The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






Tokyo Rosa

Bizarre, Fascinating, and Wacky World War I & ll Secrets.

by Cecil Owen

A young female American prisoner is being dragged by her hair down the jungle trail. She tries desperately to keep her balance as they stop before a freshly dug grave. Her face is swollen and scarred by being repeatedly beaten by her Japanese captors. Her head is drawn back forcefully by her hair. "Tokyo Rosa" (not to be confused with the wartime Tokyo Rose) is what everyone has been calling her. Her hair is light brown and cut short like a man's hairdo. She is wearing a pair of dirty men's pants cut off below the knees. Her short sleeve blouse is open down the front. Many cigarette burns are visible on her arms and chest. The blouse is torn and blood stained, some dry and some fresh. Tokyo Rosa is indeed a tragic and forlorn figure. She is a small  frail and very pitiful looking person but the surrounding Japanese officers are showing no mercy what-so-ever. A bright sharp Samurai sword is flicked across her cheek. It causes fresh blood to appear and makes another scar. "Tokyo Rosa, you Yankee dog of a woman, confess that you are a spy," shouted the Japanese interrogators. "If you do, then just maybe we will let you go." She laughed through swollen parched lips, knowing better than that. For she had already been forced to kneel for several hours before an empty grave. Rosa was forlorn and resigned to her fate. For she felt that the end of her life was very near. She was taken from her prison cell in the Japanese prison Saipan, to this lonely jungle clearing. Her eyes still blazed with contempt and defiance, which infuriated her Japanese captors. The highest ranking Japanese officer present was with the Japanese Military Police. He stepped behind her with a pistol and pointed the gun at her head. Twice he pulled the trigger and the hammer fell on an empty chamber. He laughed with glee, as this was one way the Japanese caused prisoners

Cecil Owen

to suffer needlessly. Then one shot rang out and she fell face down into the open grave. This was the end of "Tokyo Rosa" as the Japanese and the Saipan natives all called her. "Tokyo Rosa" meant only one thing back in 1937 ... American Spy Woman. Her real name was Amelia Earhart. Many reliable witnesses know that this is what really happened to the popular globe trotting Aviator.

Her full name was Mrs. Amelia Mary Earhart Putnam, because she was married to New York publishing magnate, George Palmer Putnam. However, Amelia was an eccentric individual who wanted to be called simply, Amelia Earhart, but she became so popular that she was called by many other names, including "The First Lady of the Air."

Amelia had already made and broken just about any record with any airplane that existed. This was to be her last flight and the most spectacular flight of all times. Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan would fly completely around the World along the Equator. During the month of June they had already covered almost 25,000 miles. They needed only 2,500 more miles to complete their record breaking flight therefore, on Friday morning July 2, 1937 at 9:30 am, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan took off from the airfield at Lae, New Guinea.

Their twin engine Lockheed Electra 10E(NR16020) silver airplane was overloaded with extra gasoline but it lifted off the field at the last moment. Their final destination was supposed to be Howland Island, just 2,556 miles away. There the United States

Navy had constructed a special air strip just for Amelia Earhart. Two U.S. Coast Guard Cutters, the Itasca and the Ontario, were anchored nearby. They were to guide her to the tiny Howland Island (one half mile wide and a mile and a half long). But sadly enough, Amelia's beautiful and shining silver Lockheed Electra was never seen by either ship.

This was supposedly her last radio transmission; "We are on the line of position 157 dash 337. Will repeat this message. We will repeat this message on 6210 KC. Wait listening on 6210. We are running North and South." This message was received by the Coast Guard Cutter Itasca. Then Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan and her Lockheed Electra, supposedly completely vanished without a trace! The U.S. Navy immediately launched one of the largest search forces ever assembled .... and found nothing.

Later the Navy announced; " Amelia ran out of gas and ditched her plane in the Ocean, then she and Fred drowned." This was the story that was accepted by the media and spread around the world. Why then, not a sliver of air plane wreckage or debris, no scrap metal or paper, no oil slick, no human remains, or any other tangible evidence of a ditching at the ocean was ever found? The truthful answer is very simple, Amelia Earhart did not ditch her airplane into the ocean.

