Now the New York Times and longtime establishment shill and Earhart biographer Susan Butler have joined the growing herd of media vermin in denouncing the truth about Amelia Earhart’s presence in the Marshall Islands and death on Saipan, a scenario they briefly mentioned while selling bogus photo claims made by the History Channel and promoted by NBC News on July 5, setting off several days of media buzz over a photo later found to have existed in a Japanese travelogue two years earlier.
In a July 11 Times Op-Ed piece, “Searching for Amelia Earhart,” Butler, who continues to disgrace her avowed “profession,” again proves she has learned nothing since the publication of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, in which I spend 12 pages (306-318) figuratively taking this woman to the woodshed and exposing the falsehoods and misrepresentations she advanced in her 1997 biography East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart. Few have been more transparently dishonest in their published opposition to the truth than Butler, whose intransigence in this matter, though disturbing, isn’t surprising. In fact, it’s what we’ve come to expect.
Butler knows that anything she writes about Earhart in the ultra-liberal Times will be published without any opposing voices, and so she reverts back to the same ridiculous assertions she made in her book. “This theory has popped up from time to time over the years, Butler wrote. “The idea was originally proposed and investigated by Fred Goerner, a CBS radio journalist, who headed several expeditions to the island of Saipan in the 1960s to track down the truth. He was sure Earhart and Noonan had been captured by the Japanese and taken to Saipan. He uncovered no concrete evidence to support his theory but remained convinced that he was right.”
“No concrete evidence”? Murderers are convicted and sent to their deaths on the smallest fraction of the evidence Goerner collected in just his first visit to Saipan, in the summer of 1960. Dr. Manual Aldan, who was a dentist on Saipan in 1937, told Goerner the Japanese officers he treated told him the name of the American woman flier in their custody was “Earharto!” Many other local Chamorros identified Earhart and Noonan from photo lineups Goerner presented them, and of course we have the well-known account of Josephine Blanco Akiyama, most recently seen in a brief interview presented in the History Channel special, as Josephine, alive and well at 91 in San Mateo, Calif., cast her pearls to swine and agreed to talk to interviewers whose only purpose was to use her as a tool in their disinformation drill.
Butler’s hatred of Goerner’s findings and his groundbreaking Saipan investigations screams loudly in every word she writes. Just as the producers of the History Channel Earhart special refused to credit anyone for the few new witness accounts they presented, Butler refuses to name Fred Goerner as the author of the 1966 bestseller, The Search for Amelia Earhart, which established the presence and death of the fliers on Saipan, but now comprises only about 5 percent of the knowledge we have that puts them in the Marshalls and Saipan.
On July 1, 1960, local residents picked up their copies of the San Mateo Times, to see this headline: “Exclusive: Amelia Earhart Mystery Is Solved,” in 100-point capital letters, with the story, “Famed Aviatrix Died on Saipan,” by Linwood Day, stunning the relatively few Americans who learned of it. That story is as true today as it was in 1960.
Retired Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz told Goerner in 1965, “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.” Two other U.S. flag officers, Marine Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, 18th commandant of the Marine Corps, and Marine Gen. Graves Erskine, who was second in command of the V Amphibious Corps during the invasion of Saipan in the summer of 1944, told Goerner and two associates that Amelia Earhart died on Saipan.
Twenty-six former GIs, veterans of the Saipan campaign, told Thomas E. Devine, author of Eyewitness; The Amelia Earhart Incident (1987) their eyewitness accounts that revealed the presence of Earhart’s plane, Lockheed Electra NR 16020, which disappeared on July 2, 1937, as well as their knowledge of the presence and deaths of Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan. The list goes on, and I don’t need to re-write the chapters of The Truth at Last that overflow with evidence that expose Butler’s pathetic establishment talking points as the stinking smoke of mendacity. “No concrete evidence”?
Readers of this blog and The Truth at Last are familiar with the mountains of evidence that reveal the truth, while the so-called crashed-and-sank and Nikumaroro “theories” are actually glorified lies that lack even the most rudimentary basics required of scientific theories. It’s simply amazing to behold how the American people have been sold such a bill of bad goods for so long. I’m certain, as well, that if the Earhart Electra were actually located beneath the tarmac at Saipan International Airport, or the excavated skeletons of Earhart and Noonan were presented for DNA analysis that confirmed their identities, our establishment media would suppress that information as fully as possible.
“The claim was again thoroughly investigated in 1981 by the journalist Fukiko Aoki, who concluded it was baseless,” Butler drones on in her Times editorial. “She interviewed a crew member of the Koshu Maru, one of two Japanese ships in the area where Earhart is thought to have crashed. The ship had received orders to search for the plane but found nothing. Aoki also read the ship’s log, which made no mention of Earhart.”
This is the best Butler can offer, which is nothing at all, but the truth-hating Times was glad to help, as always, when called to serve the cause of the leftist establishment agenda on any issue. In The Truth at Last, I showed that all of Butler’s claims, with the exception of the fact that Aoki was on record as rejecting the idea that Earhart was on Saipan, were provably false. I even interviewed Aoki by phone at her New York home in 2007, and she herself denied words that Butler had put in her mouth about Goerner suggesting scenarios to Saipanese who were only too eager to tell him what he wanted to hear. Here’s what I wrote in The Truth at Last, page 311:
In a September 2007 phone interview, Aoki, who visited Goerner at his home in San Francisco in late June 1982, denied writing that Goerner suggested possible scenarios to native witnesses, and said she thought Butler may have misrepresented or possibly misunderstood what she told the biographer in a 1997 interview. “I would never say that about him,” she told me from her New York home. “That’s terrible. I can’t criticize Fred like that; I respected him. He was a really nice person and a good friend of mine.” Aoki said Goerner’s death in 1994 “was kind of devastating,” but she confirmed that Butler had accurately reported her conclusion in Searching For Amelia — that in her opinion, Earhart was never on Saipan.
I contacted Butler by email to ask her about Aoki and her ideas about Saipan. All of this is chronicled in detail in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. The fact that this book had been blacked out by all major media until this past week, when the Washington Post finally broke through with the Amy Wang and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. July 11 piece,“A ‘bogus photo,’ decades of obsession and the endless debate over Amelia Earhart,” could not possibly have prevented Butler from knowing about the 12-page section I devoted to her phony claims. Euphemistically titled, “An Earhart Biographer’s Serial Misstatements,” I would wager that these pages were more than anyone had ever written about her work, in any format, and it is inconceivable that Butler did not know what The Truth at Last revealed about her so-called “research.” But it meant nothing to her, because facts mean nothing to these enemies of the truth, whether it’s the Earhart story or any other focus of their lies.
Here’s how I conclude the lengthy section in The Truth at Last that exposes and dismantles Butler’s propaganda, line by line:
Susan Butler, an American author of a major Earhart biography, echoes the Japanese government’s policies of deceit and denial, not only in the Earhart case but in its verifiably false claims about Saipan’s military posture several years before Pearl Harbor. While Fukiko Aoki’s motivation in advancing such nonsense is easily discerned, Butler’s is harder to fathom, yet is sadly typical of the American establishment’s hostility to the truth about Japan’s dark history. Whether Butler’s endorsement of Aoki’s findings was rooted in a conscious decision to mislead, simple historical naiveté, or abject incompetence is uncertain, but all are unacceptable in a popular biography of Amelia Earhart, and the result is the same: Readers are badly misinformed. We can justifiably ask whether Susan Butler would have been as casual in advancing her baseless claims against Goerner, who died five years before East to the Dawn was published, if he’d been around to defend himself.
We’ve seen an inordinate level of media activity during the past 10 days, virtually all of it devoted to a phony story about a bogus photo, followed by the subsequent debunking of the false claims made about the photo. When the false claims about the photo were exposed, as planned, anything of value in “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence,” was contaminated. The goal of the whole exercise was solely to further discredit the hated truth about the fate of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan.
Nothing will be followed-up by an establishment still protecting the checkered legacy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose refusal to help Amelia when she in Japanese captivity, if officially revealed, would even now be a catastrophe for Democrats who still revere FDR as the New Deal Savior of America. Sadly and as always, too many Americans simply don’t care enough about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart to even question the false talking points offered by Butler and others who are always eager to lead them astray.
Will shameless government shills like Butler, who want to keep Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan stashed away in the safe confines of romantic myth, flying into the eternal ether, ever cease their absurd advocacy for false solutions to the phony Earhart “mystery”? Not a chance, unless the U.S. government itself finally decides that the time for “full disclosure” in the Earhart case has finally come. Don’t hold your breath.
We continue with our list of significant developments that have shaped and defined the modern search for Amelia Earhart through the years. As I wrote in the opening of this timeline, this is but one man’s opinion, and I make no sweeping claims as to its comprehensiveness. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome and will be considered for inclusion.
November 1966: Retired Marine Gen. Graves B. Erskine, deputy commander of V Amphibious Corps during the Saipan invasion, visits the radio studios of KCBS in San Francisco for an interview with Fred Goerner. While waiting to go on the air, Erskine tells Jules Dundes, CBS West Coast vice president, and Dave McElhatton, a KCBS newsman, “It was established that Earhart was on Saipan. You’ll have to dig the rest out for yourselves.”
June 1967: The ONI Report is declassified and transferred from the Naval Investigative Service (formerly the ONI) to the U.S. Naval History Division. From the day of its declassification, this document has been Exhibit Number One on the evidence list that reveals the presence and deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan. Moreover, the ONI Report offers a clear glimpse into the actual workings of the U.S. government’s longstanding practice of denial and deceit in the Earhart disappearance. Despite the mendacity, half-truths and misdirection that flavor its pages, the ONI Report remains the only official government statement ever released that indicates its knowledge of Earhart and Noonan’s presence on Saipan. Thus far, it is the closest thing we have to a smoking gun in the Earhart search.
November 1967 to April 1968: Donald Kothera and his so-called “Cleveland Group” visit Saipan twice in search of evidence supporting Earhart and Noonan’s presence and death there. Kothera’s interview of native Anna Diaz Magofna, who claimed to have seen the beheading of a tall white man as a 7-year-old on Saipan in 1937, is among the most compelling of the Saipan witnesses’ accounts. Kothera excavated a site that some believe is the same one Griswold, Henson and Burks exhumed in 1944.
1969: Amelia Earhart Returns from Saipan (First Edition) by Joe Davidson, is published by Davidson Publishing Co., Canton, Ohio. Davidson’s book chronicles Don Kothera and the Cleveland Group’s activities in 1967-1968 on Saipan and their return to the states. The book, though often overlooked and poorly written, contains a wealth of important eyewitness material.
1970: Amelia Earhart Lives: A Trip Through Intrigue to Find America’s First Lady of Mystery, by Joe Klaas, is published by McGraw-Hill (New York). This is the notorious book that introduced the disastrous Amelia Earhart-as-Irene Bolam myth to the world. Irene Bolam, a New Jersey housewife mistaken for Amelia Earhart in 1965 by the delusional Joe Gervais, sued McGraw-Hill for defamation. A settlement was reached and the book was pulled from the shelves after seven weeks, but not before great damage was inflicted on all legitimate Earhart research
Nov. 12, 1970: Japanese citizen Michiko Sugita tells the Japan Times that military police shot Amelia Earhart as a spy on Saipan in 1937. Sugita was 11 years old in 1937, and her father, Mikio Suzuki, was a civilian police chief at Garapan, Saipan’s capital. She learned about the execution of the American woman from military police at a party given by her father.
Aug. 10, 1971: In a letter to Fred Goerner, Retired Marine Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift, the 18th commandant of the Marine Corps, writes: “General Tommy Watson, who commanded the 2nd Marine Division during the assault on Saipan and stayed on that island after the fall of Okinawa, on one of my seven visits of inspection of his division told me that it had been substantiated that Miss Earhart met her death on Saipan.”
1978 to 1982: Former Air Force pilot Vincent V. Loomis made four trips to the Marshall Islands, two to Saipan and one to Tokyo in search of witnesses and Earhart-related evidence. Loomis interviews witnesses to the Electra’s crash-landing in the waters off Barre Island, and is generally credited with solidifying the Marshall Islands landing scenario.
September 1979: South African Oliver Knaggs is hired by a film producer to join Loomis in the Marshalls and chronicle his search. In Knaggs’ 1983 book, Amelia Earhart: Her last flight, Knaggs recounts his 1979 and ’81 investigations in the Marshalls and Saipan. Her last flight corroborates much of the witness testimony gathered by Goerner and Loomis, and is the first published book to present the eyewitness account of Bilimon Amaron, who tended to Fred Noonan’s knee wound at Jaluit in July 1937.
June 1982: After years of studying data from the Pan Am intercepts and other alleged radio receptions, famed inventor Fred Hooven presents his paper, Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight, at the Amelia Earhart Symposium at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum. This was the genesis of the false “Nikumaroro Hypothesis,” which has so dominated public discussion since The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery’s (TIGHAR) first trip there in 1989. Later, Hooven reportedly changed his mind and fully embraced the Marshall Islands landing scenario, made famous by Vincent V. Loomis in his 1985 book, Amelia Earhart: The Final Story after Fred Goerner laid its foundation in The Search for Amelia Earhart.
1983: Amelia Earhart: Her last flight, is published by a South African firm. A collector’s item, Knaggs’ book is worth the price for researchers interested in learning more about details of Vincent V. Loomis’ work in the Marshalls, and offers new evidence never revealed elsewhere.
June 1985: Amelia Earhart: The Final Story, by Vincent V. Loomis and Jeffrey Ethell, is published by Random House, a huge mainstream outfit, and recounts the aforementioned investigations by Vincent V. Loomis. The book’s most glowing review came from Jeffrey Hart, writing in William F. Buckley’s National Review. After gushing that Loomis “interviewed the surviving Japanese who were involved and he photographed the hitherto unknown Japanese military and diplomatic documents,” Hart writes, “The mystery is a mystery no longer.” Neither the U.S. government or the entire establishment media got Hart’s memo.
April 1, 1987: Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident, by Thomas E. Devine, is published by Renaissance House Publishers (Frederick, Colo.). Eyewitness is Devine’s first-person account of his Earhart-related experiences in the summer of 1944, which included his personal inspection of Electra NR 16020, Earhart’s plane discovered at Aslito Field and his return to Saipan in 1963 with Fred Goerner, when he located the gravesite of a white man and woman who had “come from the sky” before the war, according to an unidentified Okinawan’s account to him in 1945.
July 1988: Witness to the Execution: The Odyssey of Amelia Earhart, by T.C. “Buddy” Brennan is published by the same Renaissance House that released Eyewitness a year earlier. During three trips to the Marshalls and Saipan in the early 1980s, Houston real-estate executive Buddy Brennan interviews several Marshallese and Saipan natives with knowledge of the presence and deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan. One alleged eyewitness. Mrs. Nievas Cabrera Blas, claims to have seen a white woman shot and buried near her home just prior to the American invasion in 1944. Brennan’s excavation produces a rag that he claims is the blindfold worn by Amelia Earhart, an impossible-to-prove theory.
March 16, 1992: at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, announces that the Amelia Earhart mystery “is solved.” The “evidence” Gillespie presents includes a battered piece of aluminum, a weathered size 9 shoe sole labeled “Cat’s Paw Rubber Co., USA,” a small brass eyelet and another unlabeled heel the group found on Nikumaroro during TIGHAR’s highly publicized second trip there in October 1991. These items, elaborately displayed and labeled in a glass case, all came from Earhart or her Electra, according to Gillespie. All this material is later thoroughly and scientifically debunked, and nothing that Gillespie and TIGHAR have brought back from Nikumaroro in 11 trips has ever been forensically linked to the fliers.
1993 to present: Australian aircraft engineer David Billings, working in Papua New Guinea, has an interest in locating World War aircraft wrecks there. In 1993 he reads of the possibility that Earhart’s Electra aircraft might have been seen by some Australian army soldiers while on patrol in the jungle on New Britain Island in 1945. After contacting the actual veterans, he learns that they have a “patrol map” from their wartime patrol, during which they saw the aircraft wreck. In 1994, one of the veterans, Donald Angwin, preparing the map for Billings to view, finds some writing on the map which came into view after Angwin removed some old tape on the border.
Billings finds a reference written as “600 H/P S3H1 C/N1055” which together form identifiers for Earhart’s Electra aircraft by identifying the horsepower rating of the engines, the Pratt & Whitney designation for the engines she used and, last of all, the actual Electra aircraft serial number, expressed as a Construction Number: “1055.”
These letter and number codes matches Amelia Earhart’s Electra NR 16020. The letters and numbers given as a reference on the map border are believed to be the same “string of letters and numbers” seen by the patrol warrant officer on a small metal tag that he removed from the engine mount tubing of one engine at the crash site. This written evidence and the description of the wreckage given by the veterans gives rise to the New Britain theory, the theory that Earhart had carried out her contingency plan to return to the Gilbert Islands. The theory posits that on finding the Gilberts, Earhart took stock of her fuel remaining and then attempted to make Rabaul on New Britain. According to Billings, Amelia’s choice was simple: crash-land on the Gilberts or continue on with the possibility of safe landing or the same crash-landing later in the day. The wreck seen in 1945 is some 45 miles from Rabaul. (Courtesy of David Billings.) We will have much more on the New Britain theory in a forthcoming post.
Sept. 13, 1994: Fred Goerner dies at age 69 in San Francisco.
June 13, 1996: Vincent V. Loomis dies at age 75 in Pensacola, Fla.
May 2001: The infamous “Weishien Telegram” a speed letter sent from the liberated Japanese internment camp at Weishien, China, on Aug. 28, 1945, once believed to have been sent from Amelia Earhart to George Putnam, is proven to have originated with Turkish author and world traveler Ahmad Kamal by researcher Ron Bright. Putnam had agreed to look after Kamal’s aging mother when Kamal left for China, thus the “Love to Mother” close that, misunderstood as coming from Amelia, created sensational speculation. Bright’s findings are initially published in the May 2001 edition of TIGHAR Tracks newsletter.
Sept. 1, 2002: With Our Own Eyes: Eyewitnesses to the Final Days of Amelia Earhart, by Mike Campbell with Thomas E. Devine, is published by a small Ohio company. With Our Own Eyes presents the eyewitness accounts of the 26 former GIs who served during the Saipan Invasion, and came forward to advise Thomas Devine of their own experiences on Saipan that indicated the presence and death of Amelia and Fred on the Japanese-controlled island in the prewar years.
Sept. 16, 2003: Thomas E. Devine dies at age 88 in West Haven, Conn.
April 2005: Legerdemain: Deceit, Misdirection and Political Sleight of Hand in the Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by David K. Bowman is published by AuthorHouse. Legerdemain is notable in that it brings together, for the first time, many of the strangest and most obscure Earhart tales, clearly demonstrating the extent to which the Earhart case has been stigmatized by fantasists since its earliest days. Legerdemain is republished in June 2007 by Saga Books of Canada, and in e-book format by Vaga Books in March 2014.
2011 to January 2015: Dick Spink, of Bow, Washington, travels five times to Mili Atoll’s Barre Island area, where many believe Earhart crash-landed her plane on July 2, 1937. Working with Australian Martin Daly and groups of locals armed with metal detectors on the tiny Endriken (Marshallese for “little”) Islands, about a mile east of Barre, the group’s discoveries included a small aluminum plate and a circular metal dust cover from a landing-gear airwheel assembly that appeared to be consistent with an Electra 10E. According to Spink, Daly found both the plate and the circular metal dust cover in the same area during different searches. The artifacts have no serial numbers, thus they cannot be attached solely to the Earhart Electra.
Summer 2012: TIGHAR’s Ric Gillespie meets and is photographed with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prior to embarking on trip number 10 to Nikumaroro. Discerning observers know this photo is compelling evidence that the U.S. government continues to be actively engaged in the business of disinformation in the Earhart case, and at this point was dropping all pretense that the “official” Navy-Coast Guard 1937 verdict has any validity whatsoever.
June 2012: Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, by Mike Campbell, is published by Sunbury Press (Mechanicsburg, Penn.). Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last presents many new findings, eyewitness accounts and analysis, and never-before-published revelations from many unimpeachable sources including famed U.S. generals and iconic newsman and Earhart researcher Fred Goerner’s files that reveal the truth about her death on Saipan, as well as the sacred cow status of this matter within the American establishment. The book is blacked out by the mainstream media.
April 2013: The Earhart Enigma: Retracing Amelia’s Last Flight, by Dave Horner, is published by Pelican Publishing Co., Gretna, La. The Earhart Enigma presents another comprehensive and compelling case for the Marshalls-Saipan scenarios in a different literary style than Truth at Last, and is an important addition to the small but growing collection of works that present aspects of the truth about Amelia’s tragic loss.
March 2016: Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, Second Edition, is published by Sunbury Press. The new edition adds two chapters, a new foreword, rarely seen photos, and the most recent discoveries and analysis to the mountain of overwhelming witness testimony and documentation presented in the first edition.
The new book, a large 7″ by 10″ paperback offering 370 pages at the same low retail price of $19.95, adds two chapters, a new foreword, several new subsections, the most recent discoveries, rare photos and a near-total rewrite to the mountain of overwhelming witness testimony and documentation presented in the first edition of Truth at Last.
The result is the most compelling, comprehensive presentation of the indisputable facts that reveal the stark truth about the Marshall Islands and Saipan presence and deaths of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan – a tragic story that American’s ruling class still doesn’t want the public to know, for reasons revealed in the Second Edition of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. The Kindle version of the Second Edition is not yet ready; readers will be advised immediately when it becomes available.
Nearly everything the American public has seen, read and heard in the media for nearly 80 years about the so-called Amelia Earhart mystery is intentionally false or inadvertently misleading. The widely accepted myth that the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan during their ill-fated world-flight attempt in July 1937 is among the greatest aviation mysteries of the 20th century is an abject lie, the result of decades of government propaganda that continues unabated to this day.
Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last dismantles and debunks the popular theories that Amelia Earhart’s Electra crashed and sank off Howland Island on July 2, 1937, or landed at Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro, where the suddenly helpless fliers died of starvation on an island teeming with food sources.
The Truth at Last presents many remarkable and enlightening new findings, eyewitness accounts, and never published revelations from unimpeachable sources including three famed U.S. flag officers and iconic newsman and Earhart researcher Fred Goerner’s files that reveal the truth about Amelia’s death on Saipan, as well as the sacred cow status of this matter within the U.S.
The Truth at Last answers the big questions about the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, leaves no doubt about what happened to the doomed fliers, and is destined to take its rightful place as the definitive Earhart work.
The Truth at Last is far more than just a book that’s been completely blacked out by the mainstream media; it is the most visible and tangible symbol of a most worthy cause — the full and unconditional release of the truth in the Earhart disappearance by the U.S. government. Once again our “trusted” the media will blatantly ignore this book, because the truth is the last thing they want you to know.
Until that day arrives, the struggle to achieve Fred Goerner’s “justice of truth” for Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan and their tattered legacies continues. And unlike any of the countless causes you might encounter in today’s mega-media marketplace, this cause is untainted and unconnected to any known political, religious or cultural organization or agenda.
Your support for the Earhart Truth is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
The late Robert E. Wallack was the best known of all the former GIs who came forward to share their eyewitness experiences relative to the presence and death of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on Saipan after the 1987 publication of Thomas E. Devine’s Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident.
I first met the amiable Wallack on the phone in 1992, as he took me back to Saipan in July 1944, when Fate intervened to change his life forever. The former Marine’s story of discovering Amelia Earhart’s briefcase, dry and in perfect condition in a blown Japanese safe, has been the most-often told of all the Saipan veterans, including Devine’s.
We became friends, and over the years Wallack generously sent me all manner of fascinating memorabilia, including copies of his honorable discharge papers, maps of Saipan, battle photos taken during the invasion, letters from other GIs with their own stories to tell, videotapes of his TV appearances, and news articles. But most Americans still haven’t heard his incredible account, and his story needs to be heard by everyone.
The below article appeared in the August 2002 issue of Neighborhood News, a monthly publication of the Communications Division of the Nuclear Energy Institute, a nuclear industry lobbying group in the United States, where Bill Wallack, Robert’s son, was employed as a writer from 2001 to 2005.
“Earhart’s Fate on Saipan Continues to Haunt My Dad,”
By Bill Wallack
My father never talked much about his experiences during World War II in the South Pacific, even when prodded by one of his six children. Whatever these horrific memories are, they were never discussed with my mother, either. One only has to sit through “Saving Private Ryan” to assume his tour of duty must have been hell on Earth.
However, there is one story we all heard repeatedly from an early age and vowed never to forget. He and a group of fellow members of C company, 29th Marines, entered what appeared to be a Japanese municipal building on Saipan while souvenir hunting. They found in the rubble a safe that they blew open.
“We thought we’d be Japanese millionaires,” my dad said
He took a leather attaché case from inside the safe. The contents were maps, passports and visas, permits and reports concerning Amelia Earhart’s flight around the world. Dad believes they offer clues about the truth of what happened to her – a truth he believes some may not have wanted the world ever to know.
Certainly, every teenager right out of high school who entered the war was familiar with the many amazing accomplishments of the world-renowned aviatrix, not the least of which was her being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1928.
The Marines on Saipan knew of Earhart’s headline-making exploits. She disappeared after leaving New Guinea on the last leg of a world-spanning flight-another first for a female pilot-in 1937. There was a Pacific-wide search for Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan — with Japanese ships participating.
My dad had just turned 18 when he came ashore on Saipan as a machine gunner in the second assault wave on the island. Still, he immediately knew the importance of the official-looking contents of the case and wanted to keep the materials.
”But my Marine buddies insisted that it may be important and should be turned in,” he told us. “I went down to the beach, where I encountered a naval officer, and told him of my discovery. He gave me a receipt for the material and stated that it would be returned to me if it were not important. I have never seen the material since.“
My dad knew the briefcase and the papers might involve U S national interests. He wrote to my grandmother and told her to watch for a story on Amelia Earhart to appear. None appeared.
The “senior-looking” officer wore no insignia of rank, in order to lessen his target value for any enemy snipers. But the officer had “scrambled eggs,” the gilded leaves of authority, on his cap visor. He signed with his service identification number, not his name.
Additionally, while on the island of Saipan, my dad was told of a white man and a white woman who were on the island before the war, and he recalled someone’s telling him something about a graveyard.
“The case did not appear as if it had ever been immersed in water and the contents were not blurred at all,” he said. “Therefore, these items could not have been obtained from a plane that had been reported down at sea, some seven years prior to this event “
My Dad came upon the Earhart case while scouting around during recovery after having his hand wounded by mortar shrapnel on Saipan. When he got the receipt from the naval officer, he kept it in a waterproof belt along with a rosary and other personal items.
TWO PURPLE HEARTS LATER
Nine months after discovering the Earhart case, he and other surviving Marines from Saipan were shipped to Guadalcanal to prepare for the climactic Pacific fight on Okinawa. That battle began on April 1, 1945, and my dad fought until he took a bullet in the upper leg in late May. His bloody clothes and the belt containing his personal items and the receipt were cut from his body before he was rushed to a hospital ship offshore.
The only proof there ever was an Amelia Earhart briefcase [found on Saipan] was lost 350 miles from Japan.
Over the past 58 years, my dad has told a number of people this story A crew from a program hosted by Connie Chung [CBS’s Eye to Eye with Connie Chung, 1994] came by our house in Woodbridge, Conn. He also was flown to California for a  segment on “Unsolved Mysteries.“
He’s told his tale to the press, historians, The History Channel and others. He has spoken at airports on behalf of women’s groups who continue to tout the achievements of Amelia Earhart.
More recently, in June , he was invited to Annapolis [Md.], where he made a two-hour tape for the Oral History Unit of the Marine Corps Historical Center and was interviewed by fellow Marine and historian, Lt. Col. Gary Solis.
Getting his story into the Marine Corps archives meant a lot to him after almost six decades. He is now in his seventies. “I’m happy because it records my plain and accurate account of what happened and what I touched and saw,” he said.
He also gets excited when he hears from fellow Marines. Like when he sent me a copy of a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Post-Journal from September 1999 that read: “l don’t believe Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared around Howland Island. Why?
“Because I believe more in the honor and integrity of a fellow combat Marine on Okinawa than l would any bureaucrat in Washington, where, for some, lying and deceit are a matter of convenience. The United States knew about the build-up by the Japanese in the Pacific. Earhart could have been on a mission. In the Stygian bowels of the Pentagon is the truth “
My dad is realistic He knew the officer he turned the Earhart belongings over to was also fighting a war. He might have died or gone down with the Earhart papers, he said. He does believe, however, that Earhart might have had an official mission. He believes the native islanders and the researchers who claim that a white woman and a man were jailed, shot and buried in a Saipan cemetery.
“The Japanese were expanding bases all over the Pacific in 1937,” he said. If she came down in the ocean, the Japanese naval fleet had work ships and barges that could easily retrieve the plane and its pilots.
My dad says time is running out on people who can support that theory. On Saipan today, the islanders have turned much of their heritage over to the Japanese casino industry.
Sure, I know my dad is part of another U.S “conspiracy theory,” but why shouldn’t I believe him? After all, he’s not just a Marine. He’s my dad. (End of Bill Wallack’s article.)
In November 2006, the Amity Observer, a small Connecticut newspaper, featured Wallack in a huge front page spread with a four-column color photo, holding a vintage July 1937 copy of the Chicago Herald-Examiner with “Hear Amelia’s Faint Calls” splashed across the top. In the story, Wallack added a grisly detail to his original statement about his approach to the Saipan beach, when his unit came ashore near the sugar mill at Charon Kanoa.
“I’m glad I wasn’t in the first wave,” he told the Observer. “The 270 guys in the first wave were floating in the water and lying on the beach when we landed.”
I last saw Robert Wallack on the day after Christmas 2002. He passed away in July 2008 at eighty-three, but he will always be remembered by all who care about the truth in the Earhart disappearance.