AND SHORT STORIES FROM EXPERIENCE
Over the years that this site has been open, I have had many comments and short stories sent to me from those who have experienced many things while stationed or passing through the Base of Subic Bay, Cubi Point and the outer areas. Being one that was never stationed in the Philippines during my tour in the Corps, deeply appreciates the comments and short stories that many have taken the time to tell me. I thought that I might pass these comment along for you to read as well. No doubt, these will mean more to you that were there. If only one of these, jogs the memory of an experience that you had, it will make this small effort worth while. Hope you enjoy and thanks to those that took the time to share these with me!
1) Naval Magazine
I was on an AOR, and we used to spend a lot of time out there. That was a real pain because the base taxies couldn't go on the NavMag, so you were stuck riding the liberty bus. There was also no phone out to the ship, so if you missed the last bus at night, all you could do was ride a taxi to the NavMag main gate and wait for a NavMag vehicle to come along who would take you out to the pier, because you couldn't walk out there either. I waited till 4 a.m. for a ride one night.
2) Only Half
While stationed at Subic in the 70's, a friend and I painted the lower half of the palm trees that went from the main gate to admin. We painted them white, only they had already been painted white before so we only painted about half of them. We did, however, sprinkle paint on the grass around the ones we skipped so they were happy when we finished the job in one day.
3) Remember the "White Lady"?
She was supposed to have haunted the base looking for her dead husband. In the 70's, a Marine guard bailed out of the tower on the beach after shooting his full clip at this aperition. All the blood tests for drugs and alcohol were negative, appears to have been self induced halucination. All the jeepney drivers did react to the notion of the White Lady though.
4) Hill Side
Worked as an air traffic controller at the tower. The side of that hill came down east of the tower and killed some people in those support buildings. It almost carried dirt all the way out to the runway. (Area was right below the movie theatre.)
My wife and I were at the high school field. We were going back to the car when she spotted this "cute" little monkey trying to pull the mirror off of another parked car. She made the mistake of smiling and talking to it. Damn she got pissed at me for rolling around on the ground laughing while she was being chased down the street by that furball. At the time, she didn't know, showing her teeth was a sign of aggression to a monkey. Didn't talk to me a couple of days if I remember right.
6) Mike 13
The original Mike 13 was a post that was abandoned some time ago. The rumor was that a Marine was killed there when he fell asleep. I don't know if that is true or just something they told to everyone to keep you from falling asleep on post. I do know that it was the only place in the Mag that I did not like to be at day or night!!! That was the back gate for the Nav Mag. There is a fence off to the left side of the picture but it is overgrown with jungle. The post was moved closer in to the main road for obvious reasons. That place was like somthing out of those old Friday the 13th movies. Real creepy! That road is still used. It leads to a small village and I believe that you can get to Manila somehow from that road. I know it was used alot by visiting higher ups to get to Subic Bay, and the PI military used to bring there wounded in through that part of the Mag to get to the Base Hospital. I saw some prety messed up guys brought in through Mike 13, they were always fighting with the rebels not to far from the back area of the Nav Mag.
7) Dentists Office
I went to the dentist at the Subic Hospital and I walk out of the dentist office with my mouth and head full of Novocain. Dizzy as can be. It's a 100 degrees and I am just able to navigate back to the ship. I take this curtain road which leads me past this building, on the backside away from the beach side, where a group of US Marines are standing. Just about the time I get within 10 paces of the entry, a jeep pulls up. I am in no condition to see who gets out but a lot of Gold-leaf passes in front of me. Next thing I know I'm getting my ass chewed out (rightfully) for not saluting the Officer!! The Sargent, I think, proceeds to take my arm and show me how to salute. They must have thought I was dead drunk at 11:00hrs.
8) Commanders Conference
Ever been in Subic when COMSEVENTHFLT had a commanders conference? When it occured, every flag ship in the 7thflt pulled into Subic/Cubi. I was there sometime in the 72/73 timeframe. In addition to all 7thfleet flag ships, three carriers were in port. There were no BBs but in numbers of Ships and Sailors and Marines it probably made Pearl Harbor seem deserted. The USSR could have drop a tactical nuclear weapon there and essentially wiped out the fighting Navy.
