Forum artHighlights From the Forum

June 29 through July 5, 1999

(this Highlights is somewhat abbreviated due to the Forum Moderator leaving for the Pacific and the Fourth of July holiday)

Subject: Notes, Logs, Journals?
Date: 7/4/99
From: Shirley

I have had a thought (question) in the back of my mind for awhile, with regards to the possibility, or lack thereof, of there being anything left of the log, or a note or journal, etc.

What might be left intact of anything like that? Though, this calls for speculation, what does anyone else feel about the possibility of AE or FN trying to make a journal of happenings after the landing on Niku and perhaps trying to bury that in order that someone later on might find it? Of course, this would call for the survivor to be keenly aware that he or she wasn't going to survive to a rescue. I'm sure that fact was realized at some point in time.

If this point hasn't been discussed before, perhaps we could have some banter about it. If it has, just tell me to shut up.

Sorry, I haven't been on the forum too long but I'm certainly very intrigued by it all and have been interested in the subject for some years.

I read all I can find for books and try to find "stuff" on the web besides TIGHAR in the hopes that I might find some little clue or sign that could possibly have been overlooked. I can dream can't I ?

Thanks for listening.

LTM and fingers crossed
Shirley 2299

Well, we've thought a lot about the treasure that would be a journal or log.... on the one hand, it would seem reasonable that someone marooned on a desert island would try to leave a record. On the other hand, where does one even begin to look? We are sure hoping for some sort of record, though. If wrapped well, and well above the waterline... it *might* survive.


Subject: Fred Noonan's Children?
Date: 7/5/99
From: Vern Klein

I've got a couple of things you might check out while you're just sitting around waiting for someone to post something!

First one: I probably need to ask Jerry about this but i'll try it on you too. It sounds like a real possibility to resolve the question of whether or not Fred Noonan had any children.

Tom Abran asked: Did Fred's Goddaughter have any recollection of children? I'd think she'd at least remember that.

Do you know whether this was ever checked out? Do we know how to contact her?

OK, guys, here's a valid question..... let's have at it.


Subject: Live Witnesses?
Date 7/4/99
From: William Dohenyguy

Does anyone know if there are witnesses (still alive) to AH & FN take-off on Lae? I'd like to know exactly what gear they had on board and if they may have left somethings behind which could have helped them land on the right island. And, were there bars on Lae and was Fred seen in them?

William LTM

Don't know if there are still witnesses alive, other than one or two fellows in Australia... Randy?

What gear they had on board is a matter of some fact and some speculation, and eyewitnesses won't help. What would help is an inventory, in writing, done at the time. I don't think there was one.

FWIW, those who were there say FN was sober and straight, and was mainly concerned with getting his chronometers set to the time signal, which took a couple of extra days.

Lae is a city in PNG---so it would be "in" not "on". It wasn't much of a place then (still isn't, actually), but probably had some bars. There is no indication that FN spent any time in them, nor is there any evidence that he had a problem with alcohol.


Subject: Questions, Questions, Questions
Date: 7/4/99
From: Don Neumann

After reading through the web site & most of the books/articles (over many years) dealing with the AE/FN disappearance, I still find it puzzling that there was never any recorded instance of anyone hearing any SOS call from the flight giving their best estimated position (assuming they did indeed ditch the ship at sea) or any announcement of sighting another landfall.

Even during the early days of WWII the B-17, with Eddie Rickenbacker aboard, continued to send a Mayday signal, including an estimated position report, right up until the plane hit the water, even though they were flying in hostile territory where Japanese forces could intercept their signal.

I know, there are many explanations as to why no such broadcast from the AE/FN flight was heard, including the obvious one, that they did send such messages, but that no one heard them. However, except for the many post-loss reports of hearing signals from the AE/FN plane (presumably, because of the time frames, after the plane had landed somewhere), all or most all of which were determined to be "hoaxes", there does seem to be a strange "gap" between the last message received by Itaska & the onset of the many radio signals reported by numerous sources (including the Navy & Pan Am) after the flight was presumed to be down.

Since it was reported, on several occasions, that AE stated that she would continue to broadcast position reports throughout the flight on a regular basis_"even if no one is listening"_ , might we dare assume that she did make such broadcasts? If, in fact, such broadcasts were sent, why didn't someone, somewhere hear them?

It has been assumed that the Itaska couldn't have heard any such broadcasts because shortly after they received the last message from the flight, they went steaming off to the West/Northwest, which would presumably have placed them out of receiving range, assuming that AE/FN were heading SE on their LOP toward the Phoenix chain.

It has also been stated that there were very few two-way radio sets or networks in the mandated islands during the 1930s (the one known station on Hull Island was not in working order) however we know there was a radio operator on Nauru Island that heard AE broadcasting during the flight & there were stories about someone on Tabiteuea, in the Gilbert chain, "hearing" the plane pass over or near the island (uncertain whether they heard any radio broadcast from AE).

Getting to my main point, in all the reading I've done on the subject, I've never found that any serious research has been done to establish exactly what the status of radio receivers was in the mandates in 1938. There was a Pan Am radio network in the South Pacific, including Guam (where the U.S. Navy had established an advanced radio listening post in the 1920s, to intercept Japanese Naval fleet messages & that Naval personnel on that island maintained their own "ham" radio facility, which could reach Hawaii & San Francisco), however there is no information available about radio networks operated in the Japanese mandated (including the Marshalls) islands or similar networks operated by the British (particularly in the Gilberts).

