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Earhart's Final Resting Place Has Not Been Found ... Lost Flight Group disproves Evidence Earhart Perished on Gardner Island (Nikumaroro)... Howland Island Has Been Overstated

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         With all due respects to the Discovery Channel and reporter Rossella Lorenzi, nothing new in the Gardner Island searches has produced any credible evidence of the Earhart loss. If there had been any material findings, it would have been on exhibition and touring the United States as the last remains of Amelia Earhart and her airplane. This has never happened. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) and its director, Richard Gillepsie, believes the Earhart airplane crashed at Gardner Island (Nikumaroro), made a forced landing on the island's flat coral reef and was washed overboard by Nikumaroro's strong waves. It is, he believes, lying in deep water leaving no visible trace. The reef at Gardner Island is known to be wet and extremely slippery which leaves grave doubts that anything was rescued from inside the airplane or that the occupants of such a crash even survived or made it to shore without being swept over the side. The theory, in fact, is so nebulous it has not attracted any commentary except for an occasional reporter and a collection of TIGHAR die-hards who insist on chasing what amounts to very dubious evidence. The most recent of the TIGHAR episodes claim a photo taken in 1944 shows the landing gear of the Earhart airplane impailed off shore at Howland Island. What TIGHAR forgot to state is that it was probably debris that washed out to sea such as a tree limb or underbrush that temporarily caught up offshore on the reef that surrounds Gardner Island. The landing gear is one of the strongest parts of an airframe. To detach the landing gear would have required the airplane hitting the ground and nearly demolishing itself. It would have killed the occupants, but Mr. Gillespie doesn't have to worry about such things because the debris (or whatever it was) no longer exists. How convenient? Then TIGHAR comes back with more "junk" from the beach in the form of pieces of a glass jar that supposedly contained Amelia Earhart's "freckel cream." The sample of the jar found at the "seven site" was clear glass. The actual "freckel cream" jar used a white opaque glass, but this doesn't worry Mr. Gillespie. There is no way to connect such spurious evidence to Earhart.  The truth of the matter is it doesn't make sense to a great many people. What Gillespie fails to mention is that a woman accompanied the Laxton expedition to Nikku in the 1940s which could explain the freckel cream if indeed it was freckel cream. Gillespie himself states, "So far, the researchers have not been able to match the exact size of the artifact jar to a known jar of Dr.Berry's freckel cream. Moreover, and most  important, the exact contents of the jar that was found is an unkown."

The Skull and the Skeleton

       According to a Discovery Chanel reporter and anthropologist Karen Burns: "The evidence is plentiful -- but not conclusive yet -- to support the hypothesis that Amelia landed and died on the island of Nikumaroro," forensic anthropologist Karen Ramey Burns told Discovery News. The author of a book on Earhart, Burns believes that the strongest of the amassed evidence comes from the report related to the partial skeleton found by Gallagher (British Colonial Service officer Gerald Gallagher).  "The skeleton was found to be consistent in appearance with females of European descent in the United States today, and the stature was consistent with that of Amelia Earhart," said Burns. However, the findings dispute the evidence as being "plentiful" and "amassed." The truth of the matter is the evidence is exceptionally dubious and has never been traced to Amelia Earhart.The bones were shipped to a Dr. D. W. Hoodless in Suva, Fiji, to see if he could make a basic identification. Hoodless had 13 bones to work with, including the skull and some long bones from the legs and arms. His conclusion was that the bones belonged not only to a European, but a European male who was about 5'6" — significantly shorter than Earhart who was 5'9." The documents say nothing about her navigator Fred Noonan. If the bones were thrown out in the trash how did Anthropologist Burns come to the conclusion that the bones were consistent with the size of  a European female? The Hoodless commentary appears to be the most accurate as he had the actual bones there for observation.

        Without the evidence of a Caldwell Luc operation on the skull, the whole matter is closed. Amelia Earhart suffered from a chronic sinsitus condition. Surgeons who did a bilateral Caldwell Luc operation on AE in July 1935 drilled two holes in the upper bone of the skull (maxima) to relieve pressure in her continuing sinus problem. These two holes would still be quite visible. There is no comment in any of the reports offered by  Hoodless that the skull contained evidence of the Caldwell Luc operation. The Western Pacific High Commission (WPHC), headed by Sir Harry Luke, who was also the Governor of Fiji, ordered the examination of the skeletal remains and the other materials by various authorities. Since forensic science has advanced so much in the last sixty years, TIGHAR wanted to test DNA from the skeleton and determine to a high degree of certitude whether or not the bones were those of Amelia Earhart. However, the problem is since Dr. Hoodless had said the bones could not possibly belong to Earhart it is possible that any of these men may have said in effect, “Oh, just get rid of that stuff. I can’t be bothered with it.” Consequently, the bones have disappeared and no one knows of their whereabouts. The box of bones and the box with the shoe parts and corks and the sextants box were just junk they supposed, and they were trashed. If this is what happened in fact took place the evidence is gone. Under such circumstances it would be very hard to build any type of a scientific case that the bones that were found by Gerald Gallagher were the last remain of Amelia Earhart.   In 1960, the late Floyd Kilts, a retired Coast Guardsman, gave an interview to the San Diego, California Tribune. His speculation was based on what he said he had been told by one of the colonists while Kilts was helping dismantle a Loran station on Nikumaroro in 1946.

