Earhart Expedition -
The Day After

By Cassandra Frost
I found myself late last night down at the Marriott Hotel with Jerry and Eleanor Wilson.
They are from Eastern Washington State and, by pure coincidence, found themselves at the Tinian Earhart Expedition dig. They'd been on a WWII tour of the Northern Marianas Islands and, after reading a newspaper article that Iíd written, found themselves carrying a cooler of ice and a box right into the dig site.
We spent a few hours at breakfast yesterday, comparing notes.
Then, Jerry called me last night and said "Sandy, I know where Amelia's buried."
"I'll be down after work," I answered.
If you're reading this article, you probably have it. Jerry and Eleanor have it. The Tinian Earhart Expedition has it. Thousands of our readers have it. And I have it.
We all have the highly-contagious 'AEF' - which is short for 'Amelia Earhart Fever.'
Jerry had made notes on three pages of Marriott stationary and drew a little map. He's a retired history teacher and school superintendent.
He drew a map of the old road he'd spent an hour on with Saint John Naftel at the dig.
Jerry excitedly explained his research and reasoning behind his conclusions, which are, by the way, being explored and seriously considered.
They walked up and down the road, between some pipes that were sticking up out of the ground, for about an hour.
"He (Naftel) had on faded blue jeans and a Hawaiian shirt with old fashioned station wagons on it," said Eleanor. "He was deep in thought as he and Jerry walked up and down the road, over and over."
As they walked, Naftel told the Wilsons some old war stories.
Apparently, Tinian's main crop during WWII was sugar cane.
After taking over the island, the Japanese needed workers to keep production going so they could send the sugar back to their country. They enticed people to work in the fields and, according to what Naftel told the Wilsons, the Japanese ripped up the employment contracts after the workers arrived so they became slave labor.
When Tinian was liberated August 1, 1944, so were the sugar field workers. The U.S. Army divided those left on Tinian into three groups: POWs, natives and the slave laborers.
The laborers were hired by the U.S. and Saint John Naftel was in charge of a group of the workers. He drove them back and forth to work, and one day, in 1944, one of the workers from Hawaii said "I've got something I want to show you."
As they drove along the road, the worker told the driver to slow down, and then pointed to where he had helped bury the bodies.
"It was a woman and she was unique because she had slacks on," the worker said. "I saw her and didnít know the story but I heard it was the lady who was flying around the world."
"Amelia Earhart?" Naftel asked.
"Yes," said the Hawaiian. "She was wearing a shirt with at metal pin, with wings on it."
After that, Naftel was sworn to secrecy because the Hawaiian man had been threatened with death if he told anyone.
Naftel told Wilson another story about having to pick a bone with Eleanor's uncle who'd been on Tinian at the same time, serving as an MP or military policeman in the Army.
"According to Naftel, the Army had cases of beer," Wilson reported, "boxes were stacked about 20 yards long and six feet high. And the Army would not share the beer with the Marines."
There was one Marine unit on Tinian at the time, the 18 AAA Anti-aircraft battalion, the same one in which Naftel served.
"So," Wilson continued, "the Marines found where the Army hung their laundry to dry and, in the middle of the night, would take the Army uniforms off the clothesline, put them on, walk into the Army camp, take the beer, hang the uniforms back up and then go back to their camp."
The Wilson's had taken pictures of Tinian and Eleanor was kind enough to show them to me.
One of the pictures she showed me was of one of the airfield from where the Enola Gay took off to drop the bomb on Hiroshima.
The picture was of pink flowers growing on vines, like Morning Glories, pushing up through cracks in the airfield.
Jerry and Eleanor flew out of Guam at 8 a.m. to spend a few days in Hawaii before heading back the cold of eastern Washington.
They'll probably be the hit of every Christmas party they go to this year.
Back to the expedition.
I'm picking Jim Sullivan up from the same airport in about 45 minutes.
Others, like Jennings Bunn and Saint John Naftel, headed from Tinian to Saipan, then flew on to Japan and back to the states.
Naftel's lost luggage was supposed to be waiting for him. (His luggage had been mistakenly shipped to Saigon, not Saipan, so the poor man didn't have his clothes with him during the dig!)
OK, Iím back home now from picking up Jim Sullivan.
He's tired and dirty. As I'm writing, he's on the phone, lining up guests for tonight's radio show.
He's the one who introduced me to the Wilsons. He's also the host of 'The DEEP,' a local science radio talk show on Guam's Newstalk K-57.
If anyone has 'AEF,' Jim probably has it the worst. Were it not for him and his radio show, the expedition would never have taken place.
I updated him on my call to John Mark Joseph, the staff archeologist at the CNMI Office of Historical Preservation or OHP on Saipan.
The office is staffed with a Historic Preservation Officer, professionals in the field of History and Archaeology, Historic Preservation Coordinators, Specialists, and Technicians. In addition, HPO is equipped with a federal grants manager, a community development specialist, and administrative assistants. The Office is under the auspices of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs.
They issued the permit that authorized last week's dig and are now trying to work with the maps to pin point the road that Naftel remembers being on in 1944.
"We're trying to get everything in place in the office," Joseph said. "We're trying to help the expedition with their research."
Joseph said that the Earhart dig isn't the only thing happening in the northern Marianas.
"We have tons of projects on all the Marianas islands," he continued. "Saipan, Rota and Tinian. The Earhart dig is not the only thing going in our historically rich environment."
Once the geographic software program is loaded into the computer and things are set up, the topographical layers will be superimposed to see where the old road is. The different GPS points will be included into the digital data crunch.
When will this start to happen?
"We don't know yet," Joseph said. "We're really busy right now."
Next: An interview with Jim Sullivan
Cassandra 'Sandy' Frost is an award winning e-journalist and editor who has covered the topics of Intuition, Remote Viewing and Consciousness from an Athabascan or Alaska Native point of view the past three years.
More of her articles can be found at:



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