McLean recalls 2014 search for Walker on Dublon

In closing my Aug. 1, post, “Did Earhart tell Walker about her ‘real mission’?” I wrote that, “We won’t get any further involved in the Hawaii Clipper disappearance now, but I thought some of Hill’s speculations might be interesting to many readers of this blog . . . ” 

That was the plan, anyway, until longtime Truth at Last reader and professional scuba diver Larry McLean, of Seattle, Wash., sent me a fascinating email with entirely new information about a story I think readers will also find interesting. 

McLean, 57, who’s been all over the world,says his favorite place is Truk Lagoon, where he lived and worked from 1993 through 1995, sparking a passion for researching and documenting shipwrecks.  I love shipwrecks,he wrote in an Aug. 5 email.  “And Truk has the best collection of accessible genuine World War II shipwrecks on the planet.” 

“Approaching IJN [Imperial Japanese Navy] Seaplane Landing on Dublon, Truk Atoll, Day 2, June 2014,” Larry McLean, pictured above, wrote.  “The advanced team on Day 2 of the scouting mission to Dublon, actively fulfilling Charles Hill’s “Seventh [Hawaii Clipper] Investigation, the survey of the slab (see page xxi Fix on the Rising Sun).  I passed the baton to Guy Noffsinger in June 2014.” (Photo courtesy Larry McLean.)

McLean didn’t know about the Hawaii Clipper mystery until he returned to the states in early 2000When I discovered Charles Hill’s book and the mystery of the Hawaii Clipper it made a lot of sense to me, he recalled. The witness names also jumped out at me because while I lived in Truk (Chuuk) I’ve gotten to know several members of the Mori family and new several Chuukese whose home island was Dublon (AKA Tonoas).  I was gripped by Fix on the Rising Sun.  I got hooked on the mystery, and it also rekindled my interest in Amelia Earhart and the possibility that she had overflown Truk in 1937.” 

Since receiving McLean’s emails, I’ve been re-reading Charles N. Hill’s Fix on the Rising Sun (2000), to get more familiar with the Hawaii Clipper case, at least as Hill viewed it.  To recap briefly, Hill is best known for his conviction that the “Hawaii Clipper did not simply ‘disappear’ ” as he writes in his book’s opening pages, “she was hi-jacked [sic] to Truk Atoll by radical officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy.  Her fifteen crew and passengers were murdered and entombed within a slab of wet concrete on Dublon Island, at Truk Atoll, and quite inexplicably, the United States Government continues to keep this secret for the Japanese government — and from the American People [sic] — as it has, since 1938.”  (Italics in original, boldface emphasis mine throughout.)

Hill’s contention that the Hawaii Clipper’s crew and passengers were murdered and entombed within a slab of wet concrete on Dublon Island, at Truk Atollis serious indeed, and we’re certainly entitled to know where Hill got this blockbuster piece of intel.  

“Showing up uninvited is a very bad idea on the inner lagoon islands in Truk,” Larry McLean wrote.  “The first step in this search was to meet the mayor of Tonoas and gain permission to search on his island.  I was able to explain my search objectives and let him know my good friend Guy Noffsinger would be following up with a visit in a few weeks.  The Mayor was gracious and was also very interested in Amelia Earhart.” (Photo courtesy Larry McLean.)

Hill’s source was none other than Joe Gervais, whose main claim to fame will forever be the vile Irene Bolam-as-Amelia Earharttheory,introduced to a stunned America by GervaisAir Force crony Joe Klaas in his 1970 book, Amelia Earhart Lives.  AE Lives was taken off the shelves by publisher McGraw-Hill just weeks after publication when Mrs. Bolam filed a lawsuit for defamation.  If you’re new to that story or want to catch up on the Bolamite travesty, here’s the first of my four-part series, Irene Bolam and the Decline of the Amelia Earhart Society.”  

Gervais was on Truk in November 1964, searching down a lead on a wreck that he hoped would be Earhart’s Electra, but turned out to be a Japanese “Betty” bomber.  Gervais guide on Truk Atoll’s Dublon Island was an old Franco-Micronesian named Robert Nauroon, who wasn’t interested in Amelia Earhart, but had quite a story to tell Gervais nonetheless.

