"Amelia Earhart's Plane"

In an attempt to solve an old mystery about Amelia Earhart, Thomas Devine, in his book, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident, (Frederick, Colo: Renaissance House, 1980, 39-42), describes his experiences on the island of Saipan during World War II, including one that he feels may have involved "Amelia Earhart's plane."

In describing his experience, Devine reports seeing three aircraft, including a twin-engined one, being flown into Saipan in July, 1944, when Devine was stationed near the recently-captured and usable Aslito Airfield. (39-42). He saw a group of Marines and officers, including a "man in a white shirt" whom he later recognized as Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. (Devine 39-42). They were guarding some planes in an off limits area of Aslito Field, and later, says Devine, they burned at least one of the planes. (39-42). Devine has since assumed that only one of these planes was burned, and that this was "Amelia Earhart's plane."(39-42).

This claim that an aircraft without military markings was seen in flight into Saipan from a neighboring island during mopping up operations is also recounted in Fred Goerner's book The Search for Amelia Earhart, (New York: Doubleday, 1966), including the claim that non-military aircraft were discussed among top officers near the captured Japanese airfield on Saipan and that a plane was on fire in an "off limits" area. (Goerner 270). Non-uniformed personnel guarded the plane in its "off limits" hangar. (Goerner 270).

Intriguingly, Devine noted that Forrestal had a bandoleer of ammunition wrapped over his shoulder, which, Devine speculated, had been used to blow up "Amelia Earhart's plane." (39-42). However, after detailed research, I'll describe in this chapter, I'm forced to conclude that this burned plane physically could have been flown by George Bush. That's right: the George Bush who was later to be President of the United States. Forrestal, it now appears in my "evidence," burned a plane on Saipan to cover up a betrayal of FDR plans by Bush and himself in World War II. This act could have been covered up by persons in the U.S. intelligence community for over fifty years.

Now, our image of Forrestal has always been that of a patriot who would not, as Secretary of the Navy, have been interested in blowing up any plane or covering up any treason at this point in World War II and that he was desperately trying to win the war and save the lives of American boys--and of course he was.

However, John Loftus and Mark Aarons tell us, in their book The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People (New York: St. Martin's, 1994. 350-70) that Forrestal definitely had his own views on how to go about this, and that his views were quite similar to those of Standard Oil, OSS official Allen Dulles and some desperate Republicans at that point in election year 1944. Their plan, basically authored by Allen Dulles, required an assassination of Adolf Hitler to make it work. (Loftus and Aarons 350-70).

Forrestal, though officially part of Roosevelt's Administration, was also part of a group we now know were traitors to FDR's strategy. (Loftus and Aarons 350-70). He, like them, wanted to go behind FDR's back and arrange a negotiated peace with the Axis, once Hitler was dead.(Loftus and Aarons 350-70). This negotiated peace would call for a truce between the Axis and the Allies, with the two sides then joining in against Russia and Mao tse-Tung. (Loftus and Aarons 350-70).

If FDR failed to get on board at that point and agree to the idea of this new alliance, these people could have been thinking, the charge he was a Communist sympathizer would stick a lot better. This was a charge that 1944 GOP Presidential candidate Thomas Dewey had been making during the campaign. (Boller, Paul F. Presidential Campaigns. New York: Oxford UP, 1985. 261-7). Not only this, but FDR would have been hard put to deny the opportunity to defeat Communism when it was at such a low point.

According to the official version of events, as reported in Bush's "authorized" biography Flight of the Avenger: George Bush At War by Joe Hyams (New York; Harcourt, Brace, Jaconovich, 1991. 81-92), on June 19, 1944, George Bush took off from the deck of his carrier, the U.S.S. San Jacinto, to avoid Japanese bombers hitting his plane on deck. He was, however, unable to continue his flight, says the official version. Instead, the plane, an Avenger torpedo bomber, developed "hydraulic problems," and had to ditched in the sea by Bush and his two crewmen. (Hyams 81-92).

Even in these official versions, interesting details occur. For example, in The Unauthorized Biography of George Bush by Webster Griffin Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin (New York: Executive Intelligence Review/Ben Franklin, 1992.) it is noted that there was as much as a forty-eight hour gap in the dates of when Bush and his crew took off and when they returned. (171-77). Joe Hyams' book Flight of the Avenger: George Bush At War. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jaconovich, 1989. 81-92), says Bush was back on his carrier the night of June 20, 1944, but notes, in a rather convoluted account, that three different ships were involved in the pick up of Bush and his two crewmen.

Tarpley and Chaitkin, in their unofficial account, seem to be responding to data indicating Bush was "out of pocket" for as much as forty-eight hours before returning, assume that he launched his plane on June 17, 1944, rather than June 19. (171-7). They do admit, however, that he had to have launched during the Battle of the Philippines Sea, which didn't begin until June 19, 1944. (Tarpley and Chaitkin 171-7).

