Today we conclude our review of the 1993 Amelia Earhart Symposium, held at The Flying Lady restaurant in Morgan Hill, Calif., organized by AES founder and President Bill Prymak and attended by nearly all the leading researchers and authors of the Earhart disappearance.
Names in bold capitals and other caps emphasis Prymak’s; all other bold emphasis mine.
A.E.S. SYMPOSIUM AUGUST 27-29th, 1993
LIST OF PRINCIPAL SPEAKERS
IRV PERCH: You can’t describe this guy as a “character”; there’s’ simply too much depth, warmth and charisma behind this man . . . his welcoming speech will be well remembered for the story of his 150 pair of white overalls . . . “What a character!” Hey! . . . I did say it! He IS a character!
BILL PRYMAK: Introducing principal speakers, special guests such as Bill and Nandine Southern, Bill being Neta Snook’s son; Irene & John Bolam, and a host of others. Pat Ward of the 99s a very special attendee; helped Bill immeasurably thru the early days of AES.
DON WILSON: Author of upcoming book Amelia Earhart: Lost Legend, has done a superb job of putting together an anthology of all the eye witnesses in the South Pacific associated with events immediately after July 2, 1937.
COL. ROLLIN REINECK: Describing his untiring efforts to initiate Congressional legislation to release State Dept. files that are still precluded from public scrutiny. His handouts to all attendees to be forwarded as detailed on the handout are vital to our cause: every attendee is urged to act on it! It only takes five minutes: Let’s do it NOW!
JOE GERVAIS: 1960, first AE investigation. Went to Saipan several times to interview native witnesses, first trip 1961. Visited Japan, Howland Island, Lae, Truk, Marshall Islands all in search of information leading to a solution. Joe supplied all research data for Joe Klaas’ book Amelia Earhart Lives (1970), which was nominated for COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PULITZER PRIZE in 1971 [and later pulled from all bookstores after Irene Bolam sued the publisher for defamation]. Joe to this day still keeps up a torrid pace on his quest for the truth. One of the true icons in Earhart research.
JOE KLAAS: Author of Amelia Earhart Lives (see above) . . . book now a rare classic fetching upwards of $125/copy. Felt Howard Hughes put substantial “heat” on himself and Gervais after their book suggested that possibly Japanese obtained Zero Fighter blueprints from Hughes. Hughes had great respect for the two Joes, who jointly earned approximately 30 combat medals between them. They were told by Hughes’ henchmen, “If it were not for their combat records, they would have been squashed like bugs.” A very strange story indeed.
ELGEN LONG: Put forth his theory that AE simply ran out of fuel and ditched approx. 40-75 miles NW of Howland Island. Mr. Long was heatedly contested on his position by several researchers, but, as is with AES policy, all sides are given time to plea their case.
ED MELVIN: A close associate of Art Kennedy, who was her chief engine mechanic prior to her last flight, and Ed thinks AE was approached by one of the military services to survey, not spy, on Japanese installations in the Pacific. Gave detailed insight on the personal life and accomplishments of Kennedy.
PAUL RAFFORD: Gave a detailed lecture on the radio analysis of the final flight . . . brought up serious questions re: events at Miami, where she spent one week, touching on issues as removing the 250 ft. reel-in antenna, how she blatantly refused a Pan American radio crystal that would give better coverage over the vast Pacific, how a ADF loop was installed on a “new” airplane, and the strange conduct by Amelia re: radio transmissions during her final hours. Technically, a superb presentation.
ANN PELLEGRENO telling of her appearance at the 1976 99/Zonta meeting at which a “shorter” Irene Bolam was to speak. (I wish the SYMPOSIUM could have made more time for Ann to tell of her fascinating trip around the world in an Electra 10, replicating the Amelia Earhart flight thirty years later–ED.) Ann was our helpful GOFER GAL!
