Tag Archives: Marshall Islands

Conclusion of “Earhart’s Disappearing Footprints”

Today we present the Conclusion of 1981 World Flight pilot Capt. Calvin Pitts’ “Amelia Earhart: DISAPPEARING FOOTPRINTS IN THE SKY.”

When we left Part IV, Calvin speculated that Amelia, finding the Electra in the anomalous Area 13, had decided to head toward the Marshall Islands rather than risk a landing at Howland.  At  8:43 a.m. Howland time, Amelia told the Itasca, “We’re on the line 157-337 . . . Will repeat this message.”  Turning to Fred Noonan, she might have said, “Give me a heading, and there’s no time to discuss it.  If we land here, I probably won’t be able to get airborne again.  Heading, please.” 

Conclusion of “Amelia Earhart: DISAPPEARING FOOTPRINTS IN THE SKY.”
By Calvin Pitts

In analyzing Amelia Earhart’s final flight, we can definitively say we don’t know the answers to several key questions.  But by comparison with the conclusions of others, I believe we can say we that WE DO KNOW:

(1) The Electra did not go down at sea.

(2) They did not go to the uninhabited Phoenix Islands such as Baker, Gardner (Nikumaroro), Canton, McKean, etc., where they would have been completely cut off from other human beings who could have helped them.

Calvin Pitts, circa 2014, in The Final Journey gallery at the Claremore, Okla., Will Rogers Memorial Museum.  Pitts’ interest in aviation history led him on an unlikely journey around the world.  In 1981 Calvin made a round-the-world flight commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Wiley Post-Harold Gatty round-the-world flight in 1931.  The flight was sponsored by the Oklahoma Air & Space Museum.

(3) The Gilberts had thousands of friendly people who could have helped, although the Electra probably would have been sacrificed in that case, since there were no runways, with this option supporting the logic of No. 2 above.

(4) They did not turn back to the Gilberts, deciding not to follow the contingency plan so carefully laid out with Gene Vidal, a matter written about often.

(5) They did not land at Howland.

Howland Island camp Jan. 23, 1937. (National Archives.)

(6) The Electra was never seen by personnel on the Itasca or on Howland.

(7) The Electra never made an approach to Howland’s runway.

(8) There must have been a reason the all-important trailing antenna was removed.

(9) Fred Noonan had a 2nd class radio license, which required knowledge of Morse code, a knowledge he demonstrated with Alan Vagg between Australia and Lae.

(10) There must have been a reason Amelia was so casual with her radio calls.

(11) Noonan was not drunk the night before the final takeoff from Lae.

(12) Amelia was radio-savvy at first, maintaining two-way conversations with Harry Balfour at Lae until her position report at 0718z / 5:18 p.m. local time over Nukumanu Atoll.

(13) Amelia had no two-way conversations with the Ontario nor the Itasca at Howland.

(14) Although Amelia requested only voice-talk, Itasca’s radioman William Galten keyed 50 Morse code transmissions by himself, plus those sent by other Itasca radioman, indicating that they had not been so informed.

(15) Neither Nauru nor Tarawa Radio, important mid-range stations, had been informed.

(16) The mid-range ocean station, the Ontario, had not been properly informed.

(17) With government involvement in everything else, the key radio players, both Navy and ground, were ill-informed on the very last half of the Howland leg.

(18) The Howland runway log, which was hidden for years, now reveals that the men who constructed the runways did not consider the longest 4,000-foot, north-south runway to be safe due to soft-spots, massive numbers of birds and daily crosswinds of 20 mph.

(19) By the same token, the east-west runway for wind was only 2,400-feet long, too short.  The width of the entire island was only one-half mile, with sloping beaches.

Perhaps the last photo taken before the fliers’ July 2 takeoff from Lae, New Guinea.  Mr. F.C. Jacobs of the New Guinea Gold Mining Company stands between Amelia and Fred.  Note that Fred looks chipper and ready to go, not hung over from a night of drinking, as some have been alleged.

(20) With 30 days of pressure, problems and decisions, the Electra crew was exhausted with extreme fatigue by the time they took on their most dangerous assignment.

(21) The Electra came back to earth near Barre Island on Mili Atoll.

(22) The Electra pair were taken by the Japanese to their Marshalls headquarters at Jaluit.

(23) Amelia and Fred were flown to Saipan, where they were imprisoned.

(24) While under Japanese imprisonment, the Electra crew lost their lives.

(25) Via Tokyo, the Japanese lied to the U.S. government throughout the early days of the search about the movements of the Kamoi and the results of their search. 

(26) In 1937, the Unites States, having broken the naval and diplomatic codes of Japan, could listen to radio conversations between Japanese naval vessels in the Pacific, and Saipan, the Marshalls and Tokyo.

(27) Three of the most senior U.S. military leaders of World War II in the South Pacific, Gen. Alexander A. Vandergrift, Gen. Graves Erskine and Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, independently knew about the presence of the Electra and the fliers on Saipan, and each informed Fred Goerner or his close professional associates of their knowledge. 

(28) By extension and by all available evidence and common-sense deduction, the top U.S. political leader — President Franklin D. Roosevelt — also knew that the Japanese had custody of the fliers at a very early date.

(29) Some evidence suggests that documents revealing the facts in the disappearance of Amelia and Fred are filed in a World War II file, even though the disappearance occurred four years BEFORE the war.

Hideki Tojo (1884 to 1948) was a general of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA), the leader of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, and the 27th Prime Minister of Japan during much of World War II, from Oct. 17, 1941, to July 22, 1944.  As Prime Minister, he was responsible for ordering the attack on Pearl Harbor.  After the end of the war, Tojo was arrested and sentenced to death for war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, and hanged on Dec. 23, 1948.  He was also culpable for the arrest, captivity and murders of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan, though this information has never been officially revealed.

(30) To this day, the Earhart documents are labeled “Top Secret” (although the U.S. government denies any such files remain classified, or that they even exist) for a civilian who just wanted to finish off her career with a world flight “just for the fun of it.”  What is this overkill attempting to hide, and if there’s “nothing to hide,” then why do the establishment and its media toadies continue their blanket denials of a truth that’s hiding in plain sight?

If these 30 factual bits of evidence, and much more, are not sobering enough, there are more, under the heading of “Human Factors,” keeping in mind that this list, while exhausting, is not exhaustive.

WE ALSO KNOW:

Other things that we likely know include:

(1) Amelia’s primary and foundational motivation was her own self-interest in adding to the aviation record she had worked so hard to establish.  She loved daring and adventure, and other things about a world flight that fit her dreams and desires included:

(a) her intense personal interests.

(b) her desire for an adventure not yet experienced.  She had done what Lindbergh did, in her 1932 Atlantic solo flight, showing that a woman can do what a man can do, something extremely important to her.  But she had never done what her close friend, Wiley Post, had done twice.  One of Amelia’s passions was to demonstrate to the next generation of girls that the world is open to them, but they must reach for it.  Don’t downplay the power of this motivation.  She wanted to be a role model while adding to her records.  She wanted both fame and immortality, to be an example as a leader of women for generations of girls to follow. 

Amelia Earhart, circa 1932. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.)

(c) by labeling her plane “A Flying Lab,” she added a scientific motif, like Wiley Post, for her activities.  If, in the course of her flying, she could test things like a new direction finder etc., that would add credibility and justification for all the money she and others were investing in the world flight. 

(d) Amelia’s big heart, especially toward girls just starting out, that always reached out to see how she could help, first as a social worker, a nurse, as a teacher and finally as a role-model.  She never stopped promoting her own interests, but not at the expense of failing to help girls who wanted to follow her example.  For the 1930s, she was a great role model, not as a fake, pretend movie star, but as a truly outstanding performer in her own real adventures.

(2) Amelia had had many setbacks in her aviation career.  She crashed a plane while in the process of taking flying lessons.  She had more than one engine fire.  Although she did well, she did not win the Powder Puff Derby.  Third place is never good enough for a first-class person.  She had more than one crack-up.  But with determination, she not only survived, she prevailed, proving that determined women are equal to men.

In spite of setbacks, she had great confidence.  As a professional pilot and former instructor, I often spotted a potentially dangerous quality in student-pilots, not confidence, but overconfidence, confidence that exceeded their ability at the time.  With wrong circumstances, it is a dangerous quality.  Respecting one’s own self-acknowledged limitations is the heart of safety.

Amelia Earhart’s Electra 10E, March 20, 1037, following her near disastrous ground loop that sent the plane back to the Lockheed plant in Burbank for months of costly repairs,

(3) Amelia’s radio behavior on the world flight was uncharacteristically strange.  Who can understand or explain it?  It bordered on unprofessional, unless there was a bigger player and a bigger reason that influenced the entire operation.  In preparation for Flight No. 2 in Oakland and Miami, several of the Pan Am workers revealed some not-so-pretty things about Amelia’s rudeness and temper.   Pan Am’s offer for radio support and flight following was uncharacteristically refused, at no cost to her — why?  That borders on irrational, unless something else was afoot. 

In my opinion, a woman, fighting a man’s world, finds it more difficult than does a man.  I can spot several things in Amelia’s world flight that illustrate over-confidence and negligence in accepting one’s own limitations.  That was a demon flying with her that she did not need.  Her interactions with Paul Mantz are a great illustration of this.  He saw several things that he didn’t think were good, and tried to change them, but she found it hard to listen.