"A native tried to tell me about it. It seems that in 1938 there were 23 island people, all men, and an Irish magistrate planting coconut trees. They were about through and the native was walking along one end of the island. There in the bush about five feet from the shoreline he saw a skeleton. What attracted him to it was the shoes. Women’s shoes, American, size nine narrow. The magistrate was a young Irishman, who thought of Amelia Earhart right away. He put the bones in a gunnysack and...in a 22-foot, four oared boat started for Suva, Fiji. When only about 24 hours out of Suva, he died. The natives are superstitious, and the next night they threw the gunnysack full of bones overboard."

       Mr. Kilts' contention that Amelia Earhart's skeleton was found in 1938 on Gardner Island comes with no credible evidence and bases his assertions entirely on what "a native" told him. According to Mr. Kilts (from Eric Beheim) had Floyd Kilts first revealed to the world his "bones" story via a posting, it is quite likely he would have received a response such as this: "It is Mr. Kilts' contention that Amelia Earhart's skeleton was found in 1938 on Gardner Island. He comes to us with no credible evidence and bases his assertions entirely on what "a native" told him. According to Mr. Kilts, this skeleton was found with American-made woman's shoes, size nine narrow. Really, sir! Do you expect us to believe that a native, who probably never wore a shoe in his life is going to be able to recognize that a shoe was made in America, that it is a woman's shoe, and that it is a size nine narrow? But Mr. Kilts' story gets even better. It seems that the island's magistrate "a young Irishman" put the bones into a gunnysack and, along with four natives, set off in a 33-foot 4-oared boat for Suva, Fiji. Mr. Kilts, do you expect us to believe that they intended to row a distance of some 887 nautical miles on the open ocean? Mr. Kilts then contends that, 24 hours out of Suva, the Irishman died and that the superstitious natives threw the gunnysack full of bones overboard. (How convenient for Mr. Kilts, since there is now no way for anyone to contradict his story!) You can mark me down as astonished by Mr. Kilts' claims, etc., etc., etc." I think the point here is that even the most outlandish assertion might have a grain or two of truth among the chaff, and it we could be making a big mistake by writing it off too quickly. (who never heard of Floyd Kilts).. Eric this skeleton was found with American-made woman's shoes, size nine narrow. It is hard to believe that a native, who probably never wore a shoe in his life, is going to be able to recognize that a shoe was made in America, that it is a woman's shoe, and that it is a size nine narrow? But Mr. Kilts' story gets even better. It seems that the island's magistrate, a young Irishman, put the bones into a gunnysack and, along with four natives, set off in a 33-foot 4-oared boat for Suva, Fiji. It is hard to believe that they intended to row a distance of some 887 nautical miles on the open ocean. Mr. Kilts then contends that, 24 hours out of Suva, the Irishman died and that the superstitious natives threw the gunnysack full of bones overboard. So much for another "bones" story.

Earhart DNA Research Update

March 1, 2011Cecil M. Lewis, Jr., Ph.D.Molecular Anthropology Laboratories University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma                                          

At the request of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), University of Oklahoma re­searchers have been evaluating a bone fragment excavated from an archaeological site on Nikumaroro (formerly Gardner Island). TIGHAR is testing the hypothesis that Amelia Earhart died as a castaway on the uninhabited Pacific atoll. The bone fragment’s structure and the context in which it was found have led TIGHAR to wonder if it might be part of a human finger. TIGHAR also asked OU researchers to evaluate small clumps of material recovered from the same archaeological site to determine whether they might be human fecal matter. At this time the analyses of the TIGHAR samples are inconclusive. We are providing this update in recognition of the high level of public interest in the outcome of this investigation.