BUDDY BRENNAN who has done much research in the Pacific, and is author of the book Eyewitness to the Execution: The Odyssey of Amelia Earhart (1988), tells of his interview with BILAMON AMARON, who treated in 1937 at Jaluit the wounds of two American flyers, one a woman, and who saw a twin-engine silver airplane, Japanese, on the fantail of the Japanese ship.
GENE TISSOT related how his dad was her mechanic on the VEGA and went to Hawaii with her to prep the plane for its historic flight to Oakland. “Amelia was an average pilot,” states his dad.
ELLIS BAILEY told how during the Saipan invasion in WWII remains of two flyers, purportedly downed before the war, were secretly transported away from the Island of Saipan.
JO ANN RIDLEY: Co-author of the fascinating book High Times, Keeping ‘Em Flying, recounting interesting tidbits from her book regarding Art Kennedy and his close relationship with Amelia. Jo Ann did for AES all the grunt work of putting together a superb detailed record of the entire SYMPOSIUM . . . available upon request.
ALBERT BRESNIK: set up a magnificent display of photos he personally took of Amelia. Albert was the only person at the SYMPOSIUM who had personal contact with Amelia Earhart, and his talk sharing with us his private time with Amelia was very moving.
NOTICE! Albert has shown the AES a proof of the group photo taken at the SYMPOSIUM: it’s a great memento, and it’s a MUST for everybody who attended: Send $10.00 for each mounted copy (8½ x 11) to:
16843 Sunset Blvd.
Pacific Palisades, CA. 90272
Telephone 310 454-1825
JERRY STEIGMANN: Our most provocative speaker of the entire SYMPOSIUM. Jerry is an ex-NYPD forensic specialist who has carried on his research on the AE mystery for over 40 years, and his dogged investigations have led him to some startling conclusions:
1. Amelia Earhart was a “double agent” working simultaneously for the Marine Corps, ONI, plus the Japanese JOHOKYOKU.
2. Since the early 1920s, AE had been in contact with Admiral YAMAMOTO and the Japanese naval intelligence.
3. The “staggering revelations” gleaned from Japanese intelligence, services survivors, and former members of the Japanese Imperial Household guards, who are now dispersed, to the far flung corners of the globe, have avoided news media in an effort to thwart any uncover the of the mystery of “Mata Hari of the Pacific Skies.”
4. Amelia Earhart was the real reason that Gen. MacArthur declined to prosecute Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal, and why he covered up the many atrocities committed by the Japanese Army Medical Corps in the Pacific.
5. MacArthur feared that Hirohito would disclose to the world the role that Amelia Earhart played in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Mr. Steigmann claims to have documentation to all of the above statements, and will in short time present it in book form to the American Public. Good luck! (End of A COMPENDIUM ON THE SYMPOSIUM.)
Jerome Steigmann may have been the most “provocative” speaker at the three-day symposium, as Prymak euphemistically described Steigmann’s disturbed exploration into Earhart fantasy, but he was far from the most credible, nor was the nearly incoherent spillage of Ellis Bailey, who joined Steigmann in capturing top honors in the Earhart lunatic fringe category. Steigmann never produced the book he promised, nor any evidence to support his outrageous claims, and passed away in Phoenix, Ariz., in May 2003 at age 77.
Bailey, who died in 2004, also didn’t author a book, but his serial letter-writing adventures qualified him to join Steigmann, James A. Donahue, Robert Myers and others among the disreputable ranks of Fred Goerner’s “totally irresponsible weirdo fringe” in the annals of Earhart lore.
For much more on Ellis Bailey’s extensive Earhart fantasies, please see my Aug. 17, 2017 post, “From forgotten files of the Earhart lunatic fringe: The incredible tale of Ellis Bailey and USS Vega.”
We continue with our visit to the first and only Amelia Earhart Symposium held and sponsored by the Amelia Earhart Society, in August 1993 in Morgan Hill, Calif., an event that AES founder Bill Prymak modestly labeled a “measured success.”
