Clark Air Base

Clark Air Base is a Philippine Air Force base on Luzon Island in the Philippines, located 3 miles (4.8 km) west of Angeles, about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Metro Manila. Clark Air Base was previously a United States military facility, operated by the U.S. Air Force under the aegis of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) and their predecessor organizations from 1903 to 1991. The base covered 14.3 square miles (37 km2) with a military reservation extending north that covered another 230 square miles (600 km2).

The base was a stronghold of the combined Filipino and American forces during the final months of World War II and a backbone of logistical support during the Vietnam War until 1975. Following the departure of American forces in 1991 due to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the base became the site of Clark International Airport, as well as the Clark Freeport Zone and the Air Force City of the Philippine Air Force.

In April 2016, an "Air Contingent" of USAF A-10s and HH-60s was deployed from U.S. air bases in Pyeongtaek and Okinawa to Clark. The Air Contingent was composed of five A-10C Thunderbolt IIs from the 51st Fighter Wing, Osan AB, South Korea; three HH-60G Pave Hawks from the 18th Wing, Kadena AB, Japan; and approximately 200 personnel deployed from multiple Pacific Air Force units.[1] The primary mission of the contingent appears to be to patrol disputed South China Sea islands, "to provide greater and more transparent air and maritime domain awareness to ensure safety for military and civilian activities in international waters and airspace."[1] The air contingent builds upon previous deployments by U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft to Clark.

Clark Air Base
Part of United States Air Force and Philippine Air Force
Located at Clark Freeport Zone, Philippines
Clark Air Base aerial 1989.JPEG
Clark Air Base in 1989 as part of United States Pacific Air Forces
Coordinates15°11′09″N 120°33′35″E / 15.18583°N 120.55972°E
TypeAir Base
Site information
Owner Philippines
Controlled byRoundel of the Philippines.svg Philippine Air Force
ConditionRenovated
Site history
Built1 September 1903
Built by United States
In use United States
1903–1991
 Philippines
1991–present
Garrison information
Garrison
  • 1st Air Division
  • 410th Maintenance Wing
  • 420th Supply Wing
  • 600th Air Base Wing
  • 710th Special Operations Wing
  • Air Force Logistics Command
  • Air Force Reserve Command
Airfield information
Summary
Elevation AMSL148 m / 484 ft
Coordinates15°11′09″N 120°33′35″E / 15.18583°N 120.55972°ECoordinates: 15°11′09″N 120°33′35″E / 15.18583°N 120.55972°E
Map
CRK/RPLC is located in Philippines
CRK/RPLC
CRK/RPLC
Location of Clark Air Base in the Philippines
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02R/20L 3,200 10,499 Asphalt/Concrete
02L/20R 3,200 10,499 Asphalt/Concrete

History

Harold Melville Clark
Maj. Harold M. Clark, for whom Clark Air Base was named.

Clark Air Base was originally established as Fort Stotsenburg in Sapang Bato, Angeles in 1903 under control of the U.S. Army. A portion of Fort Stotsenburg was officially set aside for the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps and named Clark Field in September 1919 after Harold M. Clark. Clark later served as a landing field for U.S. Army Air Corps medium bombers and accommodated half of the heavy bombers stationed in the Philippines during the 1930s. It was very large for an air field of its day, and in the late summer and fall of 1941, many aircraft were sent to Clark in anticipation of a war with Imperial Japan. However, most of them were destroyed on the ground during an air raid nine hours after the Pearl Harbor attack.

The base was overrun by Japanese forces in early January 1942 and became a major center for Japanese air operations. Japanese aircraft flying out of Clark participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle of the Second World War.[2][3]

During the war, the Allied prisoners on the Bataan Death March passed by the main gate of Clark Air Base as they followed the railway tracks north towards Camp O'Donnell. Clark Air Base was recaptured by Americans in January 1945, after three months of fierce fighting to liberate the Philippines. It was immediately returned to U.S. Army Air Forces control.

Clark grew into a major American air base during the Cold War, serving as an important logistics hub during the Vietnam War. The base was closed by the United States in the early 1990s due to the refusal by the Philippine government to renew the lease on the base. After extensive damage from the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption of 1991, the Philippine government attempted to reopen base lease talks, but terms could not be reached and the lease was not extended.

