The U.S. Navy Needs to Return to Subic Bay, Philippines

| June 21, 2019

subic port call
Port call.

subic bay
Chart of Subic Bay

Another article from Boomer, Poetrooper’s buddy. Here’s Poe:

Another timely and informative piece from Boomer on naval matters in the Pacific. Check out my comment to The Other Whitey on the Mizzou piece. Captain Deutermann’s WWII Pacific writings are an absolute pleasure to read. Battle sequences are incredibly detailed and well written.

Boomer:

By Captain Joseph R. John
Twenty eight years ago, in September 1991, after the Philippine Senate rejected a new military-bases agreement, the US Navy hauled down the American flag in Subic Bay Philippines and vacated the Naval Base complex. The United States fulfilled its obligation to withdraw all US Naval forces and ceased all US military operations in the Philippines.

For ten years a serious conflict has been developing between the United States and China as a result of the creation of missile and naval bases by China on Philippine claimed shoals and other reefs & shoals in international waters in the South China Sea which is a threat to restrict the sea lanes of communication. In addition, China has been rapidly expanding its navy in order to have the capability to fulfill its long range goal of threatening to invade Taiwan, unless it agrees to unite with mainland China.

For 8 years, the Obama administration did nothing to blunt the growing threat being posed by China in the South China Sea and to oppose its increasing threats to Taiwan. The Trump Administration recognized the strategic threat posed by Chin, and the need to have shipyard repair availabilities for its ships in the Western Pacific. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been negotiating with the government of the Philippines to permit ships of the Seventh Fleet to operate out of seaports in the Philippines; he informed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that the U.S. Is willing and ready to honor its commitment to the Philippines under the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

In order to maintain a continuous forward presence in the Indo-Asia Pacific region, without having a number of the ships of the Seventh Fleet always in transit the long distance from Western Pacific to Hawaii for shipyard overhaul, repairs and availability there is a need for the same type of adequate shipyard repair facilities in the Western Pacific region; that facility currently exists in Subic Bay.

That Subic Bay shipyard repair facility was created by the U.S. Navy. After the U.S. Navy vacated that facility in 1991 the facility was modernized with the investment of $2.3 billion by South Korea’s Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Company that operated there for 25 years; Hanjin’s parent company filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and since then, the facility has been vacated.

Having access to the shipyard repair facility in Subic Bay Philippines would relieve ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, the largest of the US Navy’s numbered fleets, from requiring an increased number of US Navy ships being deployed to the Western Pacific from the U.S. Navy’s projected fleet of 355 ships to allow for a number of ships to be away transiting to and from Hawaii for shipyard repairs.

China has been trying to drive a wedge between the United States and the Philippines, encouraging its Communist allies in the Philippines Senate to terminate the MDT. At the same time China has been negotiating with the government of the Philippines to take control the Naval Base and the Shipyard Repair Facility at Subic Bay.

The below listed article by Captain Brian Buzzell, USN (Ret) the Navy’s Political-Military Officer formerly assigned to the Philippines explains why during this time in history the Navy has a golden opportunity to return to Subic Bay where US Navy ships were once based and the fleet was welcomed for 94 years.

For the overriding strategic concerns discussed above and the increasing threat that China poses to the United States and its allies in the Western Pacific region the U.S. Navy needs to return to the Naval Base and Shipyard Repair Facility complex in Subic Bay, Philippines.”

[Joseph R. John, USNA ’62, Captain, USN(Ret) / Former FBI, Chairman: Combat Veterans For Congress PAC 2307 Fenton Parkway, Suite 107-184 San Diego, CA 92108]

I was East coast and never made it to the PI, which is just as well. The stories about liberty there were epic. Thanks to Poe and Boomer for the Navy-centric articles- I’ll post those all day.
AW1Ed

Category: Foreign Policy, Guest Post, Marines, Navy

Comments (24)

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  1. Ex-PH2 says:

    If this does happen, all the bars that used to be on Magsaysay St will revive themselves very quickly.

    Never should have left in the first place.

  2. ChipNASA says:

    You guys just miss your juicy girls. Oh sorry, i think that’s Korea, I mean your bar fine girls.

    I was in Okinawa and didn’t go to the PI when I took leave.
    1. I went to Korea because I was going to shop and wanted to see Panmunjom.
    2. I heard about what went on in the PI (like it doesn’t happen in Korea as well) and I was 2 or 3 months from PCSing to the US and didn’t want to get my orders red-lined. (For those of you that don’t know what that is, when you come back from leave or the weekend or whatever and you have a “medical” condition and you have orders to go to another base, they are put on hold until your “condition” is healed. In some cases, if you have a “condition” that the CDC doesn’t recognize as being already identified in the US, you will not return to the US until the CDC identifies that as existing in the US from another source)

    3. My friend Chris went to the PI on leave with about $1,000. I don’t know what he returned with in his wallet, but, (CSB time) we were in the chow hall and of course at the end of lunch or dinner, (Air Force of course) “Hey Chris, want an Ice Cream?” No Thanks…(WHO refuses Ice Cream?)
    Hey Chris, Let’s go to the Club and have a few belts”… No Thanks.
    Hmmmmm No Dairy? No Alcohol…..
    “Hey Chris, how bad is it?” What? “You got Clap?” WHAT?!?!? Who told you???
    Well, no dairy and no alcohol for weeks soooooo.

    Well long story short, Chris went to the infamous Nipa Hut and got shitfaced and 3 Filipina bar girls took him up on stage and made him the floor show. He had clap on his junk and mouth/throat. He was taking pills and shots for a couple of weeks.

    /End CSB.