Next, we must ask, WHAT DO WE NOT KNOW?

From what we do know, we evaluate the things we do not know.  Because of the unselfish work of others, we are satisfied that we know the essence of what did happen.  From the words of the three flag officers, they tell us that the Electra and its crew were on Saipan.

For us, the end of the story is solid.  For reasonable people, this answers the central essence of the WHAT of the story.  But the WHY remains unanswered.

Were the Marshalls the ORIGINAL destination of the fliers?

That strictly depends on the meaning of the word ORIGINAL.  If you identify the origin as that point just following 2013z / 8:43 a.m., where we came to see “Intent,” then YES.  From that point, Amelia intended to fly to the Marshalls.

If, however, you mean something else, then several scenarios arise.

(1). Original destination No. 1?  Did Amelia intend to go to the Marshalls when she began Flight No. 1 going west toward Hawaii?  No.  That’s too much of a stretch.

(2). Original destination No. 2?  Was that her intent when she left on Flight No. 2, flying the opposite direction? Here it gets complicated.  Did those military men who had a private meeting with her while the Electra was being repaired, suggest a plan that included the Marshalls?  I don’t think we will ever know how much the government spoiled Amelia’s innocent preparations with secret plans.  Whatever they injected was poison from the beginning, no matter if it was as benign, as is one of my scenarios.

What “military men,” one asks?

They would now fly from west to east instead of east to west.  The reason given was because the prevailing winds would be more favorable, but Margot DeCarie, Earhart’s secretary would later declare that her boss had long secret meetings with military authorities [Bernard Baruch, a close adviser to FDR, and Maj. Gen. Oscar Westover, chief of the Army Air Corps] during the rebuilding period [at March Field, in Riverside County, Calif.].” (Paul Rafford Jr., Amelia Earhart’s Radio. p. 27.)

In 1966, DeCarie told the San Fernando Valley Times that she believed these meetings concerned plans for a secret mission “to get lost on the theory that the Japanese would allow a peace mission to search for her.  Then the United States could see if the Japanese were fortifying the (Marshall) Islands in violation of mutual agreements.” (Col. Rollin C. Reineck, Amelia Earhart Survived, p. 26.)

Maj. Gen. Oscar Westover, chief of the Army Air Corps from 1935 until his death at age 55 in a plane crash on September 21, 1938.  Did Westover, along with FDR crony Bernard Baruch, approach Amelia Earhart in the spring of 1937 on behalf of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and ask her to perform a special mission?  Some evidence does suggest the possibility.

(3). Original destination No. 3?  Did the U.S. government suggest something in Miami while the Electra was being fitted with new radios and having their lifeline, the trailing antenna, removed?  Some very suspicious things happened there, giving rise to some strange actions and reactions on Amelia’s part.

Currently, with the limited knowledge we have, my “original destination” begins in what I call Area 13 during the time shortly after 2013z / 8:43 a.m. Howland time.

But I can also suggest several scenarios which could easily push thatorigin back much further than Area 13, 2013z / 8:43 am. (Five are listed at the end of this posting.)

And if that were case, you need to explain precisely why they would want to head for Jaluit as an original destination, and not Howland.  For me, Jaluit as an original destination began at about 2013z / 8:43 am on July 2, 1937, unless the government involvement started in Oakland or Miami.  That is possible, but if that happened, then the Marshalls may have been a faint, or a ruse.

The military involvement versus the lesser government insertion, is a stretch, but believable with the information we have.  At this point, Amelia appears to still be a peace-loving, war-hating citizen like Lindbergh and his Isolationists.  Whatever sinister part she was contemplating still seems, at this point, to be somewhat innocent, as My Earhart Scenario lays out.  It is still difficult to see her as a heavy hitter connected with a military plot, although the later condemning words of Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. seem very convincing.

“The obvious answer would be to see what the Japs were doing,” Mike Campbell wrote in a recent email, “but why would anyone think that the Japs would stand by for this and allow the U.S. Navy to search for them and pick them up once found?  This would have been an idiot’s game plan, and I just don’t buy it.”

Neither do I.  Not only would the Japs not stand for it, neither would U.S. military leaders at that point in the pending conflict.  Amelia had no training in aerial reconnaissance.  The military could not have been that short-sighted.  Nor had Amelia received any training whatsoever in spying.  That is the hardest designation for me to accept.  I think it was much more benign and innocent than that, which is the theme of My Earhart Scenario.” 

“Other possible scenarios involve approaching Mili from the west and north on the way to Howland,” Campbell added, “after overflying Truk to get snapshots of the Japs’ work there.  They could have run out of fuel on the way to Howland and been forced down at Mili.”

This seems much too sinister for the Amelia of 1936, as well as 1937.  A “little favor,” perhaps, but not Truk or Jaluit reconnaissance.  Yet, we keep hearing the theme of Morgenthau and FDR saying, in effect, If the public knew, it would be so bad that it would totally ruin Amelia’s reputation.

Morgenthau’s actual words in the transcribed phone conversation were:It’s just going to smear the whole reputation of Amelia Earhart . . . If we ever release the report of the Itasca on Amelia Earhart, any reputation she’s got is gone . . . I know what the Navy did, I know what the Itasca did, and I know how Amelia Earhart absolutely disregarded all orders, and if we ever release this thing, goodbye Amelia Earhart’s reputation.

I also tend to the belief that it’s most probable that the decision was made to head for Jaluit at some point, but am not at all certain about this.  Other possibilities do exist, that’s why the how and the why of their Mili landing is the true mystery in the Amelia story.

This map appeared in the September 1966 issue of True magazine, along with a lengthy preview of The Search for Amelia Earhart.  Based on Fred Goerner’s theory of a possible Earhart flight over Japanese-controlled Truk Island, once known as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.”  Could this have been the route the fliers took that led to their demise on Saipan?  Calvin Pitts doubts it, but others are not so sure.

Japanese headquarters, Jaluit, Marshall Islands, was probably their intended destination because of its strong radio signals.  Capt. Almon Gray of Pan Am, who flew with Noonan, said: Fred often listened to Jaluit on his Pan Am flights, taking bearings on them.”  This general territory was not new to Pan Am navigators.

However, Mili probably came into the picture unexpectedly.  After more than 24 hours of flying, when Amelia saw Mili Atoll en route to Jaluit 150 miles away, she had to know she was down to mere drops in the fuel tanks.  One engine may have started sputtering, signaling imminent fuel exhaustion.  Both engines would seldom run out of fuel at the exact same time.  Hence, it’smake a controlled landing now, or a gliding landing into the water later with only minimum control.”  This would account for landing at Mili, short of Jaluit.

Regarding the matter of decision, after studying on Google Earth the difference in an intended heading for the mid-Gilberts, bringing them accidentally to the Marshalls, is pure fantasy to me.  You cannot move me from my belief that, for whatever reason, there was absolute INTENT in picking up a heading for the Marshalls.  The strong Japanese radio signal fits into that scenario, whether that decision was the government’s or not.   Those were signals Noonan knew well from his Pan Am days.  There was the intention of going there.  They did not accidentally wake up and say, “Oh, how did we get to the Marshalls Islands?”

Once I was convinced that Amelia intended to go to the Marshalls, the next question was: To what destination?  Jaluit was the most logical, since it was the source of the radio signals, plural, because there were 11 reported radio stations there.  Jaluit, in my opinion, was where Amelia thought she could get fuel and help.

As for Mili being the spot where they actually landed/crashed, that was probably a glitch in the plan.  The Mili landing was forced on them, as I view it, due to fuel starvation.  Ironically, during the period of the world flights, few of Amelia’s expectations seemed to play out precisely as she intended, including Honolulu, Oakland, Miami, Africa, Australia, Lae, Nukumanu, Howland and now Jaluit. 

In fact, the original change in direction from Flight No. 1 was probably not her idea in the beginning, but was the result of the military men who met with her at March Field.

In Amelia Earhart’s Radio (p. 25), Paul Rafford Jr. wrote that Mark Walker, a Naval Reserve Officer,heard something different from Earhart.  I heard about Mark from his cousin, Bob Greenwood, a Naval Intelligence Officer. Bob wrote to me about Mark and what he had heard. Mark Walker was a Pan Am copilot flying out of Oakland.  He pointed out to Earhart the dangers of the world flight, when the Electra was so minimally equipped to take on the task.  Mark claimed Earhart stated:This flight isn’t my idea, someone high up in the government asked me to do it.’”

A satellite view of Mili Atoll from space, with Barre Island and “here” indicated in the northwest area as the spot where Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan landed on July 2, 1937.  Photo courtesy Les Kinney.

For what it’s worth, from one who has lived this story for countless hours, we take it as being worth a lot.  Where we part company with the spy theorists is the degree of cooperation.   It seems much more innocent and benign than a spy novel.  She was asked, in one researcher’s opinion, to do a small favor “since you’re going to be there anyway.”

Probably, it was not that she wanted the government involved in her plan, other than helping with details such as clearances, landing sites, fuel, radio help, etc.  It seems the government might have hijacked her personal adventure by offering help-with-a-price tag.

