group, says there were old batteries all over the island. No surprise given the number of vehicles on the island over the years and the long occupation. Gillespie ceased to push the “battery.”

Then Mr. Gillespie attempted to convince the media that a cigarette lighter he had found on the beach belonged to Fred Noonan because Noonan was a smoker. When it was pointed out that hundreds of thousands of U.S. service personnel carried such lighters during World War II, Gillespie ceased to push the “Noonan cigarette lighter.”

Then Mr. [sic] Gillespie attempted to float a bit of metal (with a serial number) as part of Earhart’s radio equipment. I have no idea what happened to that gambit other than Gillespie no longer mentioned it to the media.

Finally, last year Gillespie began to trumpet a piece of metal as having come from a navigation bookcase or cabinet aboard the Earhart plane. According to Ms. DeWitt, the bit of metal was found in the first hour ashore in 1989, and it was part of a catchment for rain in one of the buildings. It was not found by Gillespie but by the representative of the Kiribati government, who placed no significance upon it whatsoever.

It is clear to me that no one currently in the media has the background or possesses the information to challenge the incredible offerings of Gillespie and TIGHAR. There is a great lure to the Earhart mystery, and without either the information or the time to investigate, most reporters have simply reported Gillespie’s offerings because they make a good story.

Undated photo of Life magazine's Ed Barnes, the recipient of this letter from Fred Goerner, warning Barnes and Life about the phony claims of Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR. Goerner's warnings went unheeded, and Gillespie was given carte blanche to write his own mega-propaganda piece in Life's April 992 issue.

Life magazine’s Ed Barnes, the recipient of this letter from Fred Goerner, warning Barnes and Life about the false claims of Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR. Goerner’s advice went  unheeded, and Gillespie was given carte blanche to write his own super-propaganda piece in Life’s April 1992 issue.

Gillespie has hung most of his speculations upon a story which AP reported in 1961. It concerns one Floyd Kilts of San Diego, who stipulated he served briefly with the Coast Guard on Gardner (Nikumaroro) Island. (See attached original AP offering.)

Because we (CBS) were involved in the Earhart investigation in 1961, we dug into Kilts ‘ contentions. Bill Dorais, one of our reporters, learned it was fourth- or fifth-hand hearsay. Kilts could not remember exactly who had told him or who had told the person who told him. It could not even be given the dignity of naming it a rumor. A motion picture had been screened at the Coast Guard facility (it was undoubtedly FLIGHT FOR FREEDOM which was thinly disguised Earhart fiction) which alleged Earhart might have gone down near Gardner.  The FLIGHT FOR FREEDOM plot has Earhart heading for “Gull Island.” There is a Hull Island in the vicinity of Gardner (Nikumaroro), and that had begun conjecture about the Phoenix Islands.

Subsequent investigation indicated that NO FEMALE SKELETON wearing WOMEN’S SHOES was ever found on the beach at Gardner. The man stated by Kilts as the “white planter” was actually a gentleman named G.B. Gallagher (see Maude material) who directed the settlement and who died on Gardner Island (and is buried there) in 1941.

The Suva, Fiji governmental history archivist replied that NO skeleton was ever reported found on a Gardner Island beach, and in 1968, while filming the documentary THE BATTLE FOR TARAWA, I spoke with the Deputy Director of the Gilbert, Ellice and Phoenix Islands government at Tarawa, Mr. P.G. Roberts. He said there was a legend among the Gilbert Islands people that the skeleton of a Polynesian man was found at Gardner, but this was definitely pre-1937.

The TIGHAR claim that the woman’s skeleton had women’s shoes of “Amelia Earhart’s size” is total fiction (see Maude letter.)  Such a find would have been broadcast throughout the Pacific. It would have been a sensation.

You should ask Gillepie and TIGHAR where the evidence is that shoes of Earhart’s size were found. The truth is Earhart DID NOT WEAR WOMEN’S SHOE WHEN SHE WAS FLYING. She wore men’s low-heel brogans, see photos taken the morning before the final takeoff from Lae, New Guinea July 2, 1937.

We at CBS dismissed Kilts ‘ story in 1961, and I mentioned it derisively in my 1966 book THE SEARCH FOR AMELIA EARHART. For Gillespie and TIGHAR to spend such large amounts of tax-free donated funds upon such evidence beggars the wildest kind of fiction.

I am herewith attaching copies of letters from Henry Made to Dr. [sic] Gillespie and to me. I am also sending a copy of a letter from me to Maude in whch the specific questions are asked.

