Was Amelia Earhart a Japanese Prisoner on Saipan?

Robert Wallack was an American Marine, serving his country on the island of Saipan during WWII, when he and some fellow Marines found an old safe. They decided to open it with explosives. Inside, Wallack found an interesting object.

The safe didn’t contain money. It contained a brown briefcase. After he, and the others, examined the contents, they concluded that the briefcase may have belonged to Amelia Earhart.

If their conclusion is correct, what was Earhart’s briefcase doing on Saipan (where the Allies launched a massive amphibious assault, followed by a Japanese banzai charge, in 1944)? And ... how did it get there?

Years later, Wallack signed a statement regarding his find. That statement is now maintained at the Library of Congress and is pictured at the top of this page. Among other things, it says:

I grabbed a brown leather attaché case, with a large handle and a flip lock. The contents were official looking papers, all concerning Amelia Earhart, maps, permits and reports apparently pertaining to her around-the-world flight. I wanted to retain this as a souvenir, but my Marine buddies insisted that it may be important and should be turned in.

I went down the beach where I encountered a naval officer and told of my discovery. He gave me a receipt for the material, and stated that it would be returned to me if it were not important. I have never seen the material since...

The case did not appear as if it had ever been immersed in water and the contents were not blurred at all. Therefore, these items could not have been obtained from a plane that had been reported down at sea [in 1937], some seven years prior to this event [he discovered the briefcase in 1944].

Some researchers believe that Wallack’s discovery provides objective evidence of Earhart’s presence on Saipan (after she and Fred Noonan disappeared on July 2, 1937). Other researchers attribute the materials to someone who simply followed Earhart’s round-the-world trip and collected materials related to it.

It isn't just Wallack, however, who provides information that Earhart and Noonan may have ended-up on the island of Saipan.

Eyewitnesses tell interviewers that they, or their relatives, saw a woman fitting Amelia's description. American veterans, who served on Saipan, report that U.S. Marines found Earhart's plane on Saipan's Aslito Airfield (before the aircraft was destroyed, reportedly on orders from the U.S. Navy).

Since its fall to the Americans, in 1944, Saipan—the scene of extensive casualties during the battle—has remained in U.S. hands.

Robert Wallack died, in July of 2008, when he was 83 years old.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 07, 2017

Updated Last Revision: Nov 13, 2018

Media Credits

Statement of Robert E. Wallack, U.S. Marine (retired) #527161. Original document maintained at the Library of Congress


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Was Amelia Earhart a Japanese Prisoner on Saipan?" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 07, 2017. Jan 19, 2020.
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