Today we begin where we left off — with the confusing concept (to most non-aviation types anyway, including your editor) of the “azimuth” and its application to the last flight of Amelia Earhart. Let’s take another look at the azimuth, as explained by our resident aviation expert, Calvin Pitts.
Calvin Pitts: It is easy to see why the non-navigator would find this Wikipedia drawing confusing. TRY THIS: Replace the N with E (for East). Go to the back of the picture 90 degrees on the horizontal plane beneath the word “Zenith,” and place the N.orth on the same plane as E.ast.
The Electra is flying East toward the rising sun. The direction from the “Observer” toward the E.ast, is 90 degrees from the N.orth on the horizontal plane.
On July 2, 1937, the crest of the sun broke above the eastern horizon at 6:15 Howland time. The Observer would be looking 23 degrees to his left when he first spots the sun at 67 degrees (90 – 23 = 67). That difference of 67 degrees from North (000 or 360) is called the “azimuth” on the horizon.
That azimuth, 67 degrees on the horizontal plane, is used to calculate a “sun line” overhead for navigational purposes. In this case, that imaginary “line” is perpendicular, or 90 degrees to the horizontal azimuth (90 + 67 = 157 or 157 + 180 = 337) (157/337 degrees) to an altitude overhead, and is called a “Line of Position (LOP).” That position defines the line on which the plane is flying, but it provides no “point” on that line. What it does is to define “directional” information, i.e. the plane is either flying NW or SE.
As the sun rises, it is moving toward the North on the horizontal plane. After 1+02 hours on that morning, it’s “azimuth” was now 66 degrees to the horizontal plane. There At that point, since there is no longer an azimuth of 67 degrees, correspondingly, there was no longer a 157/337 line of position. Since the azimuth changes, so does the LOP. It is now only an imaginary line. If the pilot chooses to fly a “heading” of 337 or 157 degrees, that’s fine. But to call it a “line of position” is a misnomer.
Hence, Earhart’s call at 8:43 a.m., 1.5 hrs after the 67 azimuth disappeared, referencing a “line of 157/337” confuses the ears which hear it. Did she mean a “line of position,” which no longer existed, or did she mean a “heading on an imaginary line running NW and SE”? No one can answer that question.
Unfortunately, the position she gave had no meaning for those on the cutter or elsewhere, because it failed to give the all-important reference point for computing her bearing. What the figures meant, and why they were incomplete, can only be guessed.”
(And there are some reasonable guesses available.)
An important point that should be noted is that the plane (sic) direction finder evidently was not working as well as it should for she could not cut in on the agreed frequencies.
“Agreed frequencies” was precisely the problem. There was no agreement, nor understanding of what those frequencies were meant to be. Earhart believed that she had made it clear through Richard Black and husband George Putnam, but somehow, somebody dropped the ball. Frequency incompatibility was the major problem on this leg of the flight.
Another fact that is perhaps of significance is that when Miss Earhart reported half-hour fuel — the Itasca estimated that she should have about four hours’ fuel supply.
Itasca had it right in that she had four to five hours of “contingency fuel” remaining.
It is probable that she barely had gas enough to reach Howland, although she thought she was there at 11:20 a.m. (wrong time) when she circled (wrong assumption) trying to pick up land.
Calvin: After studying, not just reading this book, Earhart’s Flight Into Yesterday: The Facts Without the Fiction, I am of the opinion it should be renamed with a subtitle: “The Facts are exceeded only by the Fiction.” It is literally filled with non-facts, a statement which can be substantiated by evidence. Other than its fiction, its facts are interesting and well-written. But by the time you wade through its fiction, you begin to wonder about its facts.
Conclusive proof then exists that the Earhart plane landed safely, or at least that its occupants and its radio apparatus were unharmed, somewhere on land in the South Pacific. If on an island, where and why were they not found?
There is proof that the Electra contacted the coral-covered ground without death to the crew. There is reasonable cause to believe that they made one or more radio calls while the battery still lasted. But more importantly, there is “conclusive proof” that we have known the why and the where for longer than the public has been led to believe.
There are two schools of thought about the disappearance of the Earhart plane. Each cannot be right.
Indeed, they are not. No greater misrepresentation could be made. There may be only two “elementary-schools” of thought, but there are “university-schools” where thought is generated by factual evidence which is substantial for anyone who has been awakened to the biased agenda of the Establishment, which, more often than not, is the Government’s answer to undesirable truth.
One is that the plane was lost at sea. The other is represented by this memorandum.
