Reineck proposes “New Scenerio” in Earhart loss
The work of the late Rollin Reineck, the former Air Force colonel who once navigated B-29s launched from Saipan against the Japanese mainland, is well known to readers of this blog. Reineck’s authorship of the dreadful Amelia Earhart Survived (2003), his failed attempt to resurrect the long-discredited Irene Bolam-as-Amelia Earhart myth, was a sad day in legitimate Earhart research circles, and some of the clueless who signed on to that delusion remain lost to this day.
This undated piece by Reineck appeared in the June 1999 issue of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters, and based on Bill Prymak’s responding letter, probably was written in April 1999. It presages Reineck’s awful book, published four years later, but also reveals solid insights into the ways of Washington, D.C., where deceit at the highest levels had been a fact of life long before Earhart’s final flight.
As always, the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and Reineck’s conclusion is especially wrongheaded and disturbing, but this doesn’t mean the rest of his thoughts are equally muddled. I’ll have more comment at the close of this post, which is presented in its original AES Newsletter format, which I’ve broken up to place complimentary photos to add to the presentation. This is the first of two parts.
Here we note that as early as 1999, and likely much earlier, Reineck was hopelessly hooked on the Weishien-Irene Bolam nonsense, which led him to write arguably the worst Earhart disappearance book of all time, the 2003 fish wrapper Amelia Earhart Survived.
For those new to this blog or readers who might need refreshing about the Irene Bolam disaster, see Part I of my four-part 2016 exposé, “Irene Bolam and the Decline of the Amelia Earhart Society.“
We also see that neither Reineck nor editor Bill Prymak seemed to be in the mood to spell check this article before it was published and sent to the approximately 80 to 100 AES members who would normally receive the latest newsletter. I’ll leave it to you to sniff out the misspelled word or words, but I’ll give you a clue — one of the words is very large! In fact, if this word doesn’t immediately jump out and mug you, you may be among those who still believe Amelia Earhart returned as Irene Bolam. (End of Part I.)
Almon Gray: “Earhart landed in the Marshalls”
Almon A. Gray was a pioneer in aeronautical communications, a Navy Reserve captain, flew with Fred Noonan in the 1930s and was an important figure in the development of the Marshall Islands landing scenario.
Upon expiration of his Navy enlistment he signed on with Pan American Airways, in 1935 Gray helped build the bases to support the first trans-Pacific air service, and was first officer-in-charge of the PAA radio station on Wake Island. After the San Francisco-Hong Kong air route was opened in late 1935, he was a radio officer in the China Clipper and her sister flying boats. Later he was assistant superintendent of communications for PAA’s Pacific Division.
The following letter, to confirmed crashed-and-sank researcher Cameron A. Warren, appeared in the February 1999 edition of the Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters. It was written on Sept. 1, 1994, just over three weeks before Gray’s death at 84 on Sept. 26, 1994 at his home in Blue Hill, Maine. Boldface emphasis mine throughout.
[Editor’s comment] From a man who flew with Fred Noonan and who was considered to be one of the top radio men in his day.
HC 64 Box 270-207
Blue Hill, ME 04514
Sept. 1, 1994
Cameron A. Warren
P.O. Box 10588
Reno, NV 59510
Dear Mr. Warren,
I greatly appreciate your letter of Aug. 20th and certainly agree that in naming Keats Reef as the theoretical point of Earhart’s touch down I made a poor selection. As I mentioned in the article, I was unable to obtain any significant information about the reef. I believe however that the basic theory is sound. Briefly, I envisage that Earhart was homing with the DF in a general westerly direction on the signals from the broadcast radio station at Jaluit. Her gas tanks were virtually empty. She sighted land close to her track and made an emergency landing on it. Beyond reasonable doubt the land was in the Marshall Islands.
The landing was made about mid-afternoon of July 2, 1937, Howland date. The Radio equipment in the aircraft was started up later in the afternoon and was used intermittently for at least three days without molestation. Many radio listeners at numerous sites reported hearing distress signals from the plane but were not taken seriously. (In retrospect I believe that most of them were genuine.) The quality of the transmissions was very poor and virtually no useful information was passed in all that time. However the peculiar characteristics which made the transmitted voice signals unintelligible, were unique and served to identify the signals as coming from the Earhart plane whenever they were heard.
With what I have here plus what I consider as very good bearings from the PAA Adcock RDFs at Wake and Midway, I feel quite comfortable in believing that Earhart landed in the Marshalls. The homing track to the Jaluit Radio Station makes me believe that the most likely locale would be the very northern part of Mili Atoll.
I had hoped that during my lifetime we would know precisely what happened to the Earhart flight and where. I now would be delighted to merely get general acceptance of the notion that Amelia and Fred were alive and reasonably well in the Marshalls as late as a week after they disappeared.
Again, thanks for your letter!
Almon A. Gray
copy: Bill Prymak
For a comprehensive review of all that’s been presented on this blog about Almon Gray, please click here.
1937 Tokyo message to D.C. reveals Earhart Truth
The below document is likely a U.S. Navy intercept of a July 5, 1937 message sent by someone in the Japanese government in Tokyo with the code name”OIMATSU,” possibly someone in the Imperial Japanese Navy, to the Japanese Naval Attache, Washington (Captain Kengo Nakamura Kobayashi, see comments for more) concerning the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. (Boldface and italic emphasis mine throughout.)
Researcher Tony Gochar, of Guam (see pages 263-264 Truth at Last), sent me this declassified dispatch in November 2020 after he received it from a source in Washington. Others may be aware of this message, but it was the first time I’ve seen it, and it appears to be significant, a document that Vincent V. Loomis, whose mid-’80s Tokyo research revealed Japan’s lies about its search for Earhart in the Marshall Islands, would have showcased in his 1985 book, Amelia Earhart: The Final Story.
Note that the date is just three days after Earhart, Fred Noonan and Electra NR 16020 went missing. Our copy isn’t easy to read, so here’s the message:
We are in receipt of intelligence reports to the effect that the U.S. Navy is launching a large scale search for the lost Miss Earhart. Since it is believed that she went down in the vicinity of the Marshall Islands area, the Government of the South Sea Islands has ordered all ships (lookouts?) and communication facilities to cooperate in the discovering of her. We (several words crossed out) have communicated our desires to assist in this search, through our Ambassador in Washington, to the U.S. Government.
This offer was made not only as an expression of good will, but for the purpose of preventing the United States’ merchant and fighting vessels which are searching for Miss Earhart, from coming too close to the Marshall Islands. (End message.)
Hand printed below the above is “*Chief of Bureau of Military Affairs, Navy Department.” When this message was declassified is unknown, as is Tony Gochar’s source.
“The document begins by saying they (IJN) ‘are in receipt of intelligence reports,’ ” Gochar wrote in a Nov. 9, 2020 email. “My opinion is that these intelligence reports are from Japanese radio intelligence and DF (Direction Finding) stations in the Pacific area. The second sentence seems crystal clear: ‘Since it is believed that she went down in the vicinity of the Marshall Islands area.’ How did they know this on July 5, 1937? Their intelligence reports would have provided this detail.”
Naysayers who reject the truth will find it extremely difficult to find an interpretation for this message that keeps the fliers and the Electra out of the Marshall Islands and Japanese captivity. Based on 84 years of government-media lies and denial, we know that this virtual smoking gun will never be acknowledged by any mainstream media organization — or any other kind, for that matter.
Few will hear about this, but that doesn’t stop us from continuing to speak the truth to those willing to hear and accept it.
Japanese lied about Earhart search in Marshalls
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 listed 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.