In November 1991, the United States Air Force lowered the U.S. flag and transferred Clark Air Base to the Philippine government. With the United States military's withdrawal from Clark, the base was systematically looted by the local population and was left abandoned for several years. It finally became the Clark Freeport Zone, the site of Clark International Airport (CIA) and parts of it are still owned and operated by the Philippine Air Force, retaining the same name, Clark Air Base.

In June 2012, the Philippine government, under pressure from Chinese claims to their seas, agreed to the return of American military forces to Clark.[4]

Military units

During much of the Cold War, Clark Air Base's activity largely revolved around the 405th Fighter Wing, later renumbered as the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing in September 1974 and its fleet of F-4 Phantom II fighter jets. It also hosted an interceptor squadron and a flight school, all of which flew a variety of other combat aircraft. Transient aircraft of many types, especially cargo jets, were common.

Fighter planes regularly visited to participate in aerial warfare exercises at Crow Valley about 30 miles (48 km) to the northwest. In November 1973, headquarters for the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing was transferred to Clark Air Base. With this move came two squadrons of C-130E transport aircraft, the 21st Tactical Airlift Squadron and the 776th Tactical Airlift Squadron.

Clark was served regularly by cargo and passenger flights to and from Andersen AFB, Guam; Kadena AB, Japan; Diego Garcia; Jakarta, Indonesia; Bangkok and Ubon Thailand; and Saigon, Vietnam (until 1975). During the 1970s, passengers arrived via Trans International Douglas DC-8 and Braniff International DC-8s (the Pickle and the Banana) flights from Travis AFB, California (via Honolulu and Guam).

By 1980, the base had grown to such an extent that weekly Flying Tigers Boeing 747 service to St. Louis (via Kadena AB Japan; Anchorage; and Los Angeles) had begun. The 747 service was taken over by Tower Air sometime in the late 1980s and was augmented with a weekly Hawaiian Airlines L-1011 or Douglas DC-8 to Guam-Honolulu-Los Angeles.

Shootings

On 29 October 1987, unidentified gunmen shot and killed three airmen.[5]

On 14 May 1990, suspected New People's Army (NPA) communist rebels shot and killed two airmen.[6][7]

Culture

Map of Clark Air Force Base, Philippines, September 1986
A map of Clark Air Base, 1986.

Clark Air Base was arguably the most urbanized military facility in history and was the largest American base overseas. At its peak around 1990, it had a permanent population of 15,000. It had a base exchange, a large commissary, a small shopping arcade, a branch department store, cafeterias, teen centers, a hotel, miniature golf, riding stables, zoo, and other concessions.

Recreation

Angeles City bars were legendary, particularly around the red-light district on Fields Avenue. As a result, Clark's servicemen's clubs were under considerable pressure to serve its members with wholesome entertainment. All three were large-scale operations: the Officer's Club (CABOOM) near the parade ground, the Top Hat Club for non-commissioned officers (NCOs) near Lily Hill, which moved to near the Silver Wing in 1986, and the Coconut Grove Airmen Open Mess (AOM) housed in a large vaulted room that contained palm trees. The officer's club featured a four star dining room, but catered to NCO's during lunchtime. The airman's club got first dibs on Broadway shows and swing bands due to an agreement that whomever paid transportation costs got priority. The NCO club came second. The airman's club had numerous theme bars and rental girls for dance partners during swing band tenures on the large dance floor. The club security (bouncers) were outfitted in formal PI wear each evening of a different hue. The PI formal wear was lace shirts with French cuffs and very elegant. The volume of enlisted troops flowing through PI to Vietnam created a large audience for AOM offerings. The NCO Club was still a very extensive operation and operated an upscale dining room, an in-house thrift shop, a pinball arcade, and a calendar of daily activities. It regularly brought major bands and artists from the United States to perform.

At least a hundred sponsored clubs and organizations were active on the base, including the Knights of Columbus, a Latino American club, the Civil Air Patrol, and martial arts dojos. Two major movie theaters operated daily: the Bobbitt Theater which played first-run films, and the Kelly Theater which showed older releases. By 1988 the Kelly Theater ceased showing films and was used mainly for Commander's Calls and large squadron-sized meetings. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, movies were also shown at the Bamboo Bowl, the football stadium on base.

