Amelia Earhart Betrayed Excerpts
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED
TO AMELIA EARHART AND FREDERICK NOOONAN
AND TO ALL VICTIMS OF BETRAYAL
EITHER BY GOVERNMENTS
Amelia drove her Cord up the Mulholland Drive hill to their North Hollywood home. She liked the mountain road’s twists and turns and handled the fine machine like it was on a racecourse. She likened speeding in her Cord to flying. She could always think clearer when her adrenaline was flowing. When she got home she called Fred Noonan in New York and briefly told him about the meeting. She outlined the mission as best she could over the phone. “Well, Fred, what do you think, is it possible?”
“From a navigation point of view, most definitely; I don’t know the mechanics of it. Will we have the fuel for the extended legs of the trip? What do we know about aerial photography?”
“Off hand, I don’t know. According to Kelly Johnson we have the fuel for a 4000 mile trip or maybe that just smoke and mirrors to get Perdue University to buy the airplane? George seems to think we have several really big benefactors, but they are always anonymous. The bill for the repairs to the Electra is going to be astronomical. It will probably take all the money we put aside for the round the world flight just to pay for fixing the aircraft after the Hawaii fiasco. I don’t know if we have the money for another attempt. This gentleman could make it possible for us to make history.”
“You don’t have to sell me, Amelia. Remember what I told you after the crash in Hawaii?”
“Yes I do, Fred. You said, ‘when you’re ready to fly again, I’ll be ready to go along.’ Can we do it?”
“I think we can do just about anything, Miss Amelia Earhart, ‘Lady Lindy’, just about anything.” This nick-name became popular because she gained about the same fame as the world-renowned Charles Lindberg, who also reveled in breaking near impossible flying records.
“What about Mary, will she be all right with this?”
“She wants what I want and she can’t know anything about what we’re actually doing.”
“George will be in the same boat. Seems a shame we can’t tell them.”
“Maybe not, they would probably just worry more. And, they’d probably just try to talk us out of it.”
“Good bye Fred, I’m really glad you’re going.”
“Me too, Good bye.”
Amelia felt good about Fred’s attitude. He wouldn’t go with her if he didn’t think they could accomplish the mission. Tomorrow she would agree to the Man from ONI’s mission.
July 2, 1937
Tokkeitai Headquarters (Japanese Naval Secret Police)
The Tokkeitai compound was on the east side of the atoll about 100 yards from the beach. It consisted of seven single story wooden buildings on stilts. The entire compound was enclosed on three sides by a high wall, topped with two strands of electric wire. The beach side had only an electrified wire fence. The radio intercept section was in one end of Hut 2. The section personnel were monitoring Amelia’s frequency. Navy Lieutenant Commander Ohayashi, Officer in Charge, was being updated as each intercept was received. Ohayashi had stepped outside to watch the early morning dawn, one of his favorite times of the day. Since the gentle breakers on the beach were visible he guessed the time should be about 15 after 6 o’clock. He turned, walked back into the hut and looked at the clock. 6:16, not a bad guess, he thought. He was taking a drink from his canteen when the radio crackled to life. “Earhart calling Itasca, please take a bearing on 3105 on the hour, will whistle in the microphone about 200 miles out approximately, whistling now.
“Very strange, her asking for a bearing on such a high frequency, I wonder if she meant 500 kilocycles? What do you think Sato?”
Lieutenant Commander Sato was the head of the Intelligence Section located in the other half of Hut 2. He had been back and forth between his own office and the radio intercept section since they got the emergency alert about the incident at Truk Atoll. “I don’t know, but it would seem to require further investigation, maybe after this situation is resolved?”
“I think you’re right. She is only 200 miles from Howland and it looks like she is going to slip through our fingers.”
“It would appear so….”Sato’s voice trailed off as he looked at the clock on the wall. He was beginning to fear that they would never intercept Amelia’s aircraft. “You’re exactly right, I think. A pity, she probably has spoiled many years of hard work.”
Ohayashi’s face showed his concern. “Do you have any suggestions?
“Pray for a miracle, our only hope is that she won’t find Howland Island.”
“I’m afraid that hope is almost gone. She is only two hundred miles from her destination and doesn’t seem to be concerned about finding the island.
Sato’s face darkened as he realized how hopeless the situation was becoming. “Let me know if there is any change, I have other matters to attend to,” Sato said over his shoulder as he left the room.
Ohayashi went back to listening to the radio. He understood what she was saying because he spoke English, only school English. That’s because he hadn’t been educated in the United States. Many of his contemporaries had been selected to attend a university in America, but he had been too valuable in his present position to spare for any length of time. The same was true of Sato.
Sato walked to Hut 7 in the northeast corner of the compound. It was surrounded by an electrified fence with a gate in the front. A guard at the gate snapped to attention when Sato entered. The 3 enlisted men in the front room jumped to attention when Sato opened the door.