Professor Maude is a former Fellow at the Pacific History Center at the Australia National University at Canberra. He and his wife, Honor, are the leading scholars in the world with respect to the Central Pacific Islands and in particular Gardner (Nikumaroro) Island. It was Professor Maude who led the expedition there in October 1937.

In order to convey the impression that it's Earhart coverage was somehow impartial and objective, Life included this small sidebar, titled "An Opposing View." It is a statement by Frank Shelling, former head of the P-2 Aircraft Structures Branch at the U.S. Navy Aviation Depot in Alameda, Calif. "Gillespie's case doesn't stand up," Shelling wrote, and then proceeded to fry another kettle of Gillespie's bad fish.

In order to convey the impression that its Earhart coverage was impartial and objective, Life included this small sidebar, titled “An Opposing View.” It is a statement by Frank Shelling, former head of the P-3 Aircraft Structures Branch at the U.S. Navy Aviation Depot in Alameda, Calif. “Gillespie’s case doesn’t stand up,” Shelling wrote. . . . “That fragment did not come from an Electra.”

I do not know what Gillespie will do when he does not find the plane at Gardner on the current visit there. Will he dig up some pitiful remains? There are plenty there: Polynesians, Gilbertese, Gallagher are buried there and maybe more. He does not have permission to invade those graves, but he must bring something back. Knowing what I do about the past gambits of Gillespie and TIGHAR, I would not put ANYTHING past him. Certainly he will come back with more bits of metal or perhaps the soles of some shoes which “may have belonged to Noonan.” It is not beyond my belief that Gillespie will attempt to salt the mine in some way.

I am going to reserve the information concerning Earhart’s and Noonan’s dental charts until I see what develops. I will not be a party to any chicanery or attempts to prolong this nonsense.

It should be obvious to you that I have no vested interest in any of this. My book THE SEARCH FOR AMELIA EARHART has been out of print since 1970, and I have not attempted to insinuate my name into the media where this subject is concerned since that time. I have answered questions posed to me by members of the media, and I will continue to do so. For instance, I am providing this same material to my friend, Bill German, who is Executive Editor of the San Francisco CHRONICLE newspaper.

It is possible that I will one day write another book which details the incredible array of characters who have struggled to make capital of the Earhart disappearance in the last twenty years, including the yo-yos who have tried to claim that she was until 1984 alive and well and living in New Jersey. Wow!  Barnum lives.

By the way, the recent claim of a photo showing Earhart and Noonan in Japanese custody is baloney as well. I immediately recognized the photo as one taken in Honolulu in March, 1937, at the time Earhart cracked up her plane on the first attempted flight around-the-world. I am also herewith enclosing the story from Florida about how and when the photo was taken. By the way, Joseph Gervais and Rollin Reineck, who attempted to float the “in captivity” photo are the same gentlemen who claim Earhart was living in New Jersey until 1984 under the name Irene Bolam. Irene Bolam, by the way, sued Gervais in 1970 and collected an out-of-court settlement.

I have been informed that Gervais and Reineck have tried to counter TIGHAR publicity with the bogus photograph because they are trying to sell an Earhart script in Hollywood. It’s one batch of crap battling another pile of same.

Beware, Mr. Barnes, this is a real journalistic tar baby.

As Professor Maude puts it, “In Australia, we call it bull.”

Sincerely,

Fred

Goerner was not a racist, but he was a bit of an old-school reporter, so if you’re not real clear on what he meant by calling the Earhart story “a real journalistic tar baby” in closing his letter to Barnes, it’s understandable. Webster’s New World defines the term “tar baby” as “a difficult, abstract problem that worsens as one attempts to handle it,” which certainly captures the essence of the Earhart story.

Goerner’s letter, written in good faith with the best of intentions, was obviously ignored en masse by Life magazine’s decision makers, if not by Barnes himself. The Gillespie-penned piece published by Life did much to launch Gillespie to international recognition as the world’s most visible Earhart “expert,” despite the fact that he’s never found anything that would justify such a claim. The charade and pretense continue to this day.  This and many other incidents offer us clear evidence that the government-media establishment was and continues to be actively involved in misinforming the American public about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. No other conclusion is possible.

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45 responses

  1. Perhaps Goerner, if he stuck to his hypothesis, should have pushed CBS hard to run a one or two part series, versus Life Magazine. Bump it up to Cronkite’s level… Hooven in turn, should not have been so secretive in his old age. Where is the paper which subsequently debunked Gillespie’s Gardner island Hypothesis ?? Are Hooven’s Papers in some University or Library Collection and accessible ? Would be interesting in being able to obtain a copy…….

