A timeline of significant events in the disappearance and search for Amelia Earhart, Part I of two

This is a project long overdue, but better late than never. I don’t claim that this timeline is comprehensive or complete; indeed, some knowledgeable observers might disagree with certain of my decisions to exclude or include incidents or events in this timeline. If so, please let me know in the comments section or via direct email. 

The reason for this Earhart timeline is simple: I want to make it as easy as possible for readers to understand the Earhart saga in real terms by offering them a guide to the true history of Earhart research, not the fabricated crap that TIGHAR, Elgen Long and all the rest of the despicable establishment protectorate have shoved down our throats for so long, distorting the facts and misleading all but the well informed.

Without further delay, we begin this two-part timeline with Amelia Earhart’s last message to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Itasca:

July 2, 1937, 8:44 a.m. Howland Island Time: Amelia Earhart transmits her last official 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 adds, “WE ARE RUNNING ON LINE NORTH AND SOUTH.” The message was received on 3105 at signal strength 5. “She was so loud that I ran up to the bridge expecting to see her coming in for a landing,” former Itasca Chief Radioman Leo Bellarts tells author Elgen Long in 1973.

Amelia, with Bendix Corporation rep Cyril Remmlein, and the now-infamous direction finding loop that may or may not have failed her during the final flight. (photo courtesy Albert Bresnik, taken from "Earhart's Flight Into Yesterday.")

Amelia, with Bendix Corporation representative Cyril Remmlein, and the now-infamous direction finding loop that may or may not have failed her during the final flight. (photo courtesy Albert Bresnik, taken from Earhart’s Flight Into Yesterday, by Laurance Safford, Robert Payne and Cam Warren.)

July 2-7, 1937: So-called “post-loss” radio signals, possibly originating from the Earhart Electra, begin about 6 p.m., July 2, Howland Island Time, and continue intermittently. The signals are heard by Navy, Coast Guard, Pan American Airlines, ships, amateurs and professional hams on the West Coast and as far away as Florida. These signals lead many to believe that Amelia survived on land (transmission unlikely from water) within the fuel range of her Electra. Nevertheless, the Coast Guard discounts the signals as “hoaxes” and none are ever accorded official approbation. We may never know if any were legitimate.

July 3, 1937: As reported by Vincent V. Loomis in Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, sometime in the afternoon, native Marshallese eyewitnesses Mrs. Clement and Jororo watch Amelia Earhart crash-land her twin-engine Electra on the shallow reef a few hundred yards offshore Barre Island, located in the northwest part of Mili Atoll, Marshall Islands.

July 7, 1937: The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy search for the lost fliers in the central Pacific. On July 7 the battleship USS Colorado arrives and searches the Phoenix Islands, 350 miles southeast of Howland. On July 9, three Vought O3U-3 Corsair float planes are launched from the battleship’s three catapult rails to make an aerial inspection of three locations: McKean Island, Gardner Island (now the infamous Nikumaroro), and Carondelet Reef. Nothing unusual is seen during the flyovers of these islands; neither Amelia Earhart nor her Electra was ever on Nikumaroro, contrary to the incessant propaganda efforts by our establishment media.

July 11, 1937: The carrier USS Lexington and three ships of Destroyer Squadron Two take charge. Lexington, with 63 aircraft, begins a week of air operations covering 150,000 square miles, finding nothing. In Lexington Group Commander J.S. Dowell’s “Report of Earhart Search,” filed July 20, 1937, Dowell writes that “the plane landed on water or an uncharted reef within 120 miles of the most probable landing point, 23 miles northwest of Howland Island.”

July 13, 1937: Several American newspapers publish an International News Service (INS) story with headlines similar to this one, found on Page 1 of the Bethlehem (Penn.) Globe- Times: “Tokio Hears Jap Fishing Boat Picked up Amelia.” The story cites “vague and unconfirmed” rumors that the fliers had “been rescued by a Japanese fishing boat without a radio,” is never followed up, and is squelched in Japan with a later retraction.

This story appeared at the top of page 1 in the July 13, 1937 edition of the Bethlehem (Pennsylvania)-Globe Times. “Vague and unconfirmed rumors that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan have been rescued by a Japanese fishing boat without a radio,” the report began, “and therefore unable to make any report, found no verification here today, but plunged Tokio [sic] into a fever of excitement.” The story was quickly squelched in Japan, and no follow-up was done. (Courtesy Woody Peard.)

This story appeared at the top of page 1 in the July 13, 1937 edition of the Bethlehem (Penn.) Globe- Times. “Vague and unconfirmed rumors that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan have been rescued by a Japanese fishing boat without a radio,” the report began, “and therefore unable to make any report, found no verification here today, but plunged Tokio [sic] into a fever of excitement.” The story was quickly squelched in Japan, and no follow-up was done. (Courtesy Woody Peard.)