9) Very Large Snake
There was a HUGE python caught around Mango Drive in Binictican Housing. This thing was about 18-20 feet long and as big around as a telephone pole. It had coiled around a dog that was chained to one of these poles that screws into the ground. The lady who had owned the dog, looked out the window and saw this snake and called FSD Subic. The snake was quickly shot in the head with a .38 and met it's demise. I remember seeing the skin in the Fire Chief's office at Fire Station #1 up in Cubi Pt., when I was stationed at NAS Security. It was around 1988-1989, when this incident happened. There was also a picture of this in the Subic Bay News.
10) Captain America
Remember the "Captain America" motorscooter, painted up like the one from Easy Rider? The guy that owned it was flying up the access road one night, late for his midwatch. Was going too fast too stop at the Stop Sign (where the Marine was supposed to wave him up for ID check, etc.), dropped the bike and slid right through the gate along with the bike (which was right beside him as he slid through). Marine stepped out of the guardshack, gave his best umpire move (both hands outstretched) and yelled "SAFE !" Luckily, he had on some leathers and only did superficial damage to himself. The paint job on the bike, however, was a different story. Hard way to get out of a mid-watch.
11) Secure The Bats
One night while on duty at the SPMAGTF(PHIL) head shed located at the Upper MEF Camp, the armed roving patrol came knocking on the door asking for the SNCO on duty. The SSGT and I, a corporal, had been watching a movie and were starting to get bored. The lance corporals on patrol said they had found some Negritos (native Filipinos) prowling around with a garbage bag filled with bats. We thought, what the hell would these guys be doing breaking into the MWR shed and stealing baseball bats? The staff duty went to investigate. About five minutes later, he came back shaking his head. I asked him what was up. Did they give him any lip? Were the bats secured? Again, he shook his head and explained. The bats were fruits bats the Negritos had captured; it was time for evening chow. The SSGT had asked them to collect the bats elsewhere, as the roving patrol was armed and he did not want them to get shot. We went back to being bored, slightly amused and quietly disgusted, but bored.
12) Taxi Ride
I can remember arriving at Clark Air base and thinking, man I'm glad this trip is over. It seemed like the trip from Ohio had taken forever. I remember being real bummed when I found out I still had a bus ride ahead of me. I arrived at the transit barracks about 1400 hrs on a very warm October day. I only had about $3.00 left from having a very good time on leave. Well they told me to report to barracks 7. When I inquired where that was the O. D. took me outside and pointed down this long road. At that time the transit barracks was located near the gate nearest the road to Subic City. Well, being almost broke, I put my seabag on one shoulder and my suitbag over the other and started down that road. Man it must have been 95 degrees that day. I think I had been in the same set of dress whites for about 24hrs. I was about halfway down that road when a white Toyoto taxi pulls over. The diver asked me if I wanted a lift and I thought "what the hell. I'll bum some cab fare when I get to the barracks". Imagine what I felt like when we pulled up to the barracks and the driver turns around and says "thirty-five cents". I knew right then that this place was just a little different.
13) Operation Cobra Gold
I remember Operation Cobra Gold 82, (I believe) where they turned San Miguel into a Mock war zone for 3 days, with amphibious assaults on our beach, and Marine's running through housing in mock conflicts. No dependents were allowed to go outside for 3 days. We just watched World War III from the windows of our houses. They even evacuated helicopter loads of dependants.
14) Vietnamese Refugees
I remember Vietnamese Refugees washing up on our shore frequently, dead and alive, and then they were temporarily housed at our Elementary School Library at San Miguel, and we had a lot of interaction with them, and learned of their struggles and plight.
15) Rainy Season Laundry
I remembered when we would have the laundry done out in town. It was done on the rocks and they would dry them over charcole during the rainy season. And how bad they would smell when you started sweating. I used to worry about it but, everyone smelled the same so to heck with it. Of course there was the one guy in the barracks who unfolded his whites to find a big ole grashopper-looking bug all ironed flat in there. We would also re-stock our lockers and the little light bulb at the bottom that was supposed to keep the mold from forming would heat up everybody's freshly done laundry and the whole barracks would smell like a forest fire.