In his book George Bush: A Biography, (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1980. 28-32), Nicholas King states that, even though Bush was supposedly never not located for more than four hours at a time, "nevertheless for a time, the Navy listed Bush as missing in action." Normally, MIA status doesn't occur until someone has been missing for at least forty-eight hours. Important to be kept constantly in mind in dealing with all records of Bush's whereabouts in World War II is that his small carrier's log, unlike virtually every ship in the U.S. Navy in World War II, (most of which were de-classified during the Kennedy Administration or by the end of the 1960's) remained classified until the 1980's, after Reagan and Bush were in the White House. (Hyams 157-71).

The plane had four five-hundred pound depth charges under its wings, so, as Bush and his crewmen got on their liferaft, the plane sank and blew up as the depth charges reached appropriate depths. This, the officials say, explains why no trace of Bush's plane was ever found. This account can be found, for example, in Hyams (81-92).

Some months later, Bush again was forced to deal with a crashing Avenger over the island of Chi Chi Jima, according to these official reports. At that time, however, rather than land in the water as he allegedly had off Guam, Bush chose to bail out of the plane. (Hyams 120-55). The two young men on board the plane with Bush, however, failed to bail out and were drowned when the plane sank in the ocean. Bush maintains that his plane was on fire at the time, having been hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire and that therefore a water landing with the crew still aboard was not practical. (Hyams 120-55).

. It is interesting to note in this connection, however, that the Guam incident occurred during a major battle called the Battle of the Philippines Sea (known colloquially as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot"). Bush was in a much more difficult situation for a water landing there than he was to be later off Chi Chi Jima. Off Guam, enemy aircraft and ships were all over the area and close by, so much so that Bush and his crew couldn't use their radio or signaling mirror to tell their comrades where they were. (Hyams 81-92). No such problems existed off Chi Chi Jima, since the latter island was manned by an isolated Japanese garrison with no naval or air support. (Hyams 120-55).

In addition, off Chi Chi Jima, Bush had already unloaded all of his bombs on the enemy, leaving nothing under his plane's wings that might have exploded upon impact on the water. (Hyams 120-55). Off Guam, on the other hand, Bush's plane had four five-hundred pound depth charges under the wings. (Hyams 81-92). The plane could literally have exploded on contact with the surface of the water had Bush merely come in at the wrong angle.

To top this off, the tail-gunner in the plane immediately in front of Bush's over Chi Chi Jima maintains that Bush's plane was not on fire at the time, and that therefore Bush would have been wiser to have water landed the plane. This tail-gunner, as well as two other crewmen in Bush's squadron, dispute Bush's story and question Bush's wisdom in bailing out off Chi Chi Jima rather than performing a water landing. One might also infer that they questioned Bush's professed ability to perform a water landing at all, given his passing up this relatively good opportunity off Chi Chi Jima.

An account of these crewmen's version of events appears in Tarpley and Chaitkin 109-21). These crewmen had first questioned Bush's judgment in print in an article that appeared in the New York Post ("The Day Bush Bailed Out," by Al Ellenburg and Allan Wolper, August 12, 1988. 1-2), which Tarpley and Chaitkin refer to. (109-21).

Even four years later, after alternating silences and heated replies by Bush spokesmen, the crewmen continued to stick to their guns, finding Bush defensive and insulting to them. (Tarpley and Chaitkin 109-21). Chester Mierzejewski, the tail gunner, was treated rudely by Bush and his staff, even though he is a Distinguished Flying Cross holder.

Their account is also featured in George Sullivan's biography, George Bush (New York: Julian Mesmer, 1989), which also provides an excellent example of the rhetoric that Bush staffers--even non-World War II veterans-- utilized in referring to Mierzejewski:

"Mierzejewski had been the turret gunner in the Avenger piloted by Bush's squadron commander. At the time Bush's plane was struck by anti-aircraft fire, Mierzejewski's plane was about l00 feet ahead of Bush's plane. After Bush's plane was hit, Mierzejewski saw a 'puff of smoke'... But the smoke quickly cleared away, and then no more smoke appeared. Bush's plane 'was never on fire', Mierzejewski declared.

If Mierzejewski's account of the tragedy was true, why did Bush bail out? If there was no fire, why didn't he land the plane on the water? With a water landing, he would have increased the chances for survival for the entire three man crew. Mierzejewski also stated that only one man parachuted from the plane--and that was Bush. 'I saw the plane go down,' Mierzejewski said. 'I knew the guys were still in it.'