Today we present the first-person account of the symposium proceedings as recorded by AES member Jo Ann Ridley, who, with Art Kennedy, co-authored High Times: Keeping ‘Em Flying: An Aviation Autobiography (1992). Boldface emphasis mine throughout; underline and caps emphasis author’s.
“AMELIA EARHART SYMPOSIUM
AUGUST 27-29, 1993”
By: Jo Ann Ridley
When Amelia Earhart failed to reach Howland Island during a 1937 attempt to fly around the world, her disappearance in the South Pacific created a mystery that after fifty-six years intrigues the American public nearly as much as the JFK assassination, and seems no closer to a solution.
But not for want of trying. As 70 members of the Amelia Earhart Society heard during a recent members-only symposium in Morgan Hill, California, twin bills introduced by Hawaii’s Senator Daniel Inouye and Congresswoman Patsy Mink would declassify and transmit all relevant government records to the Library of Congress for public perusal.
Col. Rollin Reineck, USAF (Ret.), responsible for gaining the collective ear of his Hawaii congressional contingent, is suspicious of government protestations that all Earhart material has been released. Major Joe Gervais, USAF (Ret.), after thirty-three years of investigation considered the “dean” of Earhart research, claims that until the United States government does release classified documents he believes still are kept hidden from view, the mystery of Earhart’s disappearance never will be solved.
During the three-day closed session in August, impressively accredited researchers took to the podium to offer persuasive and well-documented hypotheses about what really happened to Amelia Earhart, and why. Not surprisingly, their theories are as diverse as their backgrounds.
A retired Pan American Airways radio man, recreating with charts her radio transmissions and presumed flight path, wondered why Earhart initially refused his airline’s offer to help track her across the Pacific. A retired airline pilot totally committed to an assumption that Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan perished when they crashed in the ocean, pleaded for acceptance of the flyer’s last radio transmissions as evidence of the truth of her predicament and ultimate fate. On the other hand, AES president, Bill Prymak, the Denver business man who has traveled the world and sailed the South Pacific with Gervais in pursuit of Earhart data, told of their encounter with “uncontaminated” Marshallese witnesses who confirmed published reports that Earhart and Noonan were captured by the Japanese.
A retired New York Police Department forensic expert presented a sheaf of government documents he says indicate that as early as 1923 Earhart had been selected by the U.S. military to participate in a secret “Orange Plan” and was on a photo mission when she vanished. Like Gervais, he believes Earhart returned to the United States after the war, but not as the Irene Bolam described in the book “Amelia Earhart Lives” by California writer Joe Klaas, based on material furnished by Gervais.
It was Klaas who related in spine-tingling detail the harassment he and Gervais experienced at the hands of minions of Howard Hughes, who Klaas intimated in his book may have provided the Japanese with a design for the Zero fighter in an attempt to gain Earhart’s release. The harassment ended with Hughes’s death, but not before the powerful millionaire recluse sent the two a message to the effect that had it not been for their distinguished combat records in World War II, he’d have “squashed you like bugs,” to quote the Hughes messenger Klaas heard say it. Thanks to efforts either of Hughes or the U. S. government and a cooperative publisher, Amelia Earhart Lives is virtually unobtainable today, with first editions fetching up to $100 a copy.
[Editor’s note: Amelia Earhart Lives was republished by iUniverse in March 2000 and has been available ever since for a pittance on Amazon. Not that I recommend it for casual readers, but the 1960 interviews by Operation Earhart operatives Gervais and Robert Dinger on Guam and Saipan were valuable contributions; otherwise the rest of AE Lives presents only bizarre and ridiculous speculation, and probably did more damage to honest Earhart research than any book ever published.]
As if that weren’t enough on-the-spot intrigue, the final day of the symposium featured several witnesses to the possibility that Earhart, having survived capture and imprisonment when her country failed to extricate her from a mission of their own making, was quietly repatriated by an embarrassed U.S. government under the assumed identity of a New Jersey woman.