    Like

    1. I don’t know where, precisely, Hooven’s written statement in which he retracted his Gardner Island landing theory in light of the overwhelming evidence of her Mili Atoll landfall is being kept. It appears we have to take Goerner’s word for it. Others including Bill Prymak and Ron Reuther, both highly knowledgeable and both deceased, also told me Hooven changed his mind and Reuther even promised to send me the written confirmation just before he passed away. I even wrote to Hooven’s son about it, and was rudely ignored in what has become a much-too-common response to anything I ask about in written format. I think it’s quite academic at this point.

      Like

      1. Duane Edwin Hamblin

        Earhart discussion on OUTLOOK 23FEB16

        I am retired and for about the last four years I have been studying the Amelia Earhart
        disappearance. It appears to me that what is holding things up is the animosity between
        the various groups trying to protect their own theories. They don’t want to hear any
        thing, old or new which might question what they have already decided.

        I have read Fred Hooven’s paper, albeit about year ago. His disillusion was that, though
        he was certain that Amelia had landed on an Island and was able to transmit, and that
        they were found by a Japanese ship and he could not understand why it was not broadcast
        to the world! That would have brought fame and glory to the crew that found them, but
        that is the very reason they did not proclaim it. Since the 1920s the Japanese had
        declared they would execute spies, and when the agreement was signed that Japan would
        help find Amelia, it also forbade either side from searching islands controlled by the
        other! The ship that found her apparently did not have that information.

        That ship was the Koshu and was actually a small freighter and it had equipment on
        board to attach the Electra to the stern. It left Gardner Island with Amelia, Fred and the
        plane before the search planes from the ship Colorado got there. Possibly by mere hours.
        Consequently no plane to find there!!! At some time after departing the, crew learned
        that they had violated the treaty putting, not only themselves, but JAPAN in Jeopardy!
        THEY HAD TO DO A COVER UP!

        The crew members swore an oath to not tell anyone where they had been or what they
        had done. They concocted a story about rescuing the fliers who had crashed near Mili
        Atoll and brought them and the plane to Jaluit navy base. We only know about it
        because one of the crew members, when asked by a friend, where they had gone, said “ I
        can’t tell you. We can’t tell anyone about the trip.” The Koshu pulled into Jaluit harbor
        July 13. The sheet of aluminum found on Nikumaroro Island (Gardner) was proved to a
        unique part of Earhart’s Electra. The Koshu then took Amelia, Fred and the Electra to
        Saipan.

        It is pretty simple really. Why did it take over 70 years? The details and references are in
        my E-book “Earhart and Noonan the missing link” Duane Hamblin.

        Like

  2. The sooner the media admits FDR derailed the American public on this one, the better their caboose will look. But we know that isn’t about to happen. As we can see and hear, Ric Gillespie is the only one allowed to pull the string on the whistle of the media train. Oh look, there’s another group of unsuspecting passengers waiting to board, and all with tickets to Nikumaroro. ALL ABOARD!

    Like

  3. Well, Gillespie’s membership will dwindle sharply now that he’s insisting that paid membership is a requirement to participate in/on his Forum. And his plans for the 9th visit to Nikumaroro are extravagant and expensive. I doubt this expedition will happen. What’s interesting, but cannot be measured, is how the existing members feel after reading this story. I am absolutely sure that they check in here regularly, so what is published above is out there and in the hands of his general membership. Everything you have put forth in this narrative is the bitter truth about a man who makes his living by means of an unoccupied atoll and a missing airplane. And, I cannot help but feel that he is truly afraid of Dick Spink’s efforts. Perhaps DISCOVERY should report on the intense competition TIGHAR is encountering.

    Like

    1. Fat chance, Vernon. I wrote two letters to Rossella Lorenzi, the chief shill for Discovery News, laying out the facts about the TIGHAR garbage, and of course was ignored. The truth is the last thing these people are interested in. Dick’s artifacts could have come from the Electra, but the test results have not been exclusionary. So a media that’s extremely averse to the truth is not going to give Spink’s findings any ink, with the exception of the Daily Mail.
      Mike

      Like

  4. Duane Edwin Hamblin | Reply

    Earhart discussion on OUTLOOK 23FEB16

    I am retired and for about the last four years I have been studying the Amelia Earhart
    disappearance. It appears to me that what is holding things up is the animosity between
    the various groups trying to protect their own theories. They don’t want to hear any
    thing, old or new which might question what they have already decided.

    I have read Fred Hooven’s paper, albeit about year ago. His disillusion was that, though
    he was certain that Amelia had landed on an Island and was able to transmit, and that
    they were found by a Japanese ship and he could not understand why it was not broadcast
    to the world! That would have brought fame and glory to the crew that found them, but
    that is the very reason they did not proclaim it. Since the 1920s the Japanese had
    declared they would execute spies, and when the agreement was signed that Japan would
    help find Amelia, it also forbade either side from searching islands controlled by the
    other! The ship that found her apparently did not have that information.