"Mierzejewski wrote Bush a letter telling him that his recollections of the incident were 'entirely different' from Bush's. There was no reply to the letter. [my italics--mcs]. But Steve Hart, the Vice-President's press secretary at the time, had this to say, 'The vice-president has told us time and again what happened that day. To suggest that his account is inaccurate is absurd.'" (Sullivan 57-9).

It is interesting to note that Steve Hart professes to be a conservative Republican, yet he refers to this World War II veteran, Mierzejewski, a Distinguished Flying Cross holder, in this contemptuous language. The only thing "absurd" about either Guam or Chi Chi Jima is indication of bizarre behavior--or a psychic, guilty conscience-- by Bush. Compared to Miersejewski, Hart seemed a young punk who knew next to nothing about the Second World War. Mierzejewski, after four years of being ignored or insulted, finally commented to Sidney Blumenthal that the two crewmen killed off Chi Chi, Jima when Bush bailed out, would have been "better off if Bush had dodged the draft." (Blumenthal, Sidney. "War Stories," New Republic, October 12, 1992, 17-20).In reality, despite what official sources say, I've learned Bush physically could have landed the TBM Avenger plane he piloted for the U.S. Navy on Japanese-held Guam on June 19, 1944; then delivered a message to the Japanese, in behalf of Standard Oil and renegade factions at OSS and Office of Naval Intelligence headed by Dulles and the Navy Secretary; and then destroyed the plane. Details of the Battle show it was physically possible.

John Loftus and Mark Aarons, in their book The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People (New York: 1994, St. Martin's, 350-70), tell us that both Forrestal and Dulles were considered such bad security, insofar as trustworthiness in matters pertaining to keeping secrets from the Axis powers, that they were under surveillance by the Roosevelt Administration in 1944. FDR had already learned of schemes on their part that amounted to a betrayal.

In the late spring and early summer of 1944, Allen Dulles, then an OSS agent but later to become CIA Director, had been desperately trying to negotiate a "separate peace" with the Axis, behind the back of FDR, who had forbidden such negotiations.(Loftus and Aarons 350-70). Not only was he engaged in the officially admitted "Operation Sunrise" negotiations with German commanders in Italy, he was also involved in "Operation Safehaven," including an attempt to smuggle the wealth Dulles had illegally made from Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. (Loftus and Aarons, 351).

During this same period of time, Dulles's machinations had included smuggling his money into Japanese-occupied Manchuria (Loftus and Aarons 350-70) and attempting an oil shipment to Japan via communicating with persons in "neutral" Thailand. (Loftus and Aarons 111). He did the former by creating a fake Catholic Bishop named "Cikota" and having him flown into Japanese-occupied Manchuria.(Loftus and Aarons 350-70). To justify doing this, Dulles got permission from the Vatican to utilize Vatican couriers to help him deliver various messages to the Axis. The Vatican agreed, because, for its part, it was anxious to avoid a Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe and saw Dulles's negotiations with the Axis as a way to avoid this. (Loftus and Aarons 350-70).

Loftus and Aarons also tell us that one of the effects of Dulles's negotiations with the Axis was the surprise German attack that resulted in the Battle of the Bulge. Dulles had switched to couriers to communicate with the Axis when he had learned that FDR had his radio messages under surveillance. These couriers had then communicated information to and from various Axis command posts without detection by Allied code-breakers. It was this use of couriers that allowed the Germans to surprise the American forces at Bastogne, resulting in the bloody Battle of the Bulge. (Loftus and Aarons 139).

One group of these Vatican couriers is an organization called the Knights of Malta. Because the Vatican was considered a neutral, independent nation during World War II, its couriers could freely travel between warring nations. (Loftus and Aarons 350-70).

Intriguingly, Barbara Honnegar says in her book October Surprise (New York: Tudor, 1989. 239-45), that George Bush is and has been a member of a number of secret intelligence organizations around the world, including the Knights of Malta.

To aid in this effort to negotiate with the Axis, Dulles and his partner at Standard, then-Secretary of the Navy Forrestal, also pressured Chiang Kai Shek. Chiang negotiated with the Japanese, betraying his own troops in the field during the Japanese Ichigo Offensive in Northern China of April to August, 1944. (Bagby, Wesley Marvin. The Eagle-Dragon Alliance: America's Relations with China in World War II. Cranbury, NJ: Assoc. UP, 1992. 230-5). As a result of Chiang's negotiations with the Japanese, several major American airbases used to bomb Japan and Japanese shipping were captured by the Japanese. (Bagby 230-9).

Devine notes how Forrestal's diary is strangely silent for the period from July 6-20, 1944. (54-5). He speculates that this is when Forrestal was on Saipan, since it was not uncommon for Forrestal to have visited battle locations anyway. He loved the troops. (Devine 54-7).

