Readers of this blog are familiar with the efforts of Marie S. Castro and the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Inc. (AEMMI) to establish a permanent memorial to Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan, as well as the less-than-encouraging progress they’ve made since the formation of the AEMMI in September 2017. Although the Marianas Variety and Saipan TV have supported the AEMMI movement with several stories about Marie and her wealth of Earhart-related experience, the vast majority of the citizens of Saipan remain overwhelmingly opposed to the Earhart Memorial Monument.
What appears to be a small step forward occurred on Feb. 9, when Marie and several members of the AEMMI gathered at the offices of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI) Historic Preservation Office at Saipan’s Springs Plaza in Gualo Rai to make a charitable donation of several extremely important books that present many aspects of the truth in the Amelia Earhart saga so that local readers can learn the truth for themselves.
Saipan TV’s Ashley McDowell was on hand to chronicle the brief event for local viewers, and interviewed Marie about the AEMMI’s donation to the CNMI Historic Preservation Office of the seven best books ever written (in my opinion) that present various aspects of the truth about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.
“This is valuable material that is going into the archives of the Historic Preservation [Office], and this is for anybody who would like to know more about the story on Saipan in 1937,” Marie told McDowell.
Marie then formally read the names and authors of the seven books that will be available in the HPO archives, and presented the AEMMI official HPO resolution to HPO Director Rita Chong. Most are Earhart disappearance classics familiar to anyone with even a casual interest in the Earhart story.
Chronologically, these books are Paul Briand Jr.’s Daughter of the Sky (1960), Fred Goerner’s The Search for Amelia Earhart (1966); Vincent V. Loomis’ Amelia Earhart: The Final Story (1985); Thomas E. Devine’s Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident (1987); Marie S. Castro’s Without a Penny in My Pocket (2013); Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last (2nd Ed. 2016), by Mike Campbell; and Marie Castro: My Life and Amelia Earhart’s Saipan Legacy (2019) by Mike Campbell with Marie S.C. Castro.
“Castro says she hopes these books will give insight to anyone questioning Earhart’s story in 1937 on Saipan,” McDowell said. To watch the Saipan TV video, please click here and go to 13:45.
Better late than never, the Marianas Variety followed with a story and photo by Bryan Manabat on Feb. 16, “Amelia Earhart books donated to Historic Preservation Office.”
Manabat’s story presented some powerful quotes from Marie,, including these:
Castro believes that there is “undeniable evidence that Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan were on Saipan. Earhart’s plane was seen in a Japanese hangar at the Aslito Airfield on Saipan and a Marine, Robert E. Wallack, discovered Earhart’s briefcase in a blown safe on Saipan shortly after the island was declared secure on July 9, 1944.”
Castro pointed out, “Three high-ranking military officials — Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, Gen. Graves B. Erskine and Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the Pacific commander-in-chief during WWII and the last of the Navy’s 5-star admirals — came to the same conclusion that Amelia Earhart had been on Saipan.”
“So we have the responsibility to keep and honor this part of our history, as recorded in these books,” Castro said.
Soon another opportunity for Marie and the AEMMI to bring their Earhart Memorial Monument proposal to public attention looms. The 5th Marianas History Conference, co-organized by the University of Guam, Northern Marianas College, Northern Marianas Humanities Council, Humanities Guåhan, Guampedia, and Guam Preservation Trust, will be held virtually [via Zoom] from Feb. 19-26, 2021 and will feature on-site venues in the CNMI and Guam for select, conference-related events and presentations.
Marie will present her Earhart story to the conference on Feb. 26. Please stay tuned.
Today’s post is an extension of my July 11 article, as we recognize, if not celebrate, another Amelia Earhart birthday, her 123rd. I can’t imagine that America’s First Lady of Flight would still be with us at 123, even in a perfect world, though the chances are excellent that she would have reached the century mark had fate not so cruelly intervened.
Amelia came from hardy genes indeed, if her mother and sister were any indications. Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey, of West Medford, Massachusetts, two-and-a-half-years younger than Amelia, died in her sleep on March 2, 1998 at the age of 98. Amy Otis Earhart was born in 1869 and died in 1962 at 93. Amelia’s father, Edwin, was an entirely different story, dying at 63 in 1930. Reportedly he liked his booze, and his longevity genes, or lack of them, likely weren’t dominant in Amelia, nor with Muriel. Thanks to Edwin, Amelia was a devoted teetotaler.