Julie Perch, whose father operates the famous aviation theme restaurant “The Flying Lady,” where the symposium took place under 120 model airplanes circling overhead, related her bizarre encounter with Irene Bolam in New York City in 1976. For many, it was bizarre enough to force a conclusion that Bolam either was Earhart or, slightly confused, was afraid that she was. The late Bolam’s best friend was a special guest at the Symposium and confirmed that she saw stacks of files in a closet marked “AE,” and that a silver hair brush set bore the initials “AE.” Bolam’s brother-in-law and his wife said they remembered an intelligent, “classy” lady who was a world traveler, had famous friends, and could talk knowledgeably about airplanes of the twenties and thirties. But all agreed that if you dared to ask if she were Amelia Earhart, you were no longer her friend. None would admit they thought Bolam was Amelia Earhart, but none of them would positively claim that she was not. Photographs of both women elicited various opinions about a resemblance.
[Editor’s note: Only the blind could see any resemblance between the slim, attractive, 5’8″ Earhart and the far shorter, stodgy Irene Bolam. In late December 2015, I began a four-part analysis and overview of the entire Irene Bolam fraud. If you’re new here or want to revisit one of the most ridiculous chapters of the Earhart saga, please click here for the entire series.]
The symposium ended on the following note: no solutions yet, but banding together presents a united front for the record in Earhart research. More information constantly is being retrieved and someday the truth will be known.
The only unanimous conclusion during the sometimes hot and heavy debate was that The International Group For Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) did not find remains either of the Earhart Electra nor her belongings on Nikumaroro (Gardner) Island as claimed by its director Richard Gillespie. Cited were independent reports from three former Lockheed employees who worked on the plane emphatically denying that a piece of the belly of an aircraft located by Gillespie could be from the Earhart Electra. Nor was it possible that the size 9 shoe sole Gillespie offered as having belonged to the famed aviatrix actually was hers. Earhart wore a size 6 shoe, which Gillespie already had been told by Lou Foudray, curator of the Amelia Earhart birth-home in Atchison, Kansas, before releasing the information.
Amelia’s presence at the symposium was all the more palpable by the affectionate display of photographs taken by Albert Bresnik of Los Angeles, who was Earhart’s personal photographer and originally was slated to fly with her to record the journey. Others among the intent participants, who came from all over the U.S., were several members of Ninety-Nines, the women flyers organization Amelia Earhart helped to establish. Michelle Stauffer, a Kansas aircraft dealer and the first woman ever to fly a Russian SU-27 jet fighter, and Ann Pellegreno, who in 1967 successfully duplicated and completed Earhart’s 1937 flight represented two generations of women pilots devoted to Earhart’s memory.
Two more books about Earhart are due out within the next few months. An anthology of eyewitness accounts assembled by Don Wilson of Rochester, New York, will be published in November under the title Amelia Earhart: Lost Legend. Bloomsbury Publishing will bring out Lost Star: The Search for Amelia Earhart by Gervais associate Randall Brink in November.
End of Part II.
Although not flattering in its editorial opinion of Bill Prymak’s Amelia Earhart Society, this USA Today cartoon from May 1995 might represent the high point in national publicity for the obscure and selective AES, which counted less than 80 researchers, authors and other Earhart-obsessed individuals among its members at the height of its activities in the late 1980s to mid-1990s.
The piece was reproduced in the July 1995 issue of the AES Newsletter.
Since we’re on the subject, some might be interested in reading about the beginning of the once vibrant but now basically defunct AES, which was solely the brainchild of its founder and first president, Bill Prymak. Bringing together such a disparate group of humans as “Earhart researchers” was like herding cats, but Prymak was able to befriend and network with the many strange and weird characters that made up the original plank owners of the AES.
In the early pages of Volume I (of two) of Bill Prymak’s An Assemblage of Amelia Earhart Newsletters, following a list of all articles from the May 1991 issue through the final edition of June 2002, we find what might be described as AES’s “founding principles,” or even its constitution, for want of a better term.
