Post war Subic Bay

Posted 11 months ago

Subic Bay circa 1949
After WWII, the U.S. Navy played a vital role in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the community and the upgrading of the quality life of the people. The US Navy began employing thousands of Filipinos to work in the naval station. In the course of time, their employments had drawn millions of pesos annually in terms of salaries, even as many more dollars were brought over by the continuing influx of servicemen from the Seventh Fleet of the U.S. Navy.


Grande Island the former Fort Wint during the 1970s
Following the liberation of the Philippines, Subic Bay was designated Naval Advance Unit 6 and was home to several submarine and motor torpedo boat units.  Grande Island was re-garrisoned with some 155mm artillery and anti aircraft weapons, but no plans were created to return it to the status of permanent coastal defense installation. By 1963, those guns had returned to the United States and Grande Island was used solely as a rest and recreation for U.S. fleet personnel.

Independence was granted to the Philippines on July 4, 1946, but the town of Olongapo remained under the administration of the U.S. Navy. This was formalized on March 14, 1947, with the signing of the Military Bases Agreement, which granted the United States a 99-year lease for 16 bases or military reservations, including Subic Bay as well as the administration of the town of Olongapo.

During this period, the Americans learned a lesson during the Korean War:  the critical need for naval air power. This led to a most ambitious project to develop a naval air station at Cubi Point, in Subic Bay. This immense task, conducted by U.S. Navy Seabees, began in 1951 and lasted five years or 20 million man-hours.

The project was considered one of the largest earth moving at that time, second only to the construction of the Panama Canal.

Mountains were literally flattened, dense triple canopy rainforest felled and vast quantities of earth was piled into the sea-to create a 2-mile (3.2 km) long runway, air station and adjacent pier. The project’s cost was estimated over $100 million and the facility was finally commissioned on July 25, 1956. A comprehensive medical facility was also constructed on the base- and the US Naval Hospital, Subic Bay was opened on July 13, 1956.

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