So we pause again to pay our respects to this truly great American, regardless of the fact that nothing positive in Amelia’s cause has happened during the past year, at least media-wise. For more background, I invite you to see “July 2, 2018: 81 years of lies in the Earhart case”; “AE’s last flight anniversary arrives without change” (July 2, 2019); last year’s July 24 post, “For Amelia Earhart, it’s Happy Birthday No. 122!” or my recent July 11 post, “July 2020: Earhart forgotten amid nation’s chaos.”
As usual, one has to go a long way to find any mention of Amelia’s 123rd birthday in the media — all the way to Saipan, in fact, where the indomitable Marie S. Castro, 87, and her long-suffering friends of the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Inc. (AEMMI) group did their best to put on good faces behind the masks they were forced wear at the Northern Marianas Museum, where they had a little party for Amelia today.
Earlier this week, reporter Sophia Perez of the Marianas Variety announced today’s modest festivities with a July 21 story, “Amelia Earhart birthday to be celebrated at NMI Museum.”
“According to the event’s chair . . . committee board member Remi Sablan,” Perez wrote, “the celebration is open to the public and will offer guests the opportunity to check out the NMI [Northern Mariana Islands] Museum’s new additions to its Amelia Earhart exhibit, including photos and testimonies of three key witnesses who claim to have seen Earhart on Saipan shortly after her Lockheed Model 10 Electra disappeared in the Central Pacific en route to Howland Island.”
Saipan TV’s KSPN2 News also did a small piece on the AEMMI event, as reporter Ashley McDowell briefly interviewed Vice President Frances Sablan before turning to the group’s beating heart, Marie, now its official president, for a few words. McDowell, whose tone tells us that she’s no supporter of the truth, makes sure viewers understand that Amelia’s disappearance remains “a mystery.” She emphasizes the “M” word more than once, lest she also be classified among the true believers, better known to establishment types as conspiracy nuts, and worse. Even so, Saipan TV does more for the truth in its coverage of the AEMMI’s Earhart birthday event than everyone else in any media, anywhere, where only crickets can be heard.
To view the KSPN2 video, please click here.
“I want to thank a very special person, Mike Campbell, author of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last who has become my driving force in this worthy cause, who became my mentor and adviser,” Marie wrote in a July 19 email. “His continued support gave me the great courage along the rough and sometimes apparently hopeless road ahead.
“I decided to commit myself and organized a group called the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument, AEMMI in 2017,” she continued. “With courage I followed my gut, walking through the unknown for a long overdue worthy cause of Amelia Earhart, to honor the sacrifice of this brave woman and her navigator Fred Noonan and for her valuable and indelible connection on Saipan.”
Please consider contributing to this extremely worthy cause. I should remind everyone who reads this why the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument is so strongly opposed, both on Saipan and by the American establishment: Those who hate the truth know that if the monument is ever erected on Saipan, it would be a major step closer to eventual U.S. government disclosure of the awful facts that we know so well. The memorial monument’s success is 100 percent dependent on private donations, and everyone who gives will receive a personal letter of appreciation from AEMMI President Marie S. Castro.
In any event, Happy Birthday, Amelia!
July is Amelia Earhart’s month. She was born into a respected family of Midwestern gentry on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, and, along with her two-years-younger sister, Muriel, or “Pidge,” she enjoyed a near-idyllic childhood despite a father who liked his booze so much that Amelia became a lifetime teetotaler.
Eighty-three years ago, on July 2, 1937, Amelia “disappeared” while on an open-ocean flight to Howland Island in the central Pacific, and instead landed off Barre Island at Mili Atoll in the Japanese controlled Marshall Islands, about 830 miles to the northwest. Soon she and Fred Noonan, her navigator, were picked up by the Japanese and taken to Saipan, where they suffered lonely, wretched deaths at the hands of the bloodthirsty prewar Japanese military.
During her brief 40 years, Amelia Earhart became a household name in an era filled with a “War to End all Wars” that would soon be eclipsed by a worse one, and more larger-than-life personalities than anyone can name anymore.
From Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth and Charles Lindbergh, to John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde and Al Capone, on to Adolph Hitler, “Uncle Joe” Stalin, Winston Churchill and FDR, the times were defined by heroes and villains whose lives — even as chronicled by primitive radio and newspapers — were of a magnitude unimagined by today’s Millennials, rooted in their Internet-based virtual realities.