The Bone Fragment:  We were not able to retrieve sufficient DNA from the bone sample to be able to provide any definitive statements on the bone’s origin. The bone fragment was very small, approximately one gram of material. Following appropriate ancient DNA pro­tocols, we attempted to extract DNA from .25 grams of the material. We used a real time Polymerase Chain Reac­tion method (real time PCR or rtPCR) to detect human mitochondrial DNA in the extract. Two of these rtPCRs provided a positive result. However, during quality control protocols, we were unable to repeat this result with ad­ditional rtPCRs. This suggests that either 1) the initial detection of human DNA was attributed to a sporadic DNA contamination event, and in reality, there was no usable human DNA preserved in the extract, 2) there was human DNA in the extract, but it was too little, or of too poor of quality, to consistently analyze, 3) DNA in the bone was non-human. A second DNA extraction also failed to provide positive results for human DNA. Because the bone is clearly from an animal, human or otherwise, additional PCRs were used to detect animal DNA more generally. These PCRs provided no positive results. The fact that these PCRs were unsuccessful suggest that either 1) there is no animal DNA in the bone, 2) there was animal DNA in the extract, but it was too little, or of too poor of quality, to reliably analyze, 3) the PCR design was ineffective for targeting the particular animal. Approximately 0.5 grams of bone material remained after our study. For posterity, we have decided to preserve this remaining bone. Genome technologies are developing at a rapid pace. To what extent ancient DNA research will benefit from these developments remains to be seen. Nevertheless, there is reason for optimism that some day in the near future, less destructive, and more sensitive genomic methods will be able to resolve the bone’s origin. For now, the question of whether the bone is human must remain unanswered.              Reference...http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/Bulletins/59_DNAResearch/lewisstatement.pdf

 

 

         Extensive official British government records confirm the discovery in 1940 of the partial skeleton of a castaway who perished while attempting to survive on Nikumaroro sometime prior to the island's settlement in 1939. The remains of a fire, dead birds and a turtle were present. With the bones were found a sextant box bearing a stenciled number that is similar to a number written on a sextant box known to have belonged to Fred Noonan, Amelia Earhart's navigator. The remains of a woman's shoe and a man's shoe were also found at the site. Also at the site were "corks with brass chains" thought to have been from a small cask which may have come from the Norwich City, a wrecked freighter off the coast of Gardner Island. A Benedictine bottle found with the remains may have also been part of the cache. The bones were from one of the lost crewman. The woman's shoe possibly came from an American woman Laxton had an American woman with him on Niku in 1949. The forgotten Sextant box could have been from the drunken navigator of the Norwich City affectionately named Mad Mac McGregor. Some of the "discoveries" have been so comical that, in 1992, the Detroit News ran the above cartoon. TIGHAR, the instigator of these stories, assumes everything is related, and they framed it all in Earhart survival stories. More recently, a TIGHAR research expedition came back with supposedly dried human feces off the beach at Nikumaroro, on the premises that Amelia Earhart left a deposit to dry in the sun oblivious to over 70 years of tropical storms and erosion. They are searching the specimen for Mitochondrial DNA

"Amelia Earhart's Shoes"

         P.B. Laxton , a sort of explorer-naturalist, visited Nikumroro, circa 1949, as part of the Phoenix Island surveys. He wrote in the "Journal of the Polynesian Society," a South Pacific publication, of his exploration on Nikumaroro. It is a very comprehensive history of Niku begining with the Arundel plantation thru the WW 2 activities. They found a house built by a settler, Jack Kima. Off the southern end of the house  there was the bathroom, lavatory and washbasin. "An American lady who had visted with us earlier when the house had been unoccupied for some time, had proceeded to the lavatory, which is of the "thunder-box" variey, and found it full of dynamite. She later washed in the neat and impressive hand basin.
        Laxton never identifies the lady but she must have been with the group during the entire period. In the "Journal" he also writes that a Jack Cartland, from West Africa, spent three days in the Spring of 1947on Niku again evaluating the island for settlement. Also a Lands Commissioner from Cartlands staff arrived on Jan 1,1949, also looking for settlement possibilities. These visits by Laxton and his party (unknown how many except for sure his wife), Cartland, and the unnamed Lands Commissioner were all over the island and could account for the provenance of many of Tighars artifacts which they try to link to Amelia. Rouge, compacts, mirrors, shoes, sextant boxes etc could all have come from these people. In sum it is a wonderful history of Gardner Island (Nikumaroro) and the various settlements. He also describes how Maude and his assistant, Bevington, and party, arrived on 13 Oct 1937, and explored the island from top to bottom. They made fires at night to scare away the crabs, etc. They were aware of the possibility AE crashed there later revealed in letters to TIGHAR. They didn't see any signs whatsoever of Amelia or Fred or the Electra. If AE and FN were alive 3 months later, they would have seen those huge bon fires.
Amelia Earhart’s shoes, the effort of a book written by the TIGHAR head archaeologist, Tom King, turned out to be the wrong size. Earhart was a very small woman and probably wore a size 6-1/2. The Cat’s Paw heel which was found by Tighar on one of their expeditions came from a size 9-10 shoe. The heel from the shoe that was found buried in the sand on Gardner probably came from one of the women who had lived or visited on the island.

