by Mike Campbell, author of “Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last”
The few Earhart enthusiasts who regularly read my blog (Earhart Truth) are aware that the second of the two major storylines that describe Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, the near-complete media blackout of the book, has greatly overshadowed its most important aspect – its presentation of the most comprehensive and compelling case ever for the presence and deaths of Amelia and Fred Noonan on Saipan.
I won’t go into details about all the radio hosts, newspaper people and bloggers who’ve pledged to help, only to back off and ignore me after they learn the unpleasant truth about the wretched ends of our two heroes almost 77 years ago. The ugly truth in the Earhart case simply doesn’t fit into the rose-colored worldview of most of our media types. It’s not PC and “it’s not artistic,” as Rosie Perez told Billy Hoyle, Woody Harrelson’s character in White Men Can’t Jump, as they argued about winning versus losing on a bus ride in South Central Los Angeles. And, for most of the rest, it’s just not important anymore, what happened to a pair of Americans who landed in the wrong place the Pacific in 1937 and paid for it with their lives. Now, of course, we have the continuing cover-up and mystification of the truth, which long ago became an accepted piece of our cultural furniture that none but a scant few even questions anymore. And don’t forget, the wonderful Japanese people have been our best friends in the region since 1945, and we don’t want to re-open old wounds or embarrass our friends, would we?
At the risk of being accused of extreme redundancy and even sour grapes, I must say it again: The establishment’s aversion to the truth in the Earhart case is very real, and it has been trending even worse than normal until only recently, when a distant point of light emerged from the most unexpected place I could have imagined.
In mid-December, Larry Knorr, Sunbury Press publisher, advised me that he had received a phone call from Kay Alley, vice chair of the Kansas Chapter of the Ninety- Nines, the international organization of licensed women pilots, with members from 35 countries and over 5,500 members worldwide. Ms. Alley asked Larry if she thought I might be interested in speaking at the Ninety-Nines South Central Section Fall Meeting, to be held in Wichita, Kansas, the last weekend of September, 2014. Is the Pope a Catholic? I’ve talked to Kay a few times already, thanked her profusely for this golden opportunity, and we’re on track for the last weekend in September. Kay also says that two other aviation groups that are having conferences at the same time in Wichita have expressed their interest in having me speak to them, so this could be even bigger than we initially envisioned.
Here’s more about the remarkable organization that is the Ninety- Nines, who elected Amelia Earhart as their first president, taken directly from the Kansas Chapter’s website:
The organization came into being November 2, 1929, at Curtiss Field, Valley Stream, Long Island, New York. All 117 American female pilots had been invited to assemble for mutual support and the advancement of aviation. Louise Thaden was elected secretary and worked tirelessly to keep the group together as we struggled to organize and grow until 1931, when Amelia Earhart was elected as first president and the group was named for the 99 charter members.
Today Ninety-Nines are professional pilots for airlines, industry and government; we are pilots who teach and pilots who fly for pleasure; we are pilots who are technicians and mechanics. But first and foremost, we are women who love to fly!
Our Headquarters, located at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is home to our large archival records, video oral histories, personal artifacts, collections and memorabilia, and biographical files on thousands of women pilots from around the world. This is also the site of our 99s Museum of Women Pilots.
To say this elite group of women pilots is pure “establishment” would be an abject understatement. The Ninety-Nines are universally respected as the ultimate group of professional female aviators – “aviatrixes” in the old parlance. For them to recognize the existence ofTruth at Last at all is more than any establishment organization, outside of a few chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a Kiwanis group and some senior assisted living facilities in Jacksonville have done so far. But the Ninety-Nines carry serious weight, and others who have previously looked askance at this book may reconsider after the September event. This presupposes that my presentation will be good, and so I’ll do all I can to be as ready and professional as I can. I’ve already begun to assemble a comprehensive power point presentation that will tell the Truth at Last story in 90 minutes, and there’s plenty of time to polish it.
Finally we’re going to get a real break, an opportunity to make friends and influence people, all because just one woman likes my book, recognizes the truth and is in a place where she can make a difference. That’s all it takes, so basically it’s in God’s hands. Perhaps the most amazing irony of all –it’s almost impossible for me to label this a coincidence – is that the Kansas Chapter of the Ninety Nines is, of course, the chapter of Amelia’s state of birth.
A few others who want to help this cause are also beginning to emerge. David C. Henley, the publisher emeritus of the Lahontan Valley(Nevada) News, has promised to do a story for the Carson City newspaper, the Nevada Appeal, after he takes some photos of the old Garapan jail on Saipan during a forthcoming visit to the scene of the crime, and I’ll be on Truth Frequency Radio this Sunday, March 9 at 5 p.m., EDT. A few other things are in the works, but it’s too early to announce anything.
So please stay tuned. As I’ve told Larry Knorr several times, “This book has not yet begun to fight!” Nor have I.