Though it’s impossible to compare the relative star-power of the giants of the first half of the 20th century, it’s fair to say that few if any stirred the public imagination like Amelia Earhart. Attractive, down-to-earth, principled, courageous beyond measure, Amelia was loved and admired by everyone with a pulse, and she carved out a unique niche in history that will forever be hers alone.
This year, as we approach the Ides of July, we pause to reflect, remember and pay our respects to this great American, regardless of the fact that nothing of significance in Amelia’s cause has happened during the past year. For more background, I invite you to read July 2, 2018: 81 years of lies in the Earhart case; July 2, 2019, AE’s last flight anniversary arrives without change; and last year’s July 24 post, For Amelia Earhart, it’s Happy Birthday No. 122!
For the past three decades everything the public sees, hears or reads are the lies of those who seek to profit on blatant falsehoods about the “Great Aviation Mystery,” while the truth has been lying in plain sight, available to all who seek it.
Amelia’s life and legacy is rarely celebrated down here anymore, and when it is, it’s usually in some approved, sanitized version, lacking in its most important aspect. For the past three decades everything the public sees, hears or reads are the lies of those who seek to profit on blatant falsehoods about the “Great Aviation Mystery,” while the truth has been lying in plain sight, available to all who seek it.
On the banks of the Missouri River in truth-averse Atchison, Kansas, where Amy Otis Earhart brought Amelia into the world, the locals present a yearly Amelia Earhart Festival during the week commemorating her birth. These galas are populated by herds of the ignorant, who flock to Atchison, where the “Great Aviation Mystery” is celebrated annually, as well as to the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, where the official lies are recirculated to tourists daily.
It’s only a small stretch to believe that among the benighted at these Atchison shindigs, some actually imagine that, just maybe, Amelia is still flying around out there in the timeless ether, searching endlessly for a way back to 1937 Howland Island — an eternal, romantic enigma, forever lost in mystery. This is a popular myth among the most gullible, and in Atchison, where anything but the despised “Japanese Capture Theory” is permissible, it’s a plausible idea. Most of the clueless, well propagandized by the mainstream media, wonder only whether Amelia crashed and sank off Howland Island or landed on Nikumaroro, where she starved to death, along with navigator Fred Noonan, on an atoll teeming with natural food and water sources.
Considering our current national crises, it’s not surprising that Atchison’s 2020 Amelia Earhart festival has been cancelled, since everything else has been scratched as well. Moreover, thanks to the politically driven insanity spawned by the national Covid-19 lockdown, as well as the Black Lives Matter and “social justice demonstrations,” better defined as riots, there’s no room in the headlines for another phony Earhart search, one good thing amid the chaos we’re enduring. Talk about finding silver linings.
During the past year, the only news about Amelia Earhart, as usual, was the fake kind, the pre-fabricated, shiny object that our media constantly produces. The big difference was that ocean explorer Robert Ballard took center stage, rather than the long-discredited Ric Gillespie and TIGHAR. Soon after this new boondoggle was announced, “NatGeo, Ballard in new phony Earhart “search,’ ” my only question was why someone like Ballard would participate in such a dishonest charade, and what he thought he could gain. I’m still wondering.
Armed with another grandiose title, the doomed search, dubbed “Expedition Amelia,” was filmed by the consistently unreliable National Geographic for airing in late October. As always with these bogus Nikumaroro time-wasters, you had to do a real search to find any news about Ballard’s failure.
“‘Tantalizing clue’ marks end of Amelia Earhart expedition,” National Geographic timidly informed readers in its Aug. 26 eulogy. “While the location of the aviator’s plane remains elusive, an artifact re-discovered after 80 years may spark new avenues of inquiry,” the subhead cunningly adds. My post the following day, “Ballard’s Earhart search fails; anyone surprised?” has the details if you’re interested in revisiting another forgettable footnote of the Earhart saga.
During the run-up to the airing of “Expedition Amelia,” the New York Times, another bastion of deceit, may have been the only mainstream outlet to urge everyone to watch the Oct. 20 NatGeo two-hour special, besides NatGeo itself. “Robert Ballard’s expedition to a remote island in the South Pacific found no evidence of the vanished aviator’s plane, but the explorer and his crew haven’t given up,” Julie Cohn wrote in the Times story, “The Amelia Earhart Mystery Stays Down in the Deep.” Of course not, especially when there’s more money to be made and ignorant sheeple to “educate” about the great Amelia Earhart “mystery.”