The Bamboo Bowl, later renamed Challenger Field, was used mainly for high school football games as the school did not have its own athletic field. In addition to high school football games, it also hosted recreational league football games for ages 8–18. The high school football teams were included as part of the recreational league. The base's sole high school, Wagner High, had multiple football teams. It was also used for the base's 11-man tackle football league, which not only included teams from Clark but from Subic Naval Base as well.

To keep the residents entertained at home, Clark had an active broadcast center called FEN, or Far East Network Philippines, a division of American Forces Network. A television station broadcast on Channel 8, then Channel 17 after 1981. It showed about 20 hours per day of syndicated programs from the "big three" networks in the United States, with local news and talk programs. The content was locally syndicated until 1983 when it began airing live programming by satellite from Los Angeles.

FEN had two 24-hour radio stations: an AM station which broadcast news and popular music, and stereo FM which was dedicated to easy-listening and classical music. Local Filipino TV also aired newer American shows than FEN did. Unlike the local TV stations in Europe, they were broadcast in the same format as American TV and not dubbed in Tagalog, the local language. Likewise, several American-styled radio stations in Manila were popular with Clark residents: one notable example in the 1980s was 99.5 DWRT-FM.

Two major annual events at Clark were the annual Chili Cookoff, held near the Silver Wing recreation center around September, and the Happening on the Green ("the HOG") in February. The HOG attracted thousands of residents. Amusements and rides were built and operated not only by Filipino entertainment contractors but also by individual Air Force units seeking to boost unit morale, showcase their talents, and raise unit funds.

Because of the warm climate and the large number of units, slow pitch softball tournaments were held quarterly. There were at least 2 gymnasiums, 3 walking/running tracks and 7 soft ball fields on base. There were also tennis courts, a clubhouse with tennis merchandise, and tennis pros available for a couple of dollars per hour to hit with you at anytime. They had a local tournament each year.

Education

The Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) operated six schools at Clark Air Base, serving children from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

  • Elementary schools (kindergarten-5th grade): MacArthur Elementary School, V. I. Grissom Elementary School, and Wurtsmith Elementary School. The latter two were located in the hill housing area. Most officers and senior enlisted families attended Grissom.
  • Middle schools (6th–8th grade): Lily Hill Middle School, and Wagner Middle School. The latter primarily served the hill housing area and officer dependents.
  • High school: Wagner High School, known as Clark Dependent School in the 1950s and Wurtsmith Memorial High School in the 1960s.

Clark was also home to several community colleges, namely the Pacific Far East Campus of Central Texas College. Most classes were held in the evenings at Wagner High School.

Higher commands

Clark Air Base was assigned to the following major commands:

  • War Dept, 1903
  • Philippine Dept, 1917
  • The Adjutant General of the Army, Dept of the Philippines, 1919
  • Air Forces, United States Army Forces in the Far East, 4 August 1941
  • Philippines Dept Air Force, 20 September 1941
Redesignated: Far East Air Force, 20 December 1941
Redesignated: Pacific Air Command, USA, 6 December 1945
Redesignated: Far East Air Force, 1 January 1947
Redesignated: Pacific Air Forces, 1 July 1957 – 16 December 1991

Climate

Climate at the base is characterized by two distinct seasons: a "dry season" from November through April, and a "rainy season" with monsoon rains that occur from May through October. During the dry season, winds are usually northeasterly and skies are fair. Some afternoon showers tend to appear by April. April brings the highest average temperatures of any month, though the hottest days of the year tend to occur in May.[8] Due to the very dry state of vegetation at this time, ash and soot often falls on Clark Air Base as farmers burn their fields for planting. During drought years, wildfires occasionally broke out in the overgrown areas west of the golf course and northeast of the airfield.

Rainy season normally arrives during the month of June. July and August are wet, with many dark overcast days, and frequent afternoon and evening rains. Typhoons are common in late summer and fall, approaching from the east. They are rarely strong at Clark Air Base as the facilities are far inland, and the typhoon circulation is disrupted by the Sierra Madre mountain range on the east coast. Rain and typhoon activity diminishes sharply by November and December, when the dry season arrives once again. Temperatures are at their coolest, with nighttime lows sometimes falling to 64 °F (18 °C) or lower.

