Forum artHighlights From the Forum

June 11 through 17, 2000


Subject: Amelia Earhart--Two Pairs of Shoes?
Date: 6/12/00
From: Ron Bright

The shoe size and type of Gallagher's shoe find and Kilts' second hand story seem to vary. In looking at some old newspaper clippings from Mar 1937 in Morrisey's book, it seems confirmation of Gallagher's description of the shoe as a "stoutish walking shoe..." may be confirmed. The article says AE planned to wear her usual "light, low shoe" (oxford) while flying but she took along a pair of "heavy high walking boots" for sightseeing,etc. This may account for two different types of shoes found---TIGHAR's in 1991 as the blucher oxford with the catspaw and maybe Gallagher's shoe was more like the heavy, high walking boot. This may account for the various size descriptions also. You would have to speculate, AE and FN left the Electra with some kind of bag of survival stuff.

LTM,
Ron Bright


From Ric

What you're really talking about is third pair of shoes. We know from photos taken at various stops on the World Flight that AE had, in addition to her flying shoes, a pair of low, two-tone walking shoes she wore while sight-seeing. If we're to assume that the newspaper article describing what AE planned to take on her first World Flight attempt represents what she actually took along on the second attempt, we would also have to speculate that her "heavy high walking boots" were not among the items discarded when the airplane was purged of any unnecessary weight prior to the Lae/Holwand flight. Then, as you say, we have to assume that there was time to bring survival gear ashore. That stack of assumptions is starting to get uncomfortably high.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Russian Roulette
Date: 6/12/00
From: Dennis McGee

Doug Brutlag's post from Saturday explaining AE/FN's navigational problem/situation is a concise summary of what Ric has postulated since shortly after the Mets won the World Series.

Doug's question: "OK all you aviators out there....should you continue to circle hoping to find the island or Itasca with no DF steer or communications available or do you go try to find another land mass to set down on that may be easier to find and take your chances?" puts a real fine point on the issue of how risky -- and foolish -- this adventure really was.

My perception of AE has changed from the usual widely held myths to one of an average -- at best -- pilot who needed to prove her independence at all levels of life. To my knowledge, she did not set out to be an international legend and role model for other women. Things just kind of happened that way, like many careers. As she met her personal goals early on she came to enjoy the fame (and fortune?) that came with it, but also learned she had to ratchet-up the ante -- and the risks -- to maintain her notoriety.

The more I learn of this ill-fated flight the more I am convinced just how stupid AE was to try this. Yes, I know a turtle doesn't make progress unless he sticks his neck out, but should the turtle deliberately lay its head on the chopping block? AE was engaged in a life-long form of Russian Roulette and it was only a matter of time before the odds caught up to her -- and on July 3, 1937, they did.

LTM, who appreciates concise summaries
Dennis O. McGee #0149CE


From Ric

What bothers me is why Noonan would get himself into a mess like that. He had to know that finding Howland within their fuel constraints depended on DF and, by then, he had to know that AE couldn't DF her way out of a paper bag. Unlike AE, Noonan was the real thing, and yet he ended up out there with no way to find the one place that had a runway before the gas ran out. Makes me think that he was real sure about a Plan B.


Subject: Re: Russian Roulette
Date: 6/12/00
From: William Webster-Garman

Ric wrote,

>What bothers me is why Noonan would get himself into a mess like that.

What better way to establish and promote one's new navigation school than by making some money and getting some publicity as the navigator who successfully landed Earhart on a speck in the Pacific ocean? Noonan had navigated across the vast Pacific many, many times, and was an acknowledged leader in his field, a pioneer of Pan Am's early commercial routes. It was a perfect match for a tragedy.

william 2243


From Ric

Nothing has ever surfaced about how much Noonan was getting paid. Not much, I'd bet. I can easily see Putnam telling him that the publicy value would be priceless. And there's some strange deal Fred had going on the side with Gene Pallette, possibly for news updates that would do an end run around the Earhart/Putnam exclusive deal with the Herald Trib? There's still an awful lot we don't know about this flight.


Subject: Morgenthau Speculations
Date: 6/12/00
From: Don Neumann

Your summary sounds correct to me, though I was surprised by your reference to Adm. Waesche's memo to Asst. Treasury Secretary Gibbons, which I doubt has ever been made public before this instance.

A thoughtful reading of the original Morgenthau telephone transcript, gives one the impression that he was simply resorting to the implication of...'shocking revelations'... to impress & hopefully disuade Eleanor's secretary from pursuing the matter further, thus reopening some very painful memories about the failure of the CG to bring home America's 'heroine', on his watch.

His reference to ...'disregard of orders'... is puzzling to say the least, when AE/FN were civilians, not subject to 'orders' from anyone, least of all Captain Thompson of the USCG.

Don Neumann


From Ric

Waesche's memo has been sitting right there in the NASM Earhart file since at least 1989. I just never connected it to the Morgenthau memo, I suppose because it's addressed to Assistant Secretary Gibbons. It's a classic example of evidence that can be under everyone's nose (including mine) and never get plugged in.

It seems clear from the memo that that there were a lot of rumors circulating among some pretty high level people about how Earhart had been heard to scream and/or crash. Those rumors are almost certainly the source of the memo that Rollin Reineck built his last Air Comics article around.


Subject: Re: Morgenthau Speculations
Date: 6/13/00
From: Hue Miller

>It seems clear from the memo that that there were a lot of rumors
>circulating among some pretty high level people about how Earhart had been
>heard to scream and/or crash.

Amazing that such logic-poor rumors could gain any credance. People whose car has gone out of control rarely spend those next moments fiddling with the radio or the cigarette lighter or anything else. Or, that some high ranking officer of the Japanese navy would personally go out with a patrol. Wearing a chestful of large gaudy medals, no doubt.

Hue Miller


From Ric

It surprises you that military and government types would believe sensational rumors?


Subject: Re: Morgenthau Speculations
Date: 6/13/00
From: Ron Bright

As I recall TIGHAR examined over 137 alleged post loss messages supposedly received in the Pacific and in the US. Did any of those messages,which now have been (except for a few) discredited, contain "screams" or other content that might have been passed on to Morgenthau then? Or perhaps a more sensible, mundane explanation is if Morgenthau was briefed by CDR Thompson in Hawaii and Thompson described the voice as "almost incoherent", probably hyperbole, it wouldn't take much for Morgenthau to speculate about a "tragic ending" and thus wanted to keep a the details to himself. His diary doesn't address the voice issue.

The forum some time ago discussed ad nauseam Amelia's voice characterization during the last message. Do we know where Reineck got his info?

Ron Bright


From Ric

None of the alleged post-loss messages contain "screams" or even expressions of distress except for some "SOSs" reported by a two low-credibility hams in Los Angeles.

Reineck cites as his source:

Memorandum for the Ass't Chief of Staff, G2, War Department. Concerning Earhart turning north when lost. From Col. H.H. Richards. Dated November 1, 1938.

This new information documenting that there was an undercurrent of sensational rumor circulating among high ranking government and military personnel for years following the Earhart disappearance makes it much easier to understand how later Earhart researchers like Goerner could get a feeling, when interviewing retirees, that secrets were being kept.


Subject: It's all a conspiracy
Date: 6/13/00
From: unknown via Ric Gillespie

The following appeared in my forum mailbox as an error message via WEBTV. I don't know who it's from or whether it was intended as a forum posting, but it does provide some interesting insight into how the conspiracy mindset works. Opinion becomes fact. Everything has a hidden meaning and everyone (including me) has a secret agenda. Sad ... and kind of scary.


Re-reading the "From Ric" portion of this mish mash, I find nothing at all that impacts on the significance of the Morgenthau memo of 13 may 1938.

First let me say that the ten day going to Hawaii and the ten day returning to Washington, 20 days of travel, was not just for a vacation as Ric would have you believe. The coincidence is far too great. Not only that but Florida and Bermuda were a lot closer and more fashionable in those days, if Morgnthau wanted to take is family on a vacaton.. Was Gibbons on vacation also. I believe strongly that the trip to Hawaii was for personal contact with Comd. Thompson. This took place on 29 July 1937.