Finally, on Oct. 20, 2019, the over-hyped and unnecessary National Geographic Channel’s latest two-hour travelogue, “Expedition Amelia,” aired to the nation, bringing another Earhart disinformation operation to a merciful close. For much more, including extensive reviews by William Trail and David Atchason, longtime Earhart aficionados and contributors to this blog, please see my Oct. 22, 2019 post, “NatGeo’s “Expedition Amelia”: Dead on Arrival.”
Marie S. Castro and the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument
As you can see, 2019 was not a good year for the Earhart truth. We must return to early 2018 to find anything positive, with the announcement that appeared in the Feb. 7 Marianas Variety, “Group to build Amelia Earhart monument on Saipan” (no longer available in the Marianas Variety archives that now only go back to 2019). You can refresh yourself on the details by reading my March 2, 2018 post, “Finally, some good Earhart news from Saipan.”
The group is the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Inc. (AEMMI). Its founder and burning light, President Marie S. Castro, 87, is the sole reason for the AEMMI’s existence. Marie is the last living link to Amelia Earhart’s presence and death on Saipan, having known and interviewed eyewitnesses Matilde Arriola and Joaquina Cabrera. For more details or just to catch up, see my April 2, 2018 post, “Marie Castro: Iron link to Saipan’s forgotten history”and “Marie Castro, a treasure chest of Saipan history, Reveals previously unpublished witness accounts,”published May 18.
Some of the most compelling evidence attesting to the presence and deaths of Earhart and Noonan on Saipan can be found in Marie’s moving 2013 autobiography, WITHOUT A PENNY IN MY POCKET: My Bittersweet Memories Before and After World War II. In Without a Penny Marie also describes her family’s terrifying ordeal during the American shelling and bombing of Saipan, which resulted in many tragic civilian casualties, as well as traumatic memories for the survivors.
“After we were liberated by the American Marines in 1944 . . . we were so thankful to the Americans,” Marie wrote in an email. “I was 11 years old then and I thought someday I will do something on my own to thank the Americans.”
She was a professed Catholic nun in Kansas City from 1954 until her resignation in 1971. “It was the time when I really examined what was I meant to be in this world,” Marie wrote. “I wanted to do more. I prayed hard to God to lead me in my decision. I believed it was the right thing to do. I resigned from religious life. I will commit my life in education to thank the American Marines in 1944.”
She remained in Kansas City, teaching in the public schools, retired in 1989 and became involved in other community service organizations, finally returning to Saipan in October 2016. “Considering the 50 years in Kansas City,” Marie wrote in an email, “I felt that I have given a productive life for 50 years. Now I am involved with a challenging undertaking with the Amelia Earhart project, to erect an AE Memorial Monument.”
Unlike most of us, who take on the toughest fights of our lives when we’re young, strong and in our prime, Marie is spending her Golden Years engaged in the most daunting challenge of her already overly-productive existence — erecting a monument to Amelia Earhart on the island where she met her tragic, untimely end.
Most of the opposition to the monument has come from Saipan’s younger generations. Like most Americans under 50, they’re ignorant about their own past and have been subjected to constant historical revisionism and U.S. establishment propaganda about the facts surrounding Amelia Earhart’s presence on the island in the pre-war years. The politics on Saipan are overwhelmingly stacked against the Earhart truth — even worse than in the United States, if that’s even possible — and it appears only a miracle will save the Earhart Memorial Monument project. Unsurprisingly, not a word about Marie or the AEMMI has been uttered by a single American media organization.
“Saipan, a little speck on the map, became the resting place for an American first woman heroine, Amelia Earhart,” Marie wrote in a July 4 email. “We formed an Organization called the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument on Feb. 2017, to place a statue of Amelia Earhart commemorating her presence and tragic end on Saipan in 1937. Finally, President Trump, the 45th president acknowledges the greatest woman of the 20th century [in his recent announcement that he will establish a National Garden” of heroes that will include Earhart]. Mike, we are desperate to finance this project; we need . . . support from the U.S. Maybe this is the time to get some help.”
Here this fine soul displays her penchant for serious understatement. We greatly appreciate the support of the kind few who’ve stepped up to help, but it’s a small fraction of what’s needed to make this monument a reality. The financial problems are one thing, but the politics are equally bad, with Saipan and Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas officials constantly avoiding a final decision about the location of the monument, which is a moot point without the money to pay for it.