Like Prymak himself, the brief, page-and-a-half statement was succinct and to the point, and was presented under two major headings: Statement of Purpose and Preliminary AES Charter Principles. Herewith, for your information and entertainment, is the original AES Constitution, so to speak. All boldface emphasis except headings is mine.
The summer of 1990 saw invitations extended to some of the world’s most respected and dedicated Amelia Earhart researchers to meet on a remote mountaintop in the White River National Forest near Aspen, Colorado. Many attended; those unable were there in spirit to support us.
Statement of Purpose
1. To officially announce the cessation of our participation from the Amelia Earhart Research Consortium (AERC).
2. To give birth to a new organization embracing principles and objectives dedicated to the collection, substantiation, collation, recording, and appropriate dissemination of all contributed materials relating to the Amelia Earhart disappearance July 2, 1937.
3. To name this new organization Amelia Earhart Society (AES).
4. To obtain the support of serious scholars and technical researchers of the verifiable events of the flight, correlated with the political, military, and world history of the era, as well as individuals who wish to engage in or gain knowledge of the Amelia Earhart phenomenon as a hobbyist.
Why the need for AES? The preponderance of evidence overwhelmingly suggests that something covert did occur prior to, during, and after the final flight. Literally hundreds of people — GIs, island natives, government employees, even the man on the street — all have their individual thread. The thread might be a personal experience, a photograph, a recounter by a buddy on the front lines, or a curious letter. These are threads which, individually, stand meaningless, unconfirmed, isolated, without support, and in desperate need of a collective union with other threads.
It is AES’s principal objective to weave these loose and isolated threads into a meaningful mosaic, bringing us ever closer to the final solution.
Preliminary AES Charter Principles
1. An Advisory Council will be formed, consisting of persons actively performing Amelia Earhart (AE) research, and willing to assimilate fragments of information into a more comprehensive and credible reference source.
2. The Advisory Council shall be responsible for distributing the quarterly newsletter and organizing semi-annual or annual AES conferences.
3. The Advisory Council will be the central recipient and depository for new and old AE data. Information received and stored shall be distributed only upon the concurrence of the contributing AES member.
4. There shall be no salary structure for the Advisory Council; operating costs, including telephone, mailings, and printing shall be covered by the AES membership contributions.
5. The Advisory Council shall move towards formatting and distributing an anthology of all contributed materials. Only responsible media exposure will be sought to encourage the sharing of fresh material from untapped sources, and to encourage new membership.
6. AES will avoid sensationalism and irresponsible reporting of frivolous theories.
The associate membership of the AES shall consist of those seriously interested in the Earhart enigma, possibly having a thread to contribute, but who are unable to actively take part in the chores and responsibilities borne by the Advisory Council. These associate members will assume a more passive role, but are expected to attend AES meetings, contribute to funding needs, and solicit other Earhart scholars and enthusiasts to join this new organization.
These associate members will be the heart and soul of AES, for somewhere out there, from the most unexpected source, may well be the crucial thread that will tie our mosaic together.
Every person receiving this letter has been selected as a candidate for the AES, and is urged to respond with comments, suggestions, and extent of anticipated participation. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT AND PARTICIPATION.
A Must Date: November 7, 1990 on prime time Unsolved Mysteries, Robert Stack will feature our Colonel Rollin Reineck on the Earhart Mystery. Colonel Reineck will have fascinating new data on AE, including his latest efforts towards the “final solution.” Other scheduled guests are:
• Tom Devine, author of Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident.
• Fred Goerner, author of Search for Amelia Earhart.
• Robert Wallack, finder of the leather attaché case on Saipan.
• Elgen Long, esteemed researcher on his special theory.
• T.C. “Buddy” Brennan, author of Witness to the Execution.
Get your VCR cranked! You won’t want to miss this vital piece of AE history.
We tried to get a commercial spot on the program expounding our new AES but $150,000 for the slot didn’t fit our budget this time–maybe next year.