Gillespie is trying to make you think that Gibbons and Morgenthau had believed a "bunch of unfounded rumors" spread by crew members of the Itasca and that was what had influenced his conversation with Malvina Scheider on 13 May 1938. BALONEY.

The whole problem with the Gillespie thinking is that Morgenthau interviewed Comd. Thompson 29 July 1937, almost a year before 13 May 1938, and doubtlessly was told the same information that Admiral Waesche was told -- but a lot sooner -- that nobody heard AE scream, but that her messages were hurried and not complete.

This is pure and simple another attempt on the part of Gillespie to degrade real documentary evidence, because it runs contrary to the TIGHAR theory.

HOWEVER, THERE ARE SOME SIGNIFICANT PARTS TO THE MESSAGE THAT SHOULD NOT BE OVERLOOKED.

These parts concern the next to last Para of the Admiral's memo to Gibbons. Specifically:

1. "No sound whatever was heard from the Earhart plane after it hit the water."

Is the Admiral saying for a FACT that Earhart hit the water ( when she finally stated she was out of gas as quoted by Col H.H.C. Richards)

Does the Admiral mean that there were no post 2 July messages allegedly from the Earhart plane.

2. "Nor for some minutes previous there to"

Is the Admiral saying that he knows the TIME that Earhart hit the water. Otherwise, how could he say there was no sound whatever "FOR SOME MINUTES PRIOR TO THAT TIME"

This last para tends to re-enforce the Col.H.H.C. Richards memo to the Asst. Chief of Staff for Intelligence that says she said she was "turning north ........finally she stated she was out of gas. That was the last heard from her"

Sounds the same.

I would appreciate comments. I think we may have something here.


Subject: Re: Belly antenna
Date: 6/13/00
From: Hue Miller

I put a question about the belly antenna to an ex-military pilot with extensive multiengine experience. He replied that both short vertical and short horizontal antennas were used for the DF 'sense antenna' role, depending on model of aircraft. For antenna lengths that are a small fraction of a wavelength, such as this sense antenna, the antenna essentially just acts as a small lump of metal, and responds to all directions.

( The sense antenna is used to eliminate the 180 degree ambiguity problem of simple loop antennas used alone. With the usual loop antenna alone, you get a null, but you can't be immediately sure whether you're pointed at it, or away from it.)

However, even if the DF sense antenna on the underside of AE's plane was scraped off, that alone could not have prevented the RDF from being able to show a DF - null on the Itasca.

That issue still perplexes me. The reason I asked about whether the Itasca had 2 or a single mast was to try to understand whether a typical shipboard 'inverted L antenna' ( up to high on mast, then horizontal to other mast ) was used or not. If the 'inverted L' antenna had been in place, it's possible the simultaneous vertical polarized wave (useful for DF ) and horizontal wave ( not useful, in fact spoils sharp null bearings ) would have spoiled her try at nulling the Itasca signal. But that possibility is seemingly eliminated -- with only the one mast the Itasca antenna would have been near vertical with minimum horizontal component.

It's been mentioned that maybe AE was just too close for the loop to work right. I don't know what to make of that. Was the Itasca signal so strong that it "swamped" her receiver, the "automatic volume control" circuit, which prevented headphone blasting, cutting in and adjusting headphone level on its own, contrary to her efforts? But yet she could not see the Itasca???? Should the Itasca have "made smoke"? ?????? Stumped.

- Hue Miller


From Ric

For a discussion of the Itasca's smoke-making capability see Forum FAQs: The Coast Guard's Role.

Before we can assess why AE could not get a null on 7500 despite hearing the signal, we have to know what her equipment's reception and DFing capabilites were. There is still a good deal of disagreement about whether she had a separate receiver aboard specifically for DFing. Some (Elgen Long and Cam Warren among them) insist that there was a Bendix RA-1 receiver aboard but I have yet to see any evidence to support that speculation and Earhart's own reported comments reinforce my opinion that the only receiver aboard the airplane was the Western Electric 20B under the copilot's seat. We know that the 20B could receive frequencies in the 7500 range but had no DF capability itself.

We also know that a Bendix Direction Finder coupling device was installed on the airplane in late February/early March 1937. This was not a receiver but, rather, an add-on device that made it possible to DF with the Western Electric 20B. What we DON'T know (yet) is what the frequency range of the coupler was. Cam had earlier speculated that the coupler installed in NR16020 was a Bendix RDF-1 as described in a 1936 "restricted" Navy training manual. The RDF-1 did have 7500 capability. However, a close examination of photos of the coupler installed in NR16020 reveals that, while generally similar to the RDF-1 in size and layout, it is definitely NOT the same device.

One important difference is the number of "tick marks" on the band selector switch. Where the Navy instrument has 7 switch positions, Earhart's coupler has only 5, suggesting a more restricted frequency range. An August 1937 article in Aero Digest magazine says specifically that the commercially available Bendix Direction Finders "...may be used as fixed-loop homing devices or as navigational direction finding instruments within frequency range of 200-1500 kcs." If that is a description of the coupler aboard NR16020 (which it appears to be) then the reason that Earhart could not get a null on 7500 was because, although her receiver could be tuned to that frequency and hear the signal, her Direction Finder could not respond to it.

I hope to have a Research Bulletin on this subject, with photos and drawings, up on the website soon.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Morgenthau Speculation
Date: 6/13/00
From: Hugh Graham

Don Neumann wrote:

> His reference to ...'disregard of orders'... is puzzling to say the
> least, when AE/FN were civilians, not subject to 'orders' from anyone,
> least of all Captain Thompson of the USCG.

But when the government has gone to the trouble and expense of providing a Coast Guard ship for AE to home in on, and when AE was told in Lae via telegram that the Itasca could not high-freq. Radio Dir. Find, and when her world-class navigator FN had written in PAA reports that Radio Direction Finding was mandatory to find small destinations after long over-water flights, then the real puzzle is not that someone would say "disregard of orders" when they mean "what the h--- was this stupid b---- thinking of?", but rather, as Ric pointed out: 1.What was AE thinking of? and 2.How did she ever get FN to accompany her?

LTM (who is a puzzle too), HAG 2201.


From Ric

Let me correct some more misconceptions. The Itasca's presence at Howland was not a one-sided favor that the government was performing for Amelia. The Itasca routinely supported the Dept. of Interior's "colonization" of Howland and Baker to establish and maintain U.S. sovreignty. The earlier construction of the runways on Howland was speeded up and the scheduling of this particular cruise was set to coincide with Earhart's needs because it was very much in the national interest for a civilian flight to use the island.

The Coast Guard never telegramed or otherwise attempted to inform Amelia that her plan to DF on 7500 kcs was innappropriate. On the contrary. On 6/29 Itasca sent a message to Earhart in Lae that said, in part:

ITASCA WILL TRANSMIT LETTER A WITH CALL LETTERS REPEATED TWICE END EVERY MINUTE ON HALF HOUR AND HOUR ON 7.5 MEGACYCLES WILL BROADCAST VOICE ON 3105 KCS ON REQUEST OR START WHEN WITHIN RANGE


Subject: Re: Morgenthau Speculation
Date: 6/13/00
From: Ron Bright

In your posting of Rear Admiral Waesche's reply to Asst Sec Gibbons re the newspaper accounts and the "rumors that somebody on the Itasca heard Miss Earhart scream and heard the crash on the radio", he cites with confidence a personal letter from Cdr Thompson that no sound of Earhart's plane was heard after the plane hit the water.

Would CDR Thompson's letter to Waesche,which is in addition to his official report, be available through Coast Guard archives or do you have it? It may shed some additional light on those last few messages and the circumstances, etc. It appears CDR Thompson wrote this letter almost a year after the incident.

LTM,
Ron Bright


From Ric

Yes, Thompson's letter to Waesche would be nice to have, but it doesn't seem to have made into the file.