As described by Hill in Fix on the Rising Sun, in 1938, the Japanese planned to build a small naval hospital on Dublon Island, and hired Nauroon and a man named Taro Mori to supervise the pouring of a 30-by-60 foot concrete slab upon which the hospital would rest.  Hill continued:

According to Gervais account of Nauroon’s story, Nauroon, Mori and their crews arrived at the hospital site early one morning in the late summer of 1938.  There were a number of Japanese guards and officers waiting for them, and Nouroon quickly realized why.  There, in the northern half of the excavated slab site, were fifteen men, or the bodies of fifteen men, lying face down and arranged in three rows of four men each and one row of three.  Some . . . wore dark uniforms (as did the PAA crews), but the rest wore western civilian clothing.  At some point, Nauroon was made aware of the fact that the fifteen men were Americans.

Larry McLean: “This is the remains of the IJN [Imperial Japanese Navy] hospital where Mark Walker and the crew were allegedly taken and possible drugged or killed.  These ruins are directly across the path from the slab (where the house sits now).  This was impressive stuff for Joe Gervais to stumble into in the mid-60s.  Real Indiana Jones stuff.”  (Photo courtesy Larry McLean.) 

The crews worked quickly in the growing heat, and by noon, the fifteen Americans had been covered and the concrete surface was finished.  Nauroon explained to Joe that they had all worked quickly because the job had turned out to be so unpleasant.  But perhaps they realized as well, that the sooner they left the site, the safer they might be: the Japanese were not above executing civilians on any pretext — and knowledge of this job would certainly have been such a pretext.

Nauroon insisted many times to Joe that the Americans had been dead when the slab was poured, but he added that, when recovered, there would be found “no marks of death upon them.” (Italics in original.)  That is, they had not been beheaded or shot, and they may well have been poisoned, as was suspected in the case of Earl Ellis, in 1923.  But, according to Joe, Mori, confirming all that Nauroon had told him, had added that it had been necessary to fasten reinforcing wire over the men — to keep them down.  Mori may have been referring to a tendency of bodies tofloat in wet concrete, but he may also have been referring to men struggling to lift their heads above the concrete — as it engulfed them.

Hill claimed that at the time he heard Nauroon’s story, Gervais wasn’t even aware of the Hawaii Clipper disappearance, but was focused on the Earhart case.  “In 1964, Gervais felt that he was hot on the trail of Earhart and had no desire to pursue another story,” Hill wrote in Fix

In 1980, Gervais “circulated numerous copies of the PAA [Engineering] Report [of Aug. 2, 1938], the ASB [Air Safety Board of the Civil Aeronautics Authority] Report [of July 29, 1938]* and the notes of his own brief pursuit of the Clipper,” Hill added.  It was from one of those copies, provided by fellow researcher, John Luttrell, of Atlanta, that the present analysis has been derived.  In recent years, Joe has provided additional material., relating to medical war crimes committed at the naval hospital, many of them committed against American military personnel.”  Following his involvement in these murky events, Gervais disappeared from Hill’s narrative.

  • [Editor’s note: All reports were inconclusive, with none attributing the Hawaii Clipper’s disappearance to hijacking, though none ruled out the possibility.] 

Larry McLean:  “These guys were surprised to have a middle-aged white guy showing up and speaking Chuukese.  (“Ran annim pwee-pwee.  Iffa usum?” Good morning guys (familiar) how is it going?). These guys got on board with the search after we showed the Joe’s images.  They assisted me on both days of the search.” (Photo courtesy Larry McLean.)

McLean returns to Truk

Returning to Larry McLean, at some point he met Guy Noffsinger, Hawaii Clipper researcher and owner of Hunt for the Lost Clipper, who, he learned, was working on a movie about the Hawaii Clipper.  McLean and Noffsinger became fast friends,and McLean found himself becoming even more involved in the 1938 mystery.  In a previous visit to Truk, Noffsinger and his crew were rudely run off of Dublon at gun and knife point, McLean wrote.  “The Chuukese don’t take kindly to uninvited strangers. . . . Often the landowners require huge sums of money to set foot on their land.  At the minimum you have to respect that this is their land and you must be invited or allowed on.

On the other hand, McLean had established himself with the locals on Truk.  He knew several member of the Mori family, had a good working relationship with the former mayor of Dublon (Tonoas), knew and respected the culture of the islands, having worked for the S.S. Thorfinn live-aboard and briefly had a dive shop in Moen (Mwan) with a local partner, and he speaks Chuukese.