As I’ve said many times, the more I learn, the less I know.  But what did Adm. Chester W. Nimitz mean when he told Fred Goerner through Cmdr. John Pillsbury, “You are on to something that will stagger your imagination”?  I confess, this is strange language, and its meaning remains obscure. We simply do not know!

As for Goerner’s original theory of an Earhart overflight of Truk Island on July 2, as much as we deeply respect all the time and work he put into to this, and the doors he opened for everyone after him, it cheapens his otherwise stellar work by taking this seriously.  Overfly Truk Island?  This leaves me outside on the fringes, saying, “I just can’t believe it.”

Not for a moment should we sell Amelia short.  She did what most men could never do, or at least have never done, nor even tried.  It took determination, stamina, passion, foresight, commitment, confidence and character.  She was the best — flawed, yes, (join the human race), but the best.

And she gave it her best.  For that, she is to be applauded and respected for bringing to the surface of reality the achievements of a woman who will always be remembered as a record-holder, a role model and a regal angel who was at home in the air, leaving footprints in the sky.

Amelia, even with those things we don’t know nor understand, we salute you!

Afterword:  As mentioned in these postings, there were several unsolicited government intrusions into the innocuous personal plans for a final adventure by a civilian, resulting in the following threads and snippets:

(a)  “This was not my idea; someone high up in the government asked me to do it.”

(b)  Military men met with her privately, removing George Putnam, Amelia’s husband, and Margot DeCarie, her personal secretary, from the room.

Amelia met Eleanor Roosevelt at a White House state dinner in April 1933, and they were said to have “hit it off.”  Near the end of the night, Amelia offered to take Eleanor on a private flight that night. Eleanor agreed, and the two women snuck away from the White House (still in evening clothes), commandeered an aircraft and flew from Washington to Baltimore.  After their nighttime flight, Eleanor got her student permit, and Amelia promised to give her lessons.  It never happened.  Did FDR step in to prevent it?

(c)  Amelia’s strange flight behavior suggested pre-determined decisions.

(d)  Her close friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, with personal interest and involvement by FDR in helping with funding and providing permission for the State Department to help with planning fuel stops. “Do what we can, and contact . . . was written by his hand on Amelia’s Nov. 10, 1936 personal letter to him.

This raises the prospect of some differing but believable scenarios including:

(1).  an original intent to land, unable to find Howland, rejecting the Gilberts contingency plan, followed by the personal decision to proceed to the Marshalls for fuel;

(2).  an original intent to land, but then a last-minute decision to change, based upon comparisons with the takeoff from which raised the specter of the limitations for a safe takeoff from Howland, with a pre-planned decision to proceed to the Marshalls;

(3).  original instructions not to land at Howland with a faint attempt to create a ruse, followed by instructions to proceed to the Marshalls;

(4).  original instructions to actually land at Howland, then a pretend emergency after takeoff, followed by instructions to proceed to the Marshalls;

(5).  or “disappear over the Gilberts” by landing on a beach, a “small favor” of staying hidden for two weeks to allow the Navy to search the waters without suspicion while actually obtaining maritime information and updated coordinates for islands, including sightings and soundings and military reconnaissance, to be useful for planes and ships if war breaks out, then “find and rescue” the Electra crew, saving their lives for future purposes.

(6) OR . . . That’s the subject of “MY EARHART SCENARIO.”

THIS IS AN ADVENTURE WHICH WILL NOT DIE UNTIL WE KNOW THE TRUTH.  And sometimes, the truth surprises us by its mere simplicity.  But then again, who knows?

(End of Capt. Calvin Pitt’s “Amelia Earhart’s Disappearing Footsteps in the Sky.”)

I extend my heartfelt thanks to Capt. Calvin Pitts for his superb analysis of Amelia Earhart’s final flight.  In what is clearly a labor of love, Calvin has devoted countless hours to produce this exceptional commentary, and it will take its place among other leading Earhart researchers’ work, to be read often by those who sincerely seek the truth.  I’m also confident we will be hearing more from him, as his multiple references to his yet-to-be-published My Earhart Scenariosuggest.

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Earhart’s “Disappearing Footprints,” Part IV

Today we rejoin Calvin Pitts for Part IV of his fascinating and instructive analysis of the final flight of Amelia Earhart.

As Part III ended, Amelia had made her decision to turn northwest, not to the Gilberts but to the Marshall Islands, “and Japanese soldiers who may or may not be impressed with the most famous female aviator in the world,” Calvin wrote.  “When she crossed into enemy territory, she apparently lost her charm with the war lords, and eventually her life.”  We continue with Part IV of Calvin’s analysis.

Amelia Earhart: DISAPPEARING FOOTPRINTS IN THE SKY, Part IV
By Capt. Calvin Pitts

When we arrived at Area 13, unbeknownst to the casual observer, the entire narrative changed.  Something different, something major happened.

The Itasca crew didn’t know.  In their confusion, according to their log, they kept calling and trying to make contact for two hours.  The radioman calling from Nauru didn’t know.  Balfour from Lae didn’t know.  Tarawa radio didn’t know. Husband George didn’t know.  Hawaii radio didn’t know.  But somebody from somewhere must have known.  Who was it?

First, before we ask questions, we need to look at THE END in order to establish the ending of the so-called “disappearance.”  It has been a mystery to those on the outside, but not to those who studied and embraced the evidence.  Nor was it a mystery to Franklin D. Roosevelt– especially the president..

This, knowing THE END, and only this will enable us to make sense of what was happening during those early moments in Area 13: 2030z, 2100z, 2200z, 2300z, 2400z, or the local morning hours of 9 a.m., 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, noon and thereafter. 

THE END produces, first, three stone pillars: Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, Gen. Graves Erskine and Adm. Chester W. Nimitz.  What do such preeminent World War II men of honor have to do with this story, and what do they know that is so critical for what we will learn in the process?  Three quotes will answer for us:

General Alexander A. Vandegrift, 18th commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, confirmed Amelia Earhart’s death on Saipan in an August 1971 letter to Fred Goerner. Vandegrift wrote that he learned from Marine General Tommy Watson, who commanded the 2nd Marine Division during the assault on Saipan and died in 1966, that “Miss Earhart met her death on Saipan.” (U.S. Marine Corps photo.)

Gen. Vandergrift: “Miss Earhart met her death on Saipan.”  (TAL, p.257) Gen. Erskine: “It was established that Earhart was on Saipan. You’ll have to dig the rest out for yourselves.” (TAL p.260

Marine General Graves B. Erskine, deputy commander of the V Amphibious Corps at the Battle of Saipan.  In late 1966, Erskine told Jules Dundes, CBS West Coast vice president, and Dave McElhatton, a KCBS radio newsman, “It was established that Earhart was on Saipan. You’ll have to dig the rest out for yourselves.”

Admiral Nimitz to Fred Goerner: Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese [and taken to Saipan].” (TAL p. 132).  “You’re onto something that will stagger your imagination.” (Nimitz to Fred Goerner through Navy Cmdr. John Pillsbury) (TAL p. 178).

Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, circa 1942, the last of the Navy’s 5-star admirals. In late March 1965, a week before his meeting with General Wallace M. Greene Jr. at Marine Corps Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, Nimitz called Goerner in San Francisco. “Now that you’re going to Washington, Fred, I want to tell you Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese,” Goerner claimed Nimitz told him.  The admiral’s revelation appeared to be a monumental breakthrough for the determined newsman, and is known even to many casual observers of the Earhart matter. “After five years of effort, the former commander of U.S. Naval Forces in the Pacific was telling me it had not been wasted,” Goerner wrote.

Those were Men who had honor, who would not lie;
Men who could stand before a demagogue and damn his treacherous flatteries
without winking!

They were tall men, sun-crowned, who lived above the fog in public duty, and
in private thinking;

For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds, their large professions
and their little deeds, mingled  in 
selfish strife,
LO! Freedom wept, Wrong ruled the land, and waiting Justice slept.
GOD, give us more Men like these where the times demand
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and willing hands;
Men whom the lust for office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will; Men who have honor … who will not lie.

— Josiah Gilbert Holland  (modified)

They did not lie.  These were three men, three impeccable sources, three individual answers, none of which were given in the presence of the other, at different times, with the same conclusion: Amelia had been on Saipan.

Earhart and Noonan were not in the Phoenix Islands; they did not die at sea.  Noonan, the best navigator in the world, who had flown the Pacific often with Pan Am, was not lost. Earhart, prepared to execute the contingency plan so carefully worked out with Gene Vidal, did not turn back to the Gilbert Islands.  Earhart and Noonan were taken to Saipan.

“You’ll have to dig the rest out for yourselves,” Gen. Graves Earskin said. And professional, competent people have been doing just that for 80 years.

What’s the staggering news here?  One part is this: We know THE END of the story.  Following the silence after Area 13, we have about a five-hour window or less of flying and survival time.  Something unusual happened back in the states while the Electra was being repaired, the truth of which was being played out during those final hours after Amelia’s last official transmission at 2013z.

We know essentially the area in which they were last known to be alive in the Electra.  Later, after the war, and the incredible leadership of three of our top warriors, we know where the doomed pair ended up.  Therefore, if we want to unlock this so-called mystery, we need know not only where they were, but why and how they got there.