Subject: AE and DF
Date: 6/14/00
From: Kerry Tiller

Ric says:

>One important difference is the number of "tick marks" on the band selector
> switch. Where the Navy instrument has 7 switch positions, Earhart's coupler
> has only 5, suggesting a more restricted frequency range. An August 1937
> article in Aero Digest magazine says specifically that the commercially
> available Bendix Direction Finders "...may be used as fixed-loop homing
> devices or as navigational direction finding instruments within frequency
> range of 200-1500 kcs." If that is a description of the coupler aboard
> NR16020 (which it appears to be) then the reason that Earhart could not get a
> null on 7500 was because, although her receiver could be tuned to that
> frequency and hear the signal, her Direction Finder could not respond to it.

So the Bendix DF coupler was upper long wave/medium wave only and could work with the Western Electric 20B only on the lower medium wave frequencies. I can buy that, what bothers me is something as significant as a frequency miss match with two pieces of gear intended to be used in tandem seems to have escaped both AE and FN. I understand the only part of the flight they intended to use the DF gear was the Lae to Howland leg. Is there any evidence to suggest that they fired it up for a familiarization/operational test any time before Lae?

LTM
Kerry Tiller #235


From Ric

Yes, on the flight to Hawaii in March, Manning mostly handled the radio but AE got in some practice. These quotes are from Last Flight.

6-7 hours out. The stars are brilliant but with the moon they can't be seen on the horizon. Harry comes up to work the radio. Paul flies while Harry works over my head.

At one point, when we were a couple of hundred miles from Hawaii, Fred told me to drop down through the clouds and steer a certain course. 'Keep the Makapuu beacon ten degrees on the starboard bow,' he ordered. What he meant was that I should tune my Bendix direction finder to indicate the location of the beacon, and then head the plane as he directed. This was the first time I had used this recently developed Bendix instrument. On this Pacific hop it was one of the most interesting and valuable on board performing perfectly.

Note that she makes no reference to a Bendix "radio" or "receiver", only a "direction finder." When Harry Manning works the "radio" he has to "come up" presumably to the cockpit, because the remote for the Western Electric receiver is on the instrument panel in front of the copilot (Paul Mantz). When Manning operates the DF coupler he works over AE's head because that's where the coupler is mounted. Again - it does not appear that there is a separate Bendix receiver aboard the airplane.

These are the first and last references to AE using the Bendix DF until the test flight in Lae on July 1st (when she couldn't get it to work).


Subject: Visitors to Niku?
Date: 6/14/00
From: Dan Postellon, Dave Osgood

Ric writes:

>Are you suggesting that someone would fly over Niku just for the heck of it
>as a sightseeing flight? Where would they come from?

I might agree with several visits a century, particularly if it is the nineteenth century, when many Pacific islands were first charted. Otherwise, Niku is tough to get to, tough to land on (by boat or plane), and not on the way to anything else. Even for yachties, other islands in the line or Phoenix groups have more to offer, like a cold beer or some ruins (guano mining or Polynesian). I'm not sure why anyone would be flying over today, maybe ferrying something to Kanton from points west?

Dan Postellon
Tighar 2263 LTM (who takes trains)


From Ric

Kanton is not a practical stop-over for ferry flights unless there was an emergency. The runway is fine but the only jet fuel there is old and contaminated and the only avgas is several drums that were shipped there but went unused by Finch. And trust me -- there is no cold beer on Kanton.


From Dave Osgood

Do you know if any of these "visitors" that arrive at Niku try to capitalize on TIGHAR's research? Are there any other people or groups that have looked for AE/FN artifacts on Niku? It seems as though someone with more money than sense could be enticed to visit Niku -- an uninhabited and remote island that may hold the answer to the fate of AE and FN. Treasure/historical artifact hunters could really spoil TIGHAR's research and exploration...

Dave Osgood


From Ric

We know of no one else who has been to Niku looking for evidence of AE and FN --- but then, we wouldn't, would we? Honestly, I really don't worry about it. The place is wretchedly expensive to get to and, once you're there, it's huge, hostile to novices, and not exactly littered with Earhart artifacts. I'm convinced that whatever may remain to be found requires a great deal of knowledge and familiarity with the island to stand any chance of finding it. That's why I have no hesitation about putting detailed information on our website. Take the "Seven" site for example. I can show it to you on a map and show you aerial photos of it on the island, but if you decided to drop at least $70,000 and charter a boat and go there, you'd have one hell of a time finding it and, if you did find it, you probably wouldn't be able to find anything interesting unless you had assembled the same kind of background knowledge and expertise that we have.

In other words, it would take another TIGHAR to give us any kind of "competition" on Niku and, as far as I can tell, we're the only TIGHAR in the forest.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Visitors to Niku?
Date: 6/14/00
From: Tom King

Ric writes:

>Are you suggesting that someone would fly over Niku just for the heck of it
>as a sightseeing flight? Where would they come from?

I seem to recall that in '89 (same year we heard the mystery plane) we were asked by the Kiribati government to look in at Orona (if I'm recalling correctly) where somebody thought there was a drug smuggling operation going on. You wisely decided that we weren't sufficiently well armed to go bust a bunch of druggies. The idea of anybody doing a drug op. in the Phoenix Islands seems pretty far fetched, but SOMEBODY apparently thought it was possible.

As for visits to Niku every year, the major thing that argues against it is that there's no good anchorage. One can always lie off and boat in through the channel, as we do, but it would probably make for pretty short stays.

Tom King


From Ric

Farfetched is right, and somebody thinking it was possible doesn't make it less farfetched.

I certainly agree about the unlikelihood of visits even once a year. For one thing, the landing channel can be hard to find if the tide is high and, even if you find it and go ashore you really only have access to the abandoned village area without a long and very uncomfortable walk, unless you bring a launch into the lagoon, but you can only do that at high tide and even then you have to know what you're doing. It's just not a place that encourages exploration.


Subject: More from the conspiracy camp
Date: 6/14/00
From: Ric Gillespie and Tod X

This one was definitely submitted as a forum posting, although whether it was submitted intentionally or not is another question. It appears to be a resonse to the previously-posted conspiracy treatise. I don't know who the author although the email address looks familiar and he says I've corresponded with him in the past, but at least it clears up the identity of the author of the first piece -- none other than Rollin Reineck.

I pass this stuff along only because there are still a lot of people out there who assume that the Japanese-capture scenario is a rational possibility. I think the proponents of that theory are their own best spokespersons.


Rollin,

Good comments. Ric's input is another example of how one by one he perpetually picks off credible evidence reveals that threaten his slant -- like ducks in a shooting gallery. I am amazed at how he tries to so completely and so thoroughly explain things that he has no possible ability to really do.

In reading Morgenthau's diaries, it struck me how he never even referred to the recent Earhart tragedy when he described his July 37' trip to Hawaii. He never referred to his meetings with Commander Thompson while there either, which you confirmed via historical record, did take place. (Ric of course does not credit you for being the first to bring this information to light.) These things alone significantly reveal the "powder-keg" subject Earhart already was. "Leave it alone and it will settle itself" FDR used to often say.

A couple of years ago Ric Gillespie didn't have any idea about Gibbons. In a email response to me he referred to Gibbons final comment regarding "We have evidence that it's over... it would be awful to make it public" as though the topic had already shifted away from Earhart at the time that was said and he referred to Gibbons as "whoever he was."

In last year's excellent (1999) biography release of Eleanor Roosevelt by Barbara Cook, she referred to the Malvina Scheider dictaphone message in this way:

On the way home from Delaware ER learned of Amelia Earhart's disappearance. ER wrote her daughter that she heard "about Amelia over the radio & felt even lower. I do like her and I'll miss seeing her if she's gone but perhaps she'd rather go that way. Life might not have held such a happy future for her."

The mystery of Amelia Earhart has never been solved. ER's words are equally mysterious. Did she refer to Earhart's marital situation or another reality we know as yet nothing about?*

The day she left ER wrote:

All day I have been thinking of Amelia Earhart somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, and I hope she will make her flight safely. She is so utterly simple, which I suppose is an attribute of all great people. She never seems to think anything she does requires any courage...