    That ship was the Koshu and was actually a small freighter and it had equipment on
    board to attach the Electra to the stern. It left Gardner Island with Amelia, Fred and the
    plane before the search planes from the ship Colorado got there. Possibly by mere hours.
    Consequently no plane to find there!!! At some time after departing the, crew learned
    that they had violated the treaty putting, not only themselves, but JAPAN in Jeopardy!
    THEY HAD TO DO A COVER UP!

    The crew members swore an oath to not tell anyone where they had been or what they
    had done. They concocted a story about rescuing the fliers who had crashed near Mili
    Atoll and brought them and the plane to Jaluit navy base. We only know about it
    because one of the crew members, when asked by a friend, where they had gone, said “ I
    can’t tell you. We can’t tell anyone about the trip.” The Koshu pulled into Jaluit harbor
    July 13. The sheet of aluminum found on Nikumaroro Island (Gardner) was proved to a
    unique part of Earhart’s Electra. The Koshu then took Amelia, Fred and the Electra to
    Saipan.

    It is pretty simple really. Why did it take over 70 years? The details and references are in
    my E-book “Earhart and Noonan the missing link” Duane Hamblin.

    Like

  5. Duane:
    I think I will reserve judgement on your E-Book until I read 100 or so comments and feedback on it. On the surface, you have incorporated multiple theories or scenarios into one big Earhart stew.
    I’m sure you did your research with extensive footnotes, photos, interviews, and unbiased third party scientific analysis of the aluminum scrap stumbled upon, on Nikumaroro /Gardner. Did Gillespie allow you to borrow it? That would be the only way to narrow down it’s origin.
    Finally, was the Roosevelt Administration aware of it at the time? Have you uncovered anything which could be of assistance to Mike ?
    Vernon

    Like

    1. Vernon,
      You have a wry sense of humor, asking Duane if he’s “uncovered anything which could be of assistance to Mike?” Duane has been here before with his “Earhart stew” as you so accurately depict it, and now he’s back again, my last chastisement apparently having worn off. Duane isn’t interested in learning anything or helping anyone, but seems determined to push his delusions, without footnotes or “unbiased analysis” down our throats. Duane is a card-carrying member of Fred Goerner’s “lunatic fringe,” and he’s quite proud of it, having produced a real e-book to document his fantasies.
      Mike

      Like

      1. I remember telling youu I had read something on the net where this guy mixed the Saipan/Gardner Island stories together. I came across it here, but swear I read it somewhere else when I mentioned it to you.

        Like

  6. I sensed that Mike. Thanks for confirming it.
    Vernon

    Like

  7. Duane – that’s one WHOPPER of a story! What are you going to tell us next? Amelia and Fred are bunking in the same compartment on the train to Nikumaroro? Amelia’s in the upper birth and Fred the lower? Conductor Gillespie manning the caboose wheel? I thought that train went off the tracks a long time ago. For the COST Ric charges for these rides, he could at least provide bags of peanuts!

    Suckers ALL ABOARD!!

    Like

    1. Duane Edwin Hamblin | Reply

      TIGHAR has the papers by Fred Hooven but you have to join up to see them, which I did a few years ago for a while. When it comes to even checking out what anyone else has found, You and “ric” are two peas in a pod. I will win out in the end because I have discovered, not only what happened, but how and why!
      I do have your Book and have read most of it!

      Like

      1. Hooven’s paper, “Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight,” also known as “The Hooven Report” is available for FREE on TIGHAR’s site, Duane, as a simple Google search reveals. The link is below for anyone interested. I resent your comparison of me to Gillespie as “two peas in a pod,” but considering the source, I can’t really get too upset about it. You’re hopeless, Duane, but we all know that underneath it all, you really mean well.

        http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Documents/Hooven_Report/HoovenReport.html

        Like

    2. Duane Edwin Hamblin | Reply

      The piece of aluminum found was proven to be the replacement for the window replaced in Florida as the rivet holes match photos taken after the replacement.

      Like

      1. Where did you see that little gem, Duane? Was it something Gillespie wrote? Your statement about rivet holes matching the window replaced in Florida is false. The piece of aluminum found on Niku has been shown by extensive analysis not to have come from any Electras. Try again.

        Like

      2. If you have a photographic copy of that patch and enlarge it, you will see that there are no rivets in the field of that patch, only around the edges. Here’s a taste of Ric’s first attempt to make that part a piece of Earhart’s plane and interestingly enough, what plane it came from.