From 1953 to 1991, the mean daily low was 73.6 °F (23.1 °C) and the mean daily high was 88.1 °F (31.2 °C), with April being warmest and January coolest. The average annual rainfall was 78.39 inches (1,991 mm).

See also

Other United States Air Force installations in the Philippines:

General:

References

  1. ^ a b "PACAF Airmen stand up air contingent in Philippines". U.S. Air Force. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  2. ^ Morison, Samuel E. (1956). "Leyte, June 1944 – January 1945". History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. XII. Boston: Little & Brown.
  3. ^ Woodward, C. Vann (1947). The Battle for Leyte Gulf. New York: Macmillan.
  4. ^ Munoz, Carlo (6 July 2012). "The Philippines re-opens military bases to US forces". The Hill. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  5. ^ "3 Americans Shot to Death Near U.S. Philippine Base". Los Angeles Times. 29 October 1987.
  6. ^ "The Washington Post". Washingtonpost.com.
  7. ^ Drogin, Bob (14 May 1990). "2 U.S. Airmen Killed at Base in Philippines : Military: The shootings, believed to be the work of Communist rebels, come on the eve of talks on the future of American bases". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  8. ^ CLIMATOGRAPHY OF THE UNITED STATES NO. 81, Monthly Normals of Temperature, Precipitation, and Heating and Cooling Degree Days, No. 91, Pacific Islands, NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL SATELLITE, DATA, AND INFORMATION SERVICE.
  9. ^ Summary of day data for National Weather Service (U.S.) and Department of Defense (U.S. and foreign) sites, National Climatic Data Center, Asheville NC, 1991.

Bibliography

  • Fletcher, Harry R. (1989) Air Force Bases Volume II, Active Air Force Bases outside the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6
  • Mandocdoc, M. and David, C.P. 2008. Dieldrin Contamination of the Groundwater in a Former US Military Base (Clark Air Base, Philippines). CLEAN Air, Soil, Water Journal 36 (10–11), 870–874.
  • Martin, Patrick (1994). Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History. ISBN 0-88740-513-4.
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  • Sheftall, M.G. (2005). Blossoms in the Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze. NAL Caliber. pp. 480pp. ISBN 0-451-21487-0.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

Further reading

External links

315th Cyberspace Operations Squadron

The United States Air Force's 315th Cyberspace Operations Sqadron is a cyberspace defense unit located at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

The first predecessor of the unit was the 15th Radio Squadron, which was activated in 1951 and performed signals intelligence missions from locations in Japan and Korea during the Korean War. It was inactivated in May 1955 and its mission and assets were transferred to the 6922d Radio Group, Mobile.

The 315th's second predecessor was the 6922d Security Group, which was activated at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in April 1970. When the American presence in Southeast Asia was reduced, the group was reduced in size and became the 6922d Security Squadron. This unit was inactivated with the closure of Clark due to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. These two units were consolidated as the 315th Intelligence Squadron in 1993.

471st Special Operations Wing

The 471st Special Operations Wing is an inactive United States Air Force wing. The wing was formed through the consolidation of the 471st Bombardment Group and the 581st Air Resupply and Communications Wing.

The 471st Bombardment Group was a World War II heavy bombardment replacement training unit, last assigned to the First Air Force at Westover Field, Massachusetts, where it was disbanded on 10 April 1944.

The 581st Air Resupply and Communications Wing was a United States Air Force special operations wing, last assigned to Thirteenth Air Force at Clark Air Base, Philippines.

6th Air Division

The 6th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Thirteenth Air Force, based at Clark Air Base, Philippines. It was inactivated on 15 December 1969.

Angeles, Philippines

Angeles, officially the City of Angeles (Kapampangan: Lakanbalen ning Angeles; Tagalog: Lungsod ng Angeles), or simply referred to as Angeles City, is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the region of Central Luzon, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 411,634 people.It is bordered by Mabalacat to the north, Mexico to the east, San Fernando to the southeast, Bacolor to the south, and Porac to the southwest and west. Though the city administers itself autonomously from Pampanga, it is the province's commercial and financial hub.