As I said, a miracle is needed. Are you listening Up There, Amelia?
In a recent email, Marie Castro informed me that the 75th anniversary ceremonies for the Battle of Saipan, which liberated the native Chamorros from decades of Japanese oppression, would be attended by a single American veteran of the Saipan invasion. (Boldface emphasis mine throughout.)
In a July 4 story in Saipan’s Marianas Variety, Junhan B. Todiño wrote that “Saipan David M. Mayor Apatang announced that as part of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian, the Liberation Day Committee named Burke Waldron, a 95-year-old World War II veteran, as the honorary grand marshal.” On July 5, in Todiño’s follow-up story, “A great turnout and an emotional presentation,” Todiño wrote:
Another highlight of this year’s celebration was the presence of Burke Waldron, a 95-year-old World War II veteran who was selected as the honorary grand marshal. He served in the Naval Ground Force of the Pacific and was part of the invasions of Makin Islands in Kiribati and Saipan. He retired in 1946 as a petty officer, second class.
A few months earlier, on April 24, Marianas Variety writer Lori Lyn C. Lirio announced Waldron’s plans to attend the 75th anniversary festivities and offered readers a bit more about Waldron’s personal history:
Burke Waldron, a World War II veteran who will be 95 in May, will participate in the island’s annual Liberation Day celebration [July 4].
Waldron served in the Naval Ground Force of the Pacific and was part of the invasions of Makin islands in Kiribati and Saipan. He retired in 1946 as a petty officer, 2nd class. . . . Waldron said his unit’s job on Saipan “was to handle visual communications from the Island Commander to ships standing by for instructions for the troops’ needs of various supports such as personnel, armament, fuel, equipment etc.”
He said they “used flashing light (Morse code) and semaphore method to transmit encoded messages. At first we had temporary facilities but soon the Navy Seabees rebuilt the light house . . . for our base of operation. We served in this capacity till the end of 1945 when I was shipped stateside and honorably discharged.”
He added, “Over the years I have said to myself ‘it would be a great experience to return to Saipan and maybe meet some of the survivors or their descendants.’ By means of this GoFundMe Campaign I may be able to do just that for otherwise it would not be possible. . . . I would be most grateful for your help to reach the goal of my new campaign for my trip back to Saipan after 74 years.”
To read the complete story, see “WWII veteran to join Liberation Day celebration.”
“I met Mr. Waldron at our meeting the other day at the Mayor’s office,“ Marie wrote in a July 3 email. “I just mentioned that it was an honor to meet him. I was 11 years old hiding in the cave when the Americans were bombing into the Island. Thanks, America for liberating us in 1944.”
Upon seeing Marie Castro’s email, I immediately recalled my friend Jim Golden, who in 2009 at age 83 was one of just five veterans who attended ceremonies commemorating the 65th anniversary of the invasion of Saipan. In my March 2, 2015 post, “Jim Golden’s legacy of honor in the Earhart saga,” I wrote:
In mid-June 2009, Golden was, incredibly, one of only five American veterans of the Battle of Saipan who returned to the island for ceremonies commemorating its 65th anniversary — events completely overlooked by an American media focused solely on the June 6 D-Day observances in Normandy, France.
At a campfire held for the ex-servicemen on June 18, Golden and the others shared their Saipan memories with local officials, historians, and students. Golden, who didn’t bother to keep any record of the attendees’ names, challenged the skeptics’ claims that no documentation exists to support Earhart’s prewar presence on Saipan, citing Goerner’s work, the native eyewitnesses on Saipan and the Marshalls, and his own experience with Marine Intelligence on Kwajalein in early 1944. His moving speech brought a standing ovation from most in attendance. I found it so very moving and appropriate that, more than anyone, Golden was the face and voice of the forgotten Saipan veteran 65 years after the key U.S. victory of the Pacific war.
To read much more about this great American, who was once the head of security for Howard Hughes, a secret service agent assigned to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, headed the detail assigned to Vice President Richard M. Nixon, and worked closely with Fred Goerner in search of the top-secret Earhart files, among other distinctions, please click here.