July 13-14, 1937: The Japanese survey ship Koshu arrives at Jaluit on July 13 and departs on July 14 for the island of Mili Mili, where it picks up Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

Between July 15-18, 1937: Sixteen-year-old Japanese-born medical corpsman Bilimon Amaron is called aboard Koshu to treat an American man accompanied by a white female pilot for minor head and knee wounds. A twin-engine silver airplane with a broken wing is attached to the stern of the ship. Amaron later identifies photos of Earhart and Noonan as the fliers he treated.

July 19, 1937: Koshu departs Jaluit, probably for Saipan, with unknown possible stops in transit, on the same day the Japanese government officially ceased its search for Earhart. Earhart and Noonan are flown to Kwajalein, and later to Saipan.

July 19, 1937: The U.S. Navy-Coast Guard ocean search for Amelia Earhart ends. Besides more than 167,000 square miles covered by the planes launched from Lexington and Colorado, the Itasca, Swan, and surface vessels of DESRON 2—the destroyers Lamson, Drayton, and Cushing – as well as Lexington herself, searched nearly 95,000 square miles of ocean. The grand total for all ships, 262,281 square miles, is the equivalent of a 500-mile square. Not a trace of an oil slick or a particle of debris is found.

Summer 1937, Tanapag Harbor, Saipan: Josephine Blanco Akiyama, 11, witnesses a twin-engine silver airplane “belly land” in the waters off the closed Japanese military area of Tanapag. She later sees two American fliers, a man and a woman, and the woman is dressed as a man, with her hair cut short. Josephine later identifies the photos as those of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

October 16, 1937: An article in the Australian newspaper Smith’s Weekly, “U.S.A. Does Australia a Secret Service,” suggests that the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and her Electra provided the U.S. military the opportunity to search the Marshall and Phoenix Islands for a suspected Japanese military buildup. Some later point to this as the genesis of the Earhart “spy mission” theory.

April 1943: RKO Motion Pictures releases the feature film, Flight For Freedom, starring Rosalind Russell and Fred MacMurray. The film is often blamed for inspiring the “conspiracy theory” that the fliers were taken to Saipan or landed there as part of a U.S. government plot. The facts, as attested to dozens of native and GI eyewitnesses, tell us that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were indeed on Saipan, where they met their tragic deaths.  But Flight for Freedom has no relationship to actual events, and it seems obvious that this film is produced for disinformation purposes.

January 1944: Marshalls Islands native Elieu Jibambam, a schoolteacher with a reputation for integrity, tells Navy personnel on Majuro that a Japanese trader named “Ajima” told him a remarkable story. A “white woman” flier who ran out of gas and landed between Jaluit and Ailinglapalap Atolls, was picked up by a Japanese fishing boat and taken to Jaluit or Majuro, and later to Kwajalein or Saipan, Ajima told Elieu. Associated Press reporter Eugene Burns writes a story about Elieu’s revelations that appears in newspapers across America in March 1944.  Other GIs find artifacts and other information from natives suggesting an Earhart connection in the Marshalls. Thus the Marshall Islands landing scenario, more commonly known as the Marshall Islands landing theory, is born.

Elieu Jibambam, one of the earliest known Marshall Island witnesses, though not an eyewitness, told several Navy men on Majuro in 1944 about the story he had heard from Ajima, a Japanese trader, about the Marshalls landing of the white woman flier who ran out of gas and landed between Jaluit and Ailinglapalap." Elieu's account was presented in several books including Fred Goerner's Search. This photo is taken from Oliver Knaggs' 1981 book, Amelia Earhart: her final flight.

Elieu Jibambam, circa 1982, one of the earliest known Marshall Island witnesses, though not an eyewitness. In January 1944, Elieu told several Navy men on Majuro about the story he had heard from Ajima, a Japanese trader, about the Marshalls landing of the white woman flier who ran out of gas and landed between Jaluit and Ailinglapalap.” Elieu’s account was presented in several books including Fred Goerner’s The Search for Amelia Earhart. This photo is taken from Oliver Knaggs’ 1983 book, Amelia Earhart: her final flight.

July 6-9, 1944, Saipan: Sgt. Thomas E. Devine, of the 244th Army Postal Unit, views Amelia Earhart’s Electra 10E on three occasions, the final time in flames, torched by American forces at the off-limits Aslito Field.  Several other U.S. military personnel also see the plane before and after its burning.

July 6-9, 1944, Saipan: Marine Pfc. Earskin J. Nabers, a 20-year-old code clerk in the H&S Communication Platoon of the 8th Marines (2nd Marine Division) on Saipan, receives and decodes three messages relating to the discovery, plans to fly and plans to destroy Amelia Earhart’s Electra at Aslito Field.  Nabers, as well as other U.S. military personnel, witnesses the burning of NR 16020 at Aslito Field.