        Posted on Reddit:
        I’m actually a grandson of Elgen Long, long time researcher of Amelia Earhart and also known to be the “father” of the crash and sink theory. I’ve been exposed to the argument over this piece of evidence for fragment 2-2-V-1 for many years. There’s a big problem with the argument that it belongs to Earhart’s plane. One of the original engineers on the Lockheed 10, Edward Werner, was actually part of a research panel that determined in 1992 there was no way it could have come from Earhart’s plane. This was detailed in many press articles, including the LA Times and Oakland Tribune. He was also quoted in the original press release that it “was ridiculous” to think it came from Earhart’s plane and he agreed with the panel completely.

        Here’s why fragment 2-2-V-1 does not have a high chance of belonging to Amelia Earhart: the rivets perfectly matched a PBY Catalina! It’s a plane that was widely used in the Pacific during WWII. The odds of those same rivets matching a Lockheed plane are very slim. I’m a little concerned that so much excitement is being generated about this piece when the PBY match has not yet been successfully refuted.

        There’s another problem with the “custom modification” reason posted in this Wired article: modifications to Earhart’s plane were well documented. At that time most modifications had to be submitted to the FAA for approval, and even fixes were written down. There’s also a 20-page report that outlines Earhart’s crash in Hawaii(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Earhart#1937_world_flight) during her first world trip attempt, and nowhere does it mention a “custom modification” like 2-2-V-1. (I’ll see if I can dig up the PDF) So the perfect match with the PBY Catalina still remains the best candidate of origin.

        I’m sure many are excited to see some revival of the search for Earhart, and I think there’s a lot of positive in TIGHAR continuing their search. However, there are good reasons to remain doubtful that this is some sort of smoking gun.

        Update: Thanks everyone for the interest. I wanted to provide a follow up to this comment and the thread in general. There are many photos available of the airplane during her world flight. You can see here from Purdue archives another view of that same patch. To consider 2-2-V-1 an origin to Earhart’s plane you need have a physical match – which is absolute evidence. So far the only physical perfect match is a PBY airplane. There is no documentation that I’m aware of that would re-create the rivet pattern on the patch from that time to show it came from Earhart’s plane. (End of Elgen Long’s grandson’s statement.)

        Ric’s allegations concerning this piece of flotsam has been so thoroughly debunked I can’t imagine anyone wasting their time with writing comments about it’s supposed authenticity. I’ve got plenty of press photos starting in March of 1992 continually debunking this “theory” as Ric moved this piece around the plane claiming it went here….No Here….NO HERE! We call it…..”Junk Science”!

        Like

  8. The Hooven Report, by today’s standards is chock full of assumptions, statements, quotes, opinions etc., none of which can be substantiated. They certainly are not documented. It makes an interesting Reader’s Digest article and nothing more. Hooven was a brilliant man. But it’s really not reflected in this report. The report reads like an indictment.

    Duane:
    Did you ever research who that group of professionals, engineers, scientists etc. who heard Amelia post-loss, and reported the information to the FCC? I would think professionals would simply not “let it pass” and would proceed to go to the press, continue to pester the government, and stay on top of it. And persons with those qualifications would undoubtedly record, as in write, a published record of it.

    This is just one example from the report where names, dates, time, what was heard, what frequency, how long, etc. should have been specific. Hooven omits this. So, what is the true source?

    There are at least a half dozen other statements /beliefs in this report that cite no sources whatsoever. The previous points are facts. More so, simple truths.

    So…it appears that you based the better part of your E-book on the Hooven Report. At least from what you posted earlier…..

    Like

  9. Duane,
    I have a piece of aluminum like that in my garden shed! On my walks along Lake Michigan, I find all kinds of silly stuff washed up on the beach, including a bottle of TAN FASTIC suntan lotion plus coconut oil. I was thinking of sending the aluminum and coconut oil bottle to TIGHAR for analysis. Any connection to Amelia Earhart’s plane?

    Like

  10. Duane Edwin Hamblin | Reply

    The information about the aluminum was carried by several magazines and news reports. The tests were made by 3 independent research labs using precision photographic equipment in October 2014, and it is equivalent to a fingerprint in a court of law. Since the repair was done in Florida, while they were on the second attempt of the round the world trip they acquired the aluminum sheet locally, thus the difference in material. The problem for you is that since it was found on Nikumaroro, it proves that the Electra could not have crashed in the Marshall Islands. In my findings it fits right in because since Amelia couldn’t fly to Jaluit Island, she got there by ship — the Koshu. From there our stories are the same.