16) Wall Along Side The Bridge
I see from the picture of the gate that they put up a big wall along the bridge. We used to throw coins into the funnels of the girls in the boats as they yelled to you. Of course, at the same time, you were fighting off the kids trying to put their hands in your pockets.
17) Better Write Home
I was having so damn much fun out in town during my spare time that I hadn't written home for a few months. My mom got worried and sent a letter to the CO asking if I was ok. The CO sent me to the Chaplain, who had me sit at his desk and write a letter home every payday for a couple of months, just so he could keep track of how many times a month I had sent a letter home. He finally let me promise to write home at the day room and not have to go to his office.
18) First Thunder Storm
I will never forget the first real thunder, lightning and rain storm I experienced after arriving at Cubi. I felt like crawling under a rock for protection! I loved those storms in the PI and the nice thing was that you never got cold even if you were soaked.
19) When Subic Closed
When Subic Closed, a lot of the Ground Support Equipment IE, Bues, Govt Vehicles, Portable Generators and even all those Anchors (on the way to Cubi) were transported here to the Seabee Base of Port Hueneme, CA for disposal/storage. For example, the Izuzu Bus that was used between San Miguel and Subic was sent to NAS North Island. A lot of those Portable Generators at the Subic and Cubi Power Plants were also stored here at the base. DRMO was booming for a while. Ever see a bullet proof Subaru or Izuzu 4dr Sedan? They had a dozen or so!
20) Did I, Or Didn't I?
I don't know how it was when everyone else got there, but my first "orientation" speach was from the Division Officer and his advise was....."As for the lovely ladies of Olongapo.....DON'T"! Well..... he never finished the don't part, so I'm not sure know what he meant. I dont know if I did or didn't.
21) Lightening Strike
On one dark and stormy night, while standing duty at Mike 3, we where having some really bad T-storms, and here I was standing in a 50 foot metal tower with a wipe antenna sticking out the top. Well, I had just turned around to look out over the pier when lightening stuck the ground not 100 feet away. I turned to look over at Mike 5 when lighting stuck the beach between us. After seeing that, I said fuck this, I'm out of here and got down. When the Corporal of the guard came around an hour later to change the guard, he ask me what I was doing on the ground. I told him and he was very understanding and told my relief to stay under cover till this storm let up.
22) The Dumpster
As a young PHAN working in the Fleet Air Photo in Cubi Point, I learned a very valuable lesson. While dumping a few bags of trash, two monkeys jumped out of a dumpster and chased me about 50 feet. From that point on in the PI, I never went near a dumpster.
23) Zeros and Chiefs
I remember not having any water and the zeros and chiefs trying to convince us that they were suffering right along side us. Right! I guess that's why the crew smelled like goats and the khaki crowd always smelled sweet and had freshly laundered (and pressed) uniforms.
24) We would tell them the bull!
Well, seeing as how it's been so long since any of us were there, I'll let you in on a little secret...You see, when the "fleet" would make a port call at Subic, that meant big bucks for the bars in Olonagpo and the women would flock to the fleet sailors and us poor base sailors couldn't get no loving for a week or so until the fleet put back to sea.....SOOOOOO.....we spread the stories of what a miserable place it was to scare off the fleet sailors and keep them in the EM club or at the beach or movie theatre...We even had them put Filet Mignon on the menu so the guys would think that Subic or Cubi were "Heaven on Earth", when, in reality, Heaven was just outside the gate. I guess it worked on a least some.
25) A lot of liberty
I pulled a lot of liberty in Subic Bay, got my only case of VD there, plus when I finally finished my sea duty I left the Hancock in February 1965 in Subic and five month later I was on another ship head for Da Nang, Vietnam. I had a lot of good fun memories from Subic to Manila. Furthermore, as a Marine Detachment we made jungle manuver there running around like a bunch of idiots acting like Rambo, boy what a prelude for coming events (Nam).