Devine notes, however, that one critic of his, Dr. Francis X. Holbrook, has said Devine couldn't have seen the aircraft on those dates, since Aslito Field was still under enemy fire at that time and aircraft couldn't yet fly in. (Devine 149). Devine attempts to dispute Holbrook's statement by noting that Aslito Field was actually found to be abandoned by the Japanese on June 16, 1944. (Devine 149).

However, intriguingly, Holbrook's statements are confirmed by an undoubted authority on the battle of the Marianas, Edwin Hoyt, in To the Mariannas: War In the Central Pacific (New York: Avon, 1980). Hoyt states that, while the U.S. Marines did locate the abandoned Aslito Field as early as June 16, they were unable to move up and "capture" it until June 18. (190-3). This was partly due to incompetence on the part of one of the Marine officers and partly to heavy infilading fire by the Japanese.(Hoyt 190-8).

It is true that the Marines "captured" Aslito Field on June 18. However, this was a capture in name only, since, according to Hoyt, the Japanese commander pulled his troops back and let the U.S. Seabees come in and rebuild the heavily-damaged airstrip.(Hoyt 190-8). Then, on the nights of June 19 and 20, 1944, his troops hit the field again with artillery and a counterattack, rendering the field unusable until well after June 21. In fact, the Japanese continued to hit Aslito Field in surprise attacks that rendered it unusable to U.S. planes until the afternoon of June 27, 1944. (Hoyt 190-8).Thanks to undoubtedly dramatic efforts by the Seabees, small U.S. planes were flying into Aslito Field by June 28 or July 1, 1944.

The important thing to note about these dates is that they don't fit Devine's original dates for when he saw Forrestal on Saipan. Forrestal's diary fell silent from July 6-20, 1944, but on July 21, he has an entry again. However, interestingly enough, Forrestal's diary falls silent again from July 21 until August 4, 1944--an event unappreciated by Devine, but which raised an eyebrow for me.

Here is why. Devine had seen the three aircraft--one of which lacked military markings--flying into Aslito Field sometime in June or July from an island close to Saipan, likely to have been Guam. By July 29, 1944, the airfield on Guam was being used by U.S. aircraft. (Hoyt 271). Forrestal's diary had fallen silent a second time from July 21 until August 4, a period of almost two weeks. (Devine 54-5). Forrestal could very well have been on Guam and Saipan during this time. Indeed, July 29, 1944 is smack in the middle of these dates.

In his footnotes, Devine seems to give some ground on the point of the exact date, when he quotes directly from Nancy Bressler, an archivist who had been requested to locate any details in Forrestal's notes and diaries: "'Not able to locate any documents...to support or contradict Mr. Forrestal's presence on Saipan in the summer of 1944 [my italics--mcs].'" (Devine 188). Here, Devine, by directly quoting Bressler, is changing from an exact date in July to a more general July time frame for when he saw Forrestal.

This suggests he is not certain it couldn't have been around July 29, 1944.

Intriguingly, too, Devine calls upon a secondary source to verify the fire that was used to destroy "Amelia Earhart's plane," noting that submarines in the area reported that a fire was seen from their position offshore. (Devine 41-2). These subs, says Devine, hadn't sunk any shipping recently, so the fires weren't caused by that. (41-2). Not only this, but, confirming Devine's sighting date, Devine himself notes that the subs reported this undersea and offshore fire "in July 1944." (Devine 41-2). Not June--July, the month when Guam's airfield had first become useful to U.S. planes.

Another interesting point in connection with the timing of all of this has to do with the main Japanese commander for the forces in the Marianas area. He was normally stationed on Saipan, since, for Japan, Saipan was the main headquarters for Marianas operations. But in June, 1944, according to Paul Carano, in A Complete History of Guam, (Rutland: C.E. Tuttle, 1964, 295-7), Lieutenant General Obata, the Japanese commander, "was stranded on Guam when the U.S. invasion of Saipan caught him returning from an inspection tour of the Palau Islands." This suggests that Bush's timing may have been just right in catching Obata on Guam, so that he could communicate with the main, rather than a subordinate, Japanese commanding officer. To achieve such perfect timing, Bush may have been privy to sensitive naval intelligence, possibly due to his position as a photo-reconnaissance agent of OSS. Bush had enlisted in the Navy as a pilot in June, 1942, at the age of 18. He was too young to be a pilot and didn't have two years of college. But someone had pulled strings to get him in. That someone may have been his father's attorney, Allen Dulles of the OSS. Intriguingly, Barbara Honnegar notes in her book October Surprise (New York: Tudor, 1989), that there is some hint of documentation of Bush's membership in the CIA as early as 1963. (229-45). Tarpley and Chaitkin note that some information suggests Bush's oil company, Zapata Oil, was listed as a "CIA asset" as early as 1959--at time when Allen Dulles still headed the CIA under the Eisenhower Administratrion. (Tarpley and Chaitkin 119).