The Sextant Box 

    The sextant box discovered by Gerald Gallagher in the summer of 1940 on Niku was described as being "old fashioned," and it had the number "3500" stenciled on it and another number 1542. He thought the box had been painted  over with black enamel. The actual sextant was never found. No specific descriptions of the dimension or the internal configurations were provided. Gallagher, thinking they could be linked to Earhart or a castaway, sent the box to Australian aerial navigator Harold Gatty in Fiji. Gatty wrote that the box was "English," old, and "judged that it was used merely as a receptacle" adding he didn't think "it could not in any circumstances have been a sextant box used in trans-Pacific navigation." This conclusion of course would eliminate any kind of aerial navigation sextant used by Noonan, and thus this artifact didn't support an Earhart landing at Nikumaroro.
         But not so fast, Ric Gillespie of TIGHAR wrote in an Oct  2008 Tighar Tracks in a lengthy article he believed that Gatty was in error because he had not taken into account a letter from Noonan to Weems in 1935. In this letter  Noonan wrote that on his Clipper flights he not only carried a Pioneer bubble octant but also a mariner's sextant which was probably a Brandis model as a backup. Ric wrote that Gatty was not aware of this letter leading Gatty to a mistaken evaluation of the Gallagher box. Did Noonan have a modified sextant for aerial use when he left Lae to aid in his navigation? There is reason to believe Earhart's navigator had a Pioneer Bubble octant on loan from the Navy and also the Brandis model. Thus, when Gatty examined the Gallagher box in 1940, he surely would have recognized the rather distinctive handle of the Brandis sextant box and would have recognized any internal modifications or cutouts to allow a bubble device for aerial navigation. There is reason to suspect Gatty accurately described the Gallaher box and did not fail to recognize a sextant box modified for a Brandis bubble type sextant. Supporting the idea that Gatty would have been familiar with this type of equipment, PAA Historian and Gatty biographer,  Dr. Justin Libby wrote that in 1928 Gatty founded a school of navigation in Los Angeles and was "involved in repairing navigation instruments and making air route maps for Pioneer Instrument Company." Gatty, he wrote, also "tinkered with various navigation devices including the development of an air sextant that used a spirit level to provide an artificial horizon." This technique appears to be what explorer Richard Bryd did in 1921 in modifying a standard Brandis mariner sextants. Gatty accurately described the Gallaher box and did not fail to recognize a sextant box modified for a bubble type. His knowledge of Noonan's techniques and his practice of carrying sextants makes it difficult to believe he  was not thinking of the Earhart flight and Noonan's navigation at the time he issued his statement. The old mariner's sextant box found by Gallaher more than likely came from the wrecked English freighter, the Norwich City, who ran aground on a reef off the shores of Nikumaroro in 1929. However, there was also a  PACIFIC AVIATION SURVEY EXPEDITION that was led by E.W.Lee in March 1939 that landed on the island. J. A. Henderson, a part of the expedition who was also considered the "instrument man" and the head of the expedition, reportedly fell and broke his ribs probably carrying equipment ashore. The Sextant was an instrument which should have been Mr. Henderson's responsibility. His evacuation early in the mission would explain an empty Sextant box being found later on Gardner Island without the  Sextant in it. Mad Mac McGregor, as mentioned before, was a Scotsman famous throughout the Pacific who had a colossal capacity for strong drink, may have also been the perpetrator of the Sextant stories. Nonetheless, the Sextant stories are anything but scientific. The available evidence does not lend itself to examination. The actual Sextant is missing and the box, which Mr. Gillespie at TIGHAR does not possess, may have been thrown out in the trash along with the bones and the rest of the "junk" off the beach from Nikumaroro. So much for the case of the Sextant's box.