In 2014 I had a planned mapping expedition exploring shipwrecks for an upcoming book, McLean continued in his recent message:

It turns out my trip to Truk was happening a few weeks before Guy’s next [planned] expedition.  When I arrived in Truk in 2014 I connected with the former mayor of Dublon, Gradvin Aisek of Blue lagoon Dive Shop and Resort.  Gradvin then reached out to the current Mayor of the Dublon and gained permission for me to visit and explore.  I explored Dublon for two days.  I went around and looked at every potential post in the target area.  I met landowners and was able to build relationships with locals who could facilitate Guy’s objectives on his next trip.  With the help of my local crew we gained their full support and cooperation.

From Larry McLean’s 2014 visit to Truk’s Dublon Island: “Verifying the post using Joe’s Gervais’ image provided by Guy Noffsinger at LostClipper.com.  By the end of Day 2 we had looked at every post in our search area.  I was 100 percent certain this was the spot.  Details of the edge and from top the post are a perfect match.  This was the site where the story of the Lost Clipper crew had been disclosed to Joe Gervais in the ’60s.  The image in my hand was taken by Joe Gervais and made its way to Charles Hill, on to Guy Noffsinger then on to me.”  (Photo courtesy Larry McLean.)

After two days of searching on Dublon with the local guides, McLean smoothed the way for Noffsinger and his crew to visit the island, this time under much friendlier terms than their previous foray.  At that point, Guy nicknamed me his Ambassador to Trukand assured me that I would be recognized as a production assistant in his upcoming movie,McLean wrote.  

The key to finding this location was finding the post and the slab in Joe’s [Gervais] pictures,he went on.  “This is where the Mr. Mori and others reported to have buried the Hawaii Clipper crew in a concrete slab.  The slab was the foundation for an IJN Hospital building.  By 2014 the Hospital building was long gone and the local land owners had built a house over the slab.”

Within a few weeks Noffsinger and his team were permitted to dig up the floor of the house.  “But the dig was incomplete and they found no bones,” McLean wrote.  “It appears the original slab had been demolished and possibly used as fill for the new foundation.  They did find evidence of the hospital and artifacts from the hospital.  The search for Mark Walker’s grave continues.  There may be another dig in the future.  There is more work to do here.”

Perhaps, but well-known Earhart researcher Les Kinney’s lengthy, skeptical comments of Aug. 4 on this blog cast a shadow on some of Hill’s claims.  “Gervais and Hill put out so much garbage, it’s hard to tell what was good research and misinformation,” Kinney wrote.  “When something is repeated over so much it tends to become accepted as fact.  Greenwood’s story fits in nicely with Hill’s and Gervais’ wild speculation.”  For much more on Kinney’s comments, please click here.

Tony Gochar, of Guam (see pages 263, 264 of Truth at Last), another researcher with an interest in the Hawaii Clipper case, advised me of a few serious oversightsupon his initial review of this post, notably the lack of any reference to Ronald Jackson’s 2017 book, China Clipper: The Secret Pre-War Story of Pan American’s Flying Boats (First edition, 1980).  

“His redo in 2017 provides some good insight,” Gochar wrote, “and the Epilogue is worth a read and mention.  Hill mentions him in many places.”  He also recommended Witness to War: Truk Lagoon’s Master Diver Kimiuo Aisek (2015), by Dianne M. Strong.

I told Tony that not mentioning Jackson’s and Strong’s books, neither of which I’ve read, isn’t a serious oversight as long as this post doesn’t pretend to be more than what it is — Larry McLean’s Truk-Dublon experience and more on Charles N. Hill’s vision of the Hawaii Clipper disappearance, and not any sort of definitive disquisition on the Hawaii Clipper mystery.  We’ll get to Jackson and Strong if their work and insights are compelling enough to merit it. 

As readers of this blog know, I rarely stray from the subject of the Earhart disappearance, but this likely isn’t the last time we’ll hear about the Hawaii Clipper.

30 responses

  1. Philip Van Zandt | Reply

    Tony Gochar (Guam) has been searching for the $3-million in gold bonds carried by the NYC passenger on the Clipper (it was funds intended for the man’s brother, an officer in the Chinese Air Force). Many people believe some or all of that money came into Lt. Comm. Minuro Genda’s hands and Genda is so dirty in the story of both Earhart/Noonan forced landing at Milli Atoll and the HI Clipper’s 1st Air Piracy in order to get a Clipper’s 14-cyl. engine for “his” Mitsubishi ZERO… long before his 8-carrier attack on Pearl Harbor & friendship with Adm. Yamamoto (both may have met Amelia on Saipan; Genda admitted he knew her “personally”) & as another motivation for sending 6-P-38s to shoot down the Betty bomber of Yamamoto… both stories are definitely intertwined!