ER had been impressed by the woman who said in June 1928 that it would have been "too inartistic" to refuse her first transatlantic flight. She inspired ER to fly, and they had become friends. She stayed at the White House, attended Gridiron Widows parties, and was a confidante.

(Notice Cook's asterisk at the end of the second paragraph. She explained it at the bottom of the same page:

*A most curious exchange between ER and Henry Morgenthau, whose Teasury Department presided over FDR's Secret Service and Intelligence unit, heightens the puzzle. When ER asked him to release the Itasca file to ER's friends, aviators Paul Mantz, Jacqueline Cochran and others, Morgenthau's office sent ER an unsigned memo: The secretary said he "cannot give out any more information that was given to the papers at the time of the search for Amelia Earhart. It seems they have confidential information which would completely ruin the reputation of Amelia and which he will tell you personally some time if you wish to hear it. He suggests writing [Paul Mantz] and telling him that the President is satisfied from his information, and you are too, that everything possible was done." ER followed that suggestion.

Barbara Cook is among the most respected author/historians concerning American politics of the 1930s' and 40s'. Most consider her along the same line as Doris Kearns Goodwin, or even the late Thomas Morgan. She immediately brought something to light about Morgenthau that we often tend to overlook... which was his incredible reach as Secretary of the Treasury during FDR's twelve years as President, evidenced by her knowledge of his office "presiding over FDR's Secret Service and Intelligence unit." Morgenthau's relationship to FDR dated back to preceding FDR's New York governorship, and he served with him then as well. Their families were among the closest of friends and the two of them were quite a formidable political team.

Cook did the historically responsible thing regarding her analysis of the "confidential information"... she viewed it for its face value. Still she didn't come close to implying a conspiracy ultimately devoured the true Earhart story and she didn't dare try to explain Morgenthau's views without havinging all the factual variables that could have played into it available to her. She also, did not assume that Morgenthau (and Gibbons) was wrong in his interpretations of the information they "privately" regarded, not knowing, or guessing at (as Ric does) what his "confidential" information was. Remember, the Dictaphone document has never been afforded any official explanation. Not even close, though it surely deserves one. The easy way out of controversy here is to assume the statements it contains are misleading and to try to provide an explanation for why they are misleading. That's all Ric does... with all of the unexplained controversial Earhart material evidence. He explains it, but in his own terms. Obviously. Tod

PS: Thank You Gervais.


Subject: WOMBAT's conclusions
Date: 6/14/00
From: Ross Devitt

I know I've been pushing my own opinion a lot lately, and asking some odd questions.

Some observations however:

One of Gallagher's statements was that "less than two miles away there is a small grove of coconut trees". This is interesting in itself as no-one usually plants a "small" grove of trees in a commercial venture, and the location on that isolated part of the lagoon looks suspicious. This led to my questions of Ric regarding the trees shown on his map on the lagoon shore opposite the main entrance without a planting date, and represented by only one tree.

The map does not show the original plantings, but my personal experience with coconuts is that if they were anywhere near the village, or the opposite side of the main passage, and the tide washed fallen nuts to the other side of the lagoon (and that promontory looks about prime to stop floating nuts) then they will almost invariably germinate.

Right now I have 12 nuts from my own trees that have been lying on ground that alternates from damp to dry. They sprouted shoots, then roots. Now I have 12 small coconut trees waiting to be planted out. Bear in mind, these are lying on an ordinary lawn.

In their own natural environment, cocos sprout very easily - IF the crabs don't get them!

Back to our castaways....

IF the coconuts on the north lagoon shore grew as a result of the original plantings, the 1996 TIGHAR "7" site is quite neatly "just under two miles away" almost to the yard if Ric's map scales are accurate. There is no other site than the 1996 site that seems to fit this description! The Aukeraime "shoe" site was "just over one mile away and across a passage" from the village plantings. Any other early plantings appear to be well over 2 miles away. Ric's map does not show the site of the original pre 1900 plantings.

Regarding the "distances" question... Please before anyone considers commenting on these, do what I did. Go out to your front yard with a tape measure and measure off 100 feet.

In Australia most yards (on older homes) are 22 yards (one chain or 66feet). That makes 100 feet about the width of my yard plus half my neighbour's. Don't take my word for it, measure it. 100 yards is 3 times that.

Gallagher said the bones were found about 100 feet above high tide. I believe a lot of people have been confusing 100 feet with 100 yards. Stand inside one side of your yard. Look to that side and see the bones lying there at the corner of your yard, then look the other way and see the water lapping where you worked out the 100 feet finished.

Not all that far, is it?

Now extend the 100 feet by 3 times. Over here that's about my place plus 4 of my neighbours. Not very far really is it?

Gallagher said the Kanawa tree was growing on the lagoon shore "not very far from where the body was found". If the body was found on the ocean side, and the Kanawa tree was on the lagoon side, and Ric says the lagoon is about 100 yards from the ocean beach, then in reality, the Kanawa tree could still be "not very far" from the bones.

This, then is the apparent problem.

Gallagher did not specify that the bones were on the lagoon side, only that the Kanawa tree was.

If the bones were found on the lagoon side, he might have been expected to say the Kanawa tree was "quite close" rather than "not very far". On the other hand, The tree and the bones may have been both on the lagoon side and the tree may in fact have been a reasonable distance, but "not very far" away.

The skull had been found, then buried and the working party apparently did not search for more bones, just buried the skull. The bones, when found had been scattered. There is nothing to say the bones and skull were found in close proximity, nor that the burial site for the skull was in the immediate vicinity of the bones.

The only photos we have of the lagoon shore, and an earlier comment of Ric's regarding the composition of the sand around the lagoon suggests that the beach there does not lend itself to use as a highway. The bones were supposedly discovered by a native who was walking along one end of the island.

Was he walking along one end of the lagoon, around all the little bays etc? Was he walking along one end of the island on the relatively straight ocean beach, perhaps beach combing as he strolled along (a common enough pastime)?

Would one tend to walk along the ocean beach or the lagoon shore at that end of the island or the ocean beach?

Of course we have the castaway him/her self.

Being in possession of a sextant box, and a Benedictine bottle, and corks with brass chains leads one to think "European" castaway.

There is the possibility that one of the missing people from the Norwich City wreck was washed up on the southern end of the island and was too weak, injured or disoriented to make it back to the other end before the rescue. That could explain the posession of such items for sentimental reasons, "clutching the past".

The spanner in the works here is the statement that "Dental condition appears to have been good". We have no way of knowing, but I have read accounts suggesting that dental condition in these areas is affected by sand getting in the food, and by certain restrictions in the diet. It would be interesting to know the dental condition of the average Polynesian islander.

Even aboard merchant ships at that relatively late period, an ordinary seaman might be expected to have problems with dental hygiene, being away from major cities for extended periods, and only in port for short ones. Good dental condition would seem to suggest access to "civilised" dental facilities.

As to a Polynesian native being reduced to bones. Where were his pals? More to the point, he appeared to have been healthy enough to kill birds and turtle for food, and to have the means to make fire. How then did a "native" not find coconut trees? Even on the ground, the nuts have food in them, and recently fallen ones contain milk, though not as invigorating as the milk from green nuts.

Only a European would not be able to open coconuts, or a native too seriously injured to walk (and catch turtle or birds) might fail to find them.

Both femurs (very large bones) and half the pelvis were found, along with an assortment of other medium sized bones. But very few small bones. If there was no evidence of wild pigs on the island (they would have had to be domestic pigs left by the original planters, and believe me they leave massive destruction as evidence) or of dogs (I think we discovered that dogs will chew on any bones they find - even dry ones - just out of habit), and if coconut crabs don't actually carry their prey back to their lairs, we are left with rats.

Providing rats were in evidence, and Gallagher seems to think they were, the femurs because of their size, the skull, because of its shape, and the pelvis - size again - would seem to limit the rats' endeavours to move the body.

Rats in the wild often approach the size of small cats. I have had a tug of war with a rat caught in a trap - and lost! They are very strong, and very determined. I would suspect rats as the reason for the scattering of bones. Pigs and dogs would have no problem at all with a human thigh bone.