Summation: AES has the potential to gather together the greatest group of Earhart researchers ever put together, and as one body we will solve the mystery.
Everyone is encouraged to contact us if they have even the slightest thread on the following:
• Lockheed’s involvement not publicly stated.
• U.S. Government’s involvement.
• Irene Bolam connection.
• Knowledge of other people’s experiences.
• Any documentation or identifiable photographic evidence applicable.
Please respond to:
Bill Prymak, Broomfield, Colo.
Most observers of the true history of research into the disappearance of Amelia Earhart are familiar with the work of Vincent V. Loomis, the former U.S. Air Force C-47 pilot, who, with his wife, Georgette, made four investigative trips to the Marshall Islands in the late 1970s-early ’80s, finding and interviewing several extremely important witnesses, which led to the publication of his 1985 book, Amelia Earhart: The Final Story.
Loomis’ most important findings came in 1981, when he went to Tokyo seeking confirmation of statements contained in a 1949 CIA inter-office memorandum he found in National Air and Space Museum files. The G-2 intelligence document revealed the United States was extremely interested in the Earhart case, and in 1949 had asked Japan to provide any and all relevant information it possessed. The unstated purpose of the American government’s renewed interest in the case may have been to discredit Amy Otis Earhart’s July 1949 statement to the Los Angeles Times that she believed the Japanese were involved in Amelia’s demise. Attached to the memo were clippings of a July 25, 1949 United Press story, “Mother Tells Fate of Amelia Earhart,” reporting Mrs. Earhart’s statements to the Times, as well as an August 1949 story in Japan’s Nippon Times, “UP [United Press] Tracing of Story Famed Aviatrix Was Nabbed By Japanese Still Proving Futile.”
The following article was written by Bill Prymak but came largely from the pages of Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, It appeared in the July 1998 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters. Following Prymak’s piece, I’ll have some additional comments.
JAPANESE CAUGHT RED-HANDED IN A LIE?
By Bill Prymak
Was or was not the KAMOI at Jaluit during the period July 2, 1937? In a memo to James Golden dated 14 October 1976, Fred Goerner referred to documents that fuel the fire: “Interesting point: The comments of the Japanese officers in 1949 are the exact opposite of the same officers in 1971. In the enclosed documents, the officers maintained the KAMOI searched for AE in 1937.
In an article in U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings in 1971, the same officers maintained that the KAMOI had nothing to do with the search in 1937; indeed, they claimed the KAMOI was in Japan at the time of AE’s disappearance.” (Preceding boldface emphasis Prymak’s, remaining boldface emphasis mine throughout.)
Were the Japanese lying the first time, in 1949, or were they covering up on 1971? You decide from the following:
Vincent Loomis, author of Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, describes how during a visit to Japan in 1981, he found a G-2 document on Amelia Earhart, dated Aug. 4, 1949:
“After the war, U.S. Intelligence (G-2) was ordered to investigate the Earhart disappearance from the Japanese side,” Vincent V. Loomis wrote in his introduction to the above document, which he labeled “Central Intelligence G-2 Memorandum — 1949.”
“The resulting report, reproduced here for the first time, is remarkable in that the Japanese managed to convince G-2 they had searched the Marshalls quite thoroughly when in fact they had not. The 12th Squadron and the Kamoi were listened as having searched the area when, as found in their logs, they were in port in Japan. The Koshu was also listed as part of the search, but as having found nothing.
“The Japanese lied quite convincingly both in 1937 and in 1949, but their statements could not be proven as such until the ships’ movements were determined through research in Japan in 1981.”
Far from being uninterested in her loss, the U.S. government had pressed the Japanese for as much information as they could obtain. American intelligence agents were unable to find any Japanese Navy records pertaining to Earhart, but interviews were carried out with Japanese personnel who had supposedly searched for the Electra after it was lost on the way to Howland.