Angeles is served by the Clark International Airport in Clark Freeport Zone. Being home of the former Clark Air Base (once the largest United States military facility outside the continental United States), it was significantly affected by the fallout from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. The economy of Angeles was heavily dependent on the American base at that time.In 1993, a full cleanup and removal of volcanic ash deposits began and the former U.S. base was transformed into the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ). The creation of CSEZ has helped to offset the loss of income and jobs previously generated by the presence of the U.S. base in the city. Today, Angeles and Clark form the hub for business, industry, aviation, and tourism in the Philippines as well as a leisure, fitness, entertainment and gaming center of Central Luzon.Angeles ranked 15th in a survey by MoneySense magazine as one of the "Best Places to Live in the Philippines" in its March–April 2008 issue.Angeles is 83 kilometres (52 mi) from Manila and 17 kilometres (11 mi) from the provincial capital, San Fernando.

Balibago

Balibago is a barangay of the City of Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines. It is located around 80 miles north of the nation's capital, Manila. Within its border to the former U.S. Clark Air Base. Balibago has been described as "the entertainment district of Angeles City", as well as being a red-light district.Balibago has a vibrant night life, with a number of fine restaurants, shopping malls and a casino along the stretch of McArthur Highway. Fields Avenue, also known as Walking Street, has the "main bar strip" in Balibao. From the crossing of McArthur Highway, Fields Avenue extends into the Clark Perimeter Road (Friendship Road), where gogo bars and hostess bars are located. Despite the practice being illegal in the Philippines, prostitution is also known to exist on the Fields Avenue strip. I find this description of Balibago very disappointingm having grown up there I can tell you Balibago has a far far more richer cultural life other than being a red light district full of sex workers.

Bellows Air Force Station

Bellows Air Force Station (Bellows Field) is a United States military reservation located in Waimanalo, Hawaii. Once an important air field during World War II, the reservation now serves as a military training area and recreation area for active and retired military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense. Bellows AFS is operated by Detachment 2, 18th Force Support Squadron of the 18th Mission Support Group based at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Located on the opposite side of Oahu is the similar Pililaau Army Recreation Center, part of the Armed Forces Recreation Centers system.

Created in 1917 as the Waimanalo Military Reservation, the base was renamed Bellows Field in 1933 after Lt. Franklin Barney Bellows, a World War I war hero. Bellows Field was made a permanent military post in July 1941, and it was one of the airfields targeted during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The attack at Bellows Field killed two United States Army Air Forces airmen—George Allison Whiteman and Hans C. Christiansen—and injured six others. One B-17 bomber was forced to land at Bellows during the attack when Japanese aircraft activity made landing at Hickam Field impossible.

Bellows Field was used for recreational gliders in the late 1950s and early 1960s. A truck would tow a glider into the air, then the glider pilot would release the tow cable and then catch updrafts from the prevailing wind blowing inshore and deflecting upwards from the very nearby mountains. In this way the pilot could keep the glider in the air as long as desired.

Bellows AFS was also the Air Force transmitter facility site for long haul HF (High Frequency) radio communications from the late 1950s until HF radio was largely replaced by the military satellite program. HF radio links were established using highly directional Sloping "V" antennas to Clark Air Base, Philippines, and McClellan AFB, California. Message circuits were originated or relayed at Hickam AFB, near Pearl Harbor, and sent to Bellows for re-transmission over the HF systems. The receiver site was geographically separated from the transmitter site to prevent RF interference from the high power transmitters.

Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone

The Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone (CFEZ) also simply known as Clark refers to an area spanning the city of Angeles and the provinces of Pampanga and Tarlac in the Philippines.

The Clark area in Pampanga covers the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat and the town of Porac while parts of the area in Tarlac include the towns of Capas and Bamban, Tarlac.

The CFEZ divided into two areas, the Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) and the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ). The New Clark City is part of the Clark Special Economic Zone. The CFZ covers the area of the former United States Air Force facility, Clark Air Base. Most of which of this air base was converted to the Clark International Airport and some remained under the control of the Philippine Air Force. Clark Global City is also part of the Clark Freeport Zone.

Clark forms the hub for business, industry, aviation, education, and tourism in the Philippines as well as a leisure, fitness, entertainment and gaming center of Central Luzon.

Clark International Airport

Clark International Airport (IATA: CRK, ICAO: RPLC) (Kapampangan: Pangyatung Sulapawan ning Clark, Tagalog: Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Clark), is an international airport located within the Clark Freeport Zone between Angeles and Mabalacat in the province of Pampanga, Philippines. It is located 43.2 NM (80.0 km; 49.7 mi) northwest of Manila. CRK is accessible through the Subic–Clark–Tarlac Expressway.