As to the first, is it not perfectly natural that even those closest and among the most dear to the missing flyers, with the evidence of the Navy search of the sea close to Howland Island, would prefer to think that the flight had come to an end — to avoid the lifelong torture of a question in their minds? (Creating facts to avoid a painful reality? Is that the way history is recorded?) The facts (sic) as related have been to intrude such a question. No comfort, then, could come from, and the mind would seek to shut them out, in favor of the peace that comes from resignation (also known as self-deception).
In an effort to reconstruct what might have happened, let us review the possibilities. We know that the Earhart plane was lost. (To whom? A non-fact.) The navigation had gone wrong. It is likely, even, that it was hundreds of miles (Not likely. A non-fact.) from the sea area near Howland which the Navy searched, and from the Gilbert group.
With little gas left (Proof? A non-fact.) and after circling (a non-fact) the area beneath them. what would experienced fliers do? No doubt they had passed many islands on the course behind them. Any pilot, under the circumstances, probably would have gone back to one of them and landed, relying on their radio and on searching parties for rescue.
Not if she had a minor mission-agenda which precluded that. This “buried” fact is the subject of a possible later posting, “My Earhart Scenario.”
THAT RESCUE NEVER CAME BECAUSE NO ADEQUATE SEARCH HAS EVER BEEN MADE.
Compiled from notes and copied in August 1939. Recopied from original February 2, 1948. (End of E.H. Dimity’s “Grounds for Earhart Search.”)
Editor’s close to Part II: The study of the alleged Earhart post-loss messages is one fraught with endless speculation and individual interpretation, even by the real radio experts who have written and pronounced publicly on the topic. I have no expertise in this area, and so have no problem presenting others’ work as clearly and objectively as I can. The statements and opinions are those of E.H. Dimity, presented for your consideration, education and entertainment, and are not necessarily shared by the editor.
Calvin Pitts: The “post-loss messages” are an unnecessary cloud over an already-difficult story, which is challenging and exciting on its own merit without a venture into hoax-land. It is possible that one or two of those messages were valid, but to give them credibility-without-proof is to weaken the greater truth which can, and should be allowed to stand on its own legs. Distraction is precisely the thing that feeds the Government’s Establishment gorilla. Other than this, it was a privilege to read what someone had to say in 1939.
P.S. There is a CAVEAT here: This critique addresses the misstatements relating to the official Itasca crew logs of AE’s Lea-Howland flight. The log used here is presented as “official.” However, suppose a scenario like this: A crewman made a personal copy in the interest of preserving history. Reading it, he notices an omission which should have been included. Knowing that the weather was “Overcast” for an extended period, he adds this missing word for the sake of clarity. His motive is good, but he has just corrupted the official record. He should have noted this on his copy, but he did not. His well-intended corrupt copy now gets copied and passed on.
We can’t say such a thing did not happen. But to our knowledge, there is no evidence that it did. Thus, our comments are based upon this copy of the log that was used. Additionally, there were other intercepts of Earhart’s transmissions that were heard by stations like Nauru which were not heard by the Itasca. Any additional sources such as this must be added to the story, properly identified. There were weather reports, correspondence, personal conversations, and after-the-fact interviews of various “players.” While they cannot be part of the Itasca records, they are additional and sometimes useful material. (End of “Calvin Pitts weighs in.”)
“There had to have been a copy [of the logs available] before this because Dimity makes too many references to its times,” Calvin wrote in an email. “What did he use in 1939?”
“Was he writing from Hawaii using that time zone?” Calvin continued. “Some of his information is 3.5 hours off, some four hours, some 1.5 hours out of sync with other known events, and at least one time was accurate. The 3.5 hour discrepancy could be answered, perhaps by looking at the time differences between Howland and Hawaii. And then, at 7:42 a.m., he strangely gets the time accurate. The inconsistencies in the errors are bizarre. Even Paul Briand in 1960 made many references to the logs, with times and recorded events.
“These question aside, Dimity’s ‘all-over-the-map’ times need to be red-flagged. Where was he living in 1939 when he wrote this? And what were his sources? What was his professional career? Another interesting page in the Earhart Saga.”
Editor’s final close: First, I want express my deep thanks and appreciation to Calvin Pitts for his passion and selfless efforts, and for another significant contribution to the Earhart record. We are truly blessed to have him as a friend.