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    1. What is the source material for your comments?

      Les Kinney

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  2. Thanks Mike- sadly I admit I am uninformed on this case and will have to do research first before commenting.

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  3. Burying 15 bodies in a concrete slab seems like an odd thing to do, especially when they were creating witnesses to the fact with the crew (and they didn’t execute them…more bodies to hide). Why not just dispose of the 15 victims out at sea, or simply bury them somewhere?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. William H. Trail | Reply

      Tom,

      To our minds, yes, it was an odd thing to do. I agree. However, who can truly fathom the Japanese mind? Maybe one of them thought that 15 dead gaijin buried under their hospital was a great joke. Who knows? What is known is that the demonstrated capacity of the Japanese for cruelty, barbarism, sadism, and sheer, unbridled savagery knew no bounds.

      All best,

      William

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      1. I suppose the Japanese were thinking that burying 15 dead gaijins under a concrete slab will ensure their bodies will NEVER be found and any connection with the disappearance of the Hawaii Clipper can’t be positively established.

        What was in the mind of whoever ordered and the men carrying out those orders, the burning of Earhart’s Electra discovered in Saipan beyond recognition and burying it under Alsito Airfield now covered over with concrete? To ensure Earhart’s Electra will never be found and to cover up any U.S. Government connections or involvement in her disappearance, too?

        Who knows? But cover up seems to be the common motives in both stories.

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      2. Additional question:
        Is there a possibility that Earhart and Noonan’s remains were later taken to Truk to be buried with the Hawaii Clipper’s crew under that concrete slab so they will never be found? Just a thought.

        The idea that the Hawaii Clipper disappearance is somehow linked to the Earhart disappearance is intriguing.

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      3. William/Hal,

        Good points; I guess my main point was the Japanese leaving behind the witnesses, loose ends which could come back to expose them….which is still happening 82 years later as we read Robert Nauroon’s story.

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      4. William H. Trail

        Tom,

        As the Japanese could easily eliminate Robert Nauroon, his workers, or anyone else on Truk they chose to at any time, it’s quite possible that the Japanese didn’t murder Nauroon and the others right then and there because they still had a use for them as laborers. The Japanese could always tie up loose ends later if necessary.

        All best,

        William

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  4. In January 1938 the Japanese National Airlines took delivery of the first of 3 Consolidated PBY-1s. The Cats had R1830-64s on them which were rated at 900 hp, 70hp more than the Martin M130s R-1830-S2A5Gs had, so they had no need for the engines on the Martins. As a matter of fact, they bought several foreign manufactured aircraft after their military was cut off from purchases in 1938. At that point, they used the civilian airlines as straw buyers to continue buying aircraft into 1940. I have a lot more research on the allegation that the zeros needed bigger engines, which is patently untrue, nor did a single Zero ever carry a torpedo in it’s entire flying career. Find me a photo of one, I’d be quite interested in seeing a Zero in flight with anything but it’s auxilary fuel tank, since the torpedo’s weight would put it past it’s maximum takeoff weight. Someone besides me should read the order of battle for the Pearl Harbor attack and learn from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Woody. Always good to see your erudite input.
      Mike

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    2. Woody is correct. The Japanese had no need for such shenanigans when they could simply buy the aircraft – which they did.

      There were only three Martin M-130’s built, all for Pan Am. There is no question the Japanese were interested in this flying boat. However, Pan Am pilots did not like to fly them. It wasn’t long before Pan Am went with the new Boeing’s.

      If the Japanese had offered to purchase one in 1938 or 39, Pan Am would have been glad to get rid of them. With Juan Trippe’s political connections, he would have been able to pull it off.

      Les Kinney

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is really good research data, Mike.

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  6. The below comment was sent via regular email from a retired Navy commander who I worked with on a story about a missing WWII pilot on Palau for All Hands Magazine, who has a unique perspective on searching for bodies:

    I just wanted to let you know that I bought a copy of your book and have started reading it.

    I had located my “first edition” copy of “Search for Amelia Earhart” and re-read it before your book arrived in the mail.

    One thing that stuck out in my mind while reading of the searches for graves in that book, and also in your recent blog concerning a possible cement slab grave site of the missing Hawaii Clipper passengers and crew on Truk, was all the unproductive digging that was done by unskilled persons.