“Let’s get this over with!” His voice was an order.
One of the men slung his rifle over his shoulder as he walked to a locked door at the far end of the hut. The two young sailors in the locked room got to their feet when the key turned in the lock, so they were standing when the door opened. They both snapped to attention when Sato appeared at the door and pointed to one of them. The chosen prisoner turned pale as he stood waiting and Sato motioned for him to come out of the room. Both of the prisoners looked as if they had been questioned rather brutally. The area around their eyes was black and blue and several cuts were apparent on their faces. The selected man was missing 3 fingernails on his right hand and the bloody ends indicated they had been yanked out very recently. The other man was missing the thumb and forefinger on his left hand. They had obviously been lopped off within the last two days.
Take him outside and tie him to a pole!” Sato ordered.
Two of the guards walked the prisoner outside and tied him to one of the two poles standing between the back of the building and the beach. Sato watched the guard lock the other prisoner up and walked outside.
“You’re lucky, you confessed and we are in the process of arresting the other members of your group. The other prisoner didn’t talk, so his death will not be as easy as yours.” Sato spoke in low even tones. He drew his pistol and with a very fluid motion raised it and shot the man in the side of the head. The man’s head snapped to the left and fell forward. His legs buckled and he slumped. Sato had been careful to shoot him so that nothing got on the pole.
“Feed him to the sharks,” Sato ordered.
The two guards cut the man loose letting him fall to the ground. They then dragged him by the feet to the gate where the third guard had a truck waiting. The limp body was unceremoniously dumped into the back of the truck and they drove off to the Tokkeitai “cemetery”. The cemetery was a pier that jutted out into a calm, very blue ocean that shimmered in the sunlight. This beautiful scene was briefly interrupted as the body made a resounding splash. Within two minutes the cruising sharks moved in for a short feeding frenzy and devoured the lifeless body. The three guards knew that within the next couple of days the man left in Hut 7 would also end up there, but he would be tied hand and foot and still alive.
While Sato was taking care of business, Ohayashi had heard Amelia’s last call. He had just finished some quick calculations when Sato came in.
“She made another call; she’s 100 miles from Howland. 100 miles in 27 minutes, I just figured it out, that is 205 miles per hour. No wonder our planes couldn’t catch her. Our information was that she normally flies at 140 miles per hour.”
Sato looked somewhat puzzled and finally said, “It doesn’t change anything, she gave us the slip and there will be hell to pay when the brass gets hold of it. I’m sure somehow it will be our fault. Not doing our job, you know.”
Ohayashi nodded in agreement. A woman pilot had not only flown over Truk Atoll, but probably had taken pictures of their super-secret installations. And the final insult, she had managed to evade their fighters. Very embarrassing to say the least, especially in a country like Japan where women did not garner the respect they enjoyed in other countries. After all, this was 1937.
As Captain Kozaka watched the shore of Gardner Island recede into the distance, he felt confident that his men had gathered all traces of the castaways. He had no way of knowing that Noonan’s lighter and a broken jar of anti-freckle cream lay trampled in the sand. These hidden items would one day bear silent witness to their six day ordeal.
Copyright 2012 – Published by American Stripes, Boynton Beach, Florida, U.S.A.
Praise for two expert pilots, Robert “Bob Wheeler and Harold “Fred” Nicely and AMELIA EARHART BETRAYED
“Wheeler and Nicely did one heck of a research job. The book informed as well as entertained.”–John Ray, Retired Flight Instructor, Instrument Flight Examiner and DOT Trained Accident Investigator, Retired Army
“Very believable! Difficult to know where fact ends and fiction begins. I felt like I was there.”–Steven Alford, Senior Airline Captain, Certified Flight Instructor, Retired Army CW5.
“She embodied the spirit of an America coming of age and increasingly confident, ready to lead in a quite uncertain and dangerous world”
“NASA may have said I could not go into space. But nobody was there to tell Amelia Earhart that she could not do what she chose to do.
“…Her legacy resonates today for anyone, girls and boys, who dream of the stars.”
“She gave people hope and inspired them to dream bigger and bolder.”
Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, in a speech March 20, 2012 in Washington D.C. to welcome scientists launching a new expedition to find the lost aviator, Amelia Earhart.
“She boosted the capabilities of trained and talented women.”
“She was a competent lady…didn’t get excited about little things.”
“She was very knowledgeable in her field…a can do woman.”
George Palmer Putnam Jr., step-son of Amelia Earhart, in an interview with the author at his home on March 27, 2012.
“I want to tell you, Amelia Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshall Islands and were picked up by the Japanese.”
WWII Fleet Admiral Chester A. Nimitz conveyed to CBS journalist, Fred Goerner in 1965
A portion of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated to an Amelia Earhart Expedition.
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