At the end of the day, it does appear that Dimity did not have the official logs of the Itasca to reference in his treatise, nor did Paul Briand Jr. in 1960. But when were they released? I can’t find any record of the Itasca flight logs’ public release except references to Leo Bellarts’ sons, Leo Jr. and Dave, turning over the three pages of his father’s original Earhart flight log in 1975. In a Sept. 1, 2008 article titled, “KHAQQ CALLING ITASCA . . . “ in Wings over Kansas, we find:
Chief Bellarts kept the first three pages of the Earhart Flight Log plus other messages and pertinent information under lock and key. Upon arriving at his homeport (San Diego, Calif.) Chief Bellarts removed these documents thinking that there would be some type of investigation by higher authority and he would be called to testify. But this never happened. Thus, these papers, including the three pages of the original Earhart Flight Log, remained in his possession until his death in 1974. His two sons, Leo Jr. and David Bellarts donated these papers and other items concerning Amelia Earhart in 1975 to the National Archives in Washington D.C.
To read the entire story, please click here.
Since Dimity never mentioned his sources for his numerous citations of the log entrees, and it seems he could not have had the official logs, he probably relied on many news reports and other sources from the original search in July 1937, which naturally would have been inaccurate and “all over the map,” as Calvin says. If anyone out there can shed some light on this little mystery — i.e. when were the official logs released, if not 1975? — please let us know.
With the recent publication of E.H. “Elmer” Dimity’s 1939 analysis of Amelia Earhart’s last flight, I’ve been gently reminded that, as an editor, I could have done a far better job of reviewing Dimity’s article. I’ve never been particularly drawn to the Itasca flight logs and have never claimed any expertise about them, as for me, they provide more confusion than clarity, but I can still proofread and compare times and statements attributed to them.
This I failed to do, in large part because I assumed that Bill Prymak, the editor of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters, had done this already, before presenting Dimity’s work, or that Prymak would have made some kind of a disclaimer to accompany it. He did neither, and my own disclaimer following Part II, in light of Calvin Pitts’ stunning findings, should have been far more emphatic. I broke a journalism rule — never assume anything — that I’ve always done my best to obey, until now.
Regular readers of this blog are familiar with Calvin, best known for his 1981 world flight, when he and two co-pilots commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Wiley Post-Harold Gatty World Flight in 1931. The 1981 flight was sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Air & Space Museum to honor the Oklahoma aviator Post. Calvin has already graced us with his impressive five-part analysis of Amelia Earhart’s last flight. To review this extremely erudite work, please click here for Part I, from Aug. 18, 2018.
Our focus today is a striking example of a difficult exercise in attention to detail, and an object lesson in the old axiom, “Never assume anything.” We appreciate Calvin taking the time to set the record straight. With his learned disputation below, in addition to his previous contributions, Calvin has established himself as the reigning expert on the Itasca-Earhart flight logs, if not her entire final flight, at least in my opinion. Without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Calvin, who has many important things to tell us:
First, I want to thank Mike Campbell for his passion and dedication to The Amelia Story. SHE — and history — have had no better friend.
I also appreciate Mike’s ability to dig up “forgotten” history. As a lover of history’s great moments, I am always fascinated by the experiences of others. Also, as one who has made a 1981 RTW flight in a single-engine plane, passing over some of AE’s ’37 flight paths from — India – Singapore – Indonesia – Australia – New Guinea – Solomon Islands, Tarawa and within a few miles of Howland — I was drawn to this story, and to this blog’s record of it.
Recently, I was fascinated by the publishing of Dimity’s 1937-1939 insights into the details of AE’s flight. However, upon reading it, I spotted some errors. Ironically, I was at that very time re-studying the Itasca Logs as I re-lived some of the details and emotions of the most famous leg of any flight. I had the Itasca details in front of me as I read.
Because it is easy to unconsciously rewrite and revise the historical record, I felt an unwelcomed desire to share some errors which were in Dimity’s interesting account. I shared my thoughts privately with Mike, and he, in turn, asked me to make them public. I’ve had a long aviation career, and have no desire to add to it. At 85, I’m retired in a log house on a small river with more nature-sights than anyone could deserve. I’ve no yearning for controversy. But Mike asked, so here are some observations. If you spot errors in my response, please make them known. Only one set of words are sacred, but these at hand do not qualify.
Calvin Pitts’ analysis of:
“Grounds for a Possible Search for Amelia Earhart” (First of two parts)
by E.H. “Elmer” Dimity, August 1939
(Editor’s note: To make it easier to understand and track the narrative, Dimity’s words will be in red, Calvin Pitts’ in black, with boldface emphasis mine throughout.)
At 3:15 [a.m.] in the morning after her takeoff Miss Earhart broadcast “cloudy weather,” and again, an hour later, she told the Itasca that it was “overcast,” and asked the cutter to signal her on the hour and half hour.