    As you may recall, one of the techniques I used in Palau was dowsing to locate places to dig for human remains. It caused some raised eyebrows and questions at the time you included it in your All Hands Article. The answer to the question of “Why would anyone use such a method…?” was obviously “It worked didn’t it – so why NOT use it?”

    That was 33 years ago, and I have since continued to use my grave dowsing techniques with a great deal of success and accuracy. In fact, I use it all the time in my current volunteer position as Sexton for St. Thomas Church Cemeteries (four of them) here in Maryland. I have marked a few hundred graves which had previously been unmarked (some since the 1700’s), and have staked out grave sites for funerals and headstone placements using dowsing. Often, a family wishes to bury a loved one alongside a spouse or other family member, and I can mark out the exact spot for the grave digger so that the old grave is not disturbed, and yet the new vault or casket can be placed immediately adjacent to it.

    In Pacific World War II battleground areas, FINDING bodies is not the problem. They are all over the islands. The challenge would be to find the Specific graves you seek. In the case of the Saipan cemetery digs, a number of human remains were exhumed, but they turned out to be possibly re-burials of Saipanese bodies from a different cemetery. It seems that a general area would be found and then a gang with picks and shovels would just start out digging to see what they could find. NOT the way to do it. In Palau, we first located and marked out a few very small areas and then used small tooth brushes and hand trowels – and were very careful to get everything. If we had simply started digging with picks and shovels, we might still be at it.

    The story of the Pan Am Hawaii Clipper crew and passengers being buried under a cement slab is intriguing. If such was actually true, and not just a made-up tale, it could be very easily confirmed by dowsing or by ground penetrating radar equipment. Rather than being located in an old established cemetery, or a place where later burials took place, or where piles of rubble had been bulldozed, a 1938 cement slab would have preserved well the location and condition of the buried bodies. Besides looking for just a body or bodies, the story indicates a specific pattern in which they might be found.

    Patterns is something that I look for when dowsing on a battle field or in a cemetery. They can tell a lot when compared with known historic information.

    RIchard

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A good reference book regarding Japanese War Crimes, treatment of Prisoners of War, and destruction of records is: “The Other Nuremberg: the Untold Story of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial” by Arnold C. Brackman (c. 1987).

    In that book he quotes a set of directives prepared by a Kempeitai detachment during WW II which states, “When prisoners are taken, those who are not worth utilizing shall be disposed of immediately…. Surrenderors found to be malicious after the interrogations performed on them… will be immediately killed in secret and will be disposed of so as not to excite public feeling.”

    This was one of the few surviving WRITTEN orders concerning the execution of POW’s. Most documented POW murder investigations relied upon statements of interrogated Japanese military personnel and surviving civilian eyewitnesses. It was firmly established that it was Japanese military POLICY from the highest levels for Prisoners of War to be executed. In fact, about one out of three Americans known to have been taken prisoner by the Japanese did not survive the War.

    As the war got closer to Japan, large scale executions of POW’s began. Three unmarked cargo ships, each filled with American POW’s were sunk by American forces as the Japanese tried to transport them to Japan. And on the island of Palawan, 150 American prisoners were burned in trenches and those attempting to escape were shot or bayoneted by a special Kempeitai death squad.

    The book goes into detail about how the delays between the dropping of the second atomic bomb on 9 August 1945, the subsequent formal surrender in September, and then the actual Occupation by American troops, gave the Japanese time to destroy and alter records regarding Prisoners of War. This was an obstacle continually encountered by the Allied Prosecutors in preparing charges and cases to be presented to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE).

    Was this the same policy and practice in July 1937? Quite possibly. The Japanese had been at war since 1931 in China, and it is known that veteran units of that conflict were transferred to various places in the Pacific islands – including Saipan.

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    1. An interesting story related to the Tokyo War Crime Trials is Earhart’s name came up more than once but it never made it to the court room. There is evidence of a file on Earhart at the trial but it was never produced, most likely suppressed on orders from MacArthur – maybe even Truman.

      Les Kinney

      Liked by 1 person

      1. William H. Trail

        Les,

        I’d sure like to hear that interesting story. I’m sure others would as well.