If the network of trails is in the same general location, then one might begin to suspect they were made by islanders searching for more bones, especially if one of those trails terminates at a Ren tree.

The "T" shaped sandy area appears to be in a well protected, yet clear area, suitable for protection from the elements, whilst still being open enough to prevent the claustrophobic feeling dense vegetation can cause. Could be the night time "camp" I have speculated on before (and am still doing now).

This, then was the result of my recent questions, and the basis of my reasoning that:

The bones were found under a "Ren" tree on the ocean side of the island, not far into the vegetation, at a point that was about 100ft from the normal highest tide line.

The Kanawa tree was on the lagoon shore but still in the general vicinity of the bones.

The "7" site was the base for clearing operations which were interrupted by the death of Gallagher, and perhaps as a mark of respect, were discontinued at the site of "his house".

The skull had been buried at the "7" site, and for various reasons (probably so as not to disturb the bones site with great flat feet tramping all over it all day) that was made the base for the search for more bones near the Ren tree.

I'd suspect that unless the coasties cut it down, the Ren tree was left growing exactly where it was, for sentimental or superstitious reasons. (Wonder how long they live?)

There are more bones there somewhere.

There may even be the inverting eyepiece from a sextant to be picked up by a metal detector - IF it wasn't carried around as a curiosity before being discarded (since it had a lens, it was probably carted around).

The reason the inverting eyepiece was found and the sextant wasn't is that the eyepiece had a lens that could be used to make fire, but the sextant was too bulky to carry round on the island.

Rats were responsible for the dispersal of the bones.

The network of "trails" in the area possibly consist of original walking tracks of the "castaway" and/or the tracks made by the islanders searching for bones and other items.

The sandy "T" area is worth a look on the ground.

etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

(Oops, wrong musical, we're supposed to be in South Pacific...)

Of course this does not suggest in any way that the bones were either Amelia or Fred, or a merchant seaman, or an aging Polynesian native.

Th' WOMBAT (Who is currently retiring to his burrow in expectation of all sorts of things being thrown in his direction)


From Ric

Whew! That's a lot of conclusions, many (but not all) of which I agree with. I'll offer my thoughts in a separate posting.


Subject: Re: WOMBAT's conclusions
Date: 6/14/00
From: Ric Gillespie

Wombat say:

The bones were found under a "Ren" tree on the ocean side of the island, not far into the vegetation, at a point that was about 100ft from the normal highest tide line.

Ric say:

I agree, and I think it was at the Seven site.

Wombat say:

The Kanawa tree was on the lagoon shore but still in the general vicinity of the bones.

Ric say:

I agree, and I think I can show you the very tree in the Dec. 1, 1938 aerial photo.

Wombat say:

The "7" site was the base for clearing operations which were interrupted by the death of Gallagher, and perhaps as a mark of respect, were discontinued at the site of "his house".

Ric say:

I think that the clearing operations evident in the June 20,1941 aerial photo of the Seven site, and the evidence of some kind of structure we found there in 1996, are nothing more, or less, than the result of the "organized search" ordered by Vaskess and apparently carried out by Gallagher.

Wombat say:

The skull had been buried at the "7" site, and for various reasons (probably so as not to disturb the bones site with great flat feet tramping all over it all day) that was made the base for the search for more bones near the Ren tree.

Ric say:

I think it's a little more complicated than that. What I really like about the kanawa tree on the lagoon shore is that it provides a specific "magnet" that draws people to that spot. We know that the settlers were harvesting kanawa for future use in the months preceding Gallagher's arrival because Gallagher says, in December of 1940, that the tree from which the box was made was growing on the edge of the lagoon "until a year ago." Irish didn't arrive to live on Gardner until September. I can easily see a work party spotting a big ol' kanawa tree growing on the lagoon shore, going ashore and cutting it down and, in the process, coming upon the skull. I have a much harder time with the skull being found by general beachcombing or turtle hunting along the ocean beach. It seems more logical to me that the skull was dragged from the original expiration site (sounds better than death site) to somewhere near the lagoon shore where the kanawa-kutters found and buried it. Otherwise, we have to postulate that it was pure coincidence that the highly-desirable kanawa tree on the lagoon shore just happened to be not very far from where the skull was found for totally unrelated reasons. Most of the bones and artifacts were found as a result of Gallagher's initial search which began at the burial site and spread out from there.

Wombat say:

I'd suspect that unless the coasties cut it down, the Ren tree was left growing exactly where it was, for sentimental or superstitious reasons. (Wonder how long they live?)

Ric say:

Good question. I don't know, but I do know that Ren trees are common along that vegetation line. I can't imagine why the Coasties would cut down a tree and it doesn't seem likely that Gallagher would cut it down.

Wombat say:

There are more bones there somewhere.

Ric say:

Well, there certainly WERE more bones there somewhere. Whether they've survived these 60 years is another question.

Wombat say:

There may even be the inverting eyepiece from a sextant to be picked up by a metal detector - IF it wasn't carried around as a curiosity before being discarded (since it had a lens, it was probably carted around).

The reason the inverting eyepiece was found and the sextant wasn't is that the eyepiece had a lens that could be used to make fire, but the sextant was too bulky to carry round on the island.

Ric say:

Possibly. All we can do is look.

Wombat say:

Rats were responsible for the dispersal of the bones.

Ric say:

No way Jose. The rats on Niku are little brown Polynesian rats -- more like large mice. The bone scattering that happened could, in my opinion, only have been performed by coconut crabs, pigs or dogs -- and I'm leaning toward dogs.

Wombat say:

The network of "trails" in the area possibly consist of original walking tracks of the "castaway" and/or the tracks made by the islanders searching for bones and other items.

Ric say:

The "trails" appear only in the December 1, 1938 aerial photo which was taken before the arrival of the settlers. If they are indeed human-made "trails", the human that made them almost had to be the castaway.

Wombat say:

The sandy "T" area is worth a look on the ground.

Ric say:

Absolutely.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Morgenthau speculation
Date: 6/14/00
From: Jon Watson

Do we know if AE knew the Itasca's time was different from actual local from local time? Could that have made a difference as well? Or was it immaterial since AE was using Greenwich time.

My main question in this, however, has to do with FN. We all pretty much agree that Fred was probably the best long-range over water navigator around at the time. This is the guy who, on the first clipper flight, got them there with pinpoint accuracy -- and was experienced using RDF technology. Do we know what kind of RDF setup Pan Am was using on the clippers?

ltm,
jon 2266


From Ric

Itasca asked AE what zone time she would be using. She told them she would use Greenwich time and must have assumeed that they would act accordingly. Instead, they ignored her and used local time, which was a half hour off (thereby causing needless confusion).

Pan Am used big DF stations (called "Adcock Stations") on the ground at their destinations. The approaching flight would transmit a signal. The Adcock Station would take a bearing and send a message, in code, to the aircraft telling it which way to fly. Earhart tried to do that with the Itasca but the signal she sent was on 3105, far too high for the Itasca's DF to use, and she was not able to understand code or receive voice messages and so could not have gotten bearing information in any event.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Mystery plane
Date: 6/14/00
From: William Webster-Garman

Ric wrote,

>Are you suggesting that someone would fly over Niku just for the heck of it
>as a sightseeing flight? Where would they come from?

People do lots of nutty things in airplanes. You should know that by now . Sure, it's possible: Or someone was doing a private "real world flying challenge" (say out of Fiji), or scouting the island for who knows what reason? People with money and time on their hands can do lots of things that might seem a little weird; perhaps, so is the idea of depending on a tube operated DF in 1937 to find a tiny speck of rock and grass in the middle of the Pacific.

william 2243


From Ric

If I had to speculate, I'd say it was most likely a light twin being ferried to Australia or New Zealand, last stop possibly Christmas Island (Kiritimati). The guy is bucking some headwind and is down low anyway. Passes near Niku and sees that there's a boat standing off the reef, takes just enough of detour to make one pass overhead (because he's bored out of his gourd) and keeps going.


Subject: Re: Russian Roulette and George Putnam
Date: 6/14/00
From: Rick Seapin

There is no doubt that George was born a flimflam man, a huckster, and died as a promoter. The question is, why did Fred join the team?


