My Mom instilled
the ethic of service and the concept of community in my siblings and me
at an early age. When I was six years old, while the Viet Nam war raged,
my Dad was in the Navy, and we lived on the Subic Bay Naval Base in the
Philippines. Off the shore of Subic Bay was Grande Island where many Vietnamese
refugees were taken to be “processed”. Since my Mom was a nurse, she volunteered
to assist with health care issues. I cried because I couldn’t go help,
too. This was my introduction to “getting involved”. from - http://thames.northnet.org/aauwcaucus/wintr20.html
Kevin Scott, San Miguel,
80 - 85
I was a Navy Dependant from
1980-1985, ages 10-15, and lived on the San Miguel Communication Station.
I too, remember the P.I as some sort of fantasy land.
• I remember that if you
were not 17 years old, you had to have an escort to leave the base.
We easily got around this at San Miguel by walking out onto the all hands
beach, and walking a half mile down the beach into the barrio and catching
a trike to Olongapo. Believe me, I did A LOT of travelling, unknown
to my parents!! You didn't even need money! Just pick
up an interesting item from your house that couldn't be bought in the P.I.
and you had tricycle credit to ride all day.
• I learned to Scuba Dive
at the tender age of 14 at the Coral Climbers club in SM, and made many
dives on the Capone Islands just offshore of SM, as well as at Sharks Cove
and a few at Grande Island.
• I remember the devastation
of a Super Typhoon in 1982, I believe, that absolutely destroyed the base!
• I remember Operation Cobra
Gold 82, (I believe) where they turned our base 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.
• I remember Vietnamese
Refugees washing up on our shore frequently, dead and alive, and then they
were temporarily housed at our Elementary School Library, and we had a
lot of interaction with them, and learned of their struggles and plight.
• I remember the Barrio
San Miguel fisherman accidentally catching a Whale Shark (30+ feet long)
in their nets, and carving it up on the beach and distributing it throughout
• I remember almost drowning
when I and a buddy swam to the Capone Island from the San Miguel Beach.
(5 miles) We made it barely! We saw a couple of visiting Special
War Seals or Recon do it one day, and thought we could do it too.
We did, but barely lucky to be here today.
• I remember the river that
ran through the base emptied out into the ocean across our beach, and when
swollen, would create one heck of a rollercoaster ride across standing
waves in the river over the sand dunes, and you had to jump out before
it emptied into the surf, or the surge would push you about a half mile
out into the South China sea before you could even think about swimming
an exaggerated arc back into the beach. I learned this the hard way
too, almost drowned here also.
I dreamed of returning and
maybe even of retiring in the PI, and joined the Navy myself. The
PI was closed before I had a chance to return, and I served 9 years in
the USN before separating and taking a job in Federal Law Enforcement.
I still have memories of the PI that will never fade however, and I believe
the experiences I had while there, made me a better person. One day I will
make it back for a visit. I'm attaching a URL to a picture of my
7th and 8th grade class at OHP... If you're in it, or know
anyone in the pictures, I'd love to make contact with them.