    From Jaluit, with several stops along the way, She ended up on Saipan in the Garapan Jail. As for the Electra, according to Antonio Diaz, it was taken by a big truck to Aslito field and stored in a hangar till it was found by the US marines in1944.

    Like

    1. You’re wrong, Duane, absolutely wrong that the aluminum scrap on Niku came from the Electra. Will find the proof ASAP and publish it here. While I’m at it, you need to forward and cite your sources for this outrageous claim. Not a snowball’s chance that the Electra was ever on Niku. Please produce your citations.

      Mike

      Like

  11. Mike:
    Don’t waste your time. Duane’s entire first paragraph is nonsense. Gillespie always cherry picks his experts, and never discloses the full examination report. He just “announces another revelation”. Gillespie’s “patch” is circa WWII. Proven on the Aviationmystery.com website. Let Duane “research” that one. And the latter part of that first paragraph is pure assumption. A “SWAG”.
    Vernon

    Like

  12. Duane’s entire first paragraph is nonsense. Appears that snippets from Gillespie’s forum were simply used. Or maybe Gillespie’s press releases…… And anything that Gillespie needs “Validated” is cherry picked so he gets the correct answer. Just like Discovery Inc. always announcing absolute verifications, and never retracting or correcting them. The Discovery announcements, as well as Ric’s, are for the uninformed….like Duane.

    Save your time on this one Mike, and put it to better use. Evidently Duane never read Elgin Long’s rebuttal on the scrap aluminum, And there is one person on Aviationmystery.com who scientifically shred the authenticity to pieces.

    As far as the rest of Duane’s post, the tabular movements of the Koshu would be appreciated. Sure it wasn’t a Kawanishi flying boat or a Japanese submarine that plucked them out of the water Duane? Better research Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation Units in the Marshalls in 1937, and their pre-war submarine tabular movements as well. That will keep you busy for a month or two. Everything you stated is undocumented assumptions.

    Then Duane … we can pick apart your Saipan statements……

    Like

    1. https://earharttruth.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/lapook-destroys-gillespies-latest-false-earhart-claim/

      Thanks Vernon. Duane momentarily caught me off guard and I rushed in my answer. I had the answer on my own blog, in a post titled “LaPook destroys Gillespie’s latest false Earhart claim,” published Nov. 2, 2014 and linked above. Take a good look, Duane.
      Mike

      Like

      1. Duane Edwin Hamblin

        Are you Mike’s Echo?

        Like

      2. Duane Edwin Hamblin

        What I mean is, do you ever think on your own, or just repeat what mike or La pooook Or ( Who ever he is??) or all the other niku deniers say?? Do they have the actual results of the tests. Of course not!!

        Like

  13. Duane:
    You know, Mike hit the nail right on the head on that one ! You may want to read and take notes on the LaPook segment that Mike provided. He’s ( LaPook ) an accomplished, renowned Aviator, Navigation Expert and noted Attorney. Disproves Gillespie totally and logically. And if Earhart DID NOT make it to Gardner/Nikumaroro, then that piece of aviation scrap couldn’t possibly belong to her Electra. Case closed ! And as far as the rest of your post, please provide some facts. Quite candidly Duane, it’s as if you made it up.
    Vernon

    Like

  14. Duane:
    Well… I posted twice because I thought I lost the first post with a computer freeze up, if that’s what you mean.

    If you mean I’m in agreement with Mike…. Damn right ! ( No offense intended – but I think both of my posts imply that ).

    Finally, to document what you stated in your original post would probably take up ten pages or more of footnotes, primary sources, and witnessed quotes.

    Vernon

    Like

  15. Duane – you’re dreaming, WAKE UP! Amelia didn’t land on Nikumaroro. It’s all a Ric Gillespie DrEaM….Snap out of it Duane, snap out of it! Mike and Vernon are using the SMELLING SALTS and the side affects are the *TRUTH! HURRY get some water, he’s coming too!

    Like

  16. Duane Edwin Hamblin | Reply

    Wow you’re quite a writer, coming up with that stuff. You should–no on the other hand don’t give up your day job!!

    Like

    1. With this comment, you’ve come to the end of your leash, Duane. Any more personal attacks or nonsense from you will be deleted, and I’ll be forced to put you on the list with the other undesirables who aren’t welcome here. Once again, you’ve demonstrated your total lack of professionalism, not to mention your ignorance about the Earhart matter. As I said before, you’re hopeless.