From Ric

Fair question. We can only speculate, but the way it looks is that Fred had recently gotten fed up with Pan Am's abusive work schedule and failure to keep its promises and had quit to open his own navigation school. He had just concluded a divorce and was planning on re-marrying. Initially, his participation in the flight was a last-minute deal when everybody figured out that Harry Manning wasn't up to the navigational task and Noonan was hired three days before departure. Fred was to accompany the flight from Oakland to Hawaii and thence to Howland, where he would leave and come home on the Itasca. They figured AE and Manning would be able to find Australia on their own and Fred couldn't go any farther than Howland anyway because he didn't have time to get an Australian visa.

After the debacle in Hawaii, Manning quit, Noonan got married, and the flight got reversed which put the need for preceise over-water navigational skills at the end, rather than the beginning of the trip. We really know nothing about the deal that GP offered Fred to take on the job of navigator for the whole flight, but it seems likely that Noonan saw the attendant publicity as a big boost to his navigation school plans.


Subject: Morgenthau Controversy--Origins?
Date: 6/15/00
From: Ron Bright

I think I have found the genesis of Morgenthau's enigmatic and perplexing remarks to E. Roosevelt's secretary as recorded in his transcript of 13 May 1938. It may also confirm the anonymous writer's contention that Morgenthau met with CDR Thompson in Hawaii on 29 Jul 37 not as a fortuitous vacationer but as CDR Thompson's boss in order to explain the Earhart disappearance and the Coast Guard's role.

On 4 Jul 37, four naval operators and a Oakland ham operator heard the same message (garbled): "281 North Howland call KHAQQ beyond north don't hold with us much longer above water shut off." Based on this message the Itasca, Swan and the British steamer Moorsby diverted their search patterns and converged on this position nw of Howland. According to John Burke's book, CDR Thompson radioed Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau (since the Coast Guard was under the Treasury Dept) the following message:

For Secretary Morgenthau: Intercepts of ragged transmissions indicate possibility Earhart plane still afloat 281 miles north Howland. Bearings radio direction finder on Howland confirm approximate position. We will arrive indicated position this afternoon about 1700 ...(1)

This message, if authentic, would certainly suggest to Morgenthau and other high level officials a tragic ending and possibly a lack of better response to Earhart's message. This would also explain, if the message had not yet been declared a hoax,why Morgenthau would fly to Hawaii in late July to personally interview CDR Thompson for the facts and thus received a "personal report"; this suggests also that Morgenthau used the ostensible "vacation" explanation to cover up his real mission.

What it doesn't explain, is if Morgenthau received this message and followed up with CDR Thompson, he would have known that no one in the radio room heard her scream, crash into the sea and thus not describe the "last few minutes" story to Roosevelt's secretary inferring an effort to never make it public, as it wasn't a "very nice story". If Morgenthau was clear on the Navy's search and that AE's last message was only "hurried,frantic and apparently not complete",why his attempt to sugarcoat the truth to Eleanor Roosevelt, in a non-public report?

Note: The frantic almost incoherent voice characterization has been debated before on the forum. TIGHAR believes that her last transmission was a routine description of her search effort for Howland and indicated no sense of imminent danger, etc.

Major Questions:

1. Was the 281 position message really a hoax, if so how do we know?

2. Did Morgenthau in fact meet CDR Thompson in Hawaii; if so source, or documentation.

3. Did CDR Thompson really send this message to Morgenthau? If so are all Itasca messages accounted for or is this message in the archives?

4. Why would CDR Thompson skip chain of command and send a radio message to the Sec. of Treasury Morgenthau directly?

5. Do Morgenthau's diary reflect receipt of this message?

6. If Morgenthau's meeting with CDR Thompson occurred why would he continue to describe Amelia's last minutes in that fashion?

Aw the mystery continues!

Source (l) Winged Legend, John Burke, p. 230-231

LTM,
Ron Bright


From Ric

Ah, Ron, you've been reading those books again. Burke has some of his facts wrong and presents other information out of context to create impressions that are not justified. Here's what happened:

On July 3, 1937 the Coast Guard Commandant sent Itasca a message saying:

SECRETARY OF TREASURY MORGENTHAU DESIRES LATEST INFORMATION CONCERNING SEARCH OF PLANE AMELIA EARHART. REQUEST THIS INFORMATION BE SENT COASTGUARD HEADQUARTERS IMMEDIATELY UPON RECEIPT OF THIS MESSAGE.

On July 4 Thompson sent this report:

FOR SECRETARY MORGENTHAU

HAVE SEARCHED AREA NW TO NE OF HOWLAND RADIUS 120 MILES WITH NEGATIVE RESULTS THOUGH VIS WEATHER AND SEA CONDITIONS EXCELLENT. EXTRA AND VIGILANT LOOKOUTS POSTED AND CONTINUAL USE BOTH HIGH POWER SEARCHLIGHTS DURING DARKNESS. AM REASONABLY CERTAIN PARTY IS NOT AFLOAT IN AREA INDICATED. COMMENCED RECTANGULAR SEARCH THIS MORNING AT DAY BREAK 180 MERIDIAN TO HOWLAND ISLAND BETWEEN LAT 020 NORTH AND 130 NORTH. ESTIMATE ORIGIN THIS SEARCH WELL TO WESTWARD AND LEEWARD OF PLANE POSITION IF PLANE DOWN WEST OF ISLAND. PRESENT CURRENT SETTING WEST ONE HALF KNOTS, WIND ESTIMATE ONE KNOT WEST. WEATHER OVERCAST, VIS EXCELLENT, SEA VERY MODERATE AND FAVORABLE. WILL HAVE COVERED INDICATED AREA TO HOWLAND BY TUESDAY EVENING 6 JULY. ESTIMATE SEARCHING THREE THOUSAND SQUARE MILES DAYLIGHT VIS AND ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SQUARE MILES DURING NIGHT.

On July 5 Thompson sent his next report:

FOR SECRETARY MORGENTHAU

INTERCEPTS OF RAGGED TRANSMISSION INDICATE POSSIBILITY EARHART PLANE STILL AFLOAT TWO EIGHTY ONE MILES NORTH HOWLAND. BEARINGS RADIO DIRECTION FINDER ON HOWLAND CONFIRMED APPROXIMATE POSITION. WE WILL ARRIVE INDICATED POSITION THIS AFTERNOON ABOUT 1700 PLUS ELEVEN AND ONE HALF TIME.

On July 6 Thompson sent:

FOR SECRETARY MORGENTHAU

SEARCHING AREA REPORTED POSITION EARHART PLANE SINCE DUSK YESTERDAY. RESULTS NEGATIVE.

This was the last report sent directly to Morgenthau. As you can see from the above, the jump in the chain of command was in response to the Secretary's direect request. It seems clear that when the news that Earhart was missing hit the papers, Morgenthau recognized that he had a first-class public relations crisis on his hands and wanted direct reports of how the search was going. Thompson, of course, responded as ordered but there is no mention of the sensational allegations about screams or crashes which later spread as rumor.

Burke's description of the famous "281" message is not accurate. Three operators at Navy Radio Wailupe in Hawaii heard the fragmented phrases sent in very poorly keyed code late on the night of July 4 and passed the information to the Coast Guard Hawaiian Section. The message was interpreted as indicating that the airplane was afloat 281 miles north of Howland and the Itasca and a British freighter were sent to the scene. Everybody got pretty excited and the message and the anticipated rescue were widely covered in the press.

On July 6, as the ships were arriving on the scene, Coast Guard headquarters in San Francisco reported:

FOLLOWING REPORTED BY AMATEUR OAKLAND AS RECEIVED 0635 TODAY TUESDAY QUOTE NRUI NRUI KHAQQ TWO EIGHT ONE NORTH HOWLAND CANNOT HOLD MUCH LONGER DRIFTING NORTHWEST WE ABOVE WATER MOTORS SINKING IN WATER UNQUOTE NO VERIFICATION

Of course, the search found nothing 281 miles north of Howland and, later that same day, San Francisco reported further on the Oakland amateur:

DEFINITELY DETERMINED REPORT FALSE. VERIFY [sic] AND REPUTATION OF MAN MAKING REPORT EXTREMELY DUBIOUS AFTER INVESTIGATION

Our own assessment that the original 281 message heard by Wailupe was also a hoax is based on Bob Brandenburg's modeling of the propagation possibilites given Earhart's transmitter, antenna and the atmospherics at the time. In short, there's almost no chance that a transmission sent by that airplane anywhere within the possible range of places it could be, could be heard in Hawaii.