I am sitting here reading Dimity’s Part II of the “Grounds for Earhart’s Search” with a copy of the Itasca LOGS on the screen in front of me. My challenges to Dimity’s reproduction of the Itasca Earhart flight logs are based, not upon prejudice, but upon the actual records compiled and copied from those 1937 Logs.
At 3:15 a.m. Howland time, times recorded by the crew of the Itasca, there is no such record of “cloudy weather.”
From position 2/Page 2: At 3:15 am, Chief Radioman Leo Bellarts records: “3:15-3:18, Nothing heard from Earhart.”
Position 1/Page 1: At 3:14 am, Thomas J. O’Hare, Radioman 3rd class records: “Tuned to 3105 for Earhart,” with no additional comment. Seven minutes later at 3:21 am, he records: “Earhart not heard.”
Position 2/Page 2: However, at 3:45 a.m., not 4:15 a.m., Bellarts records: “Earhart heard on the phone: WILL LISTEN ON THE HOUR AND HALF ON 3105.”
Position 1/Page 1: At the same time, 3:45 a.m., O’Hare records: “Heard Earhart plane on 3105.” That was it. No reference to “overcast,” and no request for a signal.
However, in his book, Earhart’s Flight Into Yesterday (2003), Laurance Safford copies Bellarts’ statement, except that he adds the word “Overcast.” The word “overcast” is not in the Itasca log at that time.
Position 2/page 2: According to the log’s record, it was not until 4:53 a.m., more than 1.5 hours later, that the phrase “PARTLY CLOUDY” appears.
Earlier, at 2:45 a.m., Safford quotes a statement by author Don Dwiggins about 30 years later: “Heard Earhart plane on 3105, but unreadable through static . . . however, Bellarts caught “Cloudy and Overcast.”
Yet, Bellarts, who was guarding Position 2/Page 2 made no such statement on his report. The statement, “unreadable through static” was recorded by Bellarts at 2:45, but that was it.
Bellarts was also the one who recorded, an hour later at 3:45: “Will listen on the hour and the half on 3105.” These issues are very minor to most readers. But to those at the time, where minutes count for survival, the devil was in the details.
Also, there is the historical and professional matter of credibility. If one is not accurate, within reasonable expectations, of quoting their sources correctly, then the loss of credibility results in the loss of confidence by their readers.
More than an hour later, at 4:42 a.m., the Earhart plane indicated for the first time that it might be off course, and made its first futile plea for aid in learning its position. The plane asked, “Want beatings (sic) on 3105 KC on the hour. Will whistle into the microphone.”
At 4:42 a.m., which is a very precise time, there is nothing recorded at any station. But we can bracket an answer. Bellarts records the following at 4:30 a.m.: “Broadcast weather by Morse code.” His next entry, at 4:42 a.m., is an empty line.
At 4:53 a.m., Bellarts states, “Heard Earhart [say] ‘Partly Cloudy.‘ ”
Also, Position 1/Page 2 of this record states: “4:40 a.m. – Do you hear Earhart on 3105? . . . Yes, but can’t make her out.” Five minutes later at 4:45 a.m. (with no 4:42 notation at this position): “Tuned to Earhart, Hearing nothing.” There is no recorded statement here from her about being off-course or whistling.
Half an hour passed (5:12 a.m.), and Miss Earhart again said, “Please take a beating on us and report in half hour will make noise into the microphone. About 100 miles out.” Miss Earhart apparently thought she was 100 miles from Howland Island.
5:12 a.m.? At neither position is there a posting at 5:12. At 5:15, one says, “Earhart not heard.” And the other, at 5:13 says, “Tuned to 3105 for Earhart signals. Nothing yet.”
The above “about 100 miles out” message was sent at 6:45 am, about 1.5 hours later.
The Itasca could not give her any bearing, because its direction finder could not work on her wavelength. An hour later, at 7:42 a.m., Miss Earhart said, “We must be on you but cannot see you. Gas is running low. Have been unable to reach you by radio. We are flying at 1,000 feet.”
Strangely, even amazingly, sandwiched between numerous bogus times, 7:42 am IS correct.
This was a little more than 15 hours after the takeoff.
Would you believe that, more than 19 hours after takeoff, this call was made? Here, there are four unaccounted-for hours in Dimity’s record-keeping.
The ship carried 1,150 gallons (sic) of gas, enough for about 17 hours in the air under normal conditions.*
Would you believe “more than 24 hours” of flight time, a seven-plus hour discrepancy?
