85th Anniversary of Last Flight arrives quietly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21 responses

  1. I said it once and I will say it again- PT Barnum had it right..”There’s a sucker born every minute”


  2. If I have read correctly, aren’t the burned remains of the plane under a section for the Saipan Airport? Or did I misread that? Help please.


    1. That’s correct, according to Thomas E. Devine and a few other former servicemen who served on Saipan. I for one believe them. See p. 77 Truth at Last.


  3. David Atchason | Reply

    I didn’t even get a “free look” at the Daily , what did it say? (About the kimono) I don’t want to pay to subscribe.

    I, too, was puzzled why Ballard would go to Nikumaroro. Does he believe Amelia landed there? I doubt it, but he didn’t finance his expedition out of his own pocket. National Geo apparently paid him for it with the proceeds from their TV special. Maybe Ballard could use a few bucks now and then, so if Nat Geo offers him a payday with the stipulation that he not mention his doubts about the Niku story, why wouldn’t he take it? We all have to make a living.

    As to where Amelia ended up, I delved into the Japanese “fishing boat” pickup story. There is not much to find, and it’s mostly in TAL or this blog.
    “Among Amy’s most interesting comments in the July 24, 1949 Times article are those where she repeats allegations she made in a May 1944 letter to Neta Snook. Virtually all newspapers included Amy’s statement that she believed Amelia landed on a “tiny atoll” in the Pacific, and “was picked up by a Japanese fishing boat that took her to the Marshall Islands, then under Japanese control.”

    I find the way this is worded is curious. it says “took her to the Marshall Islands.” If she landed on Mili Atoll, she was already in the Marshall Islands. I never noticed this before. I know, for most facts in the AE saga we have come to know, there is usually a “fly in the ointment” that questions the conventional view. Like Galten’s comment “She never intended to land on Howland.” It gives someone like me an opening to question the Mili story. But I’m not going to do that, or Mike will make me do 50 pushups again. I’m getting too old for that many pushups.

    What happened to Woody Peard? I looked on FB and his name is not there. I think I emailed to him a few years ago, but now can’t find him. I have a few questions for him.



  4. Thanks for this reminder, Mike.


  5. Mike –

    *Great piece and one that would make Amelia & Fred proud, of all the work you’ve done and continue doing for the *Truth at Last.

    The real MYSTERY is Ric Gillespie or where’s he been? He’s gone into hiding, embarrassed by the fact, he has no evidence of the Electra or parts of it in his position nor ever had. He’s watched too many episodes of *FANTASY ISLAND. He’s unable to admit, he’s a TOTAL FAILURE but continues DUPING people out of their money, with these silly trips out to Nikumaroro. It’s continuing COMEDY to watch, Ric usher the naive out to this God forsaken island, sifting buckets of sand & shells, wandering around & looking under rocks & bushes for a trace of Amelia Earhart’s plane & personal belongings, or what else he might DISCOVER and say belonged to her? His underwater scuba dives are HILARIOUS, as he gurgles & bubbles his way, inch by inch along the coral reefs, pointing at globs of mud & fish droppings…………………….occasionally seeing a STICK or obstruction and referring it to a part of the Electra.

    Of course there are more than enough ignorant people out there, to fall for this NoNsEnSe! Maybe if they read The *Truth at Last, they would begin to learn all the FACTS & data presented by Mike Campbell. They might actually be enlightened and share this knowledge with others, but that’s far too much to ask.

    Amelia & Fred – we *HONOR & *CELEBRATE your achievement in trying to cross the vast Pacific Ocean. We denounce the U.S. Naval Intelligence for covering up your deaths, at the hands of the WICKED, EVIL & PRIMITIVE Japanese Military, judicial system. Their dismal ignoring of it. As like the Germans, we didn’t know they were gassing Jewish civilians to death and putting their bodies into ovens? We know there was a DREADFUL SMELL coming from the camps………………….



  6. William H. Trail | Reply

    Greetings to All:

    There are no secrets that time does not reveal.
    — Jean Racine, “Britannicus” (1669)

    All best,



    1. William, you are a fountain of wisdom.


      1. William H. Trail


        Coming from you, that is high praise indeed. Thank you, Sir.