It's clear that Morgenthau was intensely interested in the search for the first few days at least, but the reports provided by Thompson hardly account for the rumors that serviced later. That Morgenthau did go aboard Itasca in Hawaii later that year is confirmed in the ship's logs. Whether some conversation with someone at that time was the source of the rumors is pure speculation. I see no reason to think that Morgenthau's vacation in Hawaii was anything but a vacation, and his apparent failure to mention anything about the Earhart disappearance in his diary is, in my opinion, pretty good evidence that it was not a big deal to him. A famous flyer went missing, the Coast Guard searched for her, nothing was found, end of story.

Today there is this impression, especially among Earhart fans, that her disappearance was somehow one of the pivotal events of the 1930s, if not the 20th century. It wasn't.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Respect
Date: 6/15/00
From: David Evans Katz

With respect to the recent disparaging remarks on the forum about Colonel Reineck, I understand that you and other members of the forum disagree with many of the views and opinions that Colonel Reineck holds, but, is it too much to ask that such disagreements be posted with a little more respect? You are, after all, showing disrespect to a man who has given much to ensure that we can enjoy the freedom we do today.

David Evans Katz


From Ric

Oh give me a break. Lots of us on this forum have "given much to ensure that we can enjoy the freedom we do today." Our former or current service to our country is utterly irrelevant to this historical investigation. Respect here has to be earned by rational thought, sound research, and intelligent discourse.


Subject: Cold War warriors
Date: 6/15/00
From: Dennis McGee

David Evans Katz said: "You are, after all, showing disrespect to a man who has given much to ensure that we can enjoy the freedom we do today" regarding this forum's alleged lack of respect for Col. Rollin "Rollicking Rollie" Reineck.

You know David, you're absolutely right.

Hell, man, I fought The Great Anglo-Greco War of 1963-64 on Crete and I've never gotten over it and never got the respect I'm due.

It was horrible on that island, man, hand-to-hand combat in the bars and bedrooms of Iraklion, Crete. Drug abuse (exclusively Schlitz) was rampant. The living conditions were pure hell; temperatures often soared to the mid-80s and the barracks weren't even air conditioned. All we had to cool off were the southerly breezes off the Mediterranean Sea.

As for the work environment, man, don't even ask. Surrounded by stacks and stacks of Cold War era electronic gear (we're talking TUBES, here, dude!) giving off tons and tons of heat, so much so that we had to work in T-shirts because the antiquated 1950's vintage air conditioning couldn't get the temperatures below 74 degrees. It was brutal, dude.

And there was no R&R "in-country" -- we had to go all the way to Athens, man. It was like a 60 minute plane ride! All we had "in-country" was a thin 150-foot wide sandy beach about a half-mile long. The sun beat down like you wouldn't believe, man. Guys stumbling around, reeling from the heat and drugs, their skin turning brown from the sun -- I don't ever want to have see that again, man.

As for time off -- forget it. They had us humping 8 hours a day working four on, one off; four on, one off; and four on, three off. And we had to be on time. But the worst was they made us memorize the four-digit code for the security lock at the compound. I'll never work that way again in my life, I swear to God!

The food? Just one thing -- the friggin' chow hall only served four meals a day! And then they closed at midnight. Pure torture, man, pure torture.

But, hey dude, I humped my butt though those 15 months. I survived! I'm a winner! Any one who wasn't there won't believe the crap we saw. But all of us Cold War Warriors know what really went down, and man, it wasn't pretty.

Right on, David Evans Katz, right on!

LTM, who is proud of all veterans
Dennis O. McGee #0149CE


From Ric

Dennis, you're a bully.


Subject: Re: Morgenthau Controversy---Origins?
Date: 6/16/00
From: Ron Bright

It is nice that TIGHAR can function as the Oracle for Earhart info. Wow you must have an incredible amount of data readily availabe to respond to somewhat rather complex questions, ie.the Morgenthau stuff, so quickly. I guess cynicism is indeed a virtue and as you suggest it is hard to read any books or articles about Amelia without looking for credible documentation, and not even trusting that. Sounds like CDR Thompson was in a real pickle trying to search and explain everything the Coast Guard was doing to his boss.

Thanks,
Ron Bright


From Ric

I'm no genius. The Earhart Project Research Library CD, Vol. 1, is a terrific resource.


Subject: Re: AE and DF
Date: 6/16/00
From: Ross Devitt

> Earhart's tranmissions to Lae were heard on 6210 kcs.

I was referring to the transmissions AE was trying to get a NULL on at Lae (and couldn't due to the closeness or power of the transmitter). The transmitter was Lae's broadcast frequency. Was wondering what the frequency was -- out of curiosity.

Yes, I know - I'm the one in Aus, so I can check it out.... I was being lazy.

Th' WOMBAT


From Ric

Oh, okay. You're thinking 21st century procedures. Lae did not have one particular frequency like a modern control tower. Chater says:

At 6.35 a.m., July 1st, Miss Earhart carried out a 30 minute air test of the machine when two way telephone communication was established between the ground station at Lae and the plane. The Operator was requested to send a long dash while Miss Earhart endeavoured to get a minimum on her direction finder. On landing Miss Earhart informed us that she had been unable to obtain a minimum and that she considered this was because the Lae station was too powerful and too close.

Unfortunately, Chater does not say specifically what frequency Earhart was receiving on, but we know that it was her usual practice to transmit and receive on the same frequency. If "two way telephone communication was established between the ground station at Lae and the plane" then it had to have been on one of three frequencies -- 3105, 6210, or 500. Without a trailing wire, the Electra had effectively no ability to transmit on 500, nor was the Western Electric 20B able to receive that frequency -- so we can forget about 500 kcs. Earhart considered 3105 to be her "night time" frequency because propagation on the frequency is best during hours of darkness. Chances are, therefore, that the test was carried out on 6210 kcs (no mention is made of a change in frequency before the "long dash" is sent). If that is true, then it's no wonder that she was not able to get a minimum -- 6210 is way too high a frequency for effective DFing with the equipment she had. AE really doesn not seem to have understood the necessity for using lower frequncies when trying to DF.

I love it when you ask these questions. It forces me to go back and re-read stuff and all kinds of new details crop up.

LTM,
Ric


Subject: Re: Cold War Warriors
Date: 6/16/00
From: Rick Seapin

Wow! sounds like you had it rough during the Anglo-Greco War. What a Hell hole. I was lucky, I was sent to a vacation village called Quang Tri.

(You guys are warped. )

My question, when AE crashed on take-off in Hawaii, I understand the make over cost 50k. Who put up the money for repairs? Is there a record, and were more powerful engines installed on the Electra at that time or is that bunk?


From Ric

According to Carol Osbornes' book (written with AE's sister Muriel), Amelia My Courageous Sister, the repairs cost roughly $14,000. Osborne provides no documentation for that figure but she has an extensive collection of original paperwork she got from Lockheed when she worked for the company. She also says that an equal sum had to be raised to provide for the worldwide logistics of the flight. Earhart seems to have done "fund-raising" to cover the expenses. Bernard Baruch sent $2,500 "Because I like your everlasting guts." Richard Byrd sent $1,500. Jackie cochran's husband, Floyd Odlum put up $10,000 and Vince Bendix, one of the original Purdue contributors, kicked in another $20,000.

The engines on the airplane when it was inspected following repairs were the same ones it was delivered with -- 550 hp Pratt & Whitney R1340 S3H1 "Wasps" serial numbers 6149 and 6150.