Dulles had his own motives in supporting the idea of a negotiated peace, For him it was an opportunity to sneak his wealth out of the Axis countries into third countries more safely. Japanese-occupied Manchuria, which he was trying already to use as a haven for his wealth, would remain untouched by Allied forces if a negotiated peace could be obtained. (Loftus and Aarons 350-70). (As it turned out, however, Russia did come into the war alongside us against Japan, attacking Japanese troops in Manchuria in August 1945, after Hiroshima.)

Loftus and Aarons, noting that Forrestal was a business partner in Standard Oil and other Nazi-oriented corporations, also tell us that all his top associates--William Draper, William Stamps Farrish, Allen Dulles and Nelson Rockefeller--are now known to have been traitors during World War II. (Loftus and Aarons 350-70). Why would Forrestal have betrayed the cause of all his business associates?

Devine recounts that, at the time that he'd stumbled onto Forrestal's presence, the two single engine aircraft he'd seen were at a distance, far enough away that Devine couldn't readily discern their identity or model. He assumed that they had military markings, since he wasn't looking as closely at them as at the twin-engine aircraft. (Devine 39-42).

Devine notes that "Nine months after seeing Forrestal, I revisited Aslito Field...[and the] charred framework of Amelia Earhart's plane was still there..." (56). But he notes that GIs had begun to strip metal from the plane, thinking it was "merely" a damaged twin-engine Japanese aircraft. That may be precisely what it was, however. It may be that, of the three aircraft Devine recalled seeing that evening, the one lacking military markings was one of the other two planes, both of which were single-engine, as was Bush's Avenger. It is interesting that Devine reports seeing the two single-engine aircraft only "at a distance." (39-42).

The twin-engine aircraft could have been a captured Japanese "Betty" bomber, possibly hidden in the caves of Guam after all their pilots were rescued by a submarine before the fall of the island to the Americans. (Hoyt 218).

Shortly before this, during the battle for Guam, a lone Japanese bomber had attacked the American naval force in the Marianas. (Hoyt 212). Hoyt notes that, while most other air raids by the Japanese during this time came "up from Palau or down from Truk," , this particular isolated raid, occurring on June 23, the day after the Japanese submarines had removed pilots from Guam, seems to have come from neither of those directions. (212-19). Hoyt suggests by his silence on this point that this plane very likely took off from Guam. (Hoyt 212). The Japanese had removed all the pilots, but not all the planes, from Guam. So the twin-engine plane Forrestal was dealing with may have been a leftover, virtually fuel-less "Betty" bomber, also hidden in the Guam caves.

It could be that Devine recalled that one of the three aircraft had been lacking in military markings. But perhaps he couldn't remember which one. He had therefore conveniently "remembered" the twin-engine aircraft as the one lacking them, since it was the only one of the three that he was aware of that would have fit any "theory" as to why it would have lacked such marking

Devine notes that there are other researchers who have recently come forward to claim a location for Amelia Earhart's plane hear Howland Island. (Devine 150).

Interestingly, these sources have come to their conclusions by following entirely divergent and independent routes and entirely separate bodies of data. By a study of Amelia's radio gear, aircraft characteristics, distances involved, and the capabilities of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels in the area, these researchers have come within a few miles of each other in locating Amelia's plane near Howland Island.

Intriguingly, still other researchers have recently found what appear to be the remains of Amelia Earhart's plane off Howland Island, near where her last radio broadcast was heard. For example, NBC-TV's "Unsolved Mysteries" Fall 1992 and Spring 1993 season broadcast programs which dealt with the subject of Amelia Earhart, quoting researchers as believing they've found evidence of where Amelia Earhart's plane actually went down. The question was also addressed in an article in Air and Space Smithsonian in August 1992 ("Amelia Earhart: Is the Search Over?" by Stephan Wilkinson, 6-8). The site they've pinpointed is a tiny atoll too small to harbor life, about 300 miles from Howland Island. Part of a shoe heel and a metal box from an aircraft cabin, which only fits into a plane of 1937 vintage, were found. (Wilkinson 6-8).