        All best,

        William

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      2. Second the motion.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Richard,

      Thanks for telling us about “The Other Nuremberg: the Untold Story of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial.” Since you’re new to this blog, you probably missed my Oct. 12, 2017 post on this theme, “Japan has never admitted murder of Amelia Earhart”:
      https://earharttruth.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/japan-has-never-admitted-murder-of-amelia-earhart/

      I also wrote an extensive subchapter in Truth at Last titled “Japan’s War Crimes” (see pages 286-289 TAL) that I was forced to cut by 50 percent by a PC editor who wanted the whole segment deep-sixed. Here’e the lead para, just to give readers a flavor:

      “For those too young to understand the Japanese military’s capacity for barbarity in the several years before and during World War II, a brief overview is instructive, because Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were among the first American victims of Imperial Japan’s war machine, an ugly fact our establishment has always been loath to admit.”

      Among the important sources that enabled me to do justice to this completely ignored topic are perhaps the best book ever on Japanese atrocities, Gavan Daws’ Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II in the Pacific (William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1994). In Prisoners, Daws recited a gruesome litany of torment and death that continues to shock all but the most fanatic of Japan’s remaining wartime apologists. In opening his grim narrative, Daws tried to capture the vast scope of Japan’s savagery against its imprisoned enemies:

      “They sacrificed prisoners in medical experiments,’ Daws wrote. “They watched them die by the tens of thousands from diseases of malnutrition like beriberi, pellagra, and scurvy, and from epidemic tropical diseases: malaria, dysentery, tropical ulcers, cholera. Those who survived could only look ahead to being worked to death. If the war had lasted another year, there would not have been a POW left alive.”

      Other excellent references are Iris Chang’s 1999 bestseller, The Rape of Nanking, which probably cost Chang her life, and Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932-1945, and the American Cover-Up (1994), in which Sheldon H. Harris wrote:

      “Japan, during its occupation, in effect, turned Manchuria into one gigantic biological and chemical warfare factory. . . . They worked with human subjects on diseases that ranged from anthrax to typhoid A and B, typhus, smallpox, tularemia, infectious jaundice, gas gangrene, tetanus, cholera, dysentery, glanders, scarlet fever, undulant fever, diphtheria, pneumonia, erysipelas, epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis, venereal diseases, tuberculosis, salmonella, frostbite, and countless other diseases that were endemic to the communities and surrounding regions. No one has been able to catalogue completely all the maladies that the various death factories in Manchuria visited on human guinea pigs.”

      The list goes on. Japan has never made full restitution for her wartime barbarities, and Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan head the list of innocent victims whose cries for justice have gone unheeded for over 80 years by the U.S. government.

      Mike

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have read some of the books you mention and others as well, which detail the many acts of barbarity inflicted by the Japanese Military on their victims.

    The book “The Other Nuremberg” mentions various atrocities in the text, but does not go into great detail. It mainly discusses the cases brought against the 28 so called “Class A” Japanese War Criminals. These were the highest ranking Japanese to be tried for war crimes. There were also many other similar tribunals held in the Pacific which dealt with lower ranking Japanese charged with war crimes.

    The nature of the crimes that these men were charged with required that evidence be presented which would paint an overall picture of war crimes that they had knowledge of, and allowed or encouraged by their leadership and policies. The main charge was that they had “Waged Wars of Aggression”.

    Besides the problem of altered, missing and destroyed Japanese records which would have provided evidence, many Japanese military personnel who could/should have been tried or called as witnesses were already dead – many by suicide.

    It is also very true that evidence and first hand testimony regarding war crimes was classified by the US Government as “Secret” and kept from the public. An example of this, which I saw personally were debriefing statements by the few US survivors of the Palawan massacre of American POW’s which occurred on 14 December 1944. When I saw those first hand accounts around 1990, they had finally been declassified from “Secret”.

    Iris Chang died at age 35, only a few years after her book “The Rape of Nanking” was published. I feel that there were other post WW II deaths directly related to knowledge of or revelations relating to Japanese atrocities.

    Unlike the many post WW II arrests and trials of Nazi War Criminals, no similar prosecutions of Japanese War Criminals occurred after the close of the Far East Tribunal trials. Unlike convicted high ranking Nazi war criminals, who served all or most of their prison sentences, 13 Japanese Class A War Criminals sentenced to Life in Prison, were all free by 1955.

    In 1952, following the transition of Japan from an Occupied country to one with a new constitution, many original documents and records were returned from US custody to Japan. There was a very hurried effort to microfilm them at the Navy Historical Center and other similar offices, but most of those records had NOT been translated beyond the Table of Contents and a quick summary of what the documents contained.