Clark serves Central Luzon, Northern Luzon, and to an extent Metro Manila. The name is derived from the former American Clark Air Force Base which was the largest overseas base of the United States Air Force until it was closed in 1991 and handed over to the Government of the Philippines.

The airport is managed and operated by Luzon International Premiere Airport Development (LIPAD) Corporation, a consortium of JG Summit Holdings, Filinvest Development Corporation, Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions Inc., and Changi Airports Philippines Pte. Ltd.; with the southern part of the facility is utilized by the Philippine Air Force as Clark Air Base.Clark serves both international and domestic flights. A new passenger terminal building is under construction and is expected to be finished in 2020.

Colonel Ernesto Rabina Air Base

Colonel Ernesto Rabina Air Base (CERAB) (IATA: RPLQ) or Crow Valley Gunnery Range, and formerly the Tarlac Military Testing Ground, was the main bombing range of the United States Armed Forces in the western Pacific, and by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is located in Camp O'Donnell in Tarlac, The Philippines. The 42-mile facility is located approximately 14 miles from Clark Air Base and is primarily used for aerial combat training, which include bombing and strafing practice, as well as ground unit maneuver and live fire exercises.

Fields Avenue

Fields Avenue is the name of a major street running through Balibago area of Angeles in the Philippines. It is the center of the red light district and the bar scene of the biggest entertainment district of the Philippines.The name derives from the common military practice of naming roads adjacent to airfields as "Field" Street or "Field avenue". Originally the name referred to the Clark Air Base and was "Clark Field Avenue". The name evolved to become Fields Avenue.

Flying Tiger Line Flight 739

Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 was a Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation propliner chartered by the United States military that disappeared on March 16, 1962, over the Western Pacific Ocean. The aircraft was transporting 93 U.S. soldiers and 3 South Vietnamese from Travis Air Force Base, California to Saigon, Vietnam. After refueling at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the Super Constellation was en route to Clark Air Base in the Philippines when it disappeared. All 107 aboard were declared missing and presumed dead.

The airliner's disappearance prompted one of the largest air and sea searches in the history of the Pacific. Aircraft and surface ships from four branches of the U.S. military searched more than 200,000 square miles (520,000 km2) during the course of eight days. A civilian tanker observed what appeared to be an in-flight explosion believed to be the missing Super Constellation, though no trace of wreckage or debris was ever recovered. The Civil Aeronautics Board determined that, based on the tanker's observations, Flight 739 probably exploded in-flight, though an exact cause could not be determined without examining the remnants of the aircraft. To date, this remains the worst aviation accident involving the Lockheed Constellation series.

Fort Stotsenburg

Fort Stotsenburg, during the World War II era, was the location of the Philippine Department's 26th Cavalry Regiment, 86th Field Artillery Regiment, and 88th Field Artillery Regiment; along with the Philippine Division's 23rd and 24th Field Artillery Regiments. Also based here were the 12th Ordnance Company and a platoon of the 12th Quartermaster Regiment.

Fort Stotsenburg is situated at Barrio Sapang Bato in Angeles City and is approximately 80 km north of Manila. This was one of the locations where, under the National Defense Act of 1935, field artillery training was conducted. It was named after Colonel John M. Stotsenburg, a Captain of the Sixth U.S. Cavalry, and a Colonel of the First Nebraska Volunteers who was killed while leading his regiment in action near Quingua, Bulacan, the Philippines on April 23, 1899.

c.1917, Fort Stotsenburg was home to the 1st Philippine Artillery Regiment.

Hilda Koronel

Hilda Koronel (born Susan Reid; January 17, 1957) is a FAMAS, Luna and Urian award-winning Filipino actress. Born to a Filipino mother and an American father who was a serviceman in Clark Air Base, she has starred in around 45 films, many of which are critically acclaimed, since 1970.

Her career got off to an unprecedented start becoming the youngest winner of the FAMAS Best Supporting Actress award in 1970 right at the beginning of her career which she won at the age of just 13 for her role in the 1970 film Santiago.

In 1975 and 1976, she starred in the Lino Brocka classics Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag, which won six FAMAS awards in 1976, and Insiang, which won both a FAMAS Award and a Gawad Urian Award in 1977. To date she has won three awards and received 11 nominations.