* AES calculates 24-25 hours. — (Whoever AES is, this is more realistic and accurate. Editor’s note: AES is The Amelia Earhart Society, almost certainly Bill Prymak’s estimate.)
Perhaps the plane had encountered heavier weather earlier, or in just bucking the headbands had used more gas than anticipated. At any rate, Miss Earhart must have flown about 1,300 miles from the point of her first known position, when she first said her gas was running low.
An interesting question: When was her first known position? And measured by what evidence? 1,300 statute miles from the transmission at 7:42 a.m./1912 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT and z, for Zulu, are the same) would put her about halfway between Nukumanu Atoll and Nauru. If Nukumanu was her first or last known position at 5:18 p.m. Lae/0718 GMT/ 7:48 p.m. (Howland, the previous day), then that is roughly 1,600 statute miles, not 1,300.
This distance, with perfect navigation, should have taken her to Howland Island, and that without doubt is the reason she said, “We must be on you.” If the plane had hit its mark, why could she not see the island or the Itasca (Having such a flight under my belt, I could offer several reasons) with a clear sky and unlimited visibility? Even a smoke screen laid down by the cutter to help guide her evidently escaped her view. It is impossible that she was where she thought she was — near Howland.
Although Miss Earhart reported at 11:13 a.m. that she had fuel left for another half hour in the air, the contact was poor and no landfall position was heard.
At 11:13 a.m., the Navy ships and Itasca had been searching the ocean for some two hours or more. The “last known” message from Earhart was at 8:43 a.m./2013z when she said, “We are on the line 157/337.” The message “fuel for another half hour” was made at 7:40 a.m./1910z, some 3.5 hours before Dimity’s “11:13 a.m.” time.
This particular time discrepancy possibly could be corrected by adjusting it to a new time zone in Hawaii, but that would destroy the other record-keeping. At no place in this Itasca log saga were they talking in terms of U.S.A. times. The Itasca crews were recording Howland local time. If someone has proof otherwise, it should be provided, and it will alter the story.
Fifteen minutes later (11:28 a.m.) she said, “We are circling, but cannot see island. Cannot hear you,” and asked for aid in getting her bearings. This plea she repeated five minutes later (11:33 a.m.).
This “circling” reference was made at 7:58 a.m., some 3.5 hours earlier. However, something which is often missed is the fact that the word “CIRCLING” is in doubt even within the footnotes of this log itself. It is listed as “an unknown item.” It was a word they did not hear clearly. It could have been, “We are listening.” No one knows.
It will be recalled that at 11:12 a.m., Miss Earhart said she had only a half-hour’s fuel left, but an hour later, at 12:13 p.m., she called the Itasca to report, “We are in line of position 157 dash 337. Will repeat this message on 6210 KC. We are running north and south.”
This “line 157/337” radio call, NOT a “line of position” call, was made, as already stated, at “8:43 a.m./2013z” and NOT at “12:13.” Somehow Dimity has a discrepancy here of some 3.5 hours from the Itasca logs.
The “157/337 line of position” is not only NOT what she said, but it is inaccurate for any researcher who understands basic navigation. The LOP of 157/337 existed only as long as the sun’s azimuth remained 67 degrees.
As the sun rose above the horizon, its azimuth changed 1+02 hours after sunrise (6:15 a.m. Howland time on July 2, 1937.) That meant that at 7:17 am, there was no longer a 67 degree azimuth by which to determine a “157/337” line of position (LOP). It simply no longer existed. It lasted only an hour-plus. After that, she could only fly a heading of 157 or 337 degrees.
(Editor’s Note: As a non-aviation type, I’m lost when Calvin starts using terms such as azimuth. For others like myself and for what it’s worth, Wikipedia (image above) defines azimuth as an angular measurement in a spherical coordinate system. The vector from an observer (origin) to a point of interest is projected perpendicularly onto a reference plane; the angle between the projected vector and a reference vector on the reference plane is called the azimuth. Calvin will provide clarity in Part II.
(End Part I)
In a recent email, Marie Castro informed me that the 75th anniversary ceremonies for the Battle of Saipan, which liberated the native Chamorros from decades of Japanese oppression, would be attended by a single American veteran of the Saipan invasion. (Boldface mine throughout.)
