- The 82 year old man who inspired the current Tinian Earhart
Expedition has been stuck with the same clothes since he arrived on island
- Saint John Naftel's luggage went to Saigon instead of
- "The airline company is giving him a daily clothing
allowance," said Bob Silvers, one of the founding members and spokesman
for the Tinian Earhart Expedition. "But there arne't that many places
to buy clothes here."
- "He's been out at the site the whole time,"
Silvers said. "He's in great spirits, has lots of energy and is energized.
Today, we dug from about 8 to 5 and he's not missed a thing."
- "Today's activities concentrated on finding the
road that Naftel was shown in 1944. The archeological teams have been digging
to delineate the accurate position of the old road to verify the location
that Naftel pointed out," Silvers continued.
- "We're working in the middle of a cow pasture,"
he explained. "We've cleared out more road and found some bones around
noon, but we don't think they're human bones. We've found an inner tube,
old porcelain Japanese rice bowls with the blue decorations, bottles and
junk, which are the types of things that people would toss along a roadside."
- "We're in the right area," he went on. "People
wouldn't throw this kind of trash in the middle of a pasture."
- "Everyone is wet, sweaty and muddy," he described.
"Even the PhD's like Dr. Kar Burns have mud caked to their pants,
hands and boots."
- "That's the business of archeology," he said.
- The dig logistics are under the watchful eye of Mike
Fleming, site director.
- In the event that human bones are found and identified,
Fleming will stop all work and focus the dig on that one area.
- "If human bones are confirmed, the area will be
gridded off," Silvers said. "Reference points will be set up
for a survey, and then it will be secured. The work then shifts to trowel
and brush excavation. Then the search begins for bones that have enough
mass so that they can be tested."
- "The best thing to find would be teeth we could
send for verification," he explained. "I think one of Amelia
Earhart's nieces would be able to provide DNA for verification purposes."
- The niece, Amy Kleppner, lives in Vermont, has been through
this before and has said that she needs proof before providing her own
- Everyone is doing what they can to help, and according
to Silvers, the dig is more like a big party.
- "The whole island has gathered to support us,"
he said. "About 12 of the islanders have been cooking all day and
tonight we're all going to a huge fiesta. The hospitality has been amazing.
Even Epi, the Director of the Historic Preservation Office and the Mayor
of San Jose are down here helping. After hours, the entire group gets together
and shares their ideas for the next day. It's fantastic."
- The group of about two dozen ranges from the expedition
members to the PhDs to six students from the University of Guam who, according
to Silvers, are having the field lessons of a lifetime. "I watched
today as Dr. Kar worked with her group. As they dug, she'd stop and describe
what she was doing and why she was doing it."
- Jim Sullivan, Tinian Earhart Expedition founding member,
told me that he watched as beer bottles, bowls and an old military truck
were excavated in the search for Earhart.
- Then he said "Sandy, I have someone who wants to
talk with you."
- Next thing I knew, I was speaking with a man named Jerry
- He's a retired history teacher and school superintendent
from the Riverside School district in Eastern Washington State. He's from
the town of Chattaroy, which is near Spokane. He and his wife, Eleanor,
are on vacation, visiting World War II sites in the Pacific Islands.
- I told him I was born and raised in Seattle and we immediately
hit it off.
- "We're WW2 history buffs," he explained. Then
he went on to describe how he and his wife, Eleanor, came to be standing
next to Jim.
- They had already visited the Agana Spanish Bridge and
the War in the Pacific memorials on Guam, flew to and visited Rota and
thought they were fortunate when they found themselves on the island of
Saipan last Thursday, November 11, for Veteran's Day.
- Then Eleanor started telling me about how they were at
the American Memorial on Saipan. "The Navy's Seventh Fleet was there,
including the crew of the Blueridge," she said.
- The USS Blueridge, LCC 19, is the Seventh Fleet's command
ship and Commanding Officer, Capt. J. Stephen Maynard, was the featured
speaker at the Veteran's Day ceremony on Saipan.
- "The Navy Band was there and that evening gave a
concert of mostly 40's music," she said. "Then the power went
out and the band started playing rock and roll! It was so much fun!"
- The next day, they picked up a local newspaper and read
a front page story about the Earhart dig.
- "You read my story in the Variety?" I asked.
- "We sure did," she answered. "After that,
we tried to figure out how to get to the Earhart site on Tinian and here
- Talk about a small world.
- The third day of the dig begins at 8 a.m. Sunday morning.
The group's efforts will concentrate on clearing the pasture from the old
road as they keep looking for clues.
- "We're still looking for the exact place that Naftel
was shown," Silvers concluded. "We're all still quite hopeful
and very confident that we're in the right area." _____
- 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
- More of her articles can be found at:
- http://blogs.salon.com/0003531/ http://blogs.salon.com/0004117/