According to the document, the Japanese Navy’s 12th Squadron, assigned to the Marshalls in 1937, was instructed by Tokyo, after a request from the U.S. government, to send the Kamoi, a seaplane tender, and several large flying boats, using the sea to the south of Jaluit as a central search point. Later the survey ship Koshu was ordered into the area. Both ships were listed in Japanese news releases of the day as primary search vessels. The Japanese testified that the Kamoi led the rescue effort, but no traces of Earhart were found. The investigation was closed.
. . . Once settled into a marvelous hotel (nothing like my wooden barracks of 1945), I was interviewed by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper about my quest for Amelia Earhart. Other journalists and a television station heard of my efforts, and before long I had a number of allies among these newspeople. One reporter told me that he had tried to interview Japanese veterans who had served during the period of Earhart’s loss, but there was a loud silence on the subject. The new generation of Japanese wanted to know the truth, many actively searching out contacts on my behalf.
The next day my Japanese interpreter, Ty Yoneyama, and I started to dig into the history of the Kamoi and the Koshu. We found a recent book on naval ships by a Japanese civilian publisher, which listed the Kamoi docked in Japan by July 10, 1937. Because Earhart had gone down on July 2, we suspected the Kamoi could not have taken part in the search as reported to American intelligence in 1949. The Koshu was listed as a coal-burning ship of over 2000 tons, assigned to the Marshalls in July 1937. My first thought was of Tomaki [Mayazo] loading coal aboard the ship he described to me. Had it been the Koshu?
Jyuichi Hirabayashi, a veteran who had served aboard the Kamoi from early 1936 through July 10, 1937, had responded to the ad we placed in several Japanese newspapers asking for Kamoi personnel. After my arrival in Japan, we called him and he came to meet us with the ship’s log entries, numerous papers and an extensive collection of photos from his tour. We quickly got down to business.
Hirabayashi confirmed that the Kamoi, contrary to the U.S. intelligence report, was nowhere near the Marshalls when the Electra went down. The day Amelia was lost, the ship was docked in Saipan, leaving on July 4 for Ise Bay, Japan, where it docked on July 10. All of this was shown to us from the Kamoi’s official records.
Clearly the Japanese had lied to the United States in 1949. What were they trying to hide, and why had they gone to so much trouble to make the Kamoi appear as if it were on a search mission?
Hirabayashi then described the two types of seaplanes operated from the ship. Both were craned onto the water and retrieved with canvas slings, a method that was short-lived in favor of lift points on the aircraft. Bilimon Amaron had recalled seeing canvas slings around the silver aircraft on the fantail of the ship he boarded at Jaluit. Though he was more intent on treating the wounded white man with blue eyes, Bilimon had not missed this important detail. The Electra would have been recovered in the same way the Japanese picked up their seaplanes.
The names of the four ships in the Japanese Navy’s 12th Squadron were provided by Hirabayashi – Kinoshima for mine-laying, Kamoi for seaplanes, Yunagi and Asanagi, which were light cruisers. Not only was the Kamoi not involved in the search, but the entire 12th Squadron, which was supposed to combing the seas south of Jaluit, was actually docked in the home islands. The Koshu had not been a part of the squadron.
On July 2, 1937, the Koshu was anchored at Ponape, where it received orders to proceed to the Marshall Islands and “search” for Amelia Earhart. By July 9, it was on its way, while the Kamoi and the remaining 12th Squadron boats steamed for Japan.
Only the Koshu, capable of retrieving small floatplanes, took part in what the Japanese promised was a search, but its log entries revealed no search effort. With a specific mission to perform, it went straight to Jaluit and anchored there on July 13. While loading coal, Tomaki had been told by the ship’s crew that the ship had arrived seven to ten days after the aircraft came down. Though July 13 was eleven days after the crash, the time frame was very close. The Koshu left for several days, and then returned to Jaluit. At this point Bilimon Amaron would have boarded the vessel to treat Noonan. After Bilimon and his commander left the ship, it sailed for Truk and Saipan on July 19, the date the Japanese government officially gave up its search for Earhart. Hirabayashi remembered the Kamoi having two ship’s doctors, while the Koshu had none. It was quite clear why Bilimon and his superior had been called aboard to treat Noonan.