26) Those big ole monkeys
A fellow on one of those old under powered scooters was trying to make it back up the hill to Cubi mainside from down in the tower area. he was down to the putt, putt stage when a couple, or more, of those big ole monkeys came out of the bushes and attacked him. The word I got was that they were doing a number on him when a truckload of marines getting off watch in the magazines area came along. I guess they had live ammo and layed waste to a bunch of monkeys. Well I didn't see it but, that's the tale. I can tell you that those rascals up by the Cubi transmitter site would engage you in a lively rock fight now and then. They had learned how to pick up and throw rocks and sometimes a fellow would walk outside without thinking, when all of a sudden, rocks would start hitting all around him. Also heard of the apes raiding the 500 man camp up near the Sky Club and stealing stuff out of the Quonset Huts there.
27) In the dirt
I noticed in a few photos a picture of a DC7 landing at the incomplete air base at Cubi Point with an apparent senior officer debarking. He was Admiral Radford and the base was named for him and he was there for the dedication, as I recall. We had to stand a full dress white inspection in the dirt.
In the P.I. when they would bring in some watermelons from the States or Japan or somewhere. (To the best of my knowlege, they didnt grow them in the Islands)... I had a buddy that worked at BOQ, and every once in a while, the Officers would have fresh watermelons. My buddy would filch one every now and then and we would get a rated guy to get us a bottle of Vodka, Gin or some other stateside clear alcoholic beverage, such as tequila or rum, and we would all go down to the beach and lay the watermelon on it's side, cut a big hole in the thing, pour the booze in there and mash it all up with a stick. Then we would put ice inside, put the top back on and punch holes in the melon. Then we took drinking straws and we would use 4 or 5 of them to make a LONG straw and put them into the holes we punched and sit around the melon and suck up the melon drink thru the straws.....didnt take long to get feeling real good and we had some really good drunk times at Dungaree beach that way. Later, when one of the guys got a car, we would smuggle the melons out into town and have parties at some of our favorite clubs, especially the Rio, and get the locals warm and happy with us.............ahhh......watermelon !!!!
29) Aircraft on static-display
One of the aircraft that is on static-display in front of the admin. building on Cubi was actually towed up the mountain by me. I'm sorry to see that it was painted in the colors of the Blue Angels... but what can you do. It is an A-5 that was gutted after it was put out of commission and the Navy was going to destroy it. The captain of the base,.. I'm told (Durant) knew of the signifgance that this was the last A-5 on the west and the last to be retired and asked to mount it on the hill. It was fun getting it up there. As I was towing, there were people ahead of me moving things, blocking traffic, cutting down signs and trees. The base paper had pictures of it and I still have the copy, as well as a picture of me in the newspaper during one of the Phil-Am parades.
30) "George" the water buffalo
Have some hilarious stories about being attacked by monkies in our yard (Officers quarters), snakes, and of course, "George", the water buffalo who used to leave his "calling card" in our yards and was found one night, sitting at the bus stop (waiting for a bus?)
31) The last CV to leave Subic
Before CV62 entered into the port of Subic Bay, the Airwing flew off the carrier. When we left, our hanger deck was full of equipment from the base, trucks, boats, golf carts, shop equipment, etc., which we took back to Yokosuka, Japan. We were the last CV to be at Subic.
32) Off Road Motorcycle Track
There was a dirt track on base for motorcycles. It was located just west of the Officers Housing area, between it and the beach. We got our hands on a Road Grader from Special Services and created it ourselfs. We had races every-other weekend. We would draw people from Clark, and the Subic/Cubi areas. This was 1972 and people would either get their bikes from the Navy Exchange on Subic, go to Japan, or have them shipped from the states once they got over here and found out what we were doing. There was a motorcycle shop on-base at Subic where some folks got their bikes repaired. A group of us had our own little side shop going since I grew up desert racing in California and was a bike mechanic before coming to the PI. I guess you could't sit around and drink San Miguel ALL of the time!!