Devine himself admits in a footnote that Amelia Earhart's own sister, even in the 1970's before these latter finds, "abandoned belief that her sister had crashed near Howland Island after hearing [Fred Goerner's] progress report in September-October 1961, and after his second expedition to Saipan. By 26 June 1962, however, Mrs. Morrissey had returned to her original conclusion. She wrote to me somewhat bitterly, 'the claims [that her sister had died on Saipan] have been shown to be completely false and unsubstantiated, so why continue the discussion? Amelia's plane went down near Howland Island [and] because of a radio failure--the Coast Guard cutter could not home in on her.'" (Devine 82). Devine also acknowledges that one of the main sources of all "Amelia Earhart" afficionados, Thomas J. O'Hare, one of the Istasca Coast Guard cutter radiomen who recorded messages from Earhart, "accepted the idea that Earhart had run out of gas and has 'splashed' within 200 miles of the Itasca [near Howland Island]." (Devine 165).

The important point to note here is that Howland Island in 1937 was in American, not Japanese, waters. This means Amelia could very well have died within a relatively short distance of American-held Howland Island. This being the case, she wasn't captured by the Japanese and executed as a spy (though it wouldn't prove she hadn't been engaged in espionage). This also means she wasn't taken to Guam or Saipan by the Japanese. Nor was her plane.

Another indicator of this is suggested by radio messages received along America's West Coast by ham radio operators, ostensibly from Amelia Earhart. Several messages were supposedly received after the official search had been shut down. Most of these messages--virtually all of them, in fact--were later proven to be either deliberate hoaxes or misinterpretations of other radio signals by these amateurs.

However, Randall Brink (in Lost Star) and Mary Lovell (in The Sound of Wings) tell us of one message that seems to stand various tests. It was received by a West Coast operator who submitted it to the Coast Guard without fanfare. It was garbled at the beginning, but ended with, "...on coral...We are cut..."

This message has often been discarded by both "conspiracy theorists" who believe Amelia was captured by the Japanese and by conventionalists who insist Amelia and Fred crashed into the sea after running out of fuel. Yet the message has never really failed to meet the criteria of accuracy as to the time frame (for available water, battery power and other supplies) that a surviving Amelia had to have to send the message. And it fits the coral atoll location near Howland Island. It also adds to the evidence that the intact plane seen flown into Saipan, then burned, was not Amelia Earhart's plane. (For more details on this possible radio message, and others, indicating Amelia Earhart crashed or crash-landed on this coral atoll, see the e-mail exchange cited in my annotated Works Cited list at the conclusion of this chapter below--mcs).

And if it wasn't Amelia Earhart's plane, whose plane was it? An aircraft lacking in military markings was seen on Saipan in 1944 by a reliable observer. If Amelia Earhart's plane seems to have been located near Howland Island, thousands of miles away, this means there must have been a different aircraft in the Saipan-Guam area in July 1944 which was intact, flyable and lacking in military markings.

I am not aware of any other fliers in the area reported to be missing. The only other person who has any mystery surrounding him as to this area in this time, is George Bush (given the questions raised by his crewmen about his judgment ability in the area of water landing of aircraft, the forty-eight hour "gap" in the various accounts as to when he left to when he returned, the three different ships involved in returning Bush's three-man crew, and the "missing in action" status).

If an American plane was on Guam when the Marines landed, it clearly wasn't Amelia Earhart's. Guam had been an American possession at the time of Amelia's crash, so there would have been no need to cover up her plane's presence on Guam in 1937.

Devine tried to describe the plane he'd seen flown into Saipan as large and unwieldy. Bush's Avenger would meet these criteria. As for the lack of military markings, Bush might have removed these himself before he left Guam to return to his ship.

Did Bush even had an opportunity to destroy the plane on Guam after the U.S. capture. Bush was actually on leave on Guam shortly after its capture by U.S. forces. (Hyams 140-57). In fact, combat was still going on. (Hyams 140-57). So Bush himself could have helped set fire to the plane, meaning even fewer persons had to be involved in any cover-up. Interesting that Forrestal is also reported in the Guam/Saipan area in that same time frame, (the "mopping up" stage) having apparently flown into Saipan from a nearby island accompanied by a small entourage, one of whom was a "photographer." (Devine 39-57). George Bush's role in his work for the Navy included that of "Naval photographer," though this was usually understood to have been flight photography. (Hyams 2-20).

On Guam island, there are a number of large caves. The Japanese utilized these to contain not only their own equipment but captured American equipment as well. Forrestal, as head of the ONI, had the ability to make these caves "off limits" after they were captured by U.S. forces. He'd first visit the area to insure the off- limits rule was set up and enforced. (The first time his diary fell silent). Second (the second time his diary fell silent) he visited again, hauled out Bush's Avenger, hidden by the Japanese in a cave on Guam, and flew it to Saipan to an off-limits area near Aslito Field, probably on the night of July 29, 1944, the first night the airfields on both Guam and Saipan were usable for U.S. planes. Possibly, there, with the help of Bush, he burned Bush's Avenger.

