It was a last minute decision when my childhood friend called and texted me, asking to go for a roundtrip. Within 10 minutes, he picked me up. He drove about two hours through the empty highways and rice fields to cross over to the province of Pampanga. We were going to the Expo Filipino Park and on the way, we passed by Air Force City Park and we decided to walk around and take some pictures. The following lists the air transportation vehicles located in the park.
The UH-1H “Iroquois” nicknamed “HUEY” was extensively used during the Vietnam War by the Americans and proved its invaluable service for Air Mobility and Rapid Deployment of Troops. The Philippine Air Force received 75 HUEYs from the US government under the RP-US Military Assistance and use these helicopters primarily for tactical troop transport, front-line casualty evacuation, resupply and troop extraction. The first HUEY was delivered to the PAF in 1969 and is still service due to tis rugged design and low maintainability.
Vought F-8 Crusader
The Vought F-8 Crusader was delivered to the Philippines in 1978. This carrier-based fighter has variable-incidence wings, all-weather radar, auto-pilot and sophisticated weapons delivery system. This was used by the 5th Fighter Wing for air defense, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It can be equipped with various weapons such as air-to-air missiles, rockets, 20mm cannons, M-60 machine guns and 500-pound bombs.
F-5a Jet (Jet Fighter)
In August 1965, this needle-nosed jet which was popularly called “Freedom Fighter,” arrived in the Philippines and was assigned to the 5th Fighter Wing in Basa Air Base, Pampanga. This aircraft was also used by the Blue Diamonds in aerial demonstrations during significant National, AFP and PAF Celebrations.
T-28 “Trojan” (Tora-Tora)
In 1960, fifteen T-28 Trojans were delivered to the 100th Training Wing for use of Cadet Pilots in Basic Training. Later in 1975, it was used by the 15th Strike Wing against secessionists and insurgents. It was commonly called “Tora-Tora” because it resembles the Japanese Zero Fighter of the Second World War. The “Tora-Tora” became famous during the August 1987 and December 1989 coup attempts. it bid farewell and was last flown over Villamor Air Base in July 1992 during the 45th PAF Anniversary.
And finally a Memorial dedicated to Air Power:
AIR POWER MEMORIAL
“Mastery of the Air is the only strategy upon which sound military principle should rely. For the decisive force in modern-day conflicts is Air Power. But the air is a dangerous and exacting ally and friend. Only those who dare, are competent, and have superior willpower should use it.”
The history of Air Power is replete with wings of Fame. One of them, the T-33 “Thunder Bird” was the first jet Aircraft of the Philippines. The first four, flown on August 3,1955 by Lt. Col. Godofredo Juliano, Major Jose Rancudo, Major Felix Pestana, and Capt. Pedro Gil landed in Clark Air Base and ushered the Philippines Air Force into the Jet Age.
This T-33 markers was constructed during the Centennial Year of the Philippine Independence to herald the coming of a New Age in he PAF, an age marked by State of the Art Weapons System and a new concept in base development: The Air Force City.
Unveiled on February, 1998 by Lt. Gen William K. Hotchkiss the Commanding General of the Philippine Airforce, during the Anniversary celebration of Clark Airbase under the command of Col. Benjamin P. Defensor, this marker is dedicated to Filipinos who dare and create great and lasting institutions.“
That pretty much sums up the history of the Air Force City Park. Afterwards, we headed to Nayon Filipino aka Expo Filipino