Subject: Re: AE & DF
Date: 6/16/00
From: Hue Miller

Ric says:

>Where the Navy instrument has 7 switch positions, Earhart's coupler has
>only 5.....August 1937 Aero Digest magazine says... the commercially
>available Bendix Direction Finders "...may be used .....within
>frequency range of 200-1500 kcs."

Makapuu, T. H. beacon was undoubtedly a low frequency beacon, and most probably right in the 200 - 400 kc/s range. We, someone, can probably find the actual frequency. Charts and lists still exist. If the Lae flight, Bendix unit was the same unit, then it doesn't look good for the theory that she had a new, advanced, or secret DF unit for the high frequencies, the short waves. 5 switched ranges would not be an unreasonable number to cover up thru only 1500 kc/s. And, it seems unlikely her Bendix unit would have tuned all the way from 200 kc/s through 7500 kc/s. That would have been desirable, but Bendix apparently could not deliver such a wide range even in the one they supplied the Navy.

>If that is a description of the coupler aboard NR16020 (which it appears to
>be) then the reason that Earhart could not get a null on 7500 was because,
>although her receiver could be tuned to that frequency and hear the signal,
>her Direction Finder could not respond to it.

Okay, so maybe AE didn't pick up on this. How about FN, he seems to have been technically minded? He would have to come forward, right? to turn the loop when things started going bad. Surely he would have checked the DF settings, and would have had to have seen the chart (if it's at all like the Navy type DU ) where you look up the correct number setting to set the dial at. How could he miss that? And yet, they failed in the earlier DF test at Lae. What is going on?

Hue Miller


From Ric

Let's remember that we have no evidence to suggest that Noonan messed with the radio at all.


Subject: Lae Frequency
Date: 6/16/00
From: Cam Warren

Guinea Airways at Lae used 6540 kc for voice, and operator Balfour (with or without AE's knowledge) retuned her communications receiver (WE) to that frequency so he could converse with her after she took off for Howland. (He transmitting on 6540, she transmitting on 6210).

For the test DFing, however, I recall she was attempting to get a CW signal from nearby Salamua. Or, if not, then Lae's CW transmitter.

Indications are that GA's transmitters were not licensed. The call signs do not show up in the Berne list. The Itasca tried "LAE" which, at least according to logs, came out "PAE".

Cam Warren
(whose Aussie pen name is "Trevor 'Boomer' Blinman")


From Ric

Whoa there Cam ol' buddy. Where does it say that Balfour "retuned" Earhart's receiver to 6450?

>For the test DFing, however, I recall she was attempting to get a CW signal
>from nearby Salamua. Or, if not, then Lae's CW transmitter.

What are you recalling from? That's not what Chater says she did. Do you have a more reliable source?


Subject: Howland DF
Date: 6/17/00
From: Don Neumann

..'BEARINGS RADIO DIRECTION FINDER ON HOWLAND CONFIRMED APPROXIMATE POSITION. '...

Perhaps a dumb question by a non-radio person, however, if the 281 radio message was a hoax, upon what was the Radio Direction Finder on Howland taking a bearing? Also, I seem to recall that the RDF on Howland was being operated from batteries on the Itasca, which was no longer in the vicinity of Howland.

Additionally, the website posted by Dan Postellon, describing the hair raising adventures of the yacht Barnacle & its crew at Flint Island, certainly documents the great difficulty experienced in trying to navigate a course to a very remote island in the central Pacific, even with avaliable & reliable, modern radio communications!

Don Neumann


From Ric

>upon what was the Radio Direction Finder on Howland taking a bearing?

No way to tell. Were they hearing a weak signal from close by or a strong signal from far, far away?

>I seem to recall that the RDF on Howland was being operated from batteries
>on the Itasca, which was no longer in the vicinity of Howland.

We're not talking extension cords. The Itasca had batteries that were normally used to rotate a gun platform. In this case, the batteries were brought ashore and used to power the HF/DF on the island.


Subject: Lae Frequency
Date: 6/17/00
From: Cam Warren

>Where does it say that Balfour "retuned" Earhart's receiver to 6450?

Gotcha! You should research these things a bit more carefully, using the "scientific method" of course.

(I'm going to start betting you $100 a pop on points like this, to pay for all my time re-confirming everything for "ol' buddy" Ric. So this is the last freebee.)

Balfour himself said he did it, in a letter to Gervais, and probably elsewhere, although I could understand he might have felt a bit guilty, considering the consequences of his self- serving action.

I wrote a piece about it, but decided "The Man Who Murdered Earhart" was a bit strong, and I couldn't think of a better title.

Oh, if you'd restudy the Chater Report (Page 4 of the original) you'll find:

At noon on June 30th Miss Earhart tested out the long wave receiver . . . on 600 meters. During this period the Lockheed receiver was calibrated for reception of Lae radio telephone, and this was, on the next day, tested in flight.

Further down the page:

At 6:35 a.m., July 1st, Miss Earhart carried out a . . . test . . . . when two way telephone between the ground station at Lae and the plane. The Operator [Balfour] was requested to send a long dash while Miss Earhart endeavored to get a minimum on her direction finder." She later reported no success "because the Lae station was too powerful and too close.

Elsewhere it was reported she tried Salamua, with no better result. (Not confirmed).

Oh, and your good friend Dick Strippel also mentioned "two- way" 6540/6210 messages between Balfour and Earhart until the presumed switch to 3105. (This is what is known as "duplexing" to us radio guys.) He's the only person besides me to pick up on Balfour's fiddling.

Perhaps I should further point out that 6540 was indeed the frequency of the Lae station, and it was not a simple matter to switch it to 6210 (in those days). Much easier for Balfour to retune AE's receiver to 6540, while he listened to her on 6210.

Nuff said?

Love to Dad - his day is coming up.

Cam Warren


From Ric

Not nearly 'nuff. Before you gloat yourself to death, let's take a look at your evidence.

>Balfour himself said he did it, in a letter to Gervais,...

Anecdotal recollections offered decades after the events in question. Maybe true, maybe not. An indicator of what MIGHT be true. Nothing more.

> ...if you'd restudy the Chater Report (Page 4 of the original)
>you'll find:
>
>At noon on June 30th Miss Earhart tested out the long wave
>receiver . . . . on 600 meters. During this period the Lockheed
>receiver was calibrated for reception of Lae radio telephone,
>and this was, on the next day, tested in flight.

Let's look at the whole quote:

At noon on June 30th Miss Earhart, in conjunction with our Operator, tested out the long wave receiver on the Lockheed machine while work was being carried out in the hangar. This was tested at noon on a land station working on 600 metres. During this period the Lockheed receiver was calibrated for reception of Lae radio telephone, and this was, on the next day, tested in flight.

"600 meters" is 500 kilocycles. The Western Electric 20B had four bands:

Band #1 covered from 200 to 400 kcs;
Band #2 covered from 550 to 1500 kcs;
Band #3 covered from 1500 to 4000 kcs;
Band #4 covered from 4000 to 10,000 kcs.

So how, I wonder, did Earhart's "long wave receiver" receive a signal on 500 kcs? Chater's reliability on this detail seems a bit shaky and he doesn't mention at all what frequency Balfour calibrated the receiver to. If you can provide documentation that the Lae radio telelphone transmitting frequency was 6540 kcs (as you claim) then you'll make your point, but you haven't done it yet.

>Elsewhere it was reported she tried Salamua, with no better
>result. (Not confirmed).

Where is elsewhere? Without a source this is meaningless.

> ...your good friend Dick Strippel also mentioned "two-
>way" 6540/6210 messages between Balfour and Earhart until the
>presumed switch to 3105.

Your good friend Dick Strippel didn't understand the rules of evidence any better than you do. Balfour's anecdotal claim of two way communication is directly contradicted by Chater - a contemporaneous written primary source.

No contest.

>Perhaps I should further point out that 6540 was indeed the
>frequency of the Lae station, and it was not a simple matter
>to switch it to 6210 (in those days). Much easier for Balfour
>to retune AE's receiver to 6540, while he listened to her
>on 6210.

I say again, 6540 may have been Lae's standard transmitting frequency but, so far, you have not established that.

LTM,
Ric


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