Deanna is the author of six books, including The Ruling Elite Trilogy and Screening Sandy Hook: Causes and Consequences, and she brings a wealth of knowledge, talent and experience to her shows. She was among the first in the “alternative” media — i.e., the scant few independent, honest, responsible and courageous journalists who dot the earth here and there but are becoming closer to extinction with every passing day — to support Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last when the first edition was published in 2012. Since then, she’s invited me on several times.
Thanks for supporting Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
Tinian is best known as the launching pad for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945, followed by a second atomic device, “Fat Man,” dropped on Nagasaki by the B-29 Bockscar. But if the site an American Marine was shown by a native Hawaiian who worked under the Japanese in 1937 and claimed was the grave of Amelia Earhart could be found and verified, Tinian’s notoriety in world history would be exponentially increased. (Boldface mine throughout.)
St. John Naftel was a Marine gunner’s mate assigned to the 18th AAA Marine Battalion stationed on Tinian shortly after the American invasion of July 24-Aug. 1, 1944. The 8,000-man Japanese garrison was eliminated, and the island joined Saipan and Guam as a base for the Twentieth Air Force. Japanese losses were 5,543 killed, 2,265 missing and 252 captured, while 326 Americans died and 1,593 were wounded.
By Aug. 10, 1944, 13,000 Japanese civilians were interned, but up to 4,000 were dead through suicide, murdered by Japanese troops or killed in combat. The garrison on Aguijan Island off the southwest cape of Tinian, commanded by Lt. Kinichi Yamada, held out until the end of the war, surrendering on Sept. 4, 1945. The last holdout on Tinian, Murata Susumu, was captured in 1953.
Fast-forward to September 2003, when “It all began with a call from Jennings Bunn to Jim Sullivan on the ‘The Deep,’ a radio talk show aired on K57 radio in Guam,” wrote Rlene Santos Steffy, a columnist for The Guam Daily Post, in “The Tinian Earhart Expedition 2004,” still available online:
Jennings was in possession of a letter from Mr. Elliot Broughton, who knew of a WWII veteran claiming knowledge of the fate of Amelia Earhart and her navigator following their much publicized disappearance following their attempted flight around the globe in 1937. Jennings contacted Mr. Broughton and learned of Mr. St John Naftel, who was stationed on Tinian at the end of the Japanese era of control. During Mr. Naftel’s time on Tinian, he came to know a conscript of the Japanese army who confided the location of two graves that he had been forced to dig five days after his arrival in 1937. In these graves, he told Naftel, were buried the bodies of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan.
Jennings’ call to the radio show was a plea for assistance that Jim Sullivan and his guest host that evening Bob Silvers responded to. After an initial meeting to discuss the details, The Tinian Earhart Expedition [also known as The Tinian Dig] was formed. During the next month, the group interviewed Mr. Naftel, researched his story, conducted an aerial survey of the area and dug into the historical archives for additional supporting documentation to try to determine the validity of Mr. Naftel’s story. By the end of September, it was looking very promising and it was decided that the only way to progress further was to bring Mr. Naftel to Tinian to undertake a physical search for evidence of the grave sites. With great confidence and anticipation, the arrangements were made.
Steffy is an ethnographer, oral historian and research associate at the University of Guam’s Micronesia Area Research Center, and also wrote a review of Truth at Last in July 2017.
Following is Naftel’s account as given to Cassandra “Sandy” Frost, self-identified as “an award-winning e-journalist and editor who has covered the topics of Intuition, Remote Viewing and Consciousness from an Athabascan or Alaska Native point of view the past three years,” who also chronicled The Tinian Dig in a series of articles for Rense.com (see below):
The first job for my unit was to clean the place up.
There was a place that I called “the stockade” which consisted of three sections. First made up of military personnel, second, island natives (farmers, shopkeepers, etc.), third, the people the Japanese had brought in prior to any military action (they were like slaves to the Jap military). Because the cleanup operation required a lot of labor, these people could be trusted (used) to help with the cleanup.
My first job was to escort a truck load of these people from the stockade to our camp each day.
JOB — Pick a truck load of these people at the stockade which usually consisted of about 30 people — each day as we loaded the truck (open body) I would ask, “Is there anyone that can speak English?” Because these people came from different international locations, there was always some that could speak English. I would then choose one of them to act as a sort of “foreman” to help me with the job.
On about the third or fourth day when I asked this question, a man stepped forward speaking good English. I do not remember this man’s name because I had never known it before. He told me he was from one of the Hawaii [sic] Islands when he fell for the Japanese promise to come work for them at a good wage. Only when he along with others arrived at Tinian did they find out that they were actually slaves.
After the third day that he was on my truck load of people, he began to open up in talking with me while we were traveling to my camp. On the third or fourth day our conversation went kinda like this:
Man: “On the way in I want to show you something and tell you about it. Can you have the driver to slow down when I ask you to?”
Me: “Yes, no problem.”
Man: “Can we move over the side of the truck?” pointing to the left side
Me: “Yes,” which we did. I tapped the truck cab and asked Hall (clarification, C.C. Hall was the truck driver) if he would slow down when asked. As we began a downward slope toward what was Tinian Town this man asked me to slow down, then “Look out there.” He was pointing to the left (on the left was a cliff that the Japs had made in the hillside). In the cliff there were three man-made caves. These caves overlooked Tinian Bay. In each of them the Japs had some large guns. I had visited these caves earlier.
When the man pointed to the left and said, “Look,” I replied, “Yes, I see the caves. I have not been in them before.” “No, not the caves,” he said. “Look like I am pointing.” The truck had slowed down, so the man was kind of pointing back up the slope.
Man: “Look, see those two graves up there?”
Me: “Yes, what about them?”
Man: “I have never said anything to anyone about this before because there was no one that I could trust. I was about the third or fourth day that I was brought here that the Japs brought me and five or six other men here and gave us shovels and picks and pointed out that we were to dig graves. We were under the guard of two Jap soldiers. After we dug the graves to please these guards, a truck soon arrived. There were two bodies in the truck. One was a man — the other was a woman. I immediately noted that they were both Americans. The woman was dressed in pants and a jacket. On the jacket (he reached his hand across his left chest) was what looked like a wing. Before I got hooked up with these Japs, I had heard and saw newspaper pictures of this American woman that was going to fly around the world. I can’t think of her name right now.”
Me: “Would it be Amelia Earhart?”
Man: “Yes, that’s who it was. As we were instructed we buried the bodies, then the Jap in charge — he could speak English — called us together and told us that we were never to speak to anyone about this, and that if they even thought we had, we could be digging our own graves. You could not trust anyone in the camp because they tell a guard so they could get a favor. You are the first and only person I have ever mentioned this to.”
At this point we arrived at my camp and I was called to the office. I had to take a detail out aboard a ship (several had arrived carrying a lot of cargo and some with a lot of Seabees) and help with the unloading. This took two weeks. When I returned to camp we were being divided up into different gun crews — I never saw the man again. (End of Naftel account.)
“St. John was talking about picking up the workers at a ‘camp,’ that was ‘Camp Chulu,’ Jennings Bunn told me in a November 2018 email. “I took St. John there, and he recognized the standing façade of the old headquarter building and police station. Kind of like a city hall. The ‘workers’ there were primarily Okinawans who were hired long before the war to work in sugar cane fields on Tinian.”
Several established facts militate against the possibility of Earhart or Fred Noonan’s burial on Tinian. Most importantly, not one of the many Saipan witnesses — people like Josephine Blanco Akiyama, Matidle F. Arriola, Joaquina Cabrera, José Pangelinan, Dr. Manual Aldan, Jesús Salas and others — ever claimed they were told that the American fliers were taken to Tinian or buried there.
Matilde was told the American woman was cremated by an alleged eyewitness, Mr. Jose Sadao Tomokane in an account recently revealed by Marie Castro, in which case no Earhart gravesite would have existed at all. Don Kothera and the Cleveland Group’s interview of Anna Magofna (pages 245-247 Truth at Last) is a fairly compelling story that suggests Amelia might have been buried outside the Liyang Cemetery outside of southern Garapan, as José Pangelinan told Fred Goerner, and where Marine Capt. Tracy Griswold directed privates Everett Henson Jr. and Billy Burks to excavate skeletal remains of two individuals in the summer of 1944. Many others, too numerous to mention here, attested to their common knowledge of Earhart’s death on Saipan, none ever mentioning Tinian in any context.
Further, the idea that the fliers had been buried on Tinian came from just one unnamed eyewitness, who shared his story with Naftel in 1944 under unusual, strained circumstances. The anonymous Hawaiian’s own words to Naftel could be considered questionable in themselves by a suspicious observer. “You could not trust anyone in the camp because they tell a guard so they could get a favor,” he told Naftel of his 1937 experience working under the Japanese. “You are the first and only person I have ever mentioned this to.” Did the Hawaiian man himself hope to gain a favor from Naftel for this amazing revelation?
Another provocative detail in Naftel’s story was the Hawaiian man’s description of the jacket worn by the dead woman. “On the jacket (he reached his hand across his left chest) was what looked like a wing,” he told Naftel. On the back cover of Mary Lovell’s 1989 book, The Sound of Wings, is a small portrait photo of Amelia in a dress with what appears to be three pearl necklaces and a wing device attached. Also, on page 134 of Carol Osborne and Muriel Earhart Morrissey’s 1987 biography, Amelia, My Courageous Sister, Amelia is shown in June 1932 in two photos with National Geographic officials in Washington, wearing what could be the same wing device. In the appendix of the same book, on page 302, three different wing devices are shown in very small photos without descriptions.
Was the “jacket” worn by the dead woman a leather flight jacket? Though many photos of Amelia wearing such a jacket can be found on an internet search and in various books, I’ve not seen any with a wing attached, sewn or embroidered on it, as commonly done among U.S. Navy and Marine aviators, then and now, and which is likely what the Hawaiian man was describing. The Japanese would have removed a wing device and any other jewelry from a dead body, and would they even bury such a jacket with a body?
Although a photo of Amelia in a jacket with a wing on the left side would support Naftel’s story, it would not absolutely confirm it. Naftel’s account doesn’t add up for many reasons, but if you have a photo or can direct us to one that matches the Hawaiian man’s story, please let us know.
Needless to say, The Tinian Dig did not locate the remains of Earhart or Noonan. In a series of posts for Rense.com, Cassandra Frost traced the roots and progress of the Tinian Earhart Expedition 2004. In chronological order, here are Frost’s detailed reports: “Amelia Earhart’s Grave Found?”; “Earhart – Latest On-Scene Report”; “Earhart Dig – Day One”; “Earhart Dig – Day 2”; “Interview With Saint John Naftel”; “Earhart Dig – Day 3 Expedition Shifts Gears”; “Earhart Dig – Day 4 Time Travel, High Tech Style”; “Earhart Expedition – The Day After”; “Interview With Jim Sullivan”; “Earhart Expedition – Breakfast With Bob.”
In my closing comments on The Tinian Dig in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last (p. 305), I compare the highly promoted 2006 Nauticos “Deep Sea Search for Amelia Earhart,” with The Tinian Earhart Expedition 2004, which was completely ignored by the American media, and came to a familiar conclusion:
The Nauticos search and Tinian Dig are minor footnotes in the long history of failure to find the smoking gun in the Earhart disappearance. Neither seems worthy of further consideration, but they reveal a disturbing reality when examined from another perspective. As we’ve seen, the Nauticos effort was well publicized in the months preceding its launching. News of the Tinian Expedition, by contrast, was found only in small publications such as the Saipan Tribune and Pacific Magazine. How can big media’s blackout of The Tinian Dig be squared with its boundless enthusiasm for the ill-conceived Nauticos excursion into the empty depths of crashed-and-sank theory? After all, both ventures were aimed at achieving the same goal: solving the great Earhart “mystery.”
The answer is simple. The intensity of our media’s passion for the idea that the Electra lies on the Pacific’s floor is equaled only by its abhorrence of the very thought of the fliers’ deaths on Saipan at the hands of the Japanese—now among our strongest allies in the Pacific Rim. Anything that might lead the public to seek more information about the fate of Earhart and Noonan, such as broadcasting or printing news stories about an investigation into their possible burial site on nearby Tinian, must be strenuously avoided. Tinian is in the same forbidden neighborhood as Saipan—too close to the truth and strictly off-limits.
St. John Naftel passed away on Feb. 2, 2015 in Montgomery, Ala., at 92.
(Editor’s note: Jerry Wilson, of Chattaroy, Wash., a longtime Earhart researcher and Tinian advocate, contributed much of the information in this post, which would not have been possible without him. My sincere thanks and appreciation go out to Jerry, as well as to Jennings Bunn.)
Today we present the Conclusion of 1981 World Flight pilot Capt. Calvin Pitts’ “Amelia Earhart: DISAPPEARING FOOTPRINTS IN THE SKY.”
When we left Part IV, Calvin speculated that Amelia, finding the Electra in the anomalous Area 13, had decided to head toward the Marshall Islands rather than risk a landing at Howland. At 8:43 a.m. Howland time, Amelia told the Itasca, “We’re on the line 157-337 . . . Will repeat this message.” Turning to Fred Noonan, she might have said, “Give me a heading, and there’s no time to discuss it. If we land here, I probably won’t be able to get airborne again. Heading, please.”
Conclusion of “Amelia Earhart: DISAPPEARING FOOTPRINTS IN THE SKY.”
By Calvin Pitts
In analyzing Amelia Earhart’s final flight, we can definitively say we don’t know the answers to several key questions. But by comparison with the conclusions of others, I believe we can say we that WE DO KNOW:
(1) The Electra did not go down at sea.
(2) They did not go to the uninhabited Phoenix Islands such as Baker, Gardner (Nikumaroro), Canton, McKean, etc., where they would have been completely cut off from other human beings who could have helped them.
(3) The Gilberts had thousands of friendly people who could have helped, although the Electra probably would have been sacrificed in that case, since there were no runways, with this option supporting the logic of No. 2 above.
(4) They did not turn back to the Gilberts, deciding not to follow the contingency plan so carefully laid out with Gene Vidal, a matter written about often.
(5) They did not land at Howland.
(6) The Electra was never seen by personnel on the Itasca or on Howland.
(7) The Electra never made an approach to Howland’s runway.
(8) There must have been a reason the all-important trailing antenna was removed.
(9) Fred Noonan had a 2nd class radio license, which required knowledge of Morse code, a knowledge he demonstrated with Alan Vagg between Australia and Lae.
(10) There must have been a reason Amelia was so casual with her radio calls.
(11) Noonan was not drunk the night before the final takeoff from Lae.
(12) Amelia was radio-savvy at first, maintaining two-way conversations with Harry Balfour at Lae until her position report at 0718z / 5:18 p.m. local time over Nukumanu Atoll.
(13) Amelia had no two-way conversations with the Ontario nor the Itasca at Howland.
(14) Although Amelia requested only voice-talk, Itasca’s radioman William Galten keyed 50 Morse code transmissions by himself, plus those sent by other Itasca radioman, indicating that they had not been so informed.
(15) Neither Nauru nor Tarawa Radio, important mid-range stations, had been informed.
(16) The mid-range ocean station, the Ontario, had not been properly informed.
(17) With government involvement in everything else, the key radio players, both Navy and ground, were ill-informed on the very last half of the Howland leg.
(18) The Howland runway log, which was hidden for years, now reveals that the men who constructed the runways did not consider the longest 4,000-foot, north-south runway to be safe due to soft-spots, massive numbers of birds and daily crosswinds of 20 mph.
(19) By the same token, the east-west runway for wind was only 2,400-feet long, too short. The width of the entire island was only one-half mile, with sloping beaches.
(20) With 30 days of pressure, problems and decisions, the Electra crew was exhausted with extreme fatigue by the time they took on their most dangerous assignment.
(21) The Electra came back to earth near Barre Island on Mili Atoll.
(22) The Electra pair were taken by the Japanese to their Marshalls headquarters at Jaluit.
(23) Amelia and Fred were flown to Saipan, where they were imprisoned.
(24) While under Japanese imprisonment, the Electra crew lost their lives.
(25) Via Tokyo, the Japanese lied to the U.S. government throughout the early days of the search about the movements of the Kamoi and the results of their search.
(26) In 1937, the Unites States, having broken the naval and diplomatic codes of Japan, could listen to radio conversations between Japanese naval vessels in the Pacific, and Saipan, the Marshalls and Tokyo.
(27) Three of the most senior U.S. military leaders of World War II in the South Pacific, Gen. Alexander A. Vandergrift, Gen. Graves Erskine and Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, independently knew about the presence of the Electra and the fliers on Saipan, and each informed Fred Goerner or his close professional associates of their knowledge.
(28) By extension and by all available evidence and common-sense deduction, the top U.S. political leader — President Franklin D. Roosevelt — also knew that the Japanese had custody of the fliers at a very early date.
(29) Some evidence suggests that documents revealing the facts in the disappearance of Amelia and Fred are filed in a “World War II” file, even though the disappearance occurred four years BEFORE the war.
(30) To this day, the Earhart documents are labeled “Top Secret” (although the U.S. government denies any such files remain classified, or that they even exist) for a civilian who just wanted to finish off her career with a world flight “just for the fun of it.” What is this overkill attempting to hide, and if there’s “nothing to hide,” then why do the establishment and its media toadies continue their blanket denials of a truth that’s hiding in plain sight?
If these 30 factual bits of evidence, and much more, are not sobering enough, there are more, under the heading of “Human Factors,” keeping in mind that this list, while exhausting, is not exhaustive.
WE ALSO KNOW:
Other things that we likely know include:
(1) Amelia’s primary and foundational motivation was her own self-interest in adding to the aviation record she had worked so hard to establish. She loved daring and adventure, and other things about a world flight that fit her dreams and desires included:
(a) her intense personal interests.
(b) her desire for an adventure not yet experienced. She had done what Lindbergh did, in her 1932 Atlantic solo flight, showing that a woman can do what a man can do, something extremely important to her. But she had never done what her close friend, Wiley Post, had done twice. One of Amelia’s passions was to demonstrate to the next generation of girls that the world is open to them, but they must reach for it. Don’t downplay the power of this motivation. She wanted to be a role model while adding to her records. She wanted both fame and immortality, to be an example as a leader of women for generations of girls to follow.
(c) by labeling her plane “A Flying Lab,” she added a scientific motif, like Wiley Post, for her activities. If, in the course of her flying, she could test things like a new direction finder etc., that would add credibility and justification for all the money she and others were investing in the world flight.
(d) Amelia’s big heart, especially toward girls just starting out, that always reached out to see how she could help, first as a social worker, a nurse, as a teacher and finally as a role-model. She never stopped promoting her own interests, but not at the expense of failing to help girls who wanted to follow her example. For the 1930s, she was a great role model, not as a fake, pretend movie star, but as a truly outstanding performer in her own real adventures.
(2) Amelia had had many setbacks in her aviation career. She crashed a plane while in the process of taking flying lessons. She had more than one engine fire. Although she did well, she did not win the Powder Puff Derby. Third place is never good enough for a first-class person. She had more than one crack-up. But with determination, she not only survived, she prevailed, proving that determined women are equal to men.
In spite of setbacks, she had great confidence. As a professional pilot and former instructor, I often spotted a potentially dangerous quality in student-pilots, not confidence, but overconfidence, confidence that exceeded their ability at the time. With wrong circumstances, it is a dangerous quality. Respecting one’s own self-acknowledged limitations is the heart of safety.
(3) Amelia’s radio behavior on the world flight was uncharacteristically strange. Who can understand or explain it? It bordered on unprofessional, unless there was a bigger player and a bigger reason that influenced the entire operation. In preparation for Flight No. 2 in Oakland and Miami, several of the Pan Am workers revealed some not-so-pretty things about Amelia’s rudeness and temper. Pan Am’s offer for radio support and flight following was uncharacteristically refused, at no cost to her — why? That borders on irrational, unless something else was afoot.
In my opinion, a woman, fighting a man’s world, finds it more difficult than does a man. I can spot several things in Amelia’s world flight that illustrate over-confidence and negligence in accepting one’s own limitations. That was a demon flying with her that she did not need. Her interactions with Paul Mantz are a great illustration of this. He saw several things that he didn’t think were good, and tried to change them, but she found it hard to listen.
Next, we must ask, WHAT DO WE NOT KNOW?
From what we do know, we evaluate the things we do not know. Because of the unselfish work of others, we are satisfied that we know the essence of what did happen. From the words of the three flag officers, they tell us that the Electra and its crew were on Saipan.
For us, the end of the story is solid. For reasonable people, this answers the central essence of the WHAT of the story. But the WHY remains unanswered.
Were the Marshalls the ORIGINAL destination of the fliers?
That strictly depends on the meaning of the word ORIGINAL. If you identify the origin as that point just following 2013z / 8:43 a.m., where we came to see “Intent,” then YES. From that point, Amelia intended to fly to the Marshalls.
If, however, you mean something else, then several scenarios arise.
(1). Original destination No. 1? Did Amelia intend to go to the Marshalls when she began Flight No. 1 going west toward Hawaii? No. That’s too much of a stretch.
(2). Original destination No. 2? Was that her intent when she left on Flight No. 2, flying the opposite direction? Here it gets complicated. Did those military men who had a private meeting with her while the Electra was being repaired, suggest a plan that included the Marshalls? I don’t think we will ever know how much the government spoiled Amelia’s innocent preparations with secret plans. Whatever they injected was poison from the beginning, no matter if it was as benign, as is one of my scenarios.
What “military men,” one asks?
“They would now fly from west to east instead of east to west. The reason given was because the prevailing winds would be more favorable, but Margot DeCarie, Earhart’s secretary would later declare that her boss had long secret meetings with military authorities [Bernard Baruch, a close adviser to FDR, and Maj. Gen. Oscar Westover, chief of the Army Air Corps] during the rebuilding period [at March Field, in Riverside County, Calif.].” (Paul Rafford Jr., Amelia Earhart’s Radio. p. 27.)
In 1966, DeCarie told the San Fernando Valley Times that she believed these meetings concerned plans for a secret mission “to get lost on the theory that the Japanese would allow a peace mission to search for her. Then the United States could see if the Japanese were fortifying the (Marshall) Islands in violation of mutual agreements.” (Col. Rollin C. Reineck, Amelia Earhart Survived, p. 26.)
(3). Original destination No. 3? Did the U.S. government suggest something in Miami while the Electra was being fitted with new radios and having their lifeline, the trailing antenna, removed? Some very suspicious things happened there, giving rise to some strange actions and reactions on Amelia’s part.
Currently, with the limited knowledge we have, my “original destination” begins in what I call Area 13 during the time shortly after 2013z / 8:43 a.m. Howland time.
But I can also suggest several scenarios which could easily push that “origin” back much further than Area 13, 2013z / 8:43 am. (Five are listed at the end of this posting.)
And if that were case, you need to explain precisely why they would want to head for Jaluit as an original destination, and not Howland. For me, Jaluit as an “original destination” began at about 2013z / 8:43 am on July 2, 1937, unless the government involvement started in Oakland or Miami. That is possible, but if that happened, then the Marshalls may have been a “faint,” or a ruse.
The military involvement versus the lesser government insertion, is a stretch, but believable with the information we have. At this point, Amelia appears to still be a “peace-loving,” war-hating citizen like Lindbergh and his Isolationists. Whatever sinister part she was contemplating still seems, at this point, to be somewhat innocent, as “My Earhart Scenario” lays out. It is still difficult to see her as a “heavy hitter” connected with a military plot, although the later condemning words of Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. seem very convincing.
“The obvious answer would be to see what the Japs were doing,” Mike Campbell wrote in a recent email, “but why would anyone think that the Japs would stand by for this and allow the U.S. Navy to search for them and pick them up once found? This would have been an idiot’s game plan, and I just don’t buy it.”
Neither do I. Not only would the Japs not stand for it, neither would U.S. military leaders at that point in the pending conflict. Amelia had no training in aerial reconnaissance. The military could not have been that short-sighted. Nor had Amelia received any training whatsoever in “spying.” That is the hardest designation for me to accept. I think it was much more benign and innocent than that, which is the theme of “My Earhart Scenario.”
“Other possible scenarios involve approaching Mili from the west and north on the way to Howland,” Campbell added, “after overflying Truk to get snapshots of the Japs’ work there. They could have run out of fuel on the way to Howland and been forced down at Mili.”
This seems much too sinister for the Amelia of 1936, as well as 1937. A “little favor,” perhaps, but not Truk or Jaluit reconnaissance. Yet, we keep hearing the theme of Morgenthau and FDR saying, in effect, If the public knew, it would be so bad that it would totally ruin Amelia’s reputation.
Morgenthau’s actual words in the transcribed phone conversation were: “It’s just going to smear the whole reputation of Amelia Earhart . . . If we ever release the report of the Itasca on Amelia Earhart, any reputation she’s got is gone . . . I know what the Navy did, I know what the Itasca did, and I know how Amelia Earhart absolutely disregarded all orders, and if we ever release this thing, goodbye Amelia Earhart’s reputation.”
I also tend to the belief that it’s most probable that the decision was made to head for Jaluit at some point, but am not at all certain about this. Other possibilities do exist, that’s why the how and the why of their Mili landing is the true mystery in the Amelia story.
Japanese headquarters, Jaluit, Marshall Islands, was probably their intended destination because of its strong radio signals. Capt. Almon Gray of Pan Am, who flew with Noonan, said: “Fred often listened to Jaluit on his Pan Am flights, taking bearings on them.” This general territory was not new to Pan Am navigators.
However, Mili probably came into the picture unexpectedly. After more than 24 hours of flying, when Amelia saw Mili Atoll en route to Jaluit 150 miles away, she had to know she was down to mere drops in the fuel tanks. One engine may have started sputtering, signaling imminent fuel exhaustion. Both engines would seldom run out of fuel at the exact same time. Hence, it’s “make a controlled landing now, or a gliding landing into the water later with only minimum control.” This would account for landing at Mili, short of Jaluit.
Regarding the matter of “decision,” after studying on Google Earth the difference in an “intended” heading for the mid-Gilberts, bringing them accidentally to the Marshalls, is pure fantasy to me. You cannot move me from my belief that, for whatever reason, there was absolute INTENT in picking up a heading for the Marshalls. The strong Japanese radio signal fits into that scenario, whether that decision was the government’s or not. Those were signals Noonan knew well from his Pan Am days. There was the intention of going there. They did not accidentally wake up and say, “Oh, how did we get to the Marshalls Islands?”
Once I was convinced that Amelia intended to go to the Marshalls, the next question was: To what destination? Jaluit was the most logical, since it was the source of the radio signals, plural, because there were 11 reported radio stations there. Jaluit, in my opinion, was where Amelia thought she could get fuel and help.
As for Mili being the spot where they actually landed/crashed, that was probably a glitch in the plan. The Mili landing was forced on them, as I view it, due to fuel starvation. Ironically, during the period of the world flights, few of Amelia’s expectations seemed to play out precisely as she intended, including Honolulu, Oakland, Miami, Africa, Australia, Lae, Nukumanu, Howland and now Jaluit.
In fact, the original change in direction from Flight No. 1 was probably not her idea in the beginning, but was the result of the “military men” who met with her at March Field.
In Amelia Earhart’s Radio (p. 25), Paul Rafford Jr. wrote that Mark Walker, a Naval Reserve Officer, “heard something different from Earhart. I heard about Mark from his cousin, Bob Greenwood, a Naval Intelligence Officer. Bob wrote to me about Mark and what he had heard. Mark Walker was a Pan Am copilot flying out of Oakland. He pointed out to Earhart the dangers of the world flight, when the Electra was so minimally equipped to take on the task. Mark claimed Earhart stated: ‘This flight isn’t my idea, someone high up in the government asked me to do it.’”
For what it’s worth, from one who has lived this story for countless hours, we take it as being worth a lot. Where we part company with the “spy theorists” is the degree of cooperation. It seems much more innocent and benign than a spy novel. She was asked, in one researcher’s opinion, to do a small favor “since you’re going to be there anyway.”
Probably, it was not that she wanted the government involved in her plan, other than helping with details such as clearances, landing sites, fuel, radio help, etc. It seems the government might have hijacked her personal adventure by offering help-with-a-price tag.
As I’ve said many times, the more I learn, the less I know. But what did Adm. Chester W. Nimitz mean when he told Fred Goerner through Cmdr. John Pillsbury, “You are on to something that will stagger your imagination”? I confess, this is strange language, and its meaning remains obscure. We simply do not know!
As for Goerner’s original theory of an Earhart overflight of Truk Island on July 2, as much as we deeply respect all the time and work he put into to this, and the doors he opened for everyone after him, it cheapens his otherwise stellar work by taking this seriously. Overfly Truk Island? This leaves me outside on the fringes, saying, “I just can’t believe it.”
Not for a moment should we sell Amelia short. She did what most men could never do, or at least have never done, nor even tried. It took determination, stamina, passion, foresight, commitment, confidence and character. She was the best — flawed, yes, (join the human race), but the best.
And she gave it her best. For that, she is to be applauded and respected for bringing to the surface of reality the achievements of a woman who will always be remembered as a record-holder, a role model and a regal angel who was at home in the air, leaving footprints in the sky.
Amelia, even with those things we don’t know nor understand, we salute you!
Afterword: As mentioned in these postings, there were several unsolicited government intrusions into the innocuous personal plans for a final adventure by a civilian, resulting in the following threads and snippets:
(a) “This was not my idea; someone high up in the government asked me to do it.”
(b) Military men met with her privately, removing George Putnam, Amelia’s husband, and Margot DeCarie, her personal secretary, from the room.
(c) Amelia’s strange flight behavior suggested pre-determined decisions.
(d) Her close friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, with personal interest and involvement by FDR in helping with funding and providing permission for the State Department to help with planning fuel stops. “Do what we can, and contact . . .” was written by his hand on Amelia’s Nov. 10, 1936 personal letter to him.
This raises the prospect of some differing but believable scenarios including:
(1). an original intent to land, unable to find Howland, rejecting the Gilberts contingency plan, followed by the personal decision to proceed to the Marshalls for fuel;
(2). an original intent to land, but then a last-minute decision to change, based upon comparisons with the takeoff from which raised the specter of the limitations for a safe takeoff from Howland, with a pre-planned decision to proceed to the Marshalls;
(3). original instructions not to land at Howland with a “faint” attempt to create a ruse, followed by instructions to proceed to the Marshalls;
(4). original instructions to actually land at Howland, then a “pretend” emergency after takeoff, followed by instructions to proceed to the Marshalls;
(5). or “disappear over the Gilberts” by landing on a beach, a “small favor” of staying hidden for two weeks to allow the Navy to search the waters without suspicion while actually obtaining maritime information and updated coordinates for islands, including sightings and soundings and military reconnaissance, to be useful for planes and ships if war breaks out, then “find and rescue” the Electra crew, saving their lives for future purposes.
(6) OR . . . That’s the subject of “MY EARHART SCENARIO.”
THIS IS AN ADVENTURE WHICH WILL NOT DIE UNTIL WE KNOW THE TRUTH. And sometimes, the truth surprises us by its mere simplicity. But then again, who knows?
(End of Capt. Calvin Pitt’s “Amelia Earhart’s Disappearing Footsteps in the Sky.”)
I extend my heartfelt thanks to Capt. Calvin Pitts for his superb analysis of Amelia Earhart’s final flight. In what is clearly a labor of love, Calvin has devoted countless hours to produce this exceptional commentary, and it will take its place among other leading Earhart researchers’ work, to be read often by those who sincerely seek the truth. I’m also confident we will be hearing more from him, as his multiple references to his yet-to-be-published “My Earhart Scenario” suggest.
For the few who pay attention to the ongoing saga of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, today marks another year’s passing, the 81st, and it’s not been uneventful.
Most will recall last July’s History Channel flap over the bogus claims about the Office of Naval Intelligence photo found at the NARA Archives in College Park, Md., by researcher Les Kinney several years ago and presented in the odious Morningstar Entertainment-produced “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.” To refresh your memory, here is my review of that July 9, 2017 abomination: “History’s ‘Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence’: Underhanded attack on the Marshalls-Saipan truth.”
Much more was written here during that time frame about that over-hyped disinformation drill, but at the end it was all smoke and mirrors. Just as the lowlifes who ran that deceitful operation had planned, nothing changed in our cowardly media. Our Fourth Estate’s aversion to publishing anything related to the truth continues unabated, and anything even hinting at the Marshalls-Saipan truth continues to be blacklisted across all news and media outlets, as does Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
Early in 2018, however, something quite unexpected finally appeared on the heretofore dismal Earhart horizon, with the announcement that appeared in the Feb. 7 Marianas Variety (“Micronesia’s Leading Newspaper Since 1972″), “Group to build Amelia Earhart monument on Saipan.”
On Feb. 14, Marianas Variety published my letter to the editor, “Amelia Earhart’s Saipan fate,” that enthusiastically welcomed the news of plans to honor the First Lady of Flight at the location of her tragic and untimely death sometime after she failed to reach Howland Island in early July 1937. You might recall my March 2 post that announced that recent development on Saipan, “Finally, some good Earhart news from Saipan.“
Several stories have been published here and in the Marianas Variety on the proposed Earhart Memorial Monument, including “Marie Castro: Iron link to Saipan’s forgotten history,” in praise of the intrepid soul who birthed the bold plan to build the Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan, and who continues her brave efforts, with little help, and hopes that need serious bolstering in light of the very bad politics that surround the memorial initiative on Saipan.
The situation on Saipan is a constant concern, and a minor miracle will be necessary to bring the Earhart memorial to the light of day — a wonder for which we will sincerely thank Marie Castro, her unyielding devotion to the truth and her constant prayers for moving God to grant, if indeed it ever happens.
I think today’s anniversary is an appropriate time to present what I define as my general Position Statement regarding the Earhart matter, especially its relationship to our broken culture and the feckless media who are largely responsible for creating it. I’ve sent various parties versions of the below statement, and have updated and revised it slightly to conform as closely as possible to the current state of affairs. I only wish that just a few in the media who have not been bought and sold by the establishment would grow a backbone and step forward to support what is clearly not an “aviation mystery,” but an obvious truth lying in plain sight, as well as a worthy and long overdue cause.
Many won’t like the words they read below, and will strongly disagree with this little treatise, learned the hard way during 30 years of focus and work on the Earhart matter. But nobody will send anything that credibly refutes any of it, because the truth doesn’t change and is not a matter of opinion, but a specific, discrete series of events that occurred involving the doomed fliers, beginning on July 2, 1937. All who desire to rebut the below are welcome to send their statements to the comments section, so that others can judge for themselves the merit, or lack of same, in those assertions.
Following is my statement on the Earhart situation, and I’m sticking to it. Boldface is mine throughout:
The very idea that the disappearance of Amelia Earhart is a “great aviation mystery” is arguably the most despicable of all the prevailing myths of mainstream American history. So effective has the U.S. government been in creating, maintaining and protecting this straw man as the unquestioned narrative, that it has become a fixture in our cultural furniture, and because of its universal acceptance by the gullible, incurious masses, the phony phraseology “Earhart mystery” defines and dominates all public dialogue about the Earhart case, while the fact of Amelia’s wretched and unnecessary demise at the hands of the prewar Japanese on Saipan is ignored or labeled “conspiracy theory,” advanced only by and for the fringe conspiracy lunatics of society.
But deep in the bowels of the U.S. government security apparatus, some are well aware of the fliers’ true fate, and they protect the physical evidence that would reveal the truth that lies in the deepest recesses of our top-secret archives. I explain all this in my book and in my blog, and won’t go on at length here.
Discerning individuals who examine the popular Earhart “theories” soon find not a scintilla of evidence for either crashed-and-sank or Nikumaroro that doesn’t break down under the slightest scrutiny. Not a single artifact in a dozen trips since 1989 that’s been scrounged up from the Nikumaroro garbage dumps has been forensically linked to Amelia Earhart or Fred Noonan, despite the constant drumbeat of our corrupt media establishment telling us to buy this snake oil. Many of the ignorant and gullible have indeed bought it, much to their chagrin as they realize the Nikumaroro bill of goods is rotten at its core.
Actually, no real “theories” exist in the Earhart disappearance, as the word is properly defined. We have the truth — supported by several dozens of witnesses and documents — that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan crash-landed in the Marshalls, were picked up and taken to Saipan by the Japanese, and died there at some unknown date before the American invasion in June 1944, likely as many as six years before the Battle of Saipan. Several small details remain unknown, but the big picture is lying in plain sight, as clear as the nose on Fred Noonan’s face, obvious to all but the blind and the agenda driven.
And we have enormous, transparent lies. First came the original crash-and-sank myth born in 1937 with the Navy-Coast Guard’s search findings — briefly logical until overcome by the facts — which finally became so ludicrous and unacceptable by the late 1980s that a new deception to distract the sheeple was necessary. Thus was born the current Nikumaroro virus, which continues to be the media’s default position and infects virtually everything Earhart. Even the brain dead are no longer fooled.
The truth is that both of these canards have been glorified and raised to the status of “theories” by a deep-state establishment desperate to protect the checkered legacy of our president at the time of Earhart’s death, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Thus, when this case is discussed by those considered to be knowledgeable professionals, whose names are well known to readers of this blog and need not be mentioned now, normal rules of investigation, including analysis of evidence and the scientific approach, are thoroughly ignored, and truth is the first casualty.
As I constantly stress in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last and here on my blog, the truth in the Earhart case has been a sacred cow in Washington since the earliest days of the search. The time is long overdue for the truth to be recognized and accepted, and for the parasites who have made their livings by peddling lies about Amelia’s sad fate to go away and find more honest ways to earn their livings. (End position statement.)
These are the nuts and bolts, the essence of the endless rigmarole about the so-called Earhart mystery, which I write about constantly in what is usually a vain effort to educate those willing to learn about this ongoing American travesty, this stain upon our great nation’s history.
No end is in sight, but even if it’s only here on this blog, I’ll continue to expose the lies and enlighten those who remain unblinded by the panoply of falsehood that currently rules the Earhart matter, an insidious rot that has stripped all vestiges of truth from the Earhart situation, and it’s only getting worse.
If President Donald Trump were aware of the disgraceful 81-year suppression of the facts in the Earhart disappearance, I’m confident he would do his best to effect full U.S. government disclosure of the truth, to slay this sacred cow and put a long-overdue end to this ridiculous spectacle of a bogus mystery that’s been solved since the early 1960s, at the very latest. But who will tell him?
In late October of this year, Ms. Carla Henson, daughter of the late Everett Henson Jr., contacted me for the first time, completely out of the blue. You will recall Pvt. Henson, who, along with Pvt. Billy Burks, was ordered by Marine Capt. Tracy Griswold to excavate a gravesite several feet outside of the Liyang Cemetery on Saipan in late July or early August 1944. This incident is chronicled in detail on pages 233-253 in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
When the pair had removed the skeletal remains of two individuals and deposited them in a large container that Henson later described as a “canister,” Henson asked Griswold what the impromptu grave-digging detail was all about. Griswold’s reply, “Have you heard of Amelia Earhart?” has echoed down though the decades and continues to reverberate among students of the Earhart disappearance.
On Nov. 22, Carla, 66, long ensconced as the “Agent of First Impressions” at ABC10 in Sacramento, Calif., sent me the below KCBS press release in its original July 25, 1966 format, created about a month before The Search for Amelia Earhart was published. Thanks to Carla, on this day after Christmas 2017, I’m privileged to present this rare treat you will see nowhere else.
Because the remaining four pages of the 1966 release do not reproduce well in this format, I’m typing them afresh while making every effort to duplicate the original in every way possible, including paragraph indents and page numbers. Compare the content of the below piece, as true today as it was then, with the ambiguous and confusing information typified by the Nov. 25 Pacific Daily News story, “Chamorro man shares Earhart theory that she was a prisoner on Saipan,” discussed in my last post, “Recent Earhart stories aim to confuse and deceive,” and you can see how much real progress has been made in the Earhart case by our esteemed media — mainstream or any other kind — during the past 61 years. Less than none is the pathetic truth.
San Francisco, July 25 . . . A KCBS Reporter who spent six years investigating one of aviation’s greatest mysteries charged today that famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Frederick Noonan — who mysteriously disappeared during a Pacific Ocean flight 29 years ago this month — were in fact captured by the Japanese in the Marshall Islands and accused of spying for the United States. Transferred to Japan’s Pacific military headquarters, Saipan Island in the Marianas, Miss Earhart later died of dysentery, and Mr. Noonan was executed. They were buried in an unmarked grave near a native cemetery on Saipan. (Bold face mine throughout.) In 1944, representatives of the U.S. Government, after Saipan had been wrested from the Japanese during World War II, recovered the Earhart-Noonan remains in secret. The public was never informed.
These incredible conclusions to one of the 20th century’s greatest mysteries were revealed today by former U.S. Marines, and are supported by a six-year investigation into the 1937 disappearance of Amelia Earhart by KCBS Radio of San Francisco, The Napa California Register, The Scripps League of Newspapers and the Associated Press. The investigation, begun in 1960 by Fred Goerner of KCBS Radio and joined three years ago by the other media, entailed four expeditions to the Marianas and Marshall Islands, the questioning of literally hundreds of persons, and probes in the Far East and Washington, D.C. Goerner has just completed a book, “The Search For Amelia Earhart,” detailing the investigation, which will be published next month by Doubleday and Company and The Bodley Head Press Ltd. of London, England.
First word of the recovery of the remains of Earhart and Noonan came from Everett Henson, Jr., now an appraiser for the Federal Housing Administration in Sacramento, California. In 1944, Henson served as a Private with the U.S. 2nd Marine Division during the invasion of Saipan, a 12 x 5 mile island 115 miles north of Guam.
“One day,” said Henson, “a Captain in Marine Intelligence took me and another Private to a small native graveyard. We searched around outside the graveyard until he found a grave that was marked only by some small white rocks. Then he had us open it up and take out the two people inside. I asked him what we were doing, and he said,
‘Did you ever hear of Amelia Earhart?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘Then that’s all I should have to say.’ He warned us not to say anything about it, but that was more than twenty years ago. I can’t see any harm in telling the truth now.”
Henson recalled that the other Marine Private’s name was Billy Burks. After a search of several months, Burks was located in Dallas, Texas. When questioned, he told a story almost identical to Henson’s, although the former Marines had not seen each other since the end of World War II.
Contacted in Washington, D.C., General Wallace M. Greene, Jr., currently commandant of the Marine Corps, states, “I do not quarrel with the theory that Amelia Earhart and Frederick Noonan went down in the Marshall Islands, but the Marine Corps does not take a position on the recovery of any remains on Saipan Island.”
Two other former U.S. Marines, Captain Victor Maghokian, USMC, Ret., of Las Vegas, Nevada, and W.B. Jackson of Pampa, Texas, have testified they learned in 1944 that Earhart and Noonan were held for a period of time by the Japanese in the Marshall Islands and that some of the personal effects of Miss Earhart were recovered and turned over to U.S. Intelligence. General Greene also declines to take a position for the Marine Corps in regard to the findings in the Marshalls. Additionally, three former U.S. Navy men, Eugene Bogan of Washington, D.C., Charles James Toole of Bethesda, Maryland and John Mahan of Berkeley, California, testify they learned that Earhart and Noonan were held for a period by the Japanese in the Marshalls.
With the help of Senator Thomas Kuchel of California and Ross P. Game, Editor of the Napa California REGISTER newspaper, access has been gained to classified files held by the U.S. Navy and State Departments. Both Departments have denied over the years that such files existed. Perusal of this data indicates a deep involvement on the part of the U.S. Government and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Earhart flight and the unavoidable conclusion that Amelia Earhart and
Frederick Noonan were on a several-fold mission for the United States at the time of the disappearance. It is believed that President Roosevelt was aware that Earhart and Noonan were quite probably in Japanese custody, but that he chose to avoid the issue because of strained relations between Japan and the United States and the isolationist policy that existed with the U.S. Congress at the time. It is further believed that the 1944 information and findings concerning Miss Earhart and Mr. Noonan were suppressed because of their possible bearing on the Presidential election of that year.
Literally hundreds of Pacific Island natives were interviewed during the four expeditions to Saipan and the Marshall Islands. Thirty-nine eyewitnesses, who were able to choose Miss Earhart’s photo from a series presented to them, were found. When the testimony of these witnesses is combined the story emerges:
Amelia Earhart and Frederick Noonan made a forced landing in the Marshall Islands in the vicinity of Jaluit and Mili Atolls. They were picked up by the Japanese and taken to Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, the Japanese headquarters for that area, and then transported to Saipan in the Marianas, Japan’s overall headquarters for the Pacific. Miss Earhart died of dysentery sometime between eight and fourteen months after her capture, and Mr. Noonan was executed after her death. They were buried in a common grave outside the perimeter of a small native cemetery south of the city of Garapan, Saipan.
Not aware that the remains of the “American man and woman flyers” had been removed in 1944, members of the 1961, ’62 and ’63 Saipan expeditions excavated around the same cemetery. In 1961, human remains were found, but a study by University of California anthropologist Dr. Theodore McCown indicated the bones represented four or possibly five people and were not those of Earhart and Noonan.
What happened to Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10-E ten-passenger airliner remains a mystery. Parts of a pre-World War II aircraft were recovered from Tanapag Harbor
Saipan, in 1960, but proved to be of Japanese manufacture. Some testimony exists that the plane was also taken to Saipan by the Japanese and was possibly destroyed in the 1944 U.S. invasion which leveled large areas of the island. Twenty-nine thousand of 30,000 Japanese troops were killed during the invasion along with hundreds of natives. The United States forces suffered more than 15,000 casualties.
Commenting on the Earhart “mission” a former member of U.S. military intelligence, who declines to be identified at this point, says, “If the Soviet Union had downed Francis Gary Powers’ U2 plane but not announced it for their own reasons, do you think the United States would have said that Powers was lost on a spy mission over Russian territory? The same principle applies to Earhart. If the Japanese didn’t announce her capture, the United States certainly was not going to make an issue out of it. Japan was ready for war. She launched the full-scale invasion of the China mainland just five days after Earhart and Noonan disappeared. Japan was militarily committed to that invasion and couldn’t afford an altercation with the League of Nations or the United States over what she had been doing to prepare the mandated islands of the Pacific for war. The truth is Japan was not ready to take on the United States until four years later.”
Goerner’s book in its closing chapter calls for an investigation by the U.S. Congress into the circumstances of Earhart’s disappearance. (End of KCBS press release.)
On the front page of the foregoing, it states, “Fred Goerner and Everett Henson Jr., mentioned in this release, will be available for recording interviews Monday morning, July 25 , Studio E, KCBS Radio, Sheraton-Palace Hotel, San Francisco,” and recipients are advised that “Long-distance telephone-tape interviews will be available also.” I’ve never found any evidence that even a single media organization accepted KCBS’s invitation to interview either Goerner or Henson. It might have happened, but precious little evidence reflecting any such interviews survives. Clearly, by 1966, our media’s aversion to the truth in the Earhart disappearance was already beginning its growth to the full metastasis we see today.
Congress has never done a real investigation of the Earhart disappearance. In an event that appears to have been completely suppressed from the public, in July 1968 Goerner appeared before a Republican platform subcommittee in Miami, chaired by Kentucky Governor Louie Broady Nunn.
In his four-page presentation, “Crisis in Credibility — Truth in Government,” Goerner laid out the highlights of the mountain of facts that put the fliers on Saipan and appealed to the members’ integrity and patriotism, doing his utmost to win them to the cause of securing justice for Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. Nothing eventuated, of course, and I have the record of Goerner’s brief congressional encounter only because I briefly had access to his files, now housed at the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas, which continues to ban Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last from its bookstore.
Agent of First Impressions
In a recent email, Carla Henson described her job as “Agent of First Impressions,” an inventive title I hadn’t heard before, as “running the front desk and lobby at Sacramento’s ABC television station, focusing on giving clients and customers what they are looking for, selling the station and sending them away with a ‘human touch.’ The last impression can be as important as the first; we want them to come back.” Based on our correspondence, it’s quite evident that Carla is a valuable member of the ABC10 team.
Carla enjoyed a 30-year career working in sales and administration for Tower Records, spending the first 14 years in Sacramento, followed by 16 years at Tower’s Nashville, Tenn., headquarters before returning to Sacramento in 2001. “It is my good fortune to say that I got up every day for 30 years and loved my job!” Carla wrote of her Tower Records experience. “I traveled the world.”
Carla corresponded with Fred Goerner after her father’s death in 1982, and remains extremely interested in the Earhart case. She’s kindly forwarded many photos, documents and other war memorabilia her father left, and we doubtless will be hearing more from her in future posts.