The Dado, Scrap Aluminum, and Pleixglas

      The TIGHAR group takes particular pride in establishing a piece of scrap aluminum, a dado (liner between the floor and the sides of the fuselage of a Lockheed Electra), and a scrap of plexiglas as being parts that came from the Earhart airplane. They seem to fit a Lockheed Electra design. However, the same as the sextant box, none of these items have been traced to the Earhart airplane. There is no way to identify the source of the findings. It is impossible to prove these airplane parts came from Earhart's Electra. There are no serial numbers or other markings on the parts. It is hard to believe that an Electra could crash on a remote Pacific reef, and the local natives only salvaged pieces of floor liner, or scraps of aluminum or one very small piece plexiglas. These few parts would have been impossible to remove unless the airplane was broken up in a crash or it had been sent to a salvage yard. This would seem to suggest that the dados were removed from a section of wreckage rather than from an intact aircraft. Such being the case, the occupants of the airplane would have probably been killed or severely injured if this airplane crashed on a section of reef at Gardner Island as TIGHAR contends. Complicating the problems associated with artifacts at Gardner Island is that local natives may have hauled the foregoing items in from scrap yards in the neighboring islands. The Dados would have been riveted, glued, or installed with metal screws. It is not the type of installation natives of  the Phoenix Islands would have been adept at uninstalling. Not one single piece of aluminum, or floor liners (Dados), or plexiglass that has been found and has been linked to Earhart's Electra. The Electra was a well known airline transport in its day. The Department of Aviation in New Zealand in May 1965 has records of eight Lockheed Electras flying in the area of the Central Pacific. These airplanes either crashed or lost their airworthiness registration certificates. What was left of the airplanes were broken up and sent to scrap yards. Canton Island in the Phoenix Island group and close to Gardner Island had an operating airfield. It became a stopover point for the Navy Air Transport Service flights to Australia and New Zealand as well as a staging point for attacks on the Gilbert Islands held by Japan during World War II  In November 1946, Pan Am resumed service to Australia and New Zealand via Canton with Douglas DC-4 aircraft.  British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines, Australia's first trans-Pacific airline, used the island as a stopover on the way to Hawaii, flying luxurious DC-6Bs on the Sydney to Vancouver BC, Canada route .Quantas took over this service shortly thereafter, after BCPA went out of business. Canadian Pacific Airlines used the island as well.

             Lockheed test pilot Marshall Headle, Amelia Earhart,  and technical adviser Paul Mantz   In the background is a Lockheed Model 10A sold to Guinea Airways and registered VH-UXI

                                                                                  "The Trec to Gardner Island"   

     The TIGHAR expeditions to Gardner Island started in September 1989. Some 97 years earlier in May 1892, the island was claimed by England during a call by a British sailing ship. Almost immediately a license was granted to Pacific entrepreneur John T.Arundel for planting coconuts. Twenty nine islanders were settled there and some structures with corrugated iron roofs were constructed; however, because there was no fresh water supply a severe drought caused the project to fail. The island remain uninhabited until 1938. On November 29, 1929, the SS Norwich City, a large British freighter with a crew of thirty-five men ran aground on the reef at the island's northwest corner during a storm. There were at least eight fatalities. The remaining crew camped near collapsed structures from the Arundel project and were rescued after surviving several days on the island. On December1, 1938,  members of the British Pacific Islands Survey Expedition led by E.W. Lee arrived to evaluate the island as a possible location for either seaplane landings or as an airfield. Twenty days later more British officials arrived with 20 Gilbert islanders to settle the atoll. All of this took place within eighteen months after the Earhart disappearance on July 2, 1937.  By June 1939, a few wells had been successfully established and there were 58 islanders on Gardner. During this period of time, there were no reported findings of Earhart artifacts including bones or airplane parts.

     The British colonial officer, Gerald Gallagher, established a headquarters of the Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme in the village located on the island's western end, on the south side of the largest entrance to the lagoon. Wide coral-gravel streets and a parade ground were laid out and important structures included a thatched administration house, a wood-frame cooperative store, and a radio shack. Gallagher died and was buried on the island in 1941. During World War II from 1944 through 1945 the US Coast Guard operated a navigational Loran station with 25 crewmen on the southeastern tip of Gardner, installing one Quonset hut and some smaller structures. The island's population reached a high of approximately 100 by the mid-1950s. However, by the early 1960s, periodic drought and an unstable freshwater lens had thwarted the struggling colony. Its residents were evacuated to the Solomon Islands by the British in 1963 and by 1965 Gardner was officially uninhabited.

     Today on Gardner Island, what was once a forest is now dense underbrush. Orderly coconut plantations have become jungles. Houses and administrative buildings have come and gone like the people who built them. The wreck of the Norwich City has steadily deteriorated and has scattered wreckage over the reefs. Pacific storms and winds and the hot tropical sun have taken their toll to the point where there is nothing left but piles of "junk" in the sand. 

Where's the Proof?