Here’s the point of establishing THE END.  We have three pillar posts of evidence that cannot be doubted.  They are anchors to which the end of this story is tied.  But there are those who say this was only a temporary end, that a China scenario followed.  Since there are so few researchers who accept this, we will leave that conclusion for another time. For now, we tie the end of the chain of this story to the Saipan anchor.

From Saipan, we can backtrack 1,700 miles to the Marshall Islands, thanks to several incredible and determined writers and investigators, among them Fred Goerner, Vincent Loomis, Oliver Knaggs, Bill Prymak and others.

The eyewitnesses they found and interviewed are convincing.  The Electra was seen on Mili Atoll, Marshall Islands.  The crew and the plane were taken to the Japanese military headquarters on Jaluit Atoll.  From there, all the evidence we have tells us they were taken by plane to Kwajalein, and then to Saipan by the Japanese.  They were on Saipan, as the three flag officers told Goerner.

To that, we can add that Bill Prymak was one who could see the obvious when others missed it.  Later, we want to visit the content of OVERLOOKING the OBVIOUS.  Prymak observed the following: An eyewitness in the Marshalls described a man-like woman with short hair in pants, and a tall man with blue eyes who had a bandage on his head, who were together.

Yet, over 1,700 miles away on Saipan, in 1937 when travel between the two cultures was limited to small boats, Saipan natives described, during the same time-period, a man-like woman with short hair in pants, and a tall man with blue eyes who had a bandage on his head, who were together.

Copy of the key section of the original log page from Chief Radioman Leo Bellarts of the Itasca showing the entry of the now-famous 2013z / 8:43 a.m. call, “We are on the line 157-337, will repeat message . . .”

Does something not strike us as unusual? From two different cultures, with 1,700 miles of water between them, in only a very short time, native eyewitnesses in the Marshalls and in Saipan are telling the same story.  How was that possible, unless they were both telling the truth?

Did they make up an identical tale without knowing what the other was saying?  Two cultures, many miles apart, in a short time, were describing the same people to interviewers.  Was this a coincidence?  Obviously, not likely.

Where does this evidence leave us?  With the Generals, we have three cornerstones, three reliable pillars, impeccable witnesses, impressive leaders, unassailable warriors separately telling the same truth.  They spoke what they knew, although they did not want to embarrass the government they served, hence were restrained with their words.

What little they said was enough to establish the truthEarhart had been on Saipan.

That buries the sink and drown” [crashed and sank] theory.  It also buries the Nikumaroro castawayshypothesis, the fake media’s favorite mother load of deception, embraced by the establishment’s Smithsonian, National Geographic and media outlets everywhere.  Without them, the truth would have gained traction much earlier, but it’s the establishment world in which we are forced to live, which makes finding truth in the swamp infinitely more difficult.

Added to those three stellar voices who had no skin in the game were two separate cultures miles apart but saying the same thing — the American lady with short hair and the white man with a white head-bandage had been in the Marshalls and on Saipan at about the same time.

A cornerstone and a foundation, eyewitnesses giving interviewers the same story, which is the evidence upon which this truth is built.  Even scripture says: Faith is the evidence of things not seen.  We didn’t see it, but those who saw the evidence — Vandergrift, Erskine, Nimitz, Marshallese eyewitnesses, Saipanese eyewitnesses — gave us the truth to believe, accept and investigate even further.

I.  With a tedious analysis of the records, times, speeds, radio calls and Itasca logs, we tracked the lady and the man to “Area 13” at 2013z.  This is Data Point No. 1.

Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E, NR 16020, over Java, Dutch East Indies, June 1937.

II.  Data Point No. 2.  Switch to the other side, 1,000 and 2,000 miles away.  Three cultures converge, the Marshalls, Saipan and the Americans, where the eyewitnesses and the greatest military leaders provide the END for the same story.

III.  The Gap.  We are then left with a four- to five-hour gap that we must bring together if we wish to change supposition into knowledge, or mystery into history.

The factual and documented information on both sides of the Gap tells us WHAT. But we still wrestle with the WHY behind the WHAT.  How do we answer the obvious things which have so often been overlooked?

How? By refusing to overlook them any longer.

During the four- to five-hour gap while we search, an amazing thing happens: an awakening.  Consider two data points of that evidence:

(1) The Electra is flying an imaginary “157-337 degree (sun) line,” now merely a heading, at 2013z / 8:43 a.m. looking (?) for the Itasca.  At about four hours remaining, they hitBingo fuel.  It’s time to go into action with the contingency plan: “If and when you come to your contingency fuel, turn back to the Gilbert Islands toward friendly people.  Land on a good beach, and they’ll find you.  Tarawa has a radio.  We’ll find a way to get to you.”

Were those their words?  No, but it was their plan that Vidal had designed.  Even Noonan’s sister had said: “Remember to turn back if you can’t find Howland.”

A 160 mph true air speed, plus a 15 or more mph tailwind for four hours would get them to the Gilberts.  But with what heading? “Heading, Fred. What heading?”

From a 2013z position of about 150 to 200 miles northwest of Howland, they needed a heading of about 260 degrees or less to hit the midpoint of the 500-mile north-south string of the Gilbert Islands.

Amelia Earhart at the controls of her Lockheed 10E Electra before taking off from New Guinea, on July 2, 1937.  She disappeared the next day. (National Archives)

However, based upon the END of the story, where they actually ended up, they needed a heading of some 290 degrees or more.  That would get them to where the evidence said they were, the Marshall Islands, with a free trip to Saipan, courtesy of the Japanese.

Focus on the evidence.  Heading 260 degrees or less to Gilbert’s midpoint.  Heading 290 degrees or more to get to Mili Atoll where they actually landed on a coral beach — 290 degrees versus 260 degrees?

From a position at 2013z, to the Marshalls with a 260 degree heading?  That didn’t happen. To the Marshalls with a 290 degree heading?  THAT DID HAPPEN, and was no accident.  Once this truth clearly dawned — the heading was not accidental — a missing, critical ingredient was added.

What’s the significance of this ingredient?  Epiphany.  That heading and that destination were intentional.  INTENT.  In that moment after consideration, we knew then what we didn’t know at 2013z, namely, they intended to go somewhere on purpose.  A heading to the Gilberts would not — repeat, NOT — have taken them to the Marshalls.

With intent aforethought:  For eyeball proof, open Google Earth and try it.  They would need a hurricane-force crosswind to blow them from the Gilberts to the Marshalls with a Gilbert heading.  Fortunately for them, but unfortunately for the skeptic, they had a tailwind from the east.

We now have intent, the first moment of realization. They not only went to the Marshalls, they intended to.  Something was driving them.

(2) Ironically, shortly after that epiphany, we read a comment by researcher Bill Prymak.  It went something like this: Why was AE so casual and so scarce with her radio calls?  If it had been me in such an emergency, desperately trying to make contact and find Howland, I would not have waited :30, :45, 1 hour, 2:30 hours between calls.  I would have been all over that radio:

Itasca, this is AE. Please answer.  How do I home in on your frequency?  I’ll hold the switch down for a full minute.  No more occasional calls. Help me out . . . now.  Are you there?  I’ll stay on 3105 while you broadcast now on 3105, then 6210, then 7500, then 500.  I’ll also listen to Morse code.  Fred will understand your message, or key A.A.A. repeatedly , then key N.N.N.  That will let me know you’re hearing me. Forget protocol.  Talk to me.  This is getting desperate.”

Not even one MAY-DAY CALL.  Why so casual?  No declaration of an emergency.  Why so incredibly stingy with words?  At 2:45 am?  OK.  But at 8:00 a.m.?  May-Day,  MAY-DAY!

2:45 a.m. – “??” unreadable (1 hour difference)

3:45 a.m. – “will listen” (2:30 hour difference)

6:15 am. – wants bearing – “about 200 miles out” (:30 difference)

6:45 a.m. – “take bearing – about 100 miles out” (almost 1 hour difference)

7:42 a.m. – “on you, can’t see you” (:16 difference)

7:58 a.m. – “circling (?), can’t hear you” (:02 difference)

8:00 a.m. – “received signals, take bearing” (:43 difference)

8:43 a.m. – “on line 157-337, will repeat” — S.I.L.E.N.C.E.

Amelia at the controls of her Lockheed Model 10E Electra, circa 1936.  (Photo by Rudy Arnold.)

Not one call, not one, indicated an emergency.  Perhaps the tone of her voice was tense, or even indicated panic, as Bellarts later stated, but not one hint of an emergency.  Much too casual.  Words cost nothing.  What does the silence tell us?

If she doesn’t find Howland, it’s back to the Gilberts and the abandoning of the Electra on a beach.  Amelia knows that.  Consistently, she made very brief calls which lasted mere seconds, then she was silent for long periods.  What is that telling us?  That it is not normal behavior in an emergency.  It is much too casual for a person facing fuel exhaustion and death.  It is not rational.

Strangely, it may be telling us that she has no intention of landing here.  If not, why?  Don’t know yet, but how did Bill see that?  Because if she wanted to land, there would have been desperation.  She was cool and casual because she had another place in mind.

Amelia’s sister, Muriel Earhart Morrissey, said afterward: Amelia had no intention of landing at Howland. It was a distraction.” (Amelia, My Courageous Sister (1987);  “Amelia Earhart: What Really Happened to Her?” (D.A. Chadwick’s Blog).