 July 1944, Saipan: Marine Pfc. Robert E. Wallack, 18, a machine gunner with the independent 29th Marine Regiment, finds Amelia Earhart’s briefcase in a blown safe in Garapan. Wallack describes the contents as “official-looking papers all concerning Amelia Earhart: maps, permits and reports apparently pertaining to her around-the-world flight.” Wallack turns over the briefcase to a “naval officer on the beach,” and never sees it again. Wallack is interviewed by Connie Chung on CBS’s Eye to Eye in 1994 and appears in the 2007 National Geographic production, Undercover History: Amelia Earhart.

Late July-early August, 1944, Saipan: Privates Billy Burks and Everett Henson Jr., under orders from Marine Capt. Tracy Griswold, excavate and remove skeletal remains of two individuals from a gravesite outside a native Chamorro cemetery south of Garapan that may have been the remains of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. The disposition of the remains is unknown.

August 1945: Days before Sgt. Thomas E. Devine left Saipan to return to the states and his discharge from the Army, an Okinawan woman shows him the gravesite of a “white man and woman who had come from the sky” and were killed by the Japanese. Devine goes to his own grave believing this is the true Earhart-Noonan gravesite.

Amy Otis Earhart and Amelia in Los Angeles, January 1935. One can only imagine the pain of the loss Amy must have endured when her beloved daughter was lost two-and-a-half years later.

Amy Otis Earhart and Amelia in Los Angeles, January 1935. One can only imagine the pain of the loss Amy must have endured when her beloved daughter was lost two-and-a-half years later.

July 24, 1949: In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Amy Otis Earhart, Amelia’s mother, says: “I am sure there was a Government mission involved in the flight, because Amelia explained there were some things she could not tell me. I am equally sure she did not make a forced landing at sea. She landed on a tiny atoll – one of many in that general area of the Pacific – and was picked up by a Japanese fishing boat that took her to the Marshall islands, under Japanese control.”

Early 1960: Daughter of the Sky: The Story of Amelia Earhart, by Paul Briand Jr., is published by Duell, Sloan and Pearce (New York). The final chapter presents the account of Josephine Blanco Akiyama, 11 years old in 1937, as told to Navy dentist Casimir R. Sheft on Saipan in the 1946, when Josephine was his dental assistant. Josephine’s account is the spark that ignites the modern search for Amelia Earhart.

June 15, 1960: KCBS radio newsman Fred Goerner arrives at Saipan for the first of four visits to investigate Josephine Blanco Akiyama’s eyewitness account.  With the help of the islands three Catholic priests, he interviews about 200 native witnesses and identifies 13 who strongly corroborated the account of Josephine Blanco Akiyama.

July 1, 1960: Chronicling Goerner’s interviews, San Mateo (Calif.) Times reporter Linwood Day’s series of stories reaches a climax as the Times runs, in a 100-point headline, “Amelia Earhart Mystery is Solved.” Day’s story, “Famed Aviatrix Died on Saipan,” is ignored by all major newspapers in American, though a number of smaller newspapers did run it.

October 1960: ONI Special Agent Thomas M. Blake visits Devine at his West Haven, Connecticut home, a few months after Devine told the story of his 1945 gravesite experience to the New Haven Register. Devine cooperates with Blake, and gives the ONI all he can to help the agency locate the gravesite the Okinawan woman revealed to him.

This is the unidentified Okinawan woman who encountered Sgt. Thomas E. Devine on Saipan in August 1945, urgently informing him of the gravesite of a "white man and woman who had come from the sky."

This is the unidentified Okinawan woman who encountered Sgt. Thomas E. Devine on Saipan in August 1945, urgently informing him of the gravesite of a “white man and woman who came from the sky.” Devine returned to Saipan in 1963 and managed to find the site, but didn’t excavate it. He didn’t trust Fred Goerner, and believed he’d be able to return again someday by himself to dig. Devine was wrong, and we’ll never know if the site was the true burial place of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

December 8-22, 1960: The Office of Naval Intelligence conducts an investigation into Thomas Devine’s Saipan gravesite information. The original document, henceforth the ONI Report, is dated December 23, 1960; ONI Special Agent Joseph M. Patton was its official author.

January 1963: Devine is summoned to the ONI’s Hartford, Connecticut office to read the classified ONI Report’s disturbing verdict: “The information advanced by DEVINE . . . is inaccurate and cannot be supported by this investigation.” Devine describes the findings as “neither favorable nor fair . . . incredible and negative about my information,” and devotes a chapter in Eyewitness, “An Incredible Report,” to a comprehensive rebuttal of the ONI’s findings.

