Interview With
Saint John Naftel

By Cassandra Frost
Tinian is best known as the launching place from which a B-29 named the 'Enola Gay' took off on August 6, 1945, loaded with the 'Little Boy' atomic bomb that it dropped over Hiroshima.
The components for the two atom bombs, 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man' were brought to Tinian by air, while the critical atomic cores were sent by sea on the USS Indianapolis. Special loading pits were constructed on Tinian to place the bombs into the B-29's.
Another B-29, 'Bocks Car', had accompanied the Enola Gay to Tinian. Shortly after the Enola Gay returned to base after its historic, deadly flight to Hiroshima, 'Bocks Car' departed Tinian and dropped the other atomic bomb, 'Little Boy', on Nagasaki.
Today, 59 years later, a cow pasture on the island is the focus of an historic archeological expedition searching for clues about the one of the biggest aviation mysteries of the last century: the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, on July 2, 1937.
The Tinian Earhart Expedition has spent the last four days searching in a hot, steamy, rainy, jungley area for the remains of the two lost fliers.
In 1944, Saint John Naftel was a young USMC Gunner's mate who was assigned to duty on Tinian. His job was to drive workers from a just liberated Japanese internment camp back and forth to the town of Old Tinian.
One day, a Hawaiian man held captive by the Japanese for years before the Americans liberated Tinian and the camp, confided to Naftel that he had been forced by his Japanese captors to dig two holes and help bury two white people, one a woman, the other a 1937.
The man showed Naftel the exact spot just off the road Naftel drove the former prisoners back and forth each day.
The Hawaiian told him how the Japanese said that if he ever told anyone about the graves, they would force him to dig another hole...for himself. Naftel said the Hawaiian man did not tell him of the graves for nearly ten days after the Americans had freed him so fearful was he of the Japanese threat.
The Expedition
A year ago, the Tinian Earhart Expedition was formed at a coffee shop on Guam. The members, Jim Sullivan, Bob Silvers and Jennings Bunn, then flew to Tinian several times and when they had located the general area described by Naftel, they made arrangements to fly him out from Alabama.
For the past four days, all the men and several other highly-skilled archeologists and volunteers were back at the same spot on Tinian directing the Tinian Earhart Expedition excavation.
Saint John Naftel, who is now 82, has been on site the entire time and hasn't missed a thing. (Except for his clothes that were accidentally shipped to Saigon instead of Saipan.)
Earlier today, he spoke to a history class of about 20 sophomores and juniors at Tinian High School.
"One of the things that the children did not know," Naftel began, "is that Tinian was occupied by the Japanese. I told them how the island had many air strips on it."
He then told them about Suicide Point...where many native Tinian islanders had thrown their babies and children off the cliff into the sea and then jumped to their deaths after them - so brainwashed were they by the Japanese that they actually believed the advancing Americans were going to cook and eat their babies.
Naftel has literally spent the last four days out in the field - now a cow pasture - but so far, nothing conclusive has been discovered. How does he feel?
"I'm not giving up," he said. "We just haven't hit the right spot yet. After 67 years, it's going to take some sort of miracle to pinpoint it. But I really think (eventually) we will find her (Amelia Earhart)."
"We're going to use all of our options to find the grave sites," Naftel continued. "I know that the road did exist and we discovered some old coral road beds just yesterday." (The Japanese used coral as a base for all the roads they constructed on the island before and during the war.)
"It will just take a while. We're working to get an old map from Hawaii, and (we'll) keep at it."
Naftel had packed something useful in his lost luggage. A metal detector.
"It could have helped," he said. "There is a lot of shrapnel around here, so we'd have been digging a lot. But it might have helped find any metal that Amelia or Fred may have had on their clothes."
"I just don't want this knowledge to go to my grave. That's why I wanted the children to know. If nothing else, I want to make sure that everything has been done in a very positive way to help solve this mystery."
"I'm so pleased that so many people have responded," he continued. "Everyone from the man with the mechanical earth moving equipment (backhoe) to Bob Silvers of the Tinian Earhart Expedition."
"Bob has brought vast insight to the process," Naftel explained. "Everyone has really put out the effort to make this happen. I'm just very grateful" he concluded.
Naftel will leave Tinian tomorrow, flying back to his home in Alabama.
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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