      Like

  17. Duane:
    A person who knows absolutely nothing about Earhart’s disappearance will fall for your “facts” hook, line, and sinker. You’ve taken a mix of tales about her disappearance, cobbled them together into a book. What’s lacking is accuracy, documentation, and believe-ability. So the book degrades to a long opinionated essay, nothing more.

    I agree totally with Mike about your tone and demeanor. Read up on LaPook. He’s on the Net, A very accomplished gentleman who supports the Crashed and Sank Theory. He critisizes with facts that he has calculated. You don’t have to agree with him. But he’s a gentleman. Polished. No one here has personally attacked your character. They have just been critical of your theory, as I am.

    As respects the Nikumaroro Theory, it was once an item of interest, evolved into a curiosity, and now has diminished to a small group of adherents. If you look at TIGHAR’s Tax Returns, it has become a Mom and Pop business which pays very well by my reckoning. It’s only friend is Discovery, Inc. And the reason why escapes me entirely. The last trip even involved tourists in a second ship, who were allowed to explore the Island.

    Now, just how many people have been on that Island since 1937 ? Can you give me a rough count ? Length of time ? And nothing has been conclusively proven to belong to Earhart and Noonan ?? And remember, I said “conclusively”.

    Vernon

    Like

  18. Duane –

    Amelia & Fred did not land on Gardner/Nikumaroro/Gilbert Islands, although Ric Gillespie DrEaMs that she did and wants everyone to believe this. It’s a DiSiNfOrMaTioN campaign meant to mislead, misguide and misreport the *FACTS. I would advise everyone to avoid any notion of it. It’s an OUTRAGE and INSULT to Amelia Earhart’s courage, patriotism and will to circle the earth for the advancement of aviation.

    Duane, I’m not giving up my day job, simply injecting humor where it applies!

    Best regards and health,
    Doug

    Like

  19. Duane Edwin Hamblin | Reply

    I SAID MIKE WAS LIKE RIC BUT I WAS WRONG. RIC IS VERY CIVIL TO PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH HIM AND JUST AGREES TO DISAGREE.
    NEVER SEEN A SITE SO COMBATIVE. AMELIA WOULD WANT THE TRUTH FROM WHERE IT IS FOUND! ONE OF THE MANY REPORTS MIKE LISTED OF PEOPLE WHO HAD SEEN AMELIA IN THE MARSHALLS WAS ONE THAT SAID AMELIA’S MOTHER WAS TOLD THAT SHE HAD BEEN BROUGHT THERE FROM ANOTHER ISLAND WHICH SUPORTS THE CLAIM BY DANA RANDOLPH THAT THEY WERE DOWN ON LAND SOUTH OF THE EQUATOR.
    I’VE HAD MORE THAN ENOUGH INSULTS SO BYE!

    Like

    1. “Ric is very civil to people who disagree with him”…LMAO,every time I posted a link or comment not towing the Gillespie line on the TIGHAR Facebook page I get banned, nice try.

      Like

  20. Duane:
    Just in case you do read this, take note that Gillespie gives any member the boot who disagrees with him. It’s “His way or the highway”. He even admits that, despite the boast of one thousand plus members, perhaps less than one hundred pay dues and are actually involved in hi Forum. If you check off names there, it’s probably less than fifty.

    Ric…civil ? I doubt it. He berated Elgin Long, LaPook, for openers. Even the National Air & Space Museum. And many, many others on his Forum before they “conveniently” disappeared.

    And what exactly could “down on land, south of the Equator mean? For Gillespie, it’s “The Money Pit” – Gardner. But what about Hull? Carondolet Reef, Winslow Reef, or the Line Islands?

    In conclusion, you have not presented a single fact. What you’ve presented is guesswork, supposition, and third hand information, all drawn from various blogs, TIGHAR (obviously), and books by Gillespie and King.

    Start saving that money from your EBook sales. They’re talking about another Recession…
    Vernon

    Like

    1. The Koshu went south from Howland and stated they were going to find the American plane that crashed. Mike’s book says the Japanese were equipping their ships with direction finders. But even if the Koshu didn’t have one there is the old method of turning the ship in a circle while checking signal strength. (I am a licensed radio man. ) They wouldn’t have just plunged in to the ocean if they had not heard Amelia’s Transmissions and got a bearing! They took an oath to not tell where they had been! (why?) (The aluminum sheet just seemed more evidence of what I had already found.) The only thing I agree with TIGHAR on is the crash on Gardner, and that of course is from Hooven. As I have stated before I believe the Koshu took the Electra away before the 9th. DEH

      Like

      1. “The Koshu went south from Howland and stated they were going to find the American plane that crashed.”

