I love that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has weighed in on her love for Amelia Earhart.
I think it's fantastic that Ric Gillespie and Tighar.org are going to mount yet another expedition to Gardner Island. I don't think there's every been anyone with a track record as theirs, that has gotten so many bites at the apple. In the film business, you make a film and you get no results - you find it harder to make a film. This is around the 7th or 8th time Tighar is heading off to Gardner to find Amelia Earhart. Go figure.
Let's see. So far they found her shoe. Well, no, turned out to be a man's shoe. So they said "she was probably wearing men's shoes." Sorry, wasn't her shoe. They found a piece of plane. They had it analyzed. Not from her plane. ABC financed a few of these trips. Last year they "found her bones!" Well, might have been her bones - actually, Ric said in a moment of candor, it's "either hers or a turtles." The results were "inconclusive."
Oh my God! Now he's got the US State Dept heading off to Gardner isle with him. I can't believe it. I'm either incredibly jealous (most likely) or incredibly amused. One of the two. One tiny small bit of detail that they're overlooking.
She was never there.
How do I know that? Well, let's stack up the columns. On their side, they say the Gardner was on the line that she was traveling when she missed Howland - true - it's about 225 miles SE of Howland. So far so good. She could have gone that way. There's no eyewitnesses to that fact. And none that saw her or the Electra there after she disappeared. So that's on the minus side. On the plus side - tighar.org maintains the most extensive, up to date, excellent site about what happened to AE prior to her disappearance. I have no qualms with the quality of the sight, and the information there - it's brilliant.
But she didn't go SE to Gardner.
How do I know? I have read accounts of over 200 eyewitnesses who claim they saw her or Fred Noonan in and around the Marianas after her disappearance. This is not some theory. This is not some hair brained notion. These are written and videotaped accounts by islanders who saw they saw her, the Electra, or some version of a white female flyer that looked like her in and around the Marianas. They claim her plane came down in Mili Atoll. (the Queen of the island claimed that along with other folks.) People discount that she could have made it to Mili - it's 400 miles NW of Howland. But then why are these islanders saying she landed there, and that the Japanese picked up her plane there? there's a new theory that proves it possible - it's the time line theory that shows that if Noonan miscalculated the international timeline in his navigation,he would have been 200 miles NW of howland when they were lost. That means she only had 200 miles to continue on to the Marianas. Either way - to me, the fact that a number of people saw the plane come down, saw troops arrest her, saw the plane transported - trumps how she got there. She deserves credit for an amazing feat - landing her Electra on an atoll. They claim her ship was taken by Japanese barge off the shore and transported to Majuro where it was put aboard a Japanese ship that the US was told was "searching for her" and later that it was far away. But I have eyewitnesses who place the Koshu Maru in Jaluit - and with the Electra on the back of the ship. I have an eyewitness who went aboard and saw her and Fred Noonan - attended to their wounds.
Why isn't this well known?
I don't know. Because he's an islander? Because he was half Japanese? I have no idea. But he isn't the only one.
Then we have the people on Saipan who saw her in her cell on Garapan, we have numerous accounts of her incarceration - and her and Fred's execution a number of years later. All eyewitnesses. Then we have the US Marines who found her briefcase in a safe on the island, who then found her plane, the Electra in a hangar on Aslito airfield. I have 5 of them on film telling their story. They didn't know each other - and amazingly, they were witnesses to the same events. And they watched as the US forces destroyed the Electra.
I have no idea. I don't really care either. Because I'm not trying to prove anything - I'm just looking at the eyewitness reports and conveying what they say. I'm sorry it isn't what tighar.org has thought happened to her - it would be infinitely more appealing to imagine her and Fred on a deserted island instead of sitting in a dark cell (where if you go to Garapan prison, they'll give you a tour of their cells - they're still there.) What happened to her body? It was recovered by a US Navy man who was tasked to find her - he recovered her briefcase, recovered her body (also reported in the Stars and Stripes in 1944 for anyone who's looking), and oversaw the destruction of her plane. I have a positive ID of this man by a US Marine who swore to me "Beyond a shadow of a doubt, that's the man that I saw destroy Amelia Earhart's airplane." That's a US Marine. Not a faded photograph of some ship parked off Gardner island that may or may not have some engine part in the background. My God. I can't believe I'm still trying to tell this story.
For those of you who think you know this story better than anyone, I'll ask three simple questions.
1. In her book "Last Flight" AE reports of an evening spent with Thai pilots where she reveals to them that she's ignorant of how to work a very important device that's on her plane. Can you name that device?
2. During World War II, George Putnam was in the Army Air Corps. He was stationed on an island in the Pacific and he put in for leave for two weeks where he visited an island nearby that might have revealed everything he didn't know about her disappearance. Can you name either island?
3. According to a Navy mechanic interviewed by two authors, (who later became a California Highway Patrolman) he installed two objects in AE's Electra for gathering information. It was around the time that she was quoted as saying "Imagine me, being a spy." Can you name the devices?
I've been at this as long as Mr Gillespie. So I applaud him for gaining the support of the State Dept. But I wish, truly wish, he'd stay open to the possibility, however faint it might be in his mind, that perhaps these stories about her winding up on Saipan might have some truth to them. Because the truth.. will set you free.
Anyways, watch the video. See for yourself. I worked and was credited on the film "Amelia" as well as Diane Keaton's version - I've done everything in my power to get producers to take a look at the real story - she deserves to have her story told. She was more of an American hero than we think she was, more than we know - she died in service for her country. And no one has stood up to salute her for it.