Paul Rafford Jr., in his book, Amelia Earhart’s Radiotells us: “Bill Galten also told me that although Earhart might have been able to land on Howland, he didn’t see how she could take off.  His reason was the same as that offered by Itasca’s Chief Radioman Leo Bellarts, who told Fred Goerner that he felt that if she could land, she could not have been able to take off again.” So here are two of the original radio crew on Itasca agreeing about the serious dangers Howland posed to the Earhart Electra and its crew.  We then did some investigation of our own.

These are only two of the many items which come under the category of OVERLOOKING THE OBVIOUS.  The latest is THE HOWLAND RUNWAY scenario.  When exploring the details and a comparison with the Lae takeoff, was the Howland runway even safe from which to take off in an Electra with a heavy load of fuel?  Based upon details which we have been able to uncover, the answer may be obvious.  She’ll know once she begins the takeoff, but then it will too late. 

Let’s do some reasoning here.  When Amelia took off at Lae, she had 3,000 feet of dirt runway.  At the end, there was a 25-foot cliff dropping off to the Huon Gulf.  The Electra’s takeoff run for about 2,900 feet broke ground, sank slightly, then more or less leveled, then at the end where the cliff dropped off, it descended about 20 feet toward the water where the props were creating an observed spray from the ocean.

That reality is in Amelia’s mind.  She sees a picture.  It is now behind her, but an even bigger challenge awaits her at Howland.  How long is that coral-gravel runway?  The flat part of the Island is 1.5 miles long by one-half-mile wide.  If the longer N/S runway is just half that, since it is on the east side, rather than in the elongated middle, then we have about 4,000 feet, as later measured, but which the workers already knew.

There is also a gravel E/W runway about 2,400 feet at the south end of the N/S runway for the prevailing daily east winds.  We now have a match waiting for some gasoline.  Lae’s runway was hard dirt.  Howland’s is crushed coral recently plowed and graded, and looser than hard dirt.  Lea’s temperature was less than 85 degrees.  Howland’s is often 100 degrees or more.

Lae’s had a safety net of a 25-foot drop to the Gulf beyond the cliff at the end of the runway.  Howland at sea level has mere inches for descent after takeoff from sand’s edge to the water.  Unlike Lae, at Howland, there is no safety net.

Going through the mind of any pilot facing this would be: Under these conditions, with these differences, can a takeoff with a load of fuel be made successfully at Howland?  It was successful at Lae apparently because of the “safety net” of clear space underneath beyond the cliff.  Amelia, like any pilot, might wonder.

From the log of the runway workers on Howland: A message from Cooper to Earhart and Putnam, June 25, 1937:  “All three distances given in this message indicated shorter distances for the runways than in the previous summary.  Clearly, something has changed in the assessment of the field.  The purpose of the ‘markers’ is apparently to aid Earhart in landing the plane on the best portions of the three runways.  It seems to me that the E/W runway was judged to have 2250′ available for landing but 2750′ for takeoff. ‘Good approaches . . . now marked.”  Runway distances between markers as follows: (?? How long ??) ‘N/S 4200’ * NE/SW 2600’ * E/W 2250’.”

Nor has she forgotten the ground loop at Honolulu under much better conditions.  If a wheel of the Electra were to hit a soft spot, and veer slightly as it did in Honolulu, will she follow her habit of trying to maintain directional control with the throttles rather than the rudders?  Honolulu all over again, just waiting.

If, when the plane breaks ground at Howland, but settles 20 feet as at Lae, there will be a ditching in the water with gear down, not a pretty thought.  If density altitude were to work against her due to hotter temperature, what then?  If even one of those 10,000 gooney birds were to get in the way of a prop on takeoff, hello water. The “WHAT IF’S” are endless.

Nearing Howland, Amelia may be thinking that the chances of taking off are not so good. Turn back to the Gilberts?  There are many smooth sandy beaches there for a safe landing, but once on the soft sand, how will the Electra get airborne again?

Then there’s the option of the Marshalls.  The inner debate continues, and a major decision is looming.  What to do?  How long is the runway?  How safe is it?

With an East wind of 15 to 20 mph, this is obviously a crosswind which is not acceptable for a heavy plane on such a runway.  Even the men on the ground who prepared it had recorded, in essence, in their log — impossible to take off on N/S runway with that crosswind.  And the E/W runway is too short; at 2,250 feet between markers, plus the narrow 300-foot addition, plus the flagged off 200 feet, a total of 2,750 feet is available for takeoff.

Before we awaken Amelia from her intense concentration, let’s slip in another bit of obvious factual history which has often been overlooked.  It concerns FDR himself and the government, especially Naval records generated by the former secretary of the Navy.

First, we have the official Navy-Coast Guard reports of their searches for the Earhart Electra that lasted from July 2 to July 19, and were filed beginning July 20. (see TAL pages 53-57).  We also have information on file as Report of Amelia Earhart as Prisoner in Marshall Islands,” dated Jan. 7, 1939.  (Reference: Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Record Group 38, Entry 81, General Correspondence, 1929-1942, File A4-3/Earhart, Box No. 70).  (See above image of the top of page 1 of this report.)  This unclassified document has long been available to Earhart researchers through a simple request. 

This, and additional information shows that as early as 1.5 years after the disappearance,  Jan. 7, 1939, it was reported under then-classified documents that “Earhart was a prisoner in the Marshall Islands.”  Since the U.S. had already broken the Japanese Code, it is more than mere speculation that FDR and Co. knew that Amelia and Fred were in Japanese hands.

(Editor’s note: Here Calvin is referring to the strange, little-known “Bottle Message” found near Bordeaux, France on Oct. 30, 1938 by a 37-year-old French woman.  The message’s unidentified writer stated, in part: I have been a prisoner at Jaluit (Marshalls) by the Japanese; in the prison there, I have seen Amelia Earhart (aviatrix) and in another cell her mechanic [sic], a man, as well as several other European prisoners; held on charges of alleged spying on large fortifications erected on the atoll.  I have not yet written about this message on the Truth at Last Blog for several reasons, but others have attempted to verify its provenance, without success.  See * below for more on this.)

The classified proof in Navy files was declassified in 1967 and has been available to the public since then.  Anyone can read it.  Possessing a personal copy, one can show that the government knew the whereabouts of Amelia and Fred at least as early as 1939 or before. (Later, we’ll raise the issue of knowledge through having broken the Japanese code.)

That being the case, something so totallyobvious to government authorities in 1939, and then obvious to the public through researchers in 1967, has lain hidden under a pile of dust while speculators and get-rich charlatans have invented stories about dying at sea or crashing on an uninhabited island leaving a size 9 piece of shoe as proof that a size 6 lady named Earhart had worn it.  Such is a crime against the history of humanity.

While the obvious lies at our feet, we applaud phony pictures of a ship at Jaluit in 1937 under a Smithsonian caption of “Earhart and Noonan,” but which was proven to be false.  And we support establishment money being spent to divert the public’s attention to a fake story on a Phoenix Island while we allow the government to keep promoting those distractions.  This is the typical disinformation-distraction ploy.  Although the establishment can distract from the truth, it cannot change it.

Something is obviously wrong with this picture.  The public is more tolerant than they are observant.  We cry “mystery” while holding the file of facts in our hands.

Time: 2013z / 8:43 a.m.:
Amelia awakens from her decision-dilemma.  To the Itasca: We’re on a line 157-337 degrees . . . Will repeat this message.”  To Fred Noonan she may have said: “I’ve thought about the Howland runway compared to what we faced at Lae.  It’s too dangerous.  The Gilberts are out.  Not going to sacrifice this plane.  We’re going to the Marshalls.  Give me a heading, and there’s no time to discuss it.  If we land here, I probably won’t be able to get airborne again.  Heading, please.”  (End of “Amelia Earhart: DISAPPEARING FOOTPRINTS IN THE SKY,” Part IV.)

Next up will be the Conclusion of Calvin Pitts’ “Amelia Earhart: DISAPPEARING FOOTPRINTS IN THE SKY.”  Your comments are welcome. 

* (Editor’s note continued: Far more revealing among the Navy documents declassified in 1967 is the notorious 1960 Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) Report (below), ostensibly undertaken to investigate Thomas E. Devine’s 1960 statements to ONI Special Agent Thomas M. Blake in October 1960.  Devine, at home in West Haven, Conn., having seen the reports of Fred Goerner’s first Saipan visit, decided to tell the ONI about his 1945 experience on Saipan with the unidentified Okinawan woman who showed him the gravesite of a “white man and woman who had come from the sky, before the war.  Devine believed this site was the common grave of Earhart and Noonan.

The ONI found nothing to support Devine’s gravesite claims, which wasn’t surprising, but its unstated goal was to discredit all information that placed Earhart and Noonan on Saipan.  In this it actually failed miserably, though no one in the media has ever even alluded to the document’s existence, and it remains completely unknown to the general public despite its declassification.  The story of the ONI Report in itself is another amazing travesty in the saga of the Earhart disappearance, in that it virtually establishes the Marshalls landing and Saipan presence of the fliers while attempting to debunk both ideas.  For an extended discussion of this obscure but vastly important document, see pages 95-100 in Truth at Last.