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    1. More from Richard, subject titled “Saipan and the end of World War II,” sent Sept.1, 2020:

      There were seven Congressmen accompanied by a Clerk and five Army officers on that trip. The Congressmen were: J. Buell Snyder (PA), Albert Engel (MI), William F. Norrell (AR), Francis Case (SD), George Mahon (TX), Joe Hendricks (FL ), and Harve Tibbott (PA). I have biographies on each one which were published in a 1948 Register. The Congressional Clerk was Robert C. Lambert, who would most likely have drafted the official report of the Committee’s trip.

      The photos in the limited publication album are all black and white glossies and most have captions under them. Unfortunately, most of the photos are of the members of the Congressional delegation shaking hands with various military officers, visiting newly made US buildings, cemeteries, etc. I am sure that somewhere in the Archives there is a comprehensive report on that junket, but this book is more of a souvenir photo album made for each of the Congressmen. Since the photos were taken by official Army photographers, there are likely many more photos that were taken during the trip that did not make it into the album.

      In reading your book, and Goerner’s “Search” I see that military officers who were interviewed and asked about Amelia on Saipan were there in 1960 and afterward. There was a big turnover of officers in that area between 1944 and 1960, and any information on Amelia would have been diluted, filed away, lost and forgotten – or simply never heard of by those in charger later on. The two officers who appear in this album; Major General Chaney and Rear Admiral Whiting were the top guys there in Saipan in 1945.

      Now, granted, there was a huge war going on which probably kept them pretty busy, but Commanding Officers want to know everything that is going on in their area and certainly would not want to be “blindsided” by a Congressional delegation asking probing questions that they do not know the answers to. And if they are asked such questions, you can be assured that they would try to find the answers.

      Another person who appears in several photos speaking with Congressman Snyder and others was Juan Sablan, Mayor of Charan Kanoa, the city just north of Aslito Field. His name does not appear in your book or Goerner’s but a number of his relatives are mentioned.

      Richard

      My reply:

      Thanks Richard. Will add to this to your last, but nothing really earth shaking here re Earhart. Those who needed to know the truth were already informed, of course, and the rest could find out for themselves if they were on Saipan long enough.

      We still don’t know exactly why Forrestal was murdered, but homicide has been proven to most’s satisfaction by David Martin in his recent The Assassination of James Forrestal, and who I reference in TAL. Among the secrets Forrestal was privy to was the Earhart case and all the dope on UFOs, though the existence of an actual Majestic 12 has not been proven to most skeptics. Forrestal was also a huge enemy of the fledgling state of Israel, and Martin thinks it was Zionists who killed him. The suicide story they concocted was never believable, and Martin has fleshed it all out with a fine book.

      MIke

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  9. I just purchased the Hill book and am anxious to read it!

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  10. Here are two interesting and informative web articles regarding the 1938 disappearance of Pan Am’s Hawaii Clipper. The stories include complete manifests of the nine crewmembers and six passengers.

    Crew
    Captain Leo Terletzky
    First Officer Mark A. Walker
    Second Officer George M. Davis
    Third Officer Jose M. Sauceda
    Fourth Officer John W. Jewett
    Engineer Officer Howard l. Cox
    Assistant Engineer Officer T.B. Tatum
    Radio Officer William McGarty
    Flight Steward Ivan Parker

    Passengers
    Lieutenant Commander Edward E. Wyman
    Kenneth A. Kennedy
    Bacteriologist Colonel Earl E. McKinley, M.D
    Scientist Fred C. Meier, Ph.D.
    Major Howard C. French
    Wah Sun Choy

    https://www.historicmysteries.com/hawaii-clipper-disappearance/

    https://www.historynet.com/vanished-happened-hawaii-clipper.htm

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  11. In addition to previously mentioned similarities and coincidental connections between the disappearances of both Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10, and the Pan Am Hawaii Clipper, here are two documented connections which link the two.

    Fred Noonan was the navigator of the Hawaii Clipper on its first oceanic crossing from the Continental U.S. to Hawaii. He likely had known and flown with many of the Pan Am aircraft’s missing flight crew.

    One of the missing passengers on the ill-fated 1938 Hawaii Clipper flight was Dr. Fred C. Meier of Washington DC. He was a botanist, and plant pathologist with the Department of Agriculture.

    In 1937, Dr. Meier arranged for Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan to use an air-hook, which had been developed by Dr. Meier and Charles Lindbergh to collect airborne dust, pollen, spores and disease germs at different attainable altitudes.