The remains of Amelia Earhart's plane now seem found where it was thought by many that they were all along--nearer Howland Island, the location of her last radio message, thousands of miles east of either Guam or Saipan. It wasn't Amelia's plane that Forrestal burned; was it Bush's? Bush: water land with four 500-lb. depth charges under his wings--if he didn't water land off Chi Chi Jima without them under them? Water land in a situation in which he couldn't use his radio or even his signaling mirror to signal his location--yet be reluctant to water land off Chi Chi Jima without such limitations? Hesitate to water land off Chi Chi Jima at all if comfortable with the water landing he'd allegedly performed off Guam?

Several different theories as to the whereabouts of Amelia Earhart's plane have been advanced. It isn't my intention to downgrade Amelia Earhart or her heroism in any way. She was missed by inexperienced U.S. Navy searchers in 1937.

It is possible that her plane was shot at by the Japanese if she flew over any Japanese-held islands. If so, no record of this has been found, indicating that there was no attempt by the Japanese to do more than drive her off. However, this could have damaged her aircraft.

If there was ever a "cover-up" in connection with her death, it was probably the Navy attempting to avoid looking too closely into its own actions immediately following her disappearance. The truth is, the Navy was fearful of what it would find and it was simply less painful to believe she had crashed in mid-ocean than that her plane sank near a small coral atoll within 300 miles of Howland Island in U.S. waters. The latter would suggest that she had merely been overlooked by well-meaning and no doubt loving American sailors.

But she and Noonan did crash there, living on the coral atoll--although "cut" by it--for a short while before dying of dehydration. Neither the U.S Navy, the Japanese Navy or anyone else had any idea where she was.

Betrayals do happen. Meanwhile, however, in an entirely different area, were Bush's Conscience and the laws of "synchronicity" also at work-- on records and events, creating appearances (my "evidence"?) that fit Bush's guilt feelings?

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Works Cited:

"Amelia Earhart," USA Today, August 12-17, 1992. 1-2.

"Amelia Earhart Forum" (www. Tighar. com): Following is an e-mail exchange which may simultaneously help the reader better understand the situation with the search for Amelia Earhart and the author's capacity for absolutely perfect recall-mcs:

From: mstandridge

Subject: Re: "...on coral...we are cut..." written source

To: The Amelia Earhart Search Forum; earhart forum


From Max (mstandridge@aristotle.net) 3/6/99 00:31

I've communicated w/Ric about this topic a 2 of times--does anyone on List have any ideas or info. as to a written source for a reported or alleged AE post-crash message which included the phrase, "...on coral...we are cut..." (garble). I've seen the source at one time, and recall it as fairly cautious and basically TIGHAR-friendly. I believe it was either a review of Briand's or Lovell's book, or a section in a foreword in another book on AE. For some reason, I didn't make a written note at the time--or have misplaced it. I've been trying to backtrack my steps and haven't been able to find it again; been looking for c. 2 yrs.

I'm somewhat intrigued w/message and source gave some info. suggesting it came w/in a time frame reasonable for equip. limits of various kinds. Not an endorsement by me of message validity, (but am curious), nor was author of piece endorsing, merely pointing it out. Anyone w/info on this source? --Max S.


From Ric [Gillespie, top spokesman for TIGHAR, the aircraft recovery group which has found powerful evidence of Earhart's plane on Gardner Island, also known as Nikumaroro Atoll]:

"I've done some digging and this is the best I've come up with.

"In 1986 a man named John Luttrell put a monograph he had done entitled

'Winslow Reef - Amelia Earhart's Crash Site?' on file at the National Air & Space Museum library. Luttrell says that when he was in the Air Force he was "taught the fine art of deciphering transmissions" which he describes as "tear(ing) apart a seemingly insignificant message into many parts and then analyzing each part to help give a 'bigger picture' so to speak." (Same sort of thing we've been doing with the 281 message.) Luttrell picked 12 alleged Earhart post-loss messages and filled in the blanks with his guesses. Unfortunately, he doesn't provide sources for the messages or what times they were supposedly heard. Here is what he came up with. I have put his insertions in parentheses


July 2 Msg. No. 1"Land in sight ahead"

Msg. No. 2 "Plane on reef (200) miles directly south of Howland - both are O.K. Plane has one wing broken" (This message came from a short wave listener in Eureka, CA. U.S. Coast Guard said it thought it was 200 miles directly etc....).

Msg. No. 3 "Earhart calling.....NRUI-NRUI- calling from KHAQQ. On

coral southwest of unknown island. Do not know how long we will..."

Msg. No. 4 "KHAQQ calling. KHAQQ... we are (cut) a little......."

July 3 Msg. No. 5 "Ship on reef south of equator..."

July 4 Msg. No. 6 "133 (degrees Baker)" (this message was picked up by a

listener in Kentucky. This listener said message read "133 acres.")