     The truth of the matter is there is no proof of Earhart crashing and perishing on Gardner Island. The TIGHAR trips to Nikumaroro have not yielded any results that the research community has been willing to accept. In fact it has turned into some type of a "charade" of  unwarranted claims. However, that doesn't stop TIGHAR from making trips to Gardner Island looking for more evidence, whatever it is they expect to find. If nothing else it helps to keep Amelia Earhart in the news. As long as the Discovery Channel and unknowing reporters can put out press releases, it keeps the pot cooking for those who carry the torch for Gardner Island. Unfortunately, very little of it seems to make any sense. After all has been said and done, without TIGHAR a great deal of information about the Earhart disappearance would not have been available... including the proof that Earhart did not crash at Gardner Island which, if you dig below the surface on the TIGHAR website, it becomes readily apparent such does indeed seem to be the case. Richard Pyle at the Associated Press exclaimed he didn't care what the proof revealed, he wanted the physical evidence of the Earhart loss. That's what makes headlines to his way of thinking. Whether the proof made any sense or not was besides the point. In certain respects the TIGHAR quest for evidence at Gardner Island took a measure of desperation when the group came back with a piece of supposedly hardened human feces off the beach. Evidence? Over seventy years later, the investigation seems to be sliding downhill 
 

Sextant... Never found

Sextant Box... Found but the whereabouts is now unknown (believed to have been thrown out in the trash)

Amelia Earhart's Shoes... The wrong size

Dado (Floor Liners)... Scraps from a Pacific scrapyard

Aluminum Parts... Scraps with no way of identifying the parts as coming from Earhart's Electra

Plexiglass... One scrap from an airplane crash with no way to identify this piece as coming from Earhart' Electra

Bones from a Skeleton... Identity unknown (believed to have been a European male by a Doctor who examined the skeleton; thereafter, the bones were discarded and thrown out in the trash

The Coast Guard Lands at Nikumaroro Island (Gardner) in 1944

A Construction Crew Establishes a Loran Radio Station

In The Official Report Not One Mention is Made of Finding Amelia Earhart Artifacts

From "The Coast Guard at War IV: Loran, Vol. II" (Public Information Division, USCG Headquarters 1946)

GARDNER ISLAND SURVEYED: A survey of Gardner Island, which was about 200 miles west of Canton Island, was made in June [1944], while the landings were being made at Baker Island. Coast Guard plane PBY-5 (Catalina) piloted by Lt. Comdr. Clement Vaughn, USCG, left Canton Island on 8 June, with the survey party, including Lt. Comdr. John F. Martin, USCGR, at that time in charge of Pacific construction; Lt. George L. Kelly, Jr., USCG, commanding officer of Construction Detachment D; and Lt. (j.g.) John H. McGuire, USCGR, who was to build the station there. This island was a British possession under a Resident Administrator residing at Canton Island. It was approximately four miles long and one mile wide, and was to be the site of the master station. A picturesque lagoon was enclosed by the island, with its opening on the south side. A day and a half was spent in examining the station site and in making notes on the condition of the reef, the surf, and the amount of clearing to be done.

Landing of cargo could not be undertaken immediately, for the BALSAM at this time was unloading cargo at Baker Island. However, in mid July, the USS SPICEWOOD* [*SPICEWOOD: A Navy Net Tender, having a single screw, diesel-electric propulsion, a displacement of 1329 tons, a length of 194 feet, a beam of 37 feet, and a draft of 13 feet.], a net tender, arrived to relieve the BALSAM of its cargo hauling duties, and before the BALSAM left, it landed a small party at Gardner Island on 24 July, so that the preliminary work of clearing the site could begin immediately. An LCM was towed from Canton Island and the landing was made three and one half miles from the site on the south side of the island at appoint where the surf seemed the least hazardous. The bulldozer was taken ashore on the first load, and with this the work began. The clearing party consisted of Lt. (j.g.) McGuire, and 14 enlisted personnel. The cargo of 35 tons included only the barest essentials for this party to exist for a month. An Athey wagon, pulled by the bulldozer, was used to carry the cargo of tents, cots, commissary, clearing tools, kerosene lanterns, and personal gear from the beach to the site.

The following day was spent setting up the camp. This was located on the southeastern tip of the island on top of a coral ridge, five feet above sea level. Locating the camp on the ridge took advantage of ocean breezes to cool the nights. There was no fresh water available, so sea water had to be evaporated in a unit which, at best, supplied eight gallons of fresh water an hour. By running this evaporator eight to ten hours a day, enough water could be distilled to fill the cooking and drinking needs, but there was little left over for washing. The party experienced all the hardships of life in the south Pacific. Without any refrigeration, fresh food could not be taken along, so the party ate canned food. Gasoline lanterns were used at night for light, until the electric power plant was put in operation. Only the presence of the enemy was lacking. The Japanese forward movement had not carried them as far west as Gardner.