        Is that right, Duane? And where did you get this information, that Koshu was ever anywhere near Howland? On p. 157 of Truth at Last I report Vincent V. Loomis’ findings about Koshu’s movements, later confirmed by Fukiko Aoki, in the only productive thing she ever did as a researcher.

        Please provide your source for your statement about Koshu’s movements.
        M

        Like

  21. Duane – how many times do we have to tell you, Amelia DID NOT land on Gardner Island. You’ve been hoodwinked, fooled, misled and taken in by the DiSiNfOrMaTiOn of Ric Gillespie. You just don’t get it, do you? It’s a ruse, a ploy, a ChArAdE meant to keep the general public blindsided from the *TRUTH. Next Ric Gillespie will be telling stories of talking eggs & singing bones found on Gardner Island/Nikumaroro. Duane you really need to WISE UP!

    This reminds me of the comic books years ago, where they advertised those Sea Monkeys you could order. Once you got them in the mail, you opened the bag, dropped them into a fish tank and they MagIcaLLY come to life. DRIED SHRIMP in a bag and with a note attached, It’s SUCKERS like you that make us $$$$RICH$$$$$$
    Doug

    Like

    1. The references are in my book. Here are, not only the references, but the text:
      NEW YORK TIMES JULY 7, 1937

       “The Japanese Navy’s 2,080-ton survey ship Koshu, Captain
      Hanjiro Takagi commanding, which is cruising in the area around
      Howland Island. Was ordered yesterday to search for Amelia
      Earhart. The orders to the Koshu were radioed after Hirosi Saito,
      Ambassador to Washington, had reported that the United States
      Government had accepted an offer of Japanese assistance. Admiral
      Mitsumasa Yonai, the Navy minister, immediately transmitted
      instructions to the Japanese commanders in Formosa and the
      mandated islands.” ( Page 21 in Thomas E. Devine’s book “
      EYEWITNESS: The Amelia Earhart Incident”)

      After leaving Howland, Susan Butler’s book says “ The Koshu headed
      south, out of Japanese and into United States waters, fully aware of
      where they were.” One day of travel would have taken them to Gardner
      Island (Nikumaroro) on July 7, giving them two days to attach the Electra
      to the Koshu, (The Koshu was a freighter would have had the needed equipment.) and be gone before the search planes from the ship Colorado” overflew the Island on the 9th, at about 8: 15 AM looking for Amelia and Fred. They saw nothing and possibly missed it by mere hours!

      Like

      1. Duane,
        The New York Times of July 7, 1937 and Susan Butler were repeating Japanese lies, and you bought them wholesale. Butler in particular is an egregious propagandist who advanced Fukiko Aoki’s phony research findings on Saipan, and even suggested that Fred Goerner was putting words in the natives’ mouths during his witness interviews. Butler’s nonsense is covered in depth in the last chapter of my book. Had I been wrong, you can bet I would have heard from this establishment darling, but I never did.

        I suggest you review p. 156-157 and the last chapter of Truth at Last, particularly the subsection titled, “An Earhart Biographer’s Serial Misstatements.” Try to learn something this time, Duane, if it’s at all possible.
        Mike

        Like

  22. Duane:
    1. What is the source documentation for the NY Times article ? Not the reporter. The source. Do you have copies of the source documents? ( Not the article).
    2. Did you research State Department Archives at NARA to confirm?
    3. There’s a presumption the Koshu was in the Marshalls, correct? What is the distance from the outer periphery of the Japanese Mandated Marshalls to, say, ten miles west of Howland ? What was the Koshu’s maximum speed ? Please provide the formula by which the Koshu arrived on the date in question. You just can’t state it. Susan can’t either. This requires a mathematical solution.
    4, Susan Butler: Assumptions or facts ? If facts, according to your line of thinking, please provide the exact documentation, not simply Susan Butler’s findings.

    You see, it’s a lot more complicated than just saying so.

    Vernon

    Like

  23. Just wondering Mike how far away is TAL 2nd Edition? Most looking forward to it. Thanks for your tireless work against a tide of push backs by the media and anyone not willing to accept the truth. All my family has read TAL cover to cover and love it, albeit shocked with findings and cover ups duly noted within the chapters.
    Jesse

    Like

    1. Jesse,
      Thanks so much for your interest and concern. The second edition has been delayed for several months, but I was recently told it would be soon. Once it’s released, I’ll make an announcement on the blog. I’m as anxious as you to get this book out there and available, believe me. It’s much better than the first.
      Kind regards,
      Mike

      Like

  24. Yes he is definitely the guy on the net pushing the Saipan/Gardener mixture thing (Duane). Wow, he gets around with that story. (Lol)

    Like

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