Recently, I exchanged E-mail messages with a Japanese journalist, Fukiko Aoki, who authored a magazine article & a book in the 1980s, seeking to debunk the many Japanese conspiracy theories that have arisen over the years, regarding the AE/FN disappearance (unfortunately her book & article were never published in English). Since she had interviewed many of the surviving Japanese Naval personnel who served in the mandates during that era I asked her if she had ever inquired as to the operation of any civil or military radio networks the Japanese may have established during their occupation of the islands. So far she has not responded to my latest inquiry (hope I didn't scare her off by being so specific).

Sorry I've taken up so much space & time on the forum, but these questions still "bug" me & I will continue to try & dig-up more info on the subject myself & let you know if I come-up with anything interesting.

Don Neumann

Subject: Logs, notes, journals?
Date: 7/5/99
From: Randy Jacobson

Pat, when you were on Niku, was there any paper products that survived since the abandonment of the village? I would think that paper would deteriorate quite quickly, but your observations would bear witness to this question.

Heck, the paper products *we* brought to the island didn't usually survive the experience...

For paper to stay intact there it would have to be very well wrapped in a water and bug and rodent proof container of some kind. Between the rain and the heat....

When we excavated the grave and found the remains of an infant, we reassembled the site as we found it. This included a flat slab of coral rock about 12 inches by 12 inches which was at the head of the grave, lying flat, underneath the covering layer of white shells. Underneath that rock we left a note explaining what we had done, and how to reach us, in two zip-lock style bags. It was the only way we could think of to save another archeologist the trouble of re-excavating it... but we all agreed at the time that there was a high chance that the bags wouldn't work and the paper would melt away.


Subject: Questions, questions
Date: 7/5/99
From: Randy Jacobson

Others may have opinions beside mine, but...

AE's radio was not of great power, and she used voice instead of morse code, which would make reception at range more difficult. Apparently, she changed to 6210 KHz at her last transmission, which had very short range during daylight. To hear her, you had to be at one of the skip distances, and listening as well. As far as we know, only the Ontario, Swan, Itasca, Nauru, Lae, CG Honolulu and Radio Tutuilla were even attempting to listen to AE during the flight. Lae, Nauru and Honolulu were hopelessly out of range, as were the PAA stations, particularly during the day. Ontario was on her way home, and had no reason to listen in; Swan never heard a thing, as did Tutuilla and Honolulu. There were several stations in the Gilberts that could have been used as radio beacons, but they were broadcast stations only. There were probably a few 2-way stations up and running, but they were never informed as to what frequencies to tune into, nor did they know when AE took off. That pretty much sums up the situation.

Subject: Fred Noonan's Children
Date: 7/5/99
From: Ron Dawson

>It sounds like a real possibility to resolve the question of whether or not
>Fred Noonan had any children.
>Tom Abran asked: Did Fred's Goddaughter have any recollection of children?
>I'd think she'd at least remember that.
>Do you know whether this was ever checked out?
>Do we know how to contact her?

Hi. Vern. I tracked down Fred's god-daughter from a lead in an article in a 1937 New Orleans Time-Picayune article about FN. Her father (now deceased) was called Fred's best friend and FN became her godfather. I talked to her over the phone and exchanged a couple of letters with her. Without going back to review the letters, I think she was about 14 when AE and FN came thru New Orleans in May, 1937.Remember, Fred would have been gone from N.O. about 7 years by this time and we don't think they kept real close contact. He didn't visit the family in May, '37, but called his god-daughter from the airport and talked to her awhile. She sent me a color copy of the postcard he sent her from Calcutta.. Also a copy of an envelope which contained a letter sent to her father by FN from Oakland in 1935. She declined to reveal the contents of the letter. She is a gracious lady, delightful to talk to. I believe she has a family member or close friend who monitors the forum. She does not remember any children or stories of any FN alcoholism.

Regarding children. Fred and Josie were married ten years. New Orleans Catholic diocese did a search for baptismal records from 1927 to 1930 when they lived there and no luck. I have a contact in Miami who did a birth index search for Dade Co. and no luck (they were either there or in port-au-Prince, Haiti from 1930-35). I asked the State Dept. about births of Americans overseas during this time period and got a lot of governtmentese which meant they weren't interested in looking. If I EVER get the Juarez divorce record, I am hoping it will say whether any children were born to the union or not.

Smooth Sailing.
Ron Dawson 2126

Subject: Expedition Results
Date: 7/5/99
From: Dick Pingrey

I think we all need to keep things in proper perspective. While we hope that this expedition will result in either DNA identifiable bones being located in Suva or Lockheed parts being located on the island with identifiable serial numbers there is every probability it will not happen. The bones are more likely to have been tossed out and the aircraft or aircraft parts that may have been in the bushes in the 1940s and 1950s may no longer be there. Neither of these cases mean that our hypothesis is wrong but it means we may need to press on with continued commitment in our search for what really happened to Amelia and Fred. This kind of scientific investigation is seldom simple and seldom capped with very dramatic success. If the investigation is worth undertaking, and it surely is, then it is worthy of dedication to carry on even when there may be failures along they way. I say all this because I think it is important that we not get our expectations raised to high. I would love to see this expedition crown our efforts with great success but I am prepared to continue giving my support to TIGHAR regardless of the outcome of this present effort.

Dick Pingrey 0908C

Of course you are 100% correct. And this kind of support is what makes it possible for us to keep going when the successes are few and far between...


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