CLEARING GARDNER ISLAND SITE

The job of clearing a circle of 300 feet radius, for the antenna poles and ground cables, and enough area outside the circle to build the station, was begun by cutting a path from the camp to the center of the circle. Standing in the center of this circle, the trees and vines were so dense that the sky could not be seen, and no sea breeze could penetrate. Palm trees, native hardwood trees, and dense jungle growth covered the entire area. The bulldozer began pushing the brush and vines out of the way, and then attacked the smaller trees. Soon the remaining trees were too deeply rooted for the bulldozer to uproot and fell by itself. These trees were out down by the men, and the stumps were blown out with charges of dynamite. Most of the work had to be done by the bulldozer, not only because it was the most logical way of handling the job, but also because the men could not stand up under the terrific tropical sun. Gardner Island is only four degrees from the equator. These men, who were picked for their physical stamina, found themselves exhausted after a few hors in the jungle. By the second week in August, the site had been cleared, and since the Loran ground system had to be buried about eight inches, the bulldozer next began cutting eight inches off the entire circle and piling the coral up around the rim. On 18 August, one month from the date of the first landing, the SPICEWOOD arrived with the remainder of the station equipment and building supplies. She was loaded to her full capacity of 100 tons, and had in tow a 300-ton Army barg

GARDNER ISLAND SURVEYED

A survey of Gardner Island, which was about 200 miles west of Canton Island, was made in June [1944], while the landings were being made at Baker Island. Coast Guard plane PBY-5 (Catalina) piloted by Lt. Comdr. Clement Vaughn, USCG, left Canton Island on 8 June, with the survey party, including Lt. Comdr. John F. Martin, USCGR, at that time in charge of Pacific construction; Lt. George L. Kelly, Jr., USCG, commanding officer of Construction Detachment D; and Lt. (j.g.) John H. McGuire, USCGR, who was to build the station there. This island was a British possession under a Resident Administrator residing at Canton Island. It was approximately four miles long and one mile wide, and was to be the site of the master station. A picturesque lagoon was enclosed by the island, with its opening on the south side. A day and a half was spent in examining the station site and in making notes on the condition of the reef, the surf, and the amount of clearing to be done.

GARDNER ISLAND LANDING

Landing of cargo could not be undertaken immediately, for the BALSAM at this time was unloading cargo at Baker Island. However, in mid July, the USS SPICEWOOD* [*SPICEWOOD: A Navy Net Tender, having a single screw, diesel-electric propulsion, a displacement of 1329 tons, a length of 194 feet, a beam of 37 feet, and a draft of 13 feet.], a net tender, arrived to relieve the BALSAM of its cargo hauling duties, and before the BALSAM left, it landed a small party at Gardner Island on 24 July, so that the preliminary work of clearing the site could begin immediately. An LCM was towed from Canton Island and the landing was made three and one half miles from the site on the south side of the island at appoint where the surf seemed the least hazardous. The bulldozer was taken ashore on the first load, and with this the work began. The clearing party consisted of Lt. (j.g.) McGuire, and 14 enlisted personnel. The cargo of 35 tons included only the barest essentials for this party to exist for a month. An Athey wagon, pulled by the bulldozer, was used to carry the cargo of tents, cots, commissary, clearing tools, kerosene lanterns, and personal gear from the beach to the site.

The following day was spent setting up the camp. This was located on the southeastern tip of the island on top of a coral ridge, five feet above sea level. Locating the camp on the ridge took advantage of ocean breezes to cool the nights. There was no fresh water available, so sea water had to be evaporated in a unit which, at best, supplied eight gallons of fresh water an hour. By running this evaporator eight to ten hours a day, enough water could be distilled to fill the cooking and drinking needs, but there was little left over for washing. The party experienced all the hardships of life in the south Pacific. Without any refrigeration, fresh food could not be taken along, so the party ate canned food. Gasoline lanterns were used at night for light, until the electric power plant was put in operation. Only the presence of the enemy was lacking. The Japanese forward movement had not carried them as far west as Gardner.

