Fix on the Rising Sun is more than a tale of piracy and murder. It is, as well, a "bill of indictment" which may ultimately close the books on one of the darker events in aviation history: the disappearance, on July 29, 1938, of Pan American Airways' trans-Pacific flying boat, Hawaii Clipper. And if a proper Epilogue is ever written, it will document the recovery, from a concrete tomb, of her nine crew and six passengers-the Ultimate MIA's of the War in the Pacific.
But the Hawaii Clipper did not simply "disappear:" she was hi-jacked to Truk Atoll by radical officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Her fifteen crew and passengers were murdered and entombed within a slab of wet concrete on Dublon Island at Truk Atoll and, quite inexplicably, the United States Government continues to keep this secret for the Japanese government - and from the American People - as it has, since 1938.
The charge of piracy is well documented and supported by evidence transmitted from the Clipper during her final flight under American colors - westbound out of Guam. An exhaustive analysis of the flying boat's last five reported positions demonstrates that her flight reports were deceptive and that her falsely reported approach to Manila was in conflict with Pan American Airways' usual flight policies. Most importantly, the analysis clearly indicates Japanese involvement in piracy by radio-deception and suggests not only the Clipper's destination, but her true position at the instant that her radio signals ended abruptly - on approach to an Imperial Japanese Navy seaplane base, at Ulithi.
As to the fate of Hawaii Clipper's nine crew and six passengers, the 1964 report, asserting that they had been entombed in a concrete slab, came from two Micronesians, known to have had close ties to the Imperial Navy's Fourth Fleet, as contractors, at Truk, in the late 1930's. (As the foundation of the Fourth Fleet naval hospital, the slab was the later site of numerous medical war crimes.)
And, while this account, as related to the author by Joe Gervais (who interviewed the former Truk contractors in 1964), does not constitute "hard evidence," it surely stands, for all its wealth of detail, as consistent with the documented facts of the Clipper's loss.
Beginning with the Air Safety Board of the CAA, which left the case open in 1938, many have pursued the elusive Clipper, with limited success, and one can only speculate as to their respective reasons for eventually abandoning her. Perhaps it became apparent to each of them that there are forces, not only interested in, but actually intent upon, preventing this story from ever reaching the public eye. Most assuredly, there is reason to believe that Hawaii Clipper might unlock many doors to the past and that, beyond those doors, sixty years of history may prove to be little more than a house of cards.
If the victims of flight 103 of Pan Am's Maid of the Seas, which was destroyed by a bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, are deserving of the national memorial which has been dedicated to them, then, surely, the dead of PAA's Hawaii Clipper deserve, at the least, a decent burial. Then, too, it should be apparent that the only valid deterrent to international crime, whether committed by rebels - or by empires - lies not in threats of retribution under the Law, which is so often corrupted by policy, but only in the absolute assurance that Truth will not suffer silently for long, or lie buried, forever.
Although the primary aim of this book is the recovery of the fifteen Ultimate M.I.A.'s, Truth, alone, is a goal worthy of pursuit, as well, and if this quest is successful, then the Truth, unveiled at last, may serve both our peoples: the Americans - and the Japanese.