To the few who pay attention to such things, the media’s treatment of these monumental World War II events continues to remind us of the wicked and brutally biased politics that influence everything that we see, hear and read daily, and most emphatically attends the media’s mendacious treatment of all World War II events. Every summer, everything is Normandy and D-Day, everywhere you look. Nowhere do you see any mention of Saipan; if you didn’t know better around this time of year, you’d think the Pacific War never happened.
Thus Normandy and D-Day are just about all that most Americans know about World War II, thanks to films like Saving Private Ryan, the many other war movies that preceded it and the endless vilification of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Please don’t misunderstand, I know that Hitler was evil incarnate, and his Nazis demonic, but we don’t need to be reminded of it every minute of every day on our cable TV news and movies. They were all sent to their just rewards long ago.
And not to take anything away from the brave Americans, Canadians, Brits and other Allies who fought and died in the largest amphibious operation in history, but it’s a little-known fact that more Americans died on Saipan during the June 15-July 9, 1944 battle to take the island from the Japanese than died taking the beaches at Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.
Do you doubt it? Here’s Wikipedia’s Battle of Saipan entry: “For the Americans, the victory was the most costly to date in the Pacific War: Out of 71,000 who landed, 2,949 were killed and 10,464 wounded.” Compare that to the Normandy landings, about which Wikipedia tells us, “Allied casualties were documented for at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. Museums, memorials, and war cemeteries in the area now host many visitors each year” — neglecting to specify the number of American dead.
But the Warfare History Network tells us that the “First U.S. Army, accounting for the first twenty-four hours in Normandy, tabulated 1,465 killed, 1,928 missing, and 6,603 wounded. The after-action report of U.S. VII Corps (ending 1 July) showed 22,119 casualties including 2,811 killed, 5,665 missing, 79 prisoners, and 13,564 wounded, including paratroopers.”
Nowhere in our mainstream “Drive-By” media, as the faux conservative windbag Rush Limbaugh likes to call it, do we ever see or hear any mention of this fact about the bloodbath that was Saipan and all the other tropical island death pits in the Pacific War, which by comparison overwhelmed U.S. European casualties. Limbaugh himself has never dared reveal the truth about Japan’s war crimes, let alone whisper about Amelia Earhart, nor have any of the other well-known talk show hosts who so falsely sell themselves as truth tellers.
Attendant to this phenomenon is the U.S. establishment’s longstanding policy of suppressing the record of Japan’s wartime atrocities, which Australian historian and author Gavan Daws, who spent ten years interviewing hundreds of survivors of Japanese POW camps, capturing their stories in Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II in the Pacific (1994), certainly did not.
In Prisoners of the Japanese, Daws recited a gruesome litany of torment and death that continues to shock all but the most fanatic of Japan’s remaining wartime apologists. In opening his grim narrative, Daws tried to capture the vast scope of Japan’s savagery against its imprisoned enemies:
They sacrificed prisoners in medical experiments. They watched them die by the tens of thousands from diseases of malnutrition like beriberi, pellagra, and scurvy, and from epidemic tropical diseases: malaria, dysentery, tropical ulcers, cholera. Those who survived could only look ahead to being worked to death. If the war had lasted another year, there would not have been a POW left alive.
The cold statistics reflect the desperate plight of POWs in Japanese captivity. Thirty-four percent of Americans, 33 percent of Australians, and 32 percent of British POWs in the Pacific theater died in Japanese hands, while the Allied death rate in Nazi POW camps was just 4 percent. “The undeniable, incontrovertibly documented record of brutality, disease, and death in the POW camps,” Daws wrote, “plus what happened in the civilian internment camps for white men, women, and children, and the massacres and atrocities perpetrated on native Asian people in occupied territory—all this shows the national tribe of Japan at its worst as a power in the world. That worst was humanly dreadful, a terrible chapter in the world’s twentieth-century book of the dead.”
Following the surrender of Bataan in April 1942, about 70,000 American and Filipino soldiers were force-marched, without food or water, for seventy-five of the one hundred miles from the Bataan Peninsula north to Camp O’Donnell in central Luzon. The infamous Bataan death march was the worst single atrocity against American POWs in history. Starving men were beheaded or bayoneted at such a rate that one dead body was left every fifteen yards for a hundred miles, “every death a Japanese atrocity,” Daws wrote.
For more of the appalling, grisly history that Daws dug up and exposed in Prisoners of the Japanese, you can buy the book, of course, or see the section titled “Japan’s War Crimes,” pages 286-289 in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.