        All best,


        Liked by 1 person

  7. Our good friend Marie Castro, a national treasure and among the very last living links to the Saipan eyewitnesses Joaquin Cabrera and Matilde Ariola (listed as Matilde Shoda San Nicholas, the Former Matilde Fausto Ariola in Truth at Last, p. 102) has asked me to post the below comment she just sent me:

    I have read Mike’s blog. “85th Anniversary of Last Flight arrives Quietly”.

    I would refer the readers to the book “Without a Penny in my Pocket Chapter 4 page 47. Or “My Life and Amelia Earhart Saipan Legacy”. by Mike Campbell with Marie S.C. Castro. If you want to find what really happened to the two fliers, Saipan is the island where people have actually saw Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.

    The residents on Saipan who had previously seen the “lady pilot,” all described her as having worn a man’s outfit and short hair style. Women in Saipan never wore a man’s outfit then.

    Ric Gillespie and Robert Ballard continue their belief in speculative theories and end up in failure. However, Paul Briand Jr. was on Saipan and Fred Goerner made four trips to Saipan in 1960 to investigate the people on Saipan who actually saw Amelia Earhart.

    We had no telephones or newspaper access for people to read, but people actually saw with their own eyes and described what they saw, that to me is the strongest evidence.

    Marie Castro


    1. William H. Trail | Reply


      The TRUTH, beautifully and simply stated. Amen.

      All best,



  8. The general public is just as clueless today as they were in 1937, if they depend on mainstream media for their information. Thanks to Mike for carrying the torch on the real story.


  9. Mike, my friend,

    YOU ASK: “How ha$ he (Gille$pie) gained $uch worldwide acclaim without producing a $cintilla of evidence to $upport a fourth-hand theory rejected decade$ ago by re$earcher$ who$e financial well-being didn’t depend on rai$ing $mall fortune$ for their next trip to Nikumaroro?”

    In 40 words, you ask a truth-searching question which TIGHAR doe$n’t have enough dollar$ to an$wer convincingly. But in 12 letter$, you are given your $ubtle re$pon$e. Cent$ $peak and dollar$ talk.

    If you don’t believe that, then ju$t throw enough dollar$ at an i$$ue, and you get a gullible public’$ attention-$pan which i$ about a$ long a$ thi$ reply.

    $urpri$ingly, they don’t remember the I$$UE$, but they do remember that the official myth mu$t be correct in order to ju$tify the dollar$ it co$t to promote it.

    And hiring a world-renown Titanic per$onality like Ballard, who wa$ willing to $ell hi$ reputation for a me$$ of in$ane-pottage, was the key to $ucce$$ful failure.

    The HI$TORY CHANNEL and Gille$pie and the Media have $pent enough dollar$ to float the I$land of $aipan, but that i$ too clo$e to the truth for them.

    My friend, be encouraged, your many hours of labor are not in vain. One day, EVIDENCE will prevail, and TRUTH will have its day. As the Admiral and the Generals said many years ago to a Researcher, after considering the mountain of Mili / Saipan evidence: “You’re onto something.” And in THE TRUTH AT LAST, you did something about it.

    Stay strong. HAPPY 85, and a great posting. You outdid yourself, as did my good friend, Marie Castro. Thank you , Marie, and Mike, you’re still the best. History will eventually catch up with the Truth about this ‘forever’ Story.


    (The ’81 RTW flight crossed AE’s flight path twice while carrying her Thermos)


    1. Thanks Calvin! You’ve expressed the truth about TIGHAR, Ballard and our dishonest media in a very creative way that no one can misunderstand. As always, your enlightened comments are most appreciated.

      All Best,


  10. David Atchason | Reply

    I recently read The Daily Beast article and I now see why Mike wouldn’t summarize the article for me. It cost me a whole $1 trial to read it. The kimono has nothing to do with anything. The article is still interesting. These are not exact quotes here. “Amelia thought it would take her 18 hours Lae to Howland.” That’s a ridiculously slow 142 mph. At least a Google search (I don’t know where from) shows cruising speed of 190 mph. “Elgen Long says that Aslito field was bombed flat, therefore her plane could not have been found there.” I think we have debated this point on this blog before. I lean toward Long on this one.

    “Muriel Morrissey thought her sister crashed and sank.” This seems to contradict what her mother said about crashed on a tiny atoll and was taken to the Marshalls (Jaluit) I go with her mother here.

    To cut to the chase, the one I like best is “Amelia was exchanged for a promise that the emperor would not be prosecuted as a war criminal”. I have, on this blog, opined that she was held in reasonably humane conditions during the war, the Japanese knew she was worth more alive than dead. There are probably many stories about questionable deals made during the war, such as Operation Paper Clip that make me think this Amelia for the emperor’s pardon deal is certainly possible. If this exchange were true it would never, ever, appear in any MSM. To clarify my post about Amelia at Weihsien confinement camp, I have NO opinion on whether Amelia was there or not, but if she was, we would never hear about it in the MSM.

    I Think this article was written by Laurie Glen Shapiro, and if Mike won’t read her new AE bography, I will.
    I was pondering the Japanese advanced DF, I wondered if the Japanese system would give an instantaneous readout of the direction of Amelia’s distress calls when the Japanese picked them up, instead of the cumbersome method of twirling a loop antenna. I bet they did. The Americans were stuck with radiomen like Galten trying to use the primitive method. So it took days to figure out where she had ditched her plane. Her distress calls were erased from the Itasca log, of course. That’s why people like Prymak are puzzled by her lack of distress calls. Or at least say they are.

    There are many layers of duplicity in the AE story, but I don’t think “The Daily Beast” is one of them, at least far from the worst. I have my theory own of what happened which I already posted here and was met with revulsion. At least I have not been banished which shows good taste on the part of Mike.



    1. You expose your ignorance and contrary nature when you write in favor of the lies that Shapiro and the Daily Beast published, and manage to insult me along the way. See page 71 of TAL for a photo of standing hangars on Saipan after the naval bombardment prior to the invasion. Other hangars survived as well. One of them housed the Electra.

      Are you telling us you don’t have a copy of Truth at Last and know nothing of the old lie about the hangars on Saipan, or are you telling us you’re too lazy and bent on advancing contrary BS to bother checking for the facts before you spew your venom? Which is it? In either case, your comments are flat-out wrong and inexcusable from someone who claims any knowledge at all about the Earhart disappearance.

      This is not a matter of opinion, but established fact. You’re on your way out here if you continue with your campaign of spouting the ridiculous and siding with our enemies whose hatred of the truth is palpable. This is not a free forum, but I’ve always tried to be fair. You have become a major irritant, and I feel almost betrayed by your comments.



    2. David,

      I have posted link to this video here before titled “Aslito Airfield as it appeared when ground men of the 318th Fighter Squadron arrived on 18th June, 1944, Saipan Island”.



  11. David Atchason | Reply

    Thanks for posting that, I don’t believe I have ever seen that video. I wonder why Elgen Long would claim the place was bombed flat when, if that were not the case, it would diminish the credibility of his book. I also saw, in “additional clips” that the Japanese came back to bomb Aslito. It says no airplanes were damaged. This is probably irrelevant and might have no bearing on Devine’s sighting.
    It’s too late to question Long, but I read that he was so upset at reading the claim that Devine saw Amelia’s plane on Saipan he as motivated to write his book. Whatever that means.


  12. Laurie Gwen Shapiro is so wrong about Amelia and Fred and probably just about everything else. Her ideological predispositions are leading her down a proverbial rat hole. Bye, Laurie.


  13. I enjoy your comments. I find anything Earhart related to be fascinating.
    Re: your perception that Noonan looks chipper and ready to go. A deduction like that from a grainy photo is not legitimate. He could be smiling or he could be drooling. The image is a fraction of a second. Your comment only serves to make me question your other interpretations of evidence.
    Nevertheless. Keep up your hard work

    Cliff Nagel


    1. I looked into this as best I could, and the verdict comes down heavily, though not unanimously, in favor of Noonan’s sobriety on the morning of the final flight. I highly recommend my post of Jan. 6, 2015: “Fred Noonan’s story: In search of the true story”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: