Was Amelia Earhart on Saipan?
We've seen the research that says it wasn't possible for her plane to fly to Saipan. We've also seen the new dateline theory that shows her plane may have been off course by enough miles to accomplish what eyewitnesses claim.
Fred Goerner, a CBS correspondent, followed the story in the 1960's. He went to Saipan and researched extensively the details surrounding these reports. Mike Harris Sr. went to the Marshall Islands in the 1980's and interviewed a number of eyewitnesses who claimed Earhart was there. They claimed to have seen her or her plane, Fred Noonan, and claimed that she was brought to Saipan and incarcerated. Oliver Knaggs, a South African journalist, went to the Marshall Islands in the 1980's and interviewed a number of eyewitnesses in print and on camera.
Other authors have weighed in as well; Thomas E Devine claimed he saw her plane on Saipan and gathered other eyewitness reports with the help of Mike Campbell in their book. Many authors have examined this evidence, including Randall Brink, Donald Wilson - many with varying conclusions as to what happened to her. Tighar.org has examined this evidence, according to their website, and found it lacking.
Our premise is simple; why would all these various people make this story up? There are over 200 islanders who claim she was brought to the island, incarcerated and executed during World War II. Why did the Japanese govt not report they'd captured her at some point, or used her as a pawn during the war? When the airfield at Aslito was captured on June 18, 1944, numerous eyewitnesses claim they saw her plane on Saipan when the airfield was liberated. (Earskin Nabers, US Marine, Thomas E Devine, US Army, Robert E Wallack, US Marine, Doug Bryce, US Army Air Corps, and in the case of Andrew Bryce, US Navy worked with a stevedore on Majuro who claimed he transported her plane from Mili Atoll to Majuro).
Two of these veterans (and numerous others as reported by Mike Campbell and Thomas E Devine) claim they witnessed the destruction of Earhart's Electra by US forces. There are various theories as to why that happened, but as a team, we've agreed to set theory aside. We are investigating these eyewitness reports, following by an archeological dig to bring up artifacts from the liberation of Aslito airfield.
This project will be the most extensive research ever done on record with regard to Earhart's presence on Saipan. Mike Harris Sr has had the benefit of being there befoe, in the 1980's when he interviewed numerous people who claimed she was there. Richard Martini has gathered the six US soldiers who claim that they, along with their friends and comrades, saw the plane in the hangar, decoded the message that it had been found, discovered her dry briefcase and examined her passport and maps, watched as it was taken on a test flight, and then witnessed it being destroyed by US Forces.
Frankly we aren't concerned with the why. We are however concerned with the what. What can we find? Who can we speak to about these events?
The results will be published in book/film and exhibition form. Stay tuned!
Eyewitness Accounts: Published
EYEWITNESS: THE AMELIA EARHART INCIDENT BY THOMAS E DEVINE WITH RICHARD M DALEY
Pg 40. “Glancing out on the runway ramp.. an area not the main part of Aslito Field, but an extended arm of the airstrip at the southwest corner… Near an embankment was (AE’s plane). (LATER) .. a muffled explosion at Aslito Field erupted into a large flash fire… I crouched and crawled toward the airfield. When I could see what was burning, I was aghast! The twin engine plane was engulfed in flames! I could not see anyone by the light of the fire… in July 1944.”
THE SEARCH FOR AMELIA EARHART BY FRED GOERNER
Goerner gathers dozens of eyewitnesses to Earhart’s incarceration and second hand info about her execution.
AMELIA EARHART: LAST FLIGHT
Amelia reveals she did not know Morse code (and neither did Fred Noonan)
AMELIA EARHART:HER LAST FLIGHT
By OLIVER KNAGSS
South African journalist gathers numerous eyewitnesses at Mili, Majuro and Jaluit. There is footage of these interviews, but it exists somewhere in Miami – still trying to locate the negative.
AMELIA EARHART: THE MYSTERY SOLVED By ELGEN M LONG AND MARIE K LONG
Elgen shows how the original plan devised by radio man Harry Manning was adhered to by the Coast Guard Itasca – they didn’t know Manning got off the plane in Hawaii and wasn’t on the electra. So 90% of all their communication was in Morse code – something neither AE or FN knew.
“WITH OUR OWN EYES – EYEWTINESSES TO THE FINAL DAYS OF AMELIA EARHART” MIKE CAMPBELL WITH THOMAS E DEVINE
PG 32. Robert Sosbe, 1st battalion 20th Marines, 4th marine division) Sosbe said he saw the Electra before and during its destruction) “on or about D+5 after our infantry had captured Alsito, the night before, then were driven off, only to capture it again, our Co was called up to fill a gap between our infantry and the 27th Army infantry. The trucks carrying us stopped off the opposite side of the runway from the hangars and tower about 3 to 5 hundred yds. This two engine airplane was pulled from the hangar to off the runway where it was engulfed in flames from one end to the other. I can still remember exactly the way it burned, how the frame and ribs because it was visible. It was about half dark. It burned approximately 15-30 minutes.”
Same page: a letter from Earskine Nabers: “I am seeking Marines who were placed on duty at Aslito to guard a padlocked hangar containing AE’s plane. The hangar was not one of those located along the runway. It was located near what may have been a Japanese administration building, and an unfinished hangar at the tarmac, in the southwest corner of the airfield.
The follow up letter (pg 33)
…”we had to get Col. Clarence R Wallace to sign all the messages that came through the message center.) Hq 8th moved back to bivouac area. I was dropped off at the Hangar for guard duty at the main road that went by west side of hangar. The road that went out to hangar, I was placed on the right side, just as it left the main road….
Pg 34 The best I can recall the plane was pulled on the field by a jeep.. the plane was facing north after the plane was parked and jeep moved. A plane came over real low and on the next pass he strafed the plane and it went up in a huge fireball. (We were sitting on the west side of the airfield about one hundred yards from the plane. We were on higher ground. As far as I remember, the (men) that pulled the plane on the field and us guys from H & S 8th were the only ones there.”
Pg 36 Marine Capt Earl Ford of Fallbrook, CA, artillery master sgt with 2nd Marines. Interview 6-7-88 by Paul Cook. “The aircraft was about 100 yards (from me) maybe less. We all saw it. No way we could miss it. A civilian twin engine. No way it was military. American aircraft in civil registration… some officers were saying it was Amelia’s… it had only two windows on the side, back here.”
Arthur Nash, Air Corps Corps, P47 group on Aslito. Claims he saw the plane on July 4, 1944 (book says 1945, must be a misprint based on following) pg 40:
“After landing on Isley.. at 2:30 pm, Japanese soldiers were running around the airstrip, one killed himself in the cockpit of a P47D with a grenade…” I slept fairly well (in the hangar) and (in the morning) wandered over to a large hole in the hangar wall facing the other hangar. The hangar floor and the area between the hangars was littered with debris, displace with siding from the hangars, maybe 65 yards apart, but close enough to get a good look at a familiar aircraft outside the other hangar. My eyesight was acute and what I saw was Amelia Earhart’s airplane!... the next morning I went over to see it but it was gone.”
Jerrell Chatham, 1st platoon, I company, 3rd regiment, 2nd marine deivions: “I was driving trucks .. on Saipan… when we went ashore I saw the hangar where Amelia Earhart’s plane was stored, I also saw the plane in the air. They told us not to go close to the airplane hangar and we did not…”
Pg 44: Howard Ferris, US Marines: “Sent to Saipan for guard dutey… an old hangar structure at end of a runway. This hangar was not large,.. small trees in front of big doors.. (then he recounts the same Marine argument that Devine and Nabers recount – where some Navy brass attempted to get in, but a Marine (Nabers) refused them entry.)” Howard was not present at the fire, but one of his buddies was. The buddy said a truck arrived with many gas cans and the guards saturated the entire hangar.. and it burned totally.
Pg 50 Robert Sowash, 23rd regiment 4th Marines Division: “I saw a plane in a building that was not a military plane.. I remember other Marines saying it was the same as Earhart’s. Later the place was cordoned off..”
Pete Leblanc, 121st Naval CB’s, 4th Marine division: “some of our guys were sneaking over towards the airfield to try and see (AE’s plane). We heard there were guards there. Then it was burned up later.”
AMELIA EARHART: LOST LEGEND - DONALD MOYER WILSON
Over 200 eyewitnesses as gathered by all the different authors with the various reports of her landing on Mili, being brought to Jaluit and incarcerated in Garapan prison.