Noted Earhart book review removed from Internet

In the entire history of reviews of the handful of books that present aspects of the truth in the Earhart disappearance, only two are memorable.  The first was the Sept. 161966 Time magazine unbylined attack against Fred Goerner’s The Search for Amelia Earhart, titled “Sinister Conspiracy?and still available online, though you have to subscribe to the source to see it now.  My commentary about Time’s hit piece, “The Search for Amelia Earhart”: Setting the stage for 50 years of media deceit,” was posted June 21, 2016; you can read it by clicking here.  Goerner, a KCBS radio personality in San Francisco, was the only real newsman to ever seriously investigate the Earhart case.  

The only other significant review of an Earhart disappearance work was Jeffrey Hart’s examination of Vincent V. Loomis’ Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, which appeared in William F. Buckley’s National Review in the Oct. 18, 1985 issue, but is no longer available online.

Hart wasn’t an Earhart researcher, and his belief about the reason Earhart reached Mili is the same pure speculation that Loomis advanced.  But Hart was a well-known establishment pundit, critic and columnist, and wrote for National Review for more than three decades, where he was senior editor.  He wrote speeches for Ronald Reagan while he was governor of California, and for Richard Nixon.  Now 88, Jeffrey Hart is professor emeritus of English at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, New Hampshire.  No one of similar stature has ever written a review of an Earhart disappearance book.

I’ll have a bit more to say, but here is Jeffrey Hart’s review of Amelia Earhart:  The Final Story, originally titled “The Rest of the Story.”   Boldface is mine throughout.

AS A BOY I was thrilled with horror when Amelia Earhart disappeared somewhere out over the Pacific during the summer of 1937.  She had been the first woman to fly the Atlantic, and now she and her navigator were trying to circle the globe at the equator.  She rather disliked being called “Lady Lindy” by the press, because she wanted her own independent identity, but the odd thing was that she looked a little like Lindbergh: thin, with short hair and a wide grin, somehow quintessentially American.

Vincent V. Loomis’ 1985 book is among the most important ever written about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, and solidly established her presence, along with Fred Noonan, in the Marshall Islands soon after their July 2, 1937 disappearance.

On her last flight she and her navigator Fred Noonan, flew an advanced-model twin-engine aluminum Electra specially designed for the trip.  It was known to the press as the “Flying Laboratory.”  On July 2, 1937, all contact with the plane was lost, and searches by U.S. ships and planes failed to turn up any trace of Miss Earhart, Noonan, or the plane.  As far as anyone at the time knew, they had simply disappeared into that vast blueness, like Hart Crane off the Orizzaba.

It turns out that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were the first casualties of the coming Pacific war with the Japanese.  Vincent Loomis, a former USAF pilot with extensive Pacific experience, became fascinated with the Earhart mystery and made it his business to solve it, which he had done. lt is a remarkable, enormously romantic, and heartbreaking story.  Loomis went to the Pacific, traveled around the relevant islands, and found natives who had seen the plane crash and had seen Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. He interviewed the surviving Japanese who were involved, and he photographed the hitherto unknown Japanese military and diplomatic documents.  The mystery is a mystery no longer.

For all her frame and accomplishments, Amelia Earhart was an innocent flying out over the Pacific.  She and Noonan were also incompetent navigators and did not know how to work their state-of-the-art equipment.  They were thus more than a hundred miles off course flying right into the middle of the secret war plans of the Japanese empire* when they ran out of fuel and had to ditch the Electra.  (Editor’s note: Amelia never claimed to be a navigator at all, but Noonan was recognized as among the best in the world at the time of the final flight.)

By 1937 the Japanese had long since concluded that war with the United States for control of the western Pacific was inevitable.  They were hatching plans with Hitler to divide up the British, French, and Dutch possessions that would be vulnerable as a result of the coming European war.  The projected Japanese empire, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, would have its large mainland anchor in a China the Japanese were attempting to conquer, and The Pacific islands would be the first line of defense against the U.S. Navy. The Japanese knew that the United States was unlikely to tolerate their geopolitical plans and would be decidedly hostile to any monopolistic co-prosperity sphere run from Tokyo.

The Japanese had acquired control of the key Pacific islands at the end of World War I under a League of Nations mandate.  In violation of international law, they were pouring military resources into them.  All Japanese military personnel worked in civilian clothes.  Newly paved airstrips were marked as “farms” on the maps.  Foreign visitors were absolutely excluded.  If the local natives obeyed the Japanese rules they were treated fairly, and the Japanese even married some of them.  An infraction, however, could mean instant death.

Jeffrey Hart, undated, from Hart’s  Wikipedia page.

On July 2, 1937, bewildered and lost, Amelia Earhart crash-landed in the middle of all this, putting the Electra down and running into an atoll near Mili Mili a principal military position in the Japanese Marshall Island chain.  The Japanese took her and Noonan prisoner and tried to figure out what to do with them.  They could hardly release them, not knowing what they had seen.  Perhaps the American fliers could blow the whistle on the whole secret operation.  They might even be spies.  Actually, they had seen nothing.

The two Americans were shipped to Japanese military headquarters on Saipan and jailed.  The conditions were miserable, but not unusual for that time and place.  The jail was not set up to serve food to the prisoners, mostly natives, whose meals were brought to them by relatives.  But the jailers did provide the two Americans with soup, fish, and so forth, though of very poor quality, and with medical treatment.  When an exasperated Fred Noonan threw a foul bowl of soup at a Japanese jailer, he was forced to dig his own grave and was immediately beheaded.  Japanese culture was not especially permissive in 1937.

After a while, Miss Earhart was allowed a limited amount of freedom and made friends with native families, some of whom Loomis interviewed.  She was permitted visits to these friends, and her diet and spirits improved.  In mid-1938, however, life in the tropics proved too much for her and she came down with a severe case of dysentery, weakened rapidly, and died there on Saipan.  She does not seem to have grasped the significance of what she had stumbled upon and witnessed; ironically enough, she was a philosophical pacifist.  The Japanese military asked the natives to provide a wreath for her, and she was buried with Noonan.

Vincent V. Loomis at Mili, 1979. In four trips to the Marshall Islands, Loomis collected considerable witness testimony indicating the fliers’ presence there. His 1985 book, Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, is among the most important of the Earhart disappearance books, in that it established the presence of Amelia and Fred Noonan at Mili Atoll in the Marshall Islands following their disappearance on July 2, 1937. (Courtesy Clayton Loomis.)

One curious footnote to the story is that the present Japanese government, democratic and pro-Western as it supposedly is, has been covering the whole thing up.  Today’s Tokyo will not admit, in the face of absurdly obvious proof, that the imperial government was violating the terms of its mandate by militarizing the islands, claiming that everything the islands, claiming that everything going on had to do with “culture” and fishing — no one here but us Japanese Margaret Meads and a few fishing boats.  Nor will today’s Tokyo admit that the imperial government lied fifty years ago when it covered up the Amelia Earhart matter.  Of course no U.S. Navy search vessels were allowed anywhere near the Marshall Islands.  The Japanese claimed that they themselves were doing all the necessary searching.  Loomis shows that the “search ships” were in Tokyo Bay at the time. It is odd that the present government cannot admit to the demonstrable facts; it must represent some sort of face-saving.  But Tokyo has run out of luck on this one.  Vincent Loomis has the documents, the testimony of the Pacific islanders, local Catholic nuns, Japanese medics and seamen.

It is all very poignant.  One sees that the Japanese military among whom Amelia Earhart lived for about a year could not begin to comprehend her, this woman pilot, this . . . American.  But the evidence is that the Japanese who knew her, if from a very great cultural distance, nevertheless bemusedly admired her.  (End of Hart review.)

Hart wrote an accurate, unbiased review of The Final Story, but neither the U.S. government or anyone else in the media got his memo that “the mystery is a mystery no longer.”  Not only did they disagree, and still do, but Hart’s review has been expunged from the Internet, where the hard copy I have is taken from Encyclopedia.com in 2007.  I don’t know when the review was removed, but there’s no doubt about why it’s gone, and I’m not going to repeat here how sacred cows get even better with age. 

Within the past year, plugging the name Amelia Earhart into the Amazon.com search engine has resulted in over 1,500 results for books; recently, for some unknown reason, that number has fallen to “over 1,000” in the same category.  Nevertheless, many books have been penned about our ageless American heroine, but of these thousand or so, only about 10 actually present aspects of the truth about the Earhart case.  The rest, 99.9 percent, are biographies, novels, children’s books (the biggest sellers) and assorted fantasies — all except the good biographies only muddle the picture and further obscure the truth.

Fred Goerner in his heyday at KCBS San Francisco, circa 1966. (Courtesy Merla Zellerbach.)

The indisputable fact that this phenomenon exists tells us something is very wrong with the media’s relationship to the Earhart story.  For the most recent example of media propaganda and malfeasance, we need only turn to our trusted Fox News and its June 27 non-news piece, Amelia Earhart signed document discovered in attic box.”  Moreover, Fox News has never allowed my name or the title of Truth at Last to stand in the comments section of any of its Earhart stories, to my knowledge.