How do we account for the media’s aversion to Saipan and the complete panoply of Japanese wartime atrocities, including the Rape of Nanking (December 13, 1937 to January 1938), where yet unknown hundreds of thousands of Chinese men, woman and children were butchered by the Japanese military? Why are these monstrous war crimes always glossed over or forgotten by our “esteemed media gatekeepers”?
One major factor, of course, is the liberal establishment’s collective guilt over the two atom bombs President Harry Truman delivered to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 that saved up to a million Americans — and incalculable Japanese civilian lives that would have been lost in defense of their homeland — and helped put a much quicker and merciful end to the war for all concerned, a guilt that our media amplifies at every turn.
But quite another reason lies at the root of our World War II-Japan problem, an infinitely more subtle, virtually unknown factor, which remains as real and tangible as the countless deaths the Japanese war machine inflicted. Appearing in July 1968 before a Republican subcommittee chaired by Kentucky Governor Louie Broady Nunn, Fred Goerner spelled out the problems in the Earhart case in a brief, four-page presentation he called “Crisis in Credibility—Truth in Government.”
“[W]hen the full truth regarding Earhart and Noonan is known,” Goerner told the lawmakers in his conclusion, “a new view of the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the years before Pearl Harbor will emerge. Should that be classified because cause of ‘national security’? I believe not.” (For more on Goerner’s Miami appeal, see pages 273-276 in Truth at Last.) Goerner’s impassioned plea is another lost chapter in the Earhart saga, suppressed from the moment it happened, never to be acknowledged by the American press.
Thus the protection of FDR’s already shaky legacy — in addition, of course, to protecting our good friends and allies, the Japanese — is still the overweening motivation and raison d’être for everything our deceitful media does and does not do regarding Amelia Earhart — including its policies in dealing with the Pacific War. Make no mistake: The insidious influence of FDR’s abandonment of Earhart and Noonan on Saipan continues to reverberate in our time, like the ripples of a large stone thrown into a tranquil pond. Imagine, for example, the impossibility of rewriting or destroying 82 years of history books.
In a July 4 email to me (July 5 on Saipan), Marie Castro recalled an occasion in 2015 when she was moved by the spirit of freedom so exemplified by some of our finest World War II heroes:
Thanks for acknowledging Burke Waldron. I consider those Marines heroes who fought in the invasion of Saipan. Burke Waldron indeed maintains the spirit of valor and courage I believe till he dies.
In 2015, five WWII veterans perhaps for the last time wanted to revisit Saipan, Tinian and Japan. They were invited including myself to join a group of college students from Ozarks, Missouri who were studying WWII in the Pacific. A 92-year-old vet in a wheelchair who was on Tinian and helped with the launching of the atomic bomb was in the group, bless his heart.
When we got to Guam, we heard the news that Typhoon Soudelor [July 29-Aug. 13, hitting Saipan directly on Aug. 2] was heading directly to Saipan. All the flights to Saipan and Tinian were cancelled. You could imagine the disappointment of the group especially for the 92-year-old vet.
That evening, after dinner we sat for an entertainment in the hotel. Feeling so bad about the Typhoon news, I asked the 92 year old, Sir, What is your favorite song. He looked at me saying, “How Great Thou Art.”
I went up to the entertainer and requested the song in honor of the vet. The entertainer asked me to join her sing the song “How Great Thou Art.” I forgot about myself and my shyness, just to console the veteran, so I joined in.
I feel like part of the family of WWII Vets. I was affected so much by the war and considering the sacrifices of those marines, I forget myself to console them.
The Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument Inc. Committee held a new election on Saipan March 28. Marie S. Castro, the beating heart of the AEMMI, without whom the movement would not exist, was named the new president, with former Secretary Frances Sablan moving up to the vice president post. Manny Borja is the treasurer and Evelyna Shoda takes over as secretary. Manuel F. Borja, Carlos Shoda, Oscar Camacho, Chailang Palacios, Bruce Bateman and Donald C. Barcinas, former president, round out the new board of directors.
Created in September 2017 as Marie’s inspired brainchild, the AEMMI has not been fondly embraced by the locals on Saipan. Although the Marianas Variety has supported the grass-roots initiative with several stories about Marie and her wealth of Earhart-related experience that have been faithfully noted on this blog, it’s painfully clear that the vast majority of the citizens of Saipan are determined to oppose the monument.
The unpleasant evidence reflecting what one reader of this blog has dubbed the “militant ignorance” of the Saipan locals — which runs depressingly parallel to the thoroughly propagandized U.S. populace — is on display in the comments sections that follow each of the several stories run locally, the most recent of which, “Amelia Earhart monument to help boost NMI tourism, says local author,” was published on May 13. Only a small fraction of the architect’s initial $200,000 estimate for the monument has been raised.
Undeterred, Marie, 86, refuses to surrender to the mindless crowd in her quest to achieve long-denied justice for Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. She is becoming an iconic figure in the Saipan community, slowly and begrudgingly recognized for her courage and unflappable determination. Marie’s latest initiative is the identification and elucidation of 10 reasons that the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument should be built on Saipan.
Forthwith are the reasons that Marie and the AEMMI have advanced, introduced by a personal note from Marie Castro herself.
Dear Friends in the United States and our People of Saipan,
It is our desire to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation in joining this significant, worthy cause to recognize and acknowledge the two great aviators, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. When their plane came down in the Pacific in July 1937, they were brought to Saipan by the Japanese military.
We cannot continue to deny and ignore the great courage, the unimaginable sacrifice they endured under the Japanese regime for the cause of humanity. Many reasons for building the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument are expressed loud and clear in the book Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last by Mike Campbell. Here are some that immediately suggest themselves:
1. In 1937 Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan entered into the historical record of Saipan. Whether the fact is recognized or not, the fliers became the first American casualties of World War II. Amelia was not executed, but she contracted dysentery and was cremated. According to witnesses, Jose Sadao Tomokane attended the cremation of the American woman pilot.
2. Saipan has an obligation to recognize and give every human being the honor and respect they deserve. Although it was impossible to do such a thing under the Japanese regime, 82 years and counting is far too long for the two fliers who met their final days on Saipan soil to be honored.
3. Many of our elders saw Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan in days, weeks and months following their arrival here in the summer of 1937, beginning with the well-known sighting by Josephine Blanco in summer 1937, which began the modern day search for Amelia Earhart.
4. Amelia Earhart was a pioneer in the male-dominated aviation field. She was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and was also a best-selling author who wrote about her adventures as an aviator. Among her many accomplishments, she was instrumental in forming an organization of female pilots called the Ninety-Nines. While Amelia earned the respect and admiration of people all over the world, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Amelia’s statue will inspire the daughters of the CNMI to embrace Amelia’s pioneering spirit and aspire towards fulfilling their utmost potential.
5. Saipan would become widely recognized internationally and our island’s history and culture would attract worldwide attention.
6. It is time for Saipan to take ownership of the Earhart-on-Saipan Truth and to spread that Truth not just in the region, but worldwide. The Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument would focus attention on the Earhart disappearance in ways never before imagined.
7. We need to expand this idea to eventually encompass a museum, library and gift shop, as well as a research institute for worldwide Earhart researchers to come, do their work and discuss their findings. The Earhart Monument again gets this process rolling by providing a single focal point to key interest on.
8. With the proper infrastructure in place, visitors from all over the world with an interest in Amelia, her story and her “mysterious” end will come to Saipan, becoming a permanent income base for the CNMI economy. They will want to see firsthand the sites mentioned in the literature. They will buy souvenirs, paraphernalia and books commemorating their visit to Saipan, and this can add a profit center that provides funds for salaries, overhead and maintenance.
9. The Memorial Monument will be the first tangible symbol of the Earhart-on-Saipan Truth. It will become the “trademarked brand” of the Earhart saga, and the site will be instantly recognizable as the focus of Saipan’s Earhart tourism industry, with its products, attractions and services. Over the years, the museum, shop, library and research institute can grow from the first step — the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument!
10. Finally and most importantly, as international attention on Saipan and its vital historical importance as the location of the tragic deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan continues to increase, the lies, myths and endless propaganda about theories and the “Earhart Mystery” will come to an end, and the Truth will be accepted and known by all. The Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument will be revered worldwide as the ultimate shrine to the heroic sacrifices of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.
To contribute to the Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan, please make your tax-deductible check payable to: Amelia Earhart Memorial Monument, Inc., and send to AEMMI, c/o Marie S. Castro, P.O. Box 500213, Saipan MP 96950. The monument’s success is 100 percent dependent on private donations, and everyone who gives will receive a letter of appreciation from the Earhart Memorial Committee. Thank you.