    Fred Noonan had taken such samples over the Atlantic portion of their flight around the world and sent them to Dr. Meier for his analysis and research. Dr. Meier was able to establish that at least forty different types of micro-organisms were being carried across the Atlantic on the upper air currents.

    Dr. Meier had hoped to prove the same with the Pacific leg of the Earhart/Noonan flight but never received the samples due to their loss on 2 July 1937.

    https://lostclipper.com/2013/07/17/flying-boat-layout-design-for-nc14714/

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  12. Mike,

    I agree. There is nothing concrete regarding Amelia Earhart or Fred Noonan associated with the information I wrote about. But my point is that these Congressmen, Saipan Military commanders and Mayor Juan Sablan were all in positions (in 1945) to have learned something about them.

    I am certain that similar unit movements and changes of command took place in the Japanese Army and Navy between 1937 and 1945. Most current “Order of Battle” lists for the Japanese military are based on where they surrendered in 1945. If it was known for certain what IJN and IJA units were on the various islands identified as possible waypoints for Amelia and Fred (post 2 July 1937), then potential Japanese witnesses with first hand knowledge could be identified.

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    1. There is an extensive archive on the life of Major General James E Chaney for sale online; hundreds of letters, 1500+ photos…..only $11,500 (!); I believe it sold at auction last year for $3250.

      https://www.biblio.com/book/extensive-archive-covering-life-career-major/d/1339421473?aid=vialibri&utm_source=vialibri&utm_medium=archive&utm_campaign=vialibri

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  13. There is a three volume set of books titled “United States Naval Administration of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands” published in 1957 by the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. It covers the time frame from 1942 through 1951.

    The books are well written and contain a lot of details, names, dates, and chronological events of World War II and the immediate years which followed. I wouldn’t recommend them as “light reading”, but for the military historian, they are gold mines.

    Relating these volumes to the Amelia Earhart story, I would point out that Mike’s book mentions that Fred Goerner named several WW II Navy men who claimed that they learned in 1944, upon their arrival at Majuro, that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan crashed or ditched somewhere near Mili Atoll.

    The story of Navy Lieutenant Eugene F. Bogan and Marshall Islander/Interpreter Michael Madison is told in Volume One of this set. Bogan was the first Naval Officer on Majuro immediately after it was taken by US Marines. He met Madison early on and soon heard the story about Amelia’s plane.

    Other officers are also mentioned by name, both in these historic Navy publications and in Mike’s book. Vice Admiral E. A. Cruise, then a Captain, took command as Majuro Atoll Commander on 4 February 1944, only four days after it was taken by the Marines. A few days later, he was relieved by Captain V. F. Grant. Captain Cruise then became Commander of Eniwetok Atoll for a time. Captain Grant was later relieved by Captain H. B. Grow, USN some time after July 1944. Captain Grow held the Majuro Atoll Command until after August 1945. It should be noted that Jaluit and Mili atolls were also governed by the Majuro Atoll Commander.

    Although the Navy Volumes do not mention Amelia Earhart, they do confirm many of the names, dates, and places mentioned in Earhart literature. They also provide some very interesting descriptions and photos of the conditions of the islands and islanders, and the many public administration challenges faced immediately following Japanese occupation and warfare.

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  14. A clarification: In my previous post I stated that Jaluit and Mili were governed by the Majuro Area Commander. I should have stated that their unconditional surrender was accepted by Captain H. B. Grow; Mili first on 22 August 1945, and Jaluit on 5 September 1945. After that, they were governed by the Majuro Area Commander.

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  15. An interesting read regarding Mili or Mille (spelling varies) Atoll’s history in World War II is found in the two volume set titled “Interrogations of Japanese Officials” which was published by the US Navy after the war. It is available to read on line at the link below.

    One of the Japanese Officers interrogated was Lieutenant Commander Hiroshi Tokuno, IJN who was the Executive Officer on Mili from 1943 until the surrender. He took part in the Pearl Harbor attack aboard the Japanese Battleship Kirishima and at all of its other engagements until she was sunk at Guadalcanal. He next served aboard the Destroyer Minegumo until she was sunk in the Solomons.

    Mili was a “by-passed” island, much bombed by US air and cut off from supplies from Japan. LCDR Tokuno tells its story well in his interview. While he does not have anything to say regarding the presence of Amelia or Fred (six years before he was assigned to Mili), he does admit that five American airmen (possibly from a B-24) were captured and killed on the island in early February 1944.

    LINK:
    https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/i/interrogations-japanese-officials-voli.html#no18

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