Recently this writer was very amused as I watched the History Channel. Two self proclaimed "Experts" took two hours to prove she did. They retraced her whole flight and pinpointed the exact spot where she went down. Another "Expert" used side scan sonar on five miles of cable that reached the depth of 18,000 feet. In fact he surveyed 600 miles of ocean bottom ..... but found nothing.

In 1937 Japan was well advanced in their military buildup of the Marshall Islands. Already there were bases at Kwajalein, Mili, Maloelap, and Jaluit Islands, while their headquarters was in the Mariana Islands in Saipan. No one could enter any of this territory without special permission. It was very important that the United States gain accurate information about these illegal


The popular Amelia was a close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt and she also knew her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He persuaded Amelia to become a special spy, just for him. She would fly over the Marshall Islands and especially Truk Island. No one would suspect that she would be taking photographs of the bases.

Just a few months earlier Amelia's first attempt to fly around the world had ended in failure. Amelia started in Oakland, California, and the first stop was Honolulu, Hawaii. As she was flying around the world west to to east, the second stop would be Howland Island, which was 1,800 miles away. But Amelia crashed, trying to take off from Ford Island in Pearl Harbor Honolulu, Hawaii! So her Lockheed Electra was crated up and shipped back to Lockheed Aircraft Plant in Burbank, California.

The U.S. Navy took charge and had the plane rebuilt and highly modified. Two larger military engines were installed (Pratt Whitney S3N1-550 HP each). Six gas tanks in the wings and six more in the fuselage that would carry 2,000 gallons of gas. All of the latest radio and navigational equipment was installed. This included two Fairchild aerial-survey cameras installed in the lower bay fuselage. Lockheed technician Robert T. Elliot recalls cutting the holes for the cameras. Therefore, this special airplane furnished, Amelia could fly faster and higher than any Japanese plane that might pursue her. 

On this second attempt to fly around the world, the Navy reversed Amelia's flight plan. That is why Howland Island became her last stop! She could fly over the forbidden Japanese territory and photograph their bases. Then she could land on Howland Island and the Navy would quickly remove the cameras and the film. But as Amelia flew over the Marshall Islands, she was spotted as an intruder. Also in the area was the Aircraft Carrier AKAGA. (This is one of the aircraft carriers that would attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941).

Zero fighter pilots were sent aloft to force the American plane down, one way or another! One pilot stated, "we were not told that the intruder was a world famous American Aviator." The Japanese pilot that shot Amelia down made one fly-by. But Amelia ignored the zero, so on the next pass he fired both machine guns. Amelia swerved downward and crash landed on the beach at Mili Atoll. The Japanese were in no hurry to pick them up, as they were having war games.

No one could enter this area, and the American search party had been warned to stay away. For this reason, Amelia Earhart was able to send out an SOS for four long days, and they were heard as far away as Los Angeles, California!

It is incredible that we did not try to get them out. Fred Noonan had a cut in the middle of his forehead. He also had a badly infected cut on the knee. A sixteen year old native medical corpsman from naval hospital on Jalvit Atoll, tended to Fred's wounds. His name was Bilamon Amare, he said the Japanese called the American woman "Meel-ya, Meel-ya." Bilamon also remembers seeing their airplane with a broken left wing.

Fred Noonan was beheaded in Saipan, just a few days before Amelia Earhart was shot. There are hundreds of reliable people that saw both of them in Saipan. Some are natives who lived there, and some are American servicemen who were there at the time.

Army Sergeant Thomas E. Devine was shown where they both were buried. They were not even buried in a cemetery, but do lie side-by-side. Devine has been trying for all these years to bring the bodies back to the United States for DNA testing. But Saipan officials still refuse to allow them to be exhumed. And the U.S. Government still has everything classified.

It seems a shame that these two lonely graves still remain on foreign soil. It seems that Fred Noonan and Amelia Mary Earhart are two people without a country.

With Our Own Eyes - Mike Campbell.
Lost Star -  Randall Brink.
Missing Believed Killed - Roy Conyers Nesbit.
The Fun Of It - Amelia Mary Earhart.