  3. 5th/77th FA says:

    We may recall that a few weeks ago I commented on a ME Thread re us being distracted by the real enemy of our Country; Russia/China. A certain seagull showed up and asked what decade I was stuck in. I ignored his aggravating ass, which is what I do these days. This article articulates exactly the point I was trying to make.

    The Chinese are very patient and have been eyeballing this entire section of the world for many a year. Who is to say that the ChiComs were not working behind the scenes when we first left the PI? Who is to say that the ChiComs were not in a sense partly responsible for the bankruptcy of Hanjin’s parent company? Who is to say that the ChiComs will not pay any price to the Communist representatives that they control in the PI government to insure that the US 7th Fleet is still denied access to Subic Bay?

    If we plan to continue being the world’s policeman, we must do whatever is needed to maintain a strong presence with our Floating Air Bases and Artillery in this part of the world. Amateurs discuss tactics, Professional Warriors study logistics too. At the risk of being called an echo chamber, I agree with Ex-PH2. We should have never left. YMMV

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      China intends to be the “Central Kingdom”, the axis upon which the world turns, and the place to which all must turn to beseech.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        Thus “Zhongguo”

      • Ret_25X says:

        China does not intend to be the middle kingdom, it believes it IS the middle kingdom. In fact, the very name of the nation means middle kingdom.

        Of course, to American leftists it means “cash donation”.

  4. 26Limabeans says:

    How bout Clark?
    A cousin spent four years there and came back with a lovely wife and most of her relatives.

    • MustangCryppie says:

      From all I’ve heard, Angeles is booming. Lots of Aussies et al flock there for the girls, mojo and cheap San Miguel.

      I’d be interested to know if Olongapo was the same. From what I understand, Subic is now a big merchant ship port.

      • Bill R. says:

        Everything I read about Angeles suggests it is booming. Both Aussies and Koreans are there. I was at Clark when two airmen in my squadron were shot and killed in 1990. The next time I went back turned out to be the very last Cope Thunder exercise as Mount Pinatubo blew up about two weeks after we went back to Korea. I miss that place!! For that matter, I miss Korea, too.

  5. Jeff says:

    Ahhhh the PI. Magsaysay Drive, the Brown Fox. Subic Bay, Charlie Brown’s with the huge sign that said,”Service to the 7th Fleet”! Ice cold San Miguel’s, free samples, ponset canton, the debauched memories!!! Ssst ssst, Marine, Marine! A beckoning finger behind big brown eyes telling what you could do for five pesos!! Shit River and jeepnies……
    Respectfully,
    Jeff

    • MustangCryppie says:

      My fondest memory of Olongapo is from 1983 or so when I showed up there to pick up USS David R Ray. For all intents and purposes, we were the only ship in Subic and to say the town across the Shit River bridge was dead is an understatement.

      I was already a qualified PI Ranger and had spent many nights of debauchery in Olongapo, the Barrio Barreto, and Subic City, but my favorite was always the bar “One for Da Road” on Gordon.

      It was a solid “CT” bar which all the riders from that rate would go to when in town. This time was no exception. I knew all the girls well and considered a few of them to be good friends.

      So, when I showed up, I was greeted with open arms. I must have gotten a ton of requests to “pay my bar pine, Bob”, but I just wasn’t into it that day. I just wanted to nurse my San Mick and chill out.

      After a few hours, i shifted colors to a sofa that they had at the front of the bar by the entrance. I remember it as being like a semicircle, long enough for me to lie across it without my feet going over the side.

      Slowly, one by one, each of the girls started making their way to the couch to lie down with me, cuddling up next to me. Within about an hour, ALL of them were there, one big pile of soft, beautiful Filipinas just being there with me.

      Nothing “nasty” happened, but it still is my best memory of the PI. I was in 7th (Fleet) heaven!

      • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

        Was “station dito” at “Jungle General” (USNH Subic Bay) from 84-86. Got to see the Marcos family leave during the People Power revolution. My boss (CAPT/MC) took me to the “O” club at Cubi Pt. once…

        “Solid Gold” was the hangout for those of us in the HM community…

    • NHSparky says:

      First stop over Shit River: Via’s for tacos and lumpia.

      Then Slim’s for the free beer at 6.

      Then a “special” jeepney to Island Girls in Bo. Barreto. Retired submarine SK owned the place. First night in boat drank for free, and woe be unto the dumbass skimmer who wandered in.

  6. JarHead Pat says:

    As a former Subic Bay Marine I can tell you the the things that those LBFM did to me has scared me for life lololol, thats why I have such a bad case of yellow fever now.

  7. CDR_D says:

    Many good times in Subic. 1960s & 70. Grande Island, the “catapult” in the Cubi Pt O-club, the Chuckwagon on base. The beach at Subic city. And of course all the joints in Olongapo. A checker in my local supermarket was born in Olongapo, and when I get in his line the reminiscences are fun.

  8. Mike says:

    Lived at Subic Bay back in 1980-1983 when I was a kid, Dad was on the USS Sterett (CG 31)

  9. FatCircles0311 says:

    Had libo in PI. Was awesome. Singapore is better though.

  10. SCPO USN Ret says:

    Back in the Never Again Volunteer Yourself NAVY, cannot remember all the details of numerous Subic liberties, h/t Jeff, but am willing to be recalled to active duty to recommission NAVSTA Subic Bay! Unless you are a qualified PI Ranger h/t MustangCryppie you’re not going to survive

  11. JacktheJarhead says:

    Ah Subic Bay! Was there in 1977-1978! The memories! Never saw a ship load of Marines all smiling and broke! It was magnificent!