As I wrote at the top of this post, Fred Goerner was the only newsman to ever publicly advocate for the Saipan-Marshall Islands truth in the Earhart disappearance.  When you consider the few important books written about the so-called “Earhart mystery,” consider also the authors of these works.  Obscure non-journalists such as Thomas E. Devine, Vincent V. Loomis, Oliver Knaggs, Joe Davidson and T.C. “Buddy” Brennan produced the important tomes about the Earhart matter.  Paul Briand Jr., who authored the seminal work of the genre, Daughter of the Sky, in 1960, was an English professor at the Air Force Academy.  Bill Prymak, an engineer by trade, was not an author, but his assemblage of Amelia Earhart Society Newsletters is as important as any but a few of the books, though the newsletters are unavailable to the public.

Why hasn’t any newsperson, author or journalist except Fred Goerner ever investigated the Earhart story?  The question is rhetorical, of course, as the few who read this blog know, but its answer reveals the real problem. 

July 2, 2018: 81 years of lies in the Earhart case

For the few who pay attention to the ongoing saga of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, today marks another year’s passing, the 81st, and it’s not been uneventful.

Most will recall last July’s History Channel flap over the bogus claims about the Office of Naval Intelligence photo found at the NARA Archives in College Park, Md., by researcher Les Kinney several years ago and presented in the odious Morningstar Entertainment-produced “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence.”  To refresh your memory, here is my review of that July 9, 2017 abomination:History’s ‘Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence’: Underhanded attack on the Marshalls-Saipan truth.

Much more was written here during that time frame about that over-hyped disinformation drill, but at the end it was all smoke and mirrors.  Just as the lowlifes who ran that deceitful operation had planned, nothing changed in our cowardly media.  Our Fourth Estate’s aversion to publishing anything related to the truth continues unabated, and anything even hinting at the Marshalls-Saipan truth continues to be blacklisted across all news and media outlets, as does Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last.

Amelia Earhart soon after her landing in a pasture at Culmore, north of Derry, Northern Ireland, on May 21, 1932.  She had spent the last 15 hours tossed by dangerous storms over the North Atlantic, contending with failing machinery and sipping a can of tomato juice to calm her queasy stomach.  She had planned to end her journey at Paris’ Le Bourget airfield, where exactly five years earlier Charles Lindbergh had completed the first solo transatlantic flight. When her Vega’s reserve fuel tank sprang a leak and flames began engulfing the exhaust manifold, however, Earhart wound up in a Northern Ireland pasture. From that moment, Amelia Earhart’s star shined brightest, and her like has not been seen since.  The site is now the home of a small museum, the Amelia Earhart Centre.

Early in 2018, however, something quite unexpected finally appeared on the heretofore dismal Earhart horizon, with the announcement that appeared in the Feb. 7 Marianas Variety (“Micronesia’s Leading Newspaper Since 1972″), Group to build Amelia Earhart monument on Saipan.” 

On Feb. 14, Marianas Variety published my letter to the editor, Amelia Earhart’s Saipan fate,” that enthusiastically welcomed the news of plans to honor the First Lady of Flight at the location of her tragic and untimely death sometime after she failed to reach Howland Island in early July 1937.  You might recall my March 2 post that announced that recent development  on Saipan,Finally, some good Earhart news from Saipan.

Several stories have been published here and in the Marianas Variety on the proposed Earhart Memorial Monument, including Marie Castro: Iron link to Saipan’s forgotten history,in praise of the intrepid soul who birthed the bold plan to build the Earhart Memorial Monument on Saipan, and who continues her brave efforts, with little help, and hopes that need serious bolstering  in light of the very bad politics that surround the memorial initiative on Saipan.

The situation on Saipan is a constant concern, and a minor miracle will be necessary to bring the Earhart memorial to the light of day — a wonder for which we will sincerely thank Marie Castro, her unyielding devotion to the truth and her constant prayers for moving God to grant, if indeed it ever happens. 

I think today’s anniversary is an appropriate time to present what I define as my general Position Statement regarding the Earhart matter, especially its relationship to our broken culture and the feckless media who are largely responsible for creating it.  I’ve sent various parties versions of the below statement, and have updated and revised it slightly to conform as closely as possible to the current state of affairs.   I only wish that just a few in the media who have not been bought and sold by the establishment would grow a backbone and step forward to support what is clearly not an “aviation mystery,” but an obvious truth lying in plain sight, as well as a worthy and long overdue cause.  

Many won’t like the words they read below, and will strongly disagree with this little treatise, learned the hard way during 30 years of focus and work on the Earhart matter.  But nobody will send anything that credibly refutes any of it, because the truth doesn’t change and is not a matter of opinion, but a specific, discrete series of events that occurred involving the doomed fliers, beginning on July 2, 1937.  All who desire to rebut the below are welcome to send their statements to the comments section, so that others can judge for themselves the merit, or lack of same, in those assertions. 

Following is my statement on the Earhart situation, and I’m sticking to it.  Boldface is mine throughout:

The very idea that the disappearance of Amelia Earhart is a “great aviation mystery” is arguably the most despicable of all the prevailing myths of mainstream American history.  So effective has the U.S. government been in creating, maintaining and protecting this straw man as the unquestioned narrative, that it has become a fixture in our cultural furniture, and because of its universal acceptance by the gullible, incurious masses, the phony phraseology “Earhart mystery” defines and dominates all public dialogue about the Earhart case, while the fact of Amelia’s wretched and unnecessary demise at the hands of the prewar Japanese on Saipan is ignored or labeled “conspiracy theory,” advanced only by and for the fringe conspiracy lunatics of society.

An artist’s rendition of the proposed Amelia Earhart Memorial on Saipan, displayed by local architect Ramon Cabrera in the Feb. 7 Marianas Variety story that initially announced the plan for the monument. 

But deep in the bowels of the U.S. government security apparatus, some are well aware of the fliers’ true fate, and they protect the physical evidence that would reveal the truth that lies in the deepest recesses of our top-secret archives.  I explain all this in my book and in my blog, and won’t go on at length here.

Discerning individuals who examine the popular Earhart “theories” soon find not a scintilla of evidence for either crashed-and-sank or Nikumaroro that doesn’t break down under the slightest scrutiny.  Not a single artifact in a dozen trips since 1989 that’s been scrounged up from the Nikumaroro garbage dumps has been forensically linked to Amelia Earhart or Fred Noonan, despite the constant drumbeat of our corrupt media establishment telling us to buy this snake oil.  Many of the ignorant and gullible have indeed bought it, much to their chagrin as they realize the Nikumaroro bill of goods is rotten at its core.

Actually, no real “theories” exist in the Earhart disappearance, as the word is properly defined.  We have the truth — supported by several dozens of witnesses and documents — that Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan crash-landed in the Marshalls, were picked up and taken to Saipan by the Japanese, and died there at some unknown date before the American invasion in June 1944, likely as many as six years before the Battle of Saipan.  Several small details remain unknown, but the big picture is lying in plain sight, as clear as the nose on Fred Noonan’s face, obvious to all but the blind and the agenda driven.

And we have enormous, transparent lies.  First came the original crash-and-sank myth born in 1937 with the Navy-Coast Guard’s search findings — briefly logical until overcome by the facts — which finally became so ludicrous and unacceptable by the late 1980s that a new deception to distract the sheeple was necessary.  Thus was born the current Nikumaroro virus, which continues to be the media’s default position and infects virtually everything Earhart.  Even the brain dead are no longer fooled.  

The truth is that both of these canards have been glorified and raised to the status of “theories” by a deep-state establishment desperate to protect the checkered legacy of our president at the time of Earhart’s death, Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Thus, when this case is discussed by those considered to be knowledgeable professionals, whose names are well known to readers of this blog and need not be mentioned now, normal rules of investigation, including analysis of evidence and the scientific approach, are thoroughly ignored, and truth is the first casualty.

This headline, from the San Mateo Times of July 1, 1960, is as true today as it was then; only a few small details remain elusive.

As I constantly stress in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last and here on my blog, the truth in the Earhart case has been a sacred cow in Washington since the earliest days of the search.  The time is long overdue for the truth to be recognized and accepted, and for the parasites who have made their livings by peddling lies about Amelia’s sad fate to go away and find more honest ways to earn their livings. (End position statement.)

These are the nuts and bolts, the essence of the endless rigmarole about the so-called Earhart mystery, which I write about constantly in what is usually a vain effort to educate those willing to learn about this ongoing American travesty, this stain upon our great nation’s history. 

No end is in sight, but even if it’s only here on this blog, I’ll continue to expose the lies and enlighten those who remain unblinded by the panoply of falsehood that currently rules the Earhart matter, an insidious rot that has stripped all vestiges of truth from the Earhart situation, and it’s only getting worse.

If President Donald Trump were aware of the disgraceful 81-year suppression of the facts in the Earhart disappearance, I’m confident he would do his best to effect full U.S. government disclosure of the truth, to slay this sacred cow and put a long-overdue end to this ridiculous spectacle of a bogus mystery that’s been solved since the early 1960s, at the very latest.  But who will tell him?

“Kwaj” newsletter presents new Earhart witnesses

In November 2006, Amelia Earhart Society member David Bowman told the online Yahoo! Earhart Group about a story he wrote for the Walpole, New Hampshire-based Mysteries Magazine, “The Psychic World of Amelia Earhart.” In 2005, Bowman self-published Legerdemain: Deceit, Misdirection and Political Sleight of Hand in the Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, which would be published by Saga Books of Canada in 2007.  Informative and entertaining, Legerdemain includes several strange and obscure Earhart tales, demonstrating the extent to which the Earhart disappearance has been stigmatized by fantasists since its earliest days.

In researching “The Psychic World of Amelia Earhart,” Bowman made a fascinating discovery. The Jan. 7, 2003 edition of The Kwajalein Hourglass, the weekly newsletter at the U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll, ran an article titled, “Did Amelia Earhart land on Kwajalein Atoll?” by Eugene “Gene” C. Sims, who was stationed there as a GI in 1945 and returned to work as a civilian from 1964 to ’71, and from 1983 to ’86.

Eugene “Gene” C. Sims, of Coos Bay, Ore., a veteran of three tours at the U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. Sims wrote a story for the Kwajalein Hourglass in January 2003 that updated Jane Toma’s remarkable 1993 article about previously unknown Marshallese eyewitnesses to the presence of Amelia Earhart on Kwajalein shortly after her disappearance on July 2, 1937.

Sims recalled his youth in Oakland, Calif., during the 1930s and how he grew to idolize Earhart after seeing her at the local airport. When Fred Goerner’s book was published in 1966, Sims was working on Kwajalein, and was soon inspired to pursue his own Earhart investigation. “I was surprised to hear them speak so openly about the white-skinned lady and man that came to Kwajalein in 1937,” Sims wrote. An unidentified Marshallese man told Sims that as a 12-year-old in 1937, “a large Japanese ship came into the harbor” and he saw “a white lady and man on the deck,” a rare sight in those times. Sims wrote that because Goerner had been denied access to Kwajalein in the early 1960s, Goerner was never to learn [the] concrete proof that Amelia was on Kwajalein and Roi-Namur in 1937. Sims continued:

Much of this proof was based on the testimony of a Jaluit woman named Mera Phillip. She had been the cook and interpreter for an American lady captured by the Japanese and held prisoner on Roi in 1937. The Mera Phillip story was further confirmed in 1993 by statements from John Tobeke, a Marshallese working on Roi.

Tobeke stated that when he was about 6 years old and living on Roi, he saw a white woman twice over a period of three months.  In addition to the testimony he gave to Neal Proctor, an instructor from the University of Maryland who was visiting Kwajalein, Tobeke was shown pictures of three different white women. He successfully identified the picture of Amelia as the woman he had seen while a child on Roi in 1937.

Neither Mera Phillip nor John Tobeke had ever been mentioned in Earhart literature before they appeared in the pages of The Kwajalein Hourglass, where Jane Toma first reported the following accounts of Tobeke and Philip in 1993.

By Jane Toma

It’s one of the great mysteries of the century. What happened to Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan in the summer of 1937 when they disappeared in the Cen­tral Pacific?  Island folklore suggests Earhart was on Roi at one time. (Bold emphasis mine throughout.)

Speculation about their disap­pearance has been the subject of countless articles, books and documentaries.  Some suggest that Earhart’s reputation as an exceptional pilot was due more to the efforts of her publicist husband George P. Putnam than her prowess as a pilot.  She simply ran out of fuel, they say, and crashed into the ocean.

Others implicate her as a spy in the Japanese mandated islands.  They argue that she and Noonan were captured and executed.

Some theories, which have gained national atten­tion recently, place the duo in the Marshall Islands and suggest the following sce­nario: The twin-engine Lockheed Electra Earhart was flying, went down off Mili, where she and Noonan were captured. The two were sent to Jaluit, Kwajalein and eventually to Saipan. where they were held prisoner and finally executed.

Stories about Earhart being in the Marshalls are not new to old timers on Roi, who have heard about an American man and woman, believed to be Noonan and Earhart, who were there before the war.

Kwajalein resident and World War II history buff Tom Rogers points to the structure some believe was Amelia Earhart’s prison on Roi, held prisoner and finally executed.  Some suggest that Earhart died from dysentery on Saipan.

Listed on historical guide

The Roi-Namur Kwajalein Atoll Historical Guide prepared by KREMS states under “Site of Japanese Main Aircraft Hangar”: “Under a pile of debris in one corner of this hangar, a Naval Intelligence commander came across a blue leatherette map case embossed in gold leaf with the letters A.E. The map case was empty, but it is believed to have belonged to Amelia Earhart.”

John Tobeke, a Johnson Controls World Services employee, recalls seeing an American woman twice when he was a child living on Roi.

It was about 1937, he says. and he was about 6 years old.  Tobeke says that a woman from Jaluit named Mera Phillip cooked and interpreted for the American lady. Phillip had attended missionary school on Kusaie (now called Kosrae) and knew English.

She told some of the Marshallese people that the lady said she was captured by the Japanese and was on Mill and Jaluit before she came to Roi.  The Japanese wanted to know why she came and she told them she lost fuel. The lady told Mera that she was with a man. but they had been separated. The American woman also confided to Mera that she thought she would be going to Saipan.

Tobeke adds that the woman lived on Roi for about three months, but the Japanese never talked about her.  They were very secretive and suspi­cious of the Marshallese people, he explains.

John Tobeke indicates Amelia Earhart as the person he saw in 1937 on Roi to University of Maryland instructor Neal Proctor.

University of Maryland instructor Neal Proctor visited Mili last summer to pursue some of the stories he had read about Earhart being there. He heard several accounts about her from Marshallese residents on Mill. Proctor also talked to Tobeke on Roi­ Namur and finds his recollections credible.

“John described her as a tall woman with short blonde hair, like mine, dressed in a Japanese uni­ form. He also picked her out of a photograph of three women.” Procter explains.

Grave on Saipan

Johnson Controls technical writer Bill Johnson says stories about Earhart being on Saipan were common when he lived there from 1963 until 1967.  When I lived on Saipan, a friend of mine, who was a retired Navy chief and married to a Saipanese woman, took me to a place in the jungle and said,Bill, that’s where Amelia Earhart is buried.’ ”

Johnson Controls World Service technical writer Bill Johnson says Amelia’s auntie wouldn’t talk about her.

I also knew Amelia’s aunt Kathryn Earhart. On one occasion, when I had lunch with her in Hawaii.  I asked her about the stories of Saipan, but she refused to talk, saying,the Navy closed the books on that years ago.’ ”

Kwajalein resident Margaret Smith heard stories about the famed aviatrix both on Saipan and in the Marshalls, where she worked and attended school.

There was a lot of talk about Earhart being held in jail and executed there,” Smith says.The media people came several times to investigate those stories.

In 1979, Smith was surprised to hear about Earhart on Jaluit.I was teaching social studies on Jaluit and talked to Lee Komiej, a Marshallese policeman during the Japanese administration, Smith  says. I wanted to know more about the different administrations (German, Japanese and American) and when the war started.

“Komiej said the first indication something was happening was when a woman was picked up on Mili.  Komiej said he overheard the Japanese talking about her and they suspected she was a spy.”  Smith said the Marshallese were also suspicious and thought it was very strange that a woman would be a pilot and wear trousers.  She added that the woman was light with short hair. “Komiej heard she had been picked up on Mili, and taken to Jaluit, which was the administrative center of the Marshall Islands during German and Japanese times.  She left Jaluit and went to Kwajalein.  The last Komiej heard was that she went to Saipan.”

Kwajalein resident Margaret Smith recalled stories about Amelia Earhart on Saipan and in the Marshalls.

The Marshall Islands Journal reported recently that an American news team was on Majuro working on an Earhart story which is scheduled to broadcast early in 1994.  Maybe it will shed some new light on the 53-year-old mystery. (End of Kwajalein Hourglass article.)

John Tobeke’s statement to Neal Proctor that Mera Phillip told him that the “woman [Amelia Earhart] lived on Roi for about three months” could not have been true, based on the vast witness testimony that has Earhart and Fred Noonan arriving on Saipan during the summer of 1937.  Tobeke was a child at the time Mera shared her very personal information with him, and he could easily have confused three months with three weeks, or even less. Recall that Josephine Blanco Akiyama reported seeing the American lady flier, Amelia Earhart, at Tanapag Harbor on Saipan sometime in the summer of 1937.  She was never more specific than that regarding the date of her initial sighting. 

Tobeke’s story is another that links to former Marine W.B. Jackson’s account as told to Fred Goerner about three Marines who discovered a suitcase with women’s clothing and an engraved diary in a room they described as “fitted up for a woman” on Roi-Namur in February 1944. Was this the same room where Mera Phillip served the captured American flier her non-Japanese meals?

The foregoing has become an increasingly rare phenomenon in recent years — real journalism in the Earhart case, without the lies and political agendas meant only to confuse and misdirect — and found, most surprisingly, in a U.S. government affiliated newspaper. Obviously nobody at the Kwajalein Hourglass thought it was necessary to get these stories approved by their superiors in Washington before they published them in the small newsletter that serves the local U.S. Army community on Kwajalein.

If media organizations such as the former History Channel, now known simply as History, Fox News, CNN, the Associated Press and the rest of the lying establishment shills were serious about informing the world about the facts in the Earhart disappearance, instead of pushing fake news about phony photos and ridiculous myths about giant crabs eating the lost fliers, we might have more stories like the gems Jane Toma and Eugene Sims gifted to us.  Unfortunately, articles that reveal previously unknown eyewitnesses in the Marshall Islands are extremely rare, so don’t expect to see more like this anytime soon.

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