Thus the words of Vincent Loomis. If the KAMOI and the rest of the 12th Squadron were [sic] in Marshallese waters, the cover-up by the Japanese suddenly becomes enormous, involving the forging of many Japanese Naval vessels’ official logs.
To strengthen the presence of KAMOI and the 12th Squadron in the Marshallese waters we have interviews by witnesses seeing this fleet described by Fred Goerner, Buddy Brennan, Captain [Alfred] Parker (who was in Jaluit in 1937), and other serious researchers. Joe Gervais and I, during our trek to Jaluit in 1997, found two elderly ladies who had been on Jaluit in 1937, and they emphatically insisted that it was the KAMOI that brought the American lady pilot to Jaluit. Mr. Hatfield, in our 1991 interview at Jaluit, also insisted that (principally thru Mr. Lee, who had just died) it was the KAMOI!
WHO SHOULD WE BELIEVE? (End of Prymak article.)
Those paying attention to the foregoing could be forgiven for questioning Prymak’s intent after reading his closing paragraph, in which he inexplicably seems to argue for the presence of Kamoi and the 12th Squadron in the Marshalls after Loomis had all but proven that scenario was well-nigh impossible.
There’s nothing in Buddy Brennan’s Witness to the Execution that qualifies for Prymak’s endorsement of witnesses that “strengthen the presence of KAMOI and the 12th Squadron in the Marshallese waters,” as he wrote in his close.
We know about Captain Alfred Parker, English-speaking skipper of the Swedish Motorship Fijian, bound from San Francisco to New Guinea and other south sea ports in March 1937, from a 1993 letter from Fred Goerner to J. Gordon Vaeth. “The FIJIAN exploded on March 25, 1937 near the Marshall Islands,” Goerner wrote [caps emphasis in original]. “It burned and sank after the explosion, but Parker and his crew members were rescued by the Japanese ship SJIKO MARU and taken to Jaluit in the Marshalls. Parker and his crew were kept at Jaluit for 28 days, and were finally put aboard the Japanese ship KASAGI MARU and shipped to Yokohama, Japan, with stops at Kasai, Ponape, Truk and Saipan. . . . Parker testified to U.S. authorities that the Japanese seaplane carrier KAMOI had arrived at Jaluit mid-April, 1937, with three supporting destroyers. The ships commenced bombing exercises, and one of the Kamoi’s planes crashed, and the two occupants were killed.” The dates Parker reported for the Kamoi‘s presence in the Marshalls do not establish her in the search area during July 1937. For more, see Truth at Last, pages 172-173.
The witnesses Prymak himself interviewed on 1991 and 1997 trips to the Marshalls “two elderly ladies” and Mr. Hatfield, are really all he has, which, frankly, are not much when compared to the other side of the discussion. Their accounts are sketchy at best. See “Conclusion of Bill Prymak’s “The Jaluit Report,” posted Nov. 2, 2019 and “Bill Prymak’s ’97 Marshalls witnesses, Conclusion” of Feb. 28, 2020 for details. What else can explain why Prymak would take the other side of the discussion, which hardly qualifies as an “argument” at all. It’s quite possible that Prymak was just playing devil’s advocate, taking the other side in the Koshu debate, simply for the sake of argument. If I’m wrong about that, someone will surely let me know.
A few years after Loomis’ revelations, Japanese journalist Fukiko Aoki confirmed the Koshu’s movements in July 1937, though the agenda-driven Aoki would concede nothing else. “Looking at the navigation logs of the Koshu,” she wrote, “it is clear that on the 13th [of July] she entered port at Jaluit and 6 days later, on the 19th turned back toward Truk and Saipan. Looking at all of this, even though the special assignment ship Koshu took part in the search, there is absolutely no evidence that she rescued the American woman pilot.”
Vincent V. Loomis passed away in June 1996 at 75.