In a July 4 story in Saipan’s Marianas Variety, Junhan B. Todiño wrote that “Saipan David M. Mayor Apatang announced that as part of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian, the Liberation Day Committee named Burke Waldron, a 95-year-old World War II veteran, as the honorary grand marshal.” On July 5, in Todiño’s follow-up story, “A great turnout and an emotional presentation,” Todiño wrote:
Another highlight of this year’s celebration was the presence of Burke Waldron, a 95-year-old World War II veteran who was selected as the honorary grand marshal. He served in the Naval Ground Force of the Pacific and was part of the invasions of Makin Islands in Kiribati and Saipan. He retired in 1946 as a petty officer, second class.
A few months earlier, on April 24, Marianas Variety writer Lori Lyn C. Lirio announced Waldron’s plans to attend the 75th anniversary festivities and offered readers a bit more about Waldron’s personal history:
Burke Waldron, a World War II veteran who will be 95 in May, will participate in the island’s annual Liberation Day celebration [July 4].
Waldron served in the Naval Ground Force of the Pacific and was part of the invasions of Makin islands in Kiribati and Saipan. He retired in 1946 as a petty officer, 2nd class. . . . Waldron said his unit’s job on Saipan “was to handle visual communications from the Island Commander to ships standing by for instructions for the troops’ needs of various supports such as personnel, armament, fuel, equipment etc.”
He said they “used flashing light (Morse code) and semaphore method to transmit encoded messages. At first we had temporary facilities but soon the Navy Seabees rebuilt the light house . . . for our base of operation. We served in this capacity till the end of 1945 when I was shipped stateside and honorably discharged.”
He added, “Over the years I have said to myself ‘it would be a great experience to return to Saipan and maybe meet some of the survivors or their descendants.’ By means of this GoFundMe Campaign I may be able to do just that for otherwise it would not be possible. . . . I would be most grateful for your help to reach the goal of my new campaign for my trip back to Saipan after 74 years.”
To read the complete story, see “WWII veteran to join Liberation Day celebration.”
“I met Mr. Waldron at our meeting the other day at the Mayor’s office,“ Marie wrote in a July 3 email. “I just mentioned that it was an honor to meet him. I was 11 years old hiding in the cave when the Americans were bombing into the Island. Thanks, America for liberating us in 1944.”
Upon seeing Marie Castro’s email, I immediately recalled my friend Jim Golden, who in 2009 at age 83 was one of just five veterans who attended ceremonies commemorating the 65th anniversary of the invasion of Saipan. In my March 2, 2015 post, “Jim Golden’s legacy of honor in the Earhart saga,” I wrote:
In mid-June 2009, Golden was, incredibly, one of only five American veterans of the Battle of Saipan who returned to the island for ceremonies commemorating its 65th anniversary — events completely overlooked by an American media focused solely on the June 6 D-Day observances in Normandy, France.
At a campfire held for the ex-servicemen on June 18, Golden and the others shared their Saipan memories with local officials, historians, and students. Golden, who didn’t bother to keep any record of the attendees’ names, challenged the skeptics’ claims that no documentation exists to support Earhart’s prewar presence on Saipan, citing Goerner’s work, the native eyewitnesses on Saipan and the Marshalls, and his own experience with Marine Intelligence on Kwajalein in early 1944. His moving speech brought a standing ovation from most in attendance. I found it so very moving and appropriate that, more than anyone, Golden was the face and voice of the forgotten Saipan veteran 65 years after the key U.S. victory of the Pacific war.
To read much more about this great American, who was once the head of security for Howard Hughes, a secret service agent assigned to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, headed the detail assigned to Vice President Richard M. Nixon, and worked closely with Fred Goerner in search of the top-secret Earhart files, among other distinctions, please click here.
To the few who pay attention to such things, the media’s treatment of these monumental World War II events continues to remind us of the wicked and brutally biased politics that influence everything that we see, hear and read daily, and most emphatically attends the media’s mendacious treatment of all World War II events. Every summer, everything is Normandy and D-Day, everywhere you look. Nowhere do you see any mention of Saipan; if you didn’t know better around this time of year, you’d think the Pacific War never happened.
Thus Normandy and D-Day are just about all that most Americans know about World War II, thanks to films like Saving Private Ryan, the many other war movies that preceeded it and the endless vilification of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Please don’t misunderstand, I know that Hitler was evil incarnate, and his Nazis demonic, but we don’t need to be reminded of it every minute of every day on our cable TV news and movies. They were all sent to their just rewards long ago.
And not to take anything away from the brave Americans, Canadians, Brits and other Allies who fought and died in the largest amphibious operation in history, but it’s a little-known fact that more Americans died on Saipan during the June 15-July 9, 1944 battle to take the island from the Japanese than died taking the beaches at Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.