December 1963: Thomas E. Devine returns to Saipan with Fred Goerner and locates the gravesite shown to him by an unidentified Okinawan woman in August 1945. Unfortunately for Devine and history, he decides not reveal its location to Goerner because he didn’t trust him. For various reasons, not least of which was the overwhelming official resistance to his many letters requesting permission to dig, Devine never again sets foot on Saipan, an outcome he never dreamed might happen in 1963.

March 1965: According to Fred Goerner, a week before his meeting with Gen. Wallace M. Greene at Marine Corps Headquarters in Arlington, Va., Nimitz tells him in a phone conversation, “Now that you’re going to Washington, Fred, I want to tell you Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese.” The admiral’s revelation appeared to be monumental breakthrough for the determined newsman and became well known to most observers of the Earhart case.

Spring 1966: The Search for Amelia Earhart, by Fred Goerner, is published by Doubleday and Co. (New York), sells 400,000 copies and stays on the New York Times bestseller list for several months. Search, which chronicles Goerner’s four Saipan visits and other  investigative activities from 1960 to 1965, is the only bestseller ever published that presents aspects of the truth in the Earhart disappearance.

Sept. 16, 1966: Time magazine pans The Search for Amelia Earhart in a scathing, unbylined review it titles “Sinister Conspiracy?” Time calls Search a book that “barely hangs together,” and the review signals the government’s longstanding position relative to the Earhart case – one of absolute denial of the facts that reveal the fliers’ presence and deaths on Saipan. From that day until now, the truth in the Earhart disappearance remains a sacred cow in Washington, and by extension, the entire U.S. government-media establishment. The few books that present credible accounts of the Earhart disappearance are suppressed by the mainstream media, including Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.

To be continued in our next post.

6 responses

  1. Regarding your timeline, this witness testimony of their injuries raised my eyebrows as ollows:

    Between July 15-18, 1937: Sixteen-year-old Japanese-born medical corpsman Bilimon Amaron is called aboard Koshu to treat an American man accompanied by a white female pilot for minor head and knee wounds. A twin-engine silver airplane with a broken wing is attached to the stern of the ship. Amaron later identified photos of Earhart and Noonan as the fliers he treated.”

    By the time alleged medical treatment arrived, they would have been dehydrated from spending two weeks on the island. I therefore find it difficult to believe they would have merely had a minor head issue along with scraped knees. They would have been in dire straits living out there on an island for two weeks.

    Any comments?

    Like

    1. Icy,
      We don’t know how long the fliers were at Mili before being picked up by a Japanese fishing boat, according to our best evidence, but they had emergency water and food supplies aboard the Electra that would probably have lasted a week. We simply don’t know how long it took the Japanese to show up and take them to Mili Mili, but it probably wasn’t as long as a week. There they were picked up by Koshu and taken to Jaluit, where Bilimon helped Noonan. At Mili Mili, while they were waiting, of course they were taken care of.

      Bilimon Amaron’s account of meeting the white man and woman fliers at Jaluit is universally accepted among the Marshallese, and he was a highly respected figure in their society. I have no doubt his account is accurate.

      Mike

      Like

  2. Mike –

    Thanks for laying out this timeline of events for all of us. This clearly shows what Amelia & Fred are doing and where they are at from July 2 thru 19th. Mike’s 2nd Edition – The Truth at Last – takes us, step by step, through the Earhart saga and leaves no room for doubt about the tragic ends of Amelia & Fred by the Japanese.

    There is no question, in my mind, about the SECRECY, DECEPTION, FALSEHOODS and DENIALS made by our MEDIA & GOVERNMENT afterwards, as they continue to this very day, to perpetrate & promote anything but the *TRUTH…

    Another *GREAT journalistic essay, presented to us, by none other than Mike Campbell.

    Doug

    Like

  3. Thank you again, Mike, for your thorough research and your responsible reporting. This time line is very helpful. I look forward to the next installment.

    Like

  4. Icyfrog –

    Amelia & Fred didn’t spend 2 weeks on Barre Island, dehydrated, starving and alone. You forget, the two native boys Jororo & Lijon spotted Amelia & Fred, as they were fishing that morning. Jororo & Lijon stayed hidden at first, behind trees or bushes but observed what had just taken place or the Electra coming down into Barre Island’s reef.
    They must have paddled back, to tell other natives, who in return went out to investigate themselves. So Amelia & Fred must have had company by the day’s end or the following day and help arrives from the natives.

    Everyone has this notion, of Amelia & Fred stranded, starving & alone. It’s WRONG and just the opposite occurred.

    Doug

    Like

  5. This is the first time I have heard about Amelia in the above stories above.

    Like

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