In 2013, she received a Luna Award for best supporting actress for her role in The Mistress.

History of Clark Air Base

The history of Clark Air Base, Philippines, dates back to the late 19th century when it was settled by Filipino military forces. The United States established a presence at the turn of the century.

List of military units of Clark Air Base

For a detailed chronological history, see the article History of Clark Air Base.Military units of Clark Air Base consisted primarily of United States Army and United States Air Force organizations.

Operation Fiery Vigil

Operation Fiery Vigil was the emergency evacuation of all non-essential military and U.S. Department of Defense civilian personnel and their dependents from Clark Air Base and U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay during the June 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines.

This non-combat operation resulted in the transfer of roughly 20,000 people from Clark Air Base and U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay back to contiguous United States, by way of Cebu, Philippines. The commanding general, 13th USAF, was in command of the joint task force.

Sapangbato

Sapangbato is the largest barangay (district) in Angeles City in Pampanga province, Philippines, with a total land area of 187,694 sq. meters and a population of 9,920. Located northwest of Angeles near Clark International Airport and the Clark Freeport Zone (a former U.S. Air Force base), it is identified as the barangay in Angeles with the highest elevation of 750 feet above sea level. It is home to Fort Stotsenburg, also known as the "Parade Ground" of Clark Air Base. Before Fort Stotsenburg and Clark Air Base were established, the barangay was part of Mabalacat.

Thirteenth Air Force

The Thirteenth Air Force (Air Forces Pacific) (13 AF) was a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). It was last headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. 13 AF has never been stationed in the continental United States. It was one of the oldest continuously active numbered air forces in the United States Air Force.

The command plans, commands and controls, delivers, and assesses air, space, and information operations in the Asia-Pacific region—excluding the Korea theater of operations—across the security spectrum from peacetime engagement to major combat operations.

Established on 14 December 1942 at Plaine Des Gaiacs Airfield, on New Caledonia, 13 AF was a United States Army Air Forces combat air force deployed to the Pacific Theater of World War II. It engaged in operations primarily in the South Pacific, attacking enemy forces in the Solomon Islands, Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaigns; Mariana and Palau Islands campaigns and the Philippines campaign (1944–45).

During the Cold War, 13 AF remained in the Philippines, providing air defense of the nation and becoming one of the Numbered Air Forces of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). During the Korean War, its units provided staging areas for people and equipment destined for the war zone. As the Vietnam War escalated during the late 1960s and early 1970s, 13th AF provided command and control for USAF units stationed in Thailand, its units conducting combat missions throughout Indochina until August 1973. 13 AF units last engaged in combat during the SS Mayaguez Incident in May 1975.

Returning to the Philippines after the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the command remained there until the 1991 evacuation of Clark Air Base after the Mount Pinatubo eruption and the United States withdrawal of military forces afterward.

It was inactivated on 28 September 2012 and its functions merged with PACAF.

U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay

Naval Base Subic Bay was a major ship-repair, supply, and rest and recreation facility of the Spanish Navy and subsequently the United States Navy located in Zambales, Philippines. The base was 262 square miles, about the size of Singapore. The Navy Exchange had the largest volume of sales of any exchange in the world, and the Naval Supply Depot handled the largest volume of fuel oil of any navy facility in the world. The naval base was the largest overseas military installation of the United States Armed Forces after Clark Air Base in Angeles City was closed in 1991. Following its closure in 1992, it was transformed into the Subic Bay Freeport Zone by the Philippine government.

Climate data for Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Republic of the Philippines (1961–90)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30
(86)
31
(88)
32
(90)
34
(93)
33
(92)
32
(89)
31
(87)
30
(86)
31
(87)
31
(87)
31
(87)
30
(86)
31
(88)
Average low °C (°F) 21
(70)
22
(71)
22
(72)
24
(75)
24
(76)
24
(76)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
23
(73)
22
(72)
23
(74)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 13
(0.51)
17
(0.68)
27
(1.07)
58
(2.28)
199
(7.82)
299
(11.76)
403
(15.87)
407
(16.04)
316
(12.44)
185
(7.29)
103
(4.04)
39
(1.54)
2,066
(81.34)
Source: National Climatic Data Center.[9]
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