CLEARING GARDNER ISLAND SITE

The job of clearing a circle of 300 feet radius, for the antenna poles and ground cables, and enough area outside the circle to build the station, was begun by cutting a path from the camp to the center of the circle. Standing in the center of this circle, the trees and vines were so dense that the sky could not be seen, and no sea breeze could penetrate. Palm trees, native hardwood trees, and dense jungle growth covered the entire area. The bulldozer began pushing the brush and vines out of the way, and then attacked the smaller trees. Soon the remaining trees were too deeply rooted for the bulldozer to uproot and fell by itself. These trees were out down by the men, and the stumps were blown out with charges of dynamite. Most of the work had to be done by the bulldozer, not only because it was the most logical way of handling the job, but also because the men could not stand up under the terrific tropical sun. Gardner Island is only four degrees from the equator. These men, who were picked for their physical stamina, found themselves exhausted after a few hors in the jungle. By the second week in August, the site had been cleared, and since the Loran ground system had to be buried about eight inches, the bulldozer next began cutting eight inches off the entire circle and piling the coral up around the rim. On 18 August, one month from the date of the first landing, the SPICEWOOD arrived with the remainder of the station equipment and building supplies. She was loaded to her full capacity of 100 tons, and had in tow a 300-ton Army barge

Evidence that Amelia Earhart Crashed and Sank at Howland Island Has Also Been Proven False !!

The Earhart airplane did not crash and sink at Howland Island !!

     Waitt Industries just finished a detailed underwater search for Earhart's Electra in the vicinity of Howland Island. This search combined with the Nauticos search several years proves beyond any question Earhart did not crash in the sea at Howland irrespective of the movie "Amelia" and the two TV specials several years ago. The Waitt Industries search was very thorough and had no budget limitations. This search also negates the Elgen Long book and the Susan Butler which claim Earhart crashed and sank at Howland Island. For the real story of the Earhart loss read "The Lost Flight of Amelia Earhart" available on this website. 

      SAN DIEGO, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Waitt Institute for Discovery (http://wid.waittinstitute.org), a non-profit research organization established by Ted Waitt, founder and former Chairman of Gateway, Inc., has launched its new Search for Amelia Web site (http://searchforamelia.org). Created to publish the full results from the Institute's 2009 search for Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra, the site is also a gateway for information on Earhart's life and legacy. Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared without a trace near Howland Island in the Pacific during Amelia's 1937 attempt to fly around the world.

      The Waitt Institute's recent expedition to find Earhart's plane, known as CATALYST 2, was a collaboration with Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The area surveyed was based on extensive research completed by a team of experienced air accident investigators. The initial search area was a 2,500-square-mile box -- an area equivalent to the state of Delaware -- located off the western shores of Howland Island. The Research Report is available on the site. The search area was 1,100 miles, approximately four days travel for HBOI's Research Vessel Seward Johnson, north of our base of operations in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

      The Research Report is available on the site. The search area was 1,100 miles, approximately four days travel for HBOI's Research Vessel Seward Johnson, north of our base of operations in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

      The mission covered 7,000 linear miles of ocean floor, generating a 2,200-square-mile mosaic, at an average depth of 5,200 meters using a pair of cutting-edge REMUS 6000 Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). The most sophisticated deep-sea search vehicles available today, these AUVs are pre-programmed to operate independently once released from the support ship. When the vehicles reach their planned depth, about three miles beneath the surface, they begin flying over the ocean bottom at an average speed of 3.5 knots using side scan sonar to capture a swath of sonar imagery at least 1,200 meters. The vehicles feature a pencil-beam automatic sonar collision-avoidance system to allow them to operate in rugged underwater terrain. They also have an exceptional degree of navigational accuracy. Once a target is found in the sonar data, the vehicles are then re-programmed to return to the coordinates of the target, do a higher resolution sonar pass deeper and closer to the object, and then a conduct a high resolution photo shoot of the object. Nimble and highly efficient, the Waitt Institute's AUVs are truly revolutionary in the world of underwater search.

      Waitt said, "Our AUVs were able to efficiently search a massive area and then re-acquire, re-image and clearly photograph very small targets including a pipe, a chain, rock formations, a metal drum and even a six-inch-wide cable, well over three miles below the ocean's surface. We've mapped geology no one has ever seen, and we now know far more about what lies beneath the waves in the North Pacific. Waitt said, "Our AUVs were able to efficiently search a massive area and then re-acquire, re-image and clearly photograph very small targets including a pipe, a chain, rock formations, a metal drum and even a six-inch-wide cable, well over three miles below the ocean's surface. We've mapped geology no one has ever seen, and we now know far more about what lies beneath the waves in the North Pacific today than we did yesterday. This work will hopefully not only benefit explorers, but also oceanographers, geologists, biologists and others in the science community."

         Contrary to the Elgen Long book the only thing Waitt Industries found that was recognizable was a pipe and a metal barrel plus assorted rock formations resting on the ocean  floor....