Msg. No. 7 "(157) miles (SE Baker)"

Msg. No. 8 "...281 north (Hull Island) ..." (Of all the messages picked up after Amelia's disappearance, this one was probably the most misunderstood and, as it turned out, the most disastrous. The listener reported this message read "...281 north Howland...". If the reader will speak aloud "Hull Island" you will see how much it sounds like "Howland.")

July 5 Msg. No. 9 "...call KHAQQ....Beyond (equator) north (Mckean)...don't

hold off with us much longer. (Reef is barely) above water... shut off".

July 8 Msg. No. 10 "...225 NNW (Canton)..." Msg. No. 11 "....(200 miles south)east Howland...lights tonight...must hurry....can't hold...."

July 9 Msg. No. 12 "All's well" (This is a strange message but could be authentic.

About this time the Coast Guard ship Itasca as well as the battleship Colorado and her scout planes were in the area of the crash site and Amelia possibly saw one of them. Unfortunately, the searcher did not see her.)[emphases added].


Luttrell is clearly backing into his theory that the plane came down on Winslow Reef which, unfortunately for him, is underwater. He has also missed the fact that the 281 message was received in code, not voice, so his Howland vs Hull Island hunch doesn't work. Whether any of these messages was genuine is, of course, anybody's guess. Still no message of "...on coral.....we are cut...".LTM, Ric.[In subsequent e-mail exchanges, Mr. Gillespie, other TIGHAR members and myself (a non-member, which is not a statement of my beliefs as to the organization's merits), established the possibility that Ms. Earhart may have encountered coral offshore at Gardner/Nikku, (given the possibility of surf). The similarity of the messages referring, allegedly, to coral, to those referring to "281", considered the most likely legitimate message, was also noted.--mcs]


Ric--Thanks. I think msgs. 3 and 4 for July 2 are probably the source, insofar

as they are what was repeated in the written source I saw. [I didn't mention it here at the time, but I've never visited the Air and Space Museum library--mcs] I don't think the piece I read was written by Luttrell, but I think it's highly likely he was referred to in it. Also, the 281 message was, I believe, referred to, and I think they also mentioned that it was possibly received as a keyed or Morse code message as well as or instead of as a voice message.

That gives a time frame of after 1986 but probably not long after--say, by 1991. National Air and Space Museum may give me a lead to check a couple of places out. OCLC, Article First and local university and lending library websites have not led to specific source. National Air and Space Museum publications or magazines /journals/writers/authors that pull from them might be one other possible source. It also sounds as if there's been a good bit of confusion in the past as to what was keyed and what was voice. I just hope this hasn't gotten so hopelessly garbled that it can't be found out. But even if it could, just this data alone can't, I wouldn't think, answer all the questions, though perhaps it's a start of sorts.

Thanks ag/n.----Max S. mstandridge@aristotle.net

(end of e-mail exchange. TIGHAR e-mail address: Tighar@aol.com)


Briand, Paul, ed. The Sound of Wings. New York: Norton, 1989

Brink, Randall. Lost Star. New York: Norton, 1994.

Carano, Paul. Complete History of Guam. Rutland: Tuttle, 1964

Devine, Thomas E., and Richard Daley. Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident. Frederick, Colo: Renaissance House, 1987

Ellenburg, Al and Allan Wolper, "The Day Bush Bailed Out," New York Post, August 12, 1988. 1-2

Goerner, Fred. The Search for Amelia Earhart. New York: Doubleday, 1966. 270.

Honnegar, Barbara. October Surprise. New York: Tudor, 1989

Hoyt, Edwin P. To the Marianas: War In the Central Pacific, 1944. New York: Avon,


Hyams, Joe. Flight of the Avenger: George Bush at War. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jaconovich, 1991.

Loftus, John and Mark Aarons. The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People. New York: St. Martin's, 1994.

Lovell, Mary. The Sound of Wings. New York: St. Martin's, 1989

"Mystery of Amelia Earhart." Narr. Robert Stack. Unsolved Mysteries.. NBC. KARK, Little Rock, Ark. October 10, 1992 - May 15, 1993.

Shapiro, Laura and Ray Sawhill. "Amelia Earhart: Was She Or Wasn't She?" Rev. of Lost Star by Randall Brink. Newsweek, January 31, 1994. 59.

Sullivan, George. George Bush. New York: Julian Mesmer, 1989.

Tarpley, Webster Griffin and Anton Chaitkin. The Unauthorized Biography of George Bush. New York: Executive Intelligence Review/Ben Franklin, 1991.

Wilkinson, Stephan, "Amelia Earhart: Is the Search Over?" Air and Space Smithsonian, August 1992, 6-8.

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