33) A Blue Guard
One of my worst memories at George Dewey High School, that I could remember, was of a shooting. An unarmed Blue Guard was supposed to be "Blue Guarding" us. (Don't know from what) Well, a Marine came by him on his rounds and caught the BG sleeping behind the cafeteria. To prove he was sleeping, the Marine tried to take a photo and the BG actually had a gun on him. He shot the Marine twice in the neck and chin area. Unfortuatly the class bell rang, to change classes, just as the Marine was being rolled by me. I thought that the Marine had been shot in the chest by all the blood I saw. He survived though. The bullets went through his neck, over his lower jaw and out the side of his face. Both of them. We never did find out exactly what happened to the BG, but rumor was that the Marines Company killed the BG. As I said though, that was rumor.
34) George Dewey High School 1990
One time, the Navy Band came out to the School and played some rock tunes to us kids during a lunch break. There was a Globe in front of the school. Every year the seniors would come out and paint up the globe. That thing must have had about 40 layers of paint on it.
35) Spanish Gate Snack Bar/Cafeteria/Restaurant
The Spanish Gate Snack Bar and Cafeteria was a good place to go. On the right side of the building was the Spanish Gate Restaurant, it was an alternative place to dine with a filipino band providing dining music. However, the front side was a snack bar, a great place to get a complete american breakfast for about $1.50
36) Absolutely the finest SOS
I spent 26 years in the Navy and a good share of them in the PI. I will say this, absolutely the finest SOS I ever ate was at Subic Bay. We used to drive up there either from Clark or from Commsta San Miguel just to eat at the chow hall and get that SOS.
37) Closed the gate from Subic to Cubi
Looking at the pictures of Cubi reminds me of a night in 61 or 62 that I had a delivery to make at the Carrier Peir. Security was so damn tight that they closed the gate from Subic to Cubi. I don't know what I had to deliver, but arrangements had been made to let me thru. That was the night that a U-2 landed at Cubi Point.
38) Re-Batching plant
In the 50's we had a Milk plant for Subic and the 13th Air Force. They had the re-batching plant at Clark to turn Powered Milk back into liquid. Talk about bad! I still don't drink milk to this day!
39) Red Line Brig
I was told that Subic was the last of the redline brigs. Too bad. Another fine institution bites the dust. I still remember walking in to the turnkey's office that first day. That 3rd class crow on my arm really got them off, not to mention my apparent inability to remember that SIR was to always be the first and last word out of my mouth. Did pushups in sets of 30 till I puked, then was shown where the buckets were so I could clean it up. Finally began to get the idea. One positive thing though. I quit smoking. Wasn't about to go up and ask those bastards for a cigarette 4 times a day. Figured if I had to get by on 4 I didn't need them at all. Course I started again a few months later.
40) Ginebra San Miguel
The PI I has stuff called Ginebra San Miguel and you could get it in little bottles the size of beer bottles as well as the larger ones. Only tried it a couple of times to be sociable with Filipinos. Really rough stuff, but if one wanted to get a jump start on a drunk it was the way to go.
41) Fishing Trips
During my time at Subic (1969-70) the base offered all day fishing trips to Corregidore Island. Special Services provided a boat and 3 man crew for a whopping $20.00 a day. We would leave the dock at Cubi Point by the aircraft carrier pier at 6:00 am, arrive at 10:00 am at the island, then left at 2:00 pm to arrive back at Subic at 6:00 pm. All for $2.00 per person. Life was good!!
42) Golf Course
I was last there in 1964 as the executive officer of the USS Mispillion (AO 105). I spent my time at the Binictican golf course where the pro gave me some great lessons. There was a rumor that a python had swallowed a boy who was collecting golf balls from a water hazard the month before we got there so I let out of bounds balls stay in the jungle.
43) Clouds of Bats
It is a shame that no one has photos of the huge clouds of bats that would leave their caves in the jungle every evening just before dark. Now that was an amazing sight. The small bats were at perhaps 75 feet and the large fruit bats were easily at 200 feet. There were also huge iguanas near the streams and estuaries. I has a loco Marine buddy who caught one and kept it at his off-base apartment for a while. The same Marine also had a monkey he bought on the streets ( perhaps on Magsaysay). He kept the monkey until it trashed his apartment one day.
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