Do you doubt it? Here’s Wikipedia’s Battle of Saipan entry: “For the Americans, the victory was the most costly to date in the Pacific War: Out of 71,000 who landed, 2,949 were killed and 10,464 wounded.” Compare that to the Normandy landings, about which Wikipedia tells us, “Allied casualties were documented for at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. Museums, memorials, and war cemeteries in the area now host many visitors each year” — neglecting to specify the number of American dead.
But the Warfare History Network tells us that the “First U.S. Army, accounting for the first twenty-four hours in Normandy, tabulated 1,465 killed, 1,928 missing, and 6,603 wounded. The after-action report of U.S. VII Corps (ending 1 July) showed 22,119 casualties including 2,811 killed, 5,665 missing, 79 prisoners, and 13,564 wounded, including paratroopers.”
Nowhere in our mainstream “Drive-By” media, as the faux conservative windbag Rush Limbaugh likes to call it, do we ever see or hear any mention of this fact about the bloodbath that was Saipan and all the other tropical island death pits in the Pacific War, which by comparison overwhelmed U.S. European casualties. Limbaugh himself has never dared reveal the truth about Japan’s war crimes, let alone whisper about Amelia Earhart, nor have any of the other well-known talk show hosts who so falsely sell themselves as truth tellers.
Attendant to this phenomenon is the U.S. establishment’s longstanding policy of suppressing the record of Japan’s wartime atrocities, which Australian historian and author Gavan Daws, who spent ten years interviewing hundreds of survivors of Japanese POW camps, capturing their stories in Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II in the Pacific (1994), certainly did not.
In Prisoners of the Japanese, 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. 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.
The cold statistics reflect the desperate plight of POWs in Japanese captivity. Thirty-four percent of Americans, 33 percent of Australians, and 32 percent of British POWs in the Pacific theater died in Japanese hands, while the Allied death rate in Nazi POW camps was just 4 percent. “The undeniable, incontrovertibly documented record of brutality, disease, and death in the POW camps,” Daws wrote, “plus what happened in the civilian internment camps for white men, women, and children, and the massacres and atrocities perpetrated on native Asian people in occupied territory—all this shows the national tribe of Japan at its worst as a power in the world. That worst was humanly dreadful, a terrible chapter in the world’s twentieth-century book of the dead.”
Following the surrender of Bataan in April 1942, about 70,000 American and Filipino soldiers were force-marched, without food or water, for seventy-five of the one hundred miles from the Bataan Peninsula north to Camp O’Donnell in central Luzon. The infamous Bataan death march was the worst single atrocity against American POWs in history. Starving men were beheaded or bayoneted at such a rate that one dead body was left every fifteen yards for a hundred miles, “every death a Japanese atrocity,” Daws wrote.
For more of the appalling, grisly history that Daws dug up and exposed in Prisoners of the Japanese, see the section titled “Japan’s War Crimes,” pages 286-289 in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
How do we account for the media’s aversion to Saipan and the complete panoply of Japanese wartime atrocities, including the Rape of Nanking (December 13, 1937 to January 1938), where yet unknown hundreds of thousands of Chinese men, woman and children were butchered by the Japanese military? Why are these monstrous war crimes always glossed over or forgotten by our “esteemed media gatekeepers”?
One major factor, of course, is the liberal establishment’s collective guilt over the two atom bombs President Harry Truman delivered to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 that saved up to a million Americans — and incalculable Japanese civilian lives that would have been lost in defense of their homeland — and helped put a much quicker and merciful end to the war for all concerned, a guilt that our media amplifies at every turn.
But quite another reason lies at the root of our World War II-Japan problem, an infinitely more subtle, virtually unknown factor, which remains as real and tangible as the countless deaths the Japanese war machine inflicted. Appearing in July 1968 before a Republican subcommittee chaired by Kentucky Governor Louie Broady Nunn, Fred Goerner spelled out the problems in the Earhart case in a brief, four-page presentation he called “Crisis in Credibility—Truth in Government.”
“[W]hen the full truth regarding Earhart and Noonan is known,” Goerner told the lawmakers in his conclusion, “a new view of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the years before Pearl Harbor will emerge. Should that be classified because cause of ‘national security’? I believe not.” (For more on Goerner’s Miami appeal, see pages 273-276 in Truth at Last.) Goerner’s impassioned plea is another lost chapter in the Earhart saga, suppressed from the moment it happened, never to be acknowledged by the American press.
Thus the protection of FDR’s already shaky legacy — in addition, of course, to protecting our good friends and allies, the Japanese — is still the overweening motivation and raison d’être for everything our deceitful media does and does not do regarding Amelia Earhart — including its policies in dealing with the Pacific War. Make no mistake: the insidious influence of FDR’s abandonment of Earhart and Noonan on Saipan continues to reverberate in our time, like the ripples of a large stone thrown into a tranquil pond. Imagine, for example, the impossibility of rewriting or destroying 82 years of history books.
In a July 4 email to me (July 5 on Saipan), Marie Castro recalled an occasion in 2015 when she was moved by the spirit of freedom so exemplified by some of our finest World War II heroes:
Thanks for acknowledging Burke Waldron. I consider those Marines heroes who fought in the invasion of Saipan. Burke Waldron indeed maintains the spirit of valor and courage I believe till he dies.
In 2015, five WWII veterans perhaps for the last time wanted to revisit Saipan, Tinian and Japan. They were invited including myself to join a group of college students from Ozarks, Missouri who were studying WWII in the Pacific. A 92-year-old vet in a wheelchair who was on Tinian and helped with the launching of the atomic bomb was in the group, bless his heart.
When we got to Guam, we heard the news that Typhoon Soudelor [July 29-Aug. 13, hitting Saipan directly on Aug. 2] was heading directly to Saipan. All the flights to Saipan and Tinian were cancelled. You could imagine the disappointment of the group especially for the 92 year old vet.
That evening, after dinner we sat for an entertainment in the hotel. Feeling so bad about the Typhoon news, I asked the 92 year old, Sir, What is your favorite song. He looked at me saying, “How Great Thou Art.”
I went up to the entertainer and requested the song in honor of the vet. The entertainer asked me to join her sing the song “How Great Thou Art.” I forgot about myself and my shyness, just to console the veteran, so I joined in.
I feel like part of the family of WWII Vets. I was affected so much by the war and considering the sacrifices of those marines, I forget myself to console them.
Another anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s last flight is upon us, this one the 82nd, and once again we have nothing but lies and silence from our media.
Instead of absolutely nothing, I awoke to an email from a faithful reader informing me of the latest propaganda broadside from our reliably dishonest establishment, this one from National Geographic. Predictably titled, “Missing: The Unsolved Mystery of Amelia Earhart’s last flight,” it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect, more absurd genuflecting to TIGHAR’s falsehoods and delusions. Here are the two sentences that National Geographic spared for the truth:
Some believe that Earhart and Noonan, flew north, toward the Marshall Islands, where they crashed and were captured by Japan, who controlled that area. Eyewitnesses claimed to have seen Earhart in a prison camp on Saipan, but physical evidence supporting their testimony is scarce.
Prison camp? Where did this never-before-heard red herring come from, if not from the mendacious minds of the National Geographic writer or editors? They also made sure to include another loser, the infamous, thoroughly discredited ONI photo from the July 2017 History Channel disinformation operation, apparently to ensure that their clueless readers remain as ignorant and misinformed as they did before they began reading the article. It’s pathetic and worse than nothing. Better silence and dead air than more of the same old lies after 82 years.
Only on Saipan and in the Marianas Variety can we find any semblance of truth and hope in the Earhart case. On July 1, the local newspaper published “Committee to commemorate anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance” by reporter Junhan B. Todiño, who has consistently supported the good cause. Todiño’s story begins:
THE Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Committee will meet on Tuesday to commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the famous aviator’s disappearance while attempting to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe.
Committee president Marie S. C. Castro said members and friends of the memorial monument committee will meet at Fiesta Resort & Spa.
She said they are hoping that their friends on the U.S. mainland could join their meeting “at least in spirit as we honor the memory of the two great aviators,” referring to Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan.
Mike Campbell, author of “Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last,” told Castro in an email: “I truly believe Amelia and Fred know and appreciate the love and respect you’ve given them throughout your life and especially in these past few years.”
He added, “Whether or not we succeed in our goal of erecting a memorial monument to Amelia and Fred on Saipan — and if we are not, it won’t be because you have not done everything in your power.”
To read the rest of the story, please click here.
Of course the comments at the bottom of the story, as always, reflect the “militantly ignorant” status of most of the benighted population of Saipan. “Ambrose Bennett came to me before we all departed and encourage me not to bother by the negative comments,” Marie wrote me in a July 1 email.
On July 2, Marie told me, “Mike, I plan to dedicate the month of July to put piece by piece of the AE story if possible two or three times a week what happened here on Saipan in 1937. This is one way of educating the locals.”
Hope springs eternal, even in the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.