Today we return to the unpleasant subject of the International Forest of Friendship (IFF) and its recent request to unsubscribe from this blog and reject the honest work that’s done here on behalf of an extremely worthy cause. Now it’s not only this blog that they have no respect for, it’s the iconic aviator Calvin Pitts who they’ve decided is also unworthy of their merest acknowledgement. (* See update at bottom.)
The IFF organization in Atchison, Kansas, Amelia Earhart’s birthplace in the Heartland of America, prides itself as a “living, growing memorial to the world history of aviation and aerospace.” On the IFF’s idyllic landscape you can find a life-size statue of Amelia Earhart and “The Amelia Earhart Earthworks,” among other family-friendly attractions.
Most regular readers are familiar with my post of Nov. 21, 2021, Forest of Friendship rejects Earhart truth, which described my response to the IFF’s terse “unsubscribe” request after years of receiving this blog, albeit without comment. I’ve linked it above so that anyone can understand the basics of this odious situation. Calvin responded to this post that same day, and he wrote in closing his comment:
Personally knowing some of Amelia’s close associates, I have serious doubts that she would approve of anything so cheap. I knew Wiley’s wife and brother, and they would not have approved. I knew several of Amelia’s associates, and they were all professionals of class.
Such rudeness is so unlike the Amelia-world I knew, that it is surprising. I will let you know the response I receive, if any. You and your historic Blog deserve better than this. People like Wiley, Amelia, Fay, and a host of others I associated with, were not only courteous, but people of class. On their behalf, I apologize. Will be in touch.
To see Calvin’s entire comment, please click here or go to comments of Nov. 21, 2021.
Of course Calvin followed through on his pledge to contact the IFF and find out for himself why they feel this blog is beneath their attention. But such is the IFF leadership’s aversion to the light of public knowledge that we couldn’t find the name of the IFF’s president or any of its officials, so Calvin addressed his letter to the IFF office manager, asking that she kindly pass up the chain to the appropriate parties, hoping to reach the still nameless IFF president.
Here is his letter of Dec. 7, 2021 in its original format. You can click on each page for a larger view.
No one has replied to Calvin’s kind letter, exceptional on so many levels, and by this late date it’s safe to assume that the IFF has no plans to do so. We can only imagine the level of arrogance and contempt required to ignore such a sincere, good-faith appeal to the better angels of the still-unnamed IFF president and others of the IFF leadership. Whoever they are, they should be ashamed of their abject failure to fulfill even the lowest, most basic public call to civility and transparency, and the entire IFF is now culpable for this feckless affront and insult to Calvin Pitts. It is also a glaring example of the establishment’s thorough hatred for the Marshalls-Saipan Truth in the Earhart disappearance, and its refusal to even consider it.
What more can one say about the IFF at this point? Their abject silence screams volumes about these creatures, who have gone out of their way to sink to a level that’s beneath even the contempt with which they regard us.
I asked Calvin, who has recently suffered medical problems that he’s asked me not to mention and remains undaunted, if he’d like to make a closing statement to complete this dreary post. Ever the Christian gentleman, Calvin replied thusly:
In times like this, when we encounter those who out of fear, misplaced loyalties and willful ignorance refuse to do the right thing, the best we can do is try to forgive them and move on. We can also try to pray that someday the light will come on in their dim minds, and they might consider joining those of us who can honor the legacy of Amelia Earhart and revere and honor the truth in the same breath — something they’ve proven themselves incapable of at this time.
Fortunately, due to the professional research, the tedious work, and a love for truth as displayed in Mike Campbell’s stellar book, THE TRUTH AT LAST, coupled with other gifted researchers, writers, and eyewitnesses, we were introduced to some of the private, unpublished knowledge of men like Adm. Chester Nimitz Jr., Gen. Alexander Vandegrift, Gen. Graves Erskine, Gen. Tommy Watson, and a host of eyewitnesses who told their stories. Because of men and women like that, we know the end of the Earhart story, and are able to lay to rest the amazing life of a beautiful woman who has earned her rest.
What more is there to say?
* Jan. 25 UPDATE: Longtime reader Tom Williams has informed me that he’s found an overview of the International Forest of Friendship as of 12/2019, which lists its major officers as follows:
Linton Wells II, Chairman
Leonard Buddenbohm, Vice Chairman
Shannon Osborne, Treasurer
Cheryl K. Smith, Secretary
Researcher Tony Gochar also contributed information to this update. Tom Williams informs us that Linton Wells II is the son of the great Fay Gillis Wells, who Calvin Pitts praised so glowingly in his brief tribute above. Here’s Fay Gillis Wells 2002 obituary.
Today we return for further examination of the remarkable deposit of evidence that American miliary personnel provided to Earhart researchers that solidified the undeniable fact of the presence and deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan.
In my March 13, 2020 post, “Veterans recall seeing Earhart photos on Saipan” we began with Ralph R. Kanna, of Johnson City, New York, assigned to the Army’s 106th Infantry Regiment on Saipan, who was among the first of the former GIs to contact Fred Goerner during his early Saipan investigations. In 1961, Kanna told Goerner that as platoon sergeant of his intelligence unit on Saipan, his duty was “to insure [sic] that we would take as many prisoners as possible for interrogation purposes.”
The below letter from appeared in the July 1996 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters. The headline is taken directly from the AES original; editor Bill Prymak’s note that the letter was sent to Fred Goerner in the “mid-1960s” is incorrect. Kanna sent the letter sometime in 1961, as noted in Goerner’s 1966 classic, The Search for Amelia Earhart. Underline emphasis in original, boldface emphasis mine unless noted.
Dear Mr. Goerner:
I assume this letter will be of some importance to you. In it I shall endeavor to state some facts concerning the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.
I was Platoon Sergeant of the I & R Platoon of Headquarters Co. of the 106th Infantry, 27th Inf. Division during the assault on Saipan. It was my duty at the time to insure (sic) that we would take as many prisoners as possible for interrogation purposes.
On Saipan we captured one particular prisoner near an area designated as “Tank Valley.” This prisoner had in his possession a picture which showed the late Amelia Earhart standing near Japanese aircraft on an airfield. Assuming the picture of the aircraft to be of value, it was forwarded through channels to the S-2 (Intelligence Officer).
But more important, upon questioning this prisoner by one of our “Nesei Boys” (interpreters), he stated that this woman was taken prisoner along with a male companion and subsequently he felt that both of them had been executed.
From time to time I have told these facts to associates, and they finally have convinced me to write you. I obtained your address from an article in the NY Herald Tribune of Nov. 25, 1961. The article stated your interest in this case.
My memory is not accurate as to dates and times of the actual contact with the prisoner, but I had only three interpreters during my tour as Platoon Sergeant of the Intelligence Section. They were: Mr. Roy Higashi; Mr. William Nuno; Mr. Richard Moritsugu. I am sure that if contact could be made with these persons they would corroborate my story. I assure you I am not a crank.
This picture I spoke of must be somewhere in U.S. government files. I wish you continued success in your investigation, because I am positive that your assumptions are correct.
Ralph R. Kanna
The names Kanna provided Goerner were three men who had served as interpreters for his unit. Goerner located only one of them, Richard Moritsugu, in Honolulu, whose voice “quavered and broke” on the phone when Goerner asked about Saipan and Sergeant Kanna. Moritsugu told Goerner he had no desire to discuss the war.
Several other former GIs later contacted Goerner, among them ex-Marines Everette Henson Jr. and Billy Burks, whose stories are well known to those who’ve read Goerner’s The Search for Amelia Earhart, Truth at Last or this blog.
Later, 26 such individuals reached out to Thomas E. Devine in response to his plea at the close of his 1987 book, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident. Their stories were recorded in our 2002 book, With Our Own Eyes: Eyewitnesses to the Final Days of Amelia Earhart, and especially Truth at Last, in which I devoted an entire chapter, “Saipan Veterans Come Forward,” to chronicling this phenomenon so unique to the Earhart disappearance, one that the establishment deniers, haters and nay sayers have no coherent response to.
These were just some of the American witnesses to the presence and deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan.
When it comes to dismissing the truth about the Saipan presence and deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan following their July 2, 1937 disappearance, establishment “historians” and authors are unanimous in their rejection of the so-called “Japanese capture theory,” and insist, for any number of false and specious reasons, that the fliers could never have been on Saipan.
Some of these self-proclaimed experts have gone so far as to state as fact that the Japanese military had not even established a presence on Saipan until the early 1940s, a claim so false as to be laughable. We know, of course, that the doomed pair met their tragic ends on that Northern Marianas island, so far off the track of their original flight plan, and we have a mountain of evidence to prove it, much of it involving military personnel in the service of the Emperor.
A September 1933 letter (above) from Guam citizen Emilia M. Notley to retired Navy Cmdr. Albert Moritz, of Brooklyn, N.Y. gives us a rare glimpse into prewar Saipan. Below is the missive Moritz sent to the Navy Department in Washington via the Commandant, Navy Yard, New York, with a copy of Notley’s letter, explaining that he had met Notley, who was married to an American and whose “people were recognized as prominent,” on Guam thirty-three years earlier, and he considered the letter to be “of military value.” (Click on either letter for larger view.)
Notley’s letter is prima facie evidence that not only were Japanese military personnel stationed on Saipan at least as early as 1933, but “aeroplanes and ships were arriving for the maneuvers,” reflecting a level of military activity on early 1930s Saipan rarely suggested in Western literature. The hostility and suspicion Notley met from the authorities — “the Japs,” as she wrote, clearly soldiers or military police — leave no doubt that Fukiko Aoki’s insistence in her 1983 Japanese magazine story, “Was Amelia Earhart Executed?” that 1937 Saipan was “the embodiment of peace: there were no soldiers,” was utterly false.
In fact, at one point during Goerner’s Saipan investigations, Cmdr. Paul Bridwell showed him documents “that prove the Japanese began construction of their Saipan Military facilities as early as 1929,” according to Goerner. Marianas historian D. Colt Denfeld Ph.D., author of Hold the Marianas: The Japanese Defense of the Marianas (1997), wrote that “a seaplane and naval base was built at Flores Point, on Tanapag Harbor” in 1934. This claim has an obvious corollary — the requisite presence of military personnel to supervise, support and complete those projects.
For much more on the many and varied lies pushed by the U.S. establishment and its media allies about the Earhart case, please see Chapter XV, “The Establishment’s Contempt for the Truth” see pages 293-321 of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
Today we return to our recent two-part post, “Amelia Earhart and the French Connection,” for a look at the original article as seen in the December 2000 issue of Air Classics magazine. You’ll find it differs in several areas from the version that found its way into the March 1998 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters, though the story is basically the same, and still confuses me.
Heartfelt thanks to longtime reader Willam Trail, who procured the December 2000 Air Classics, photocopied it and sent it here to make it available to all.
You can click on each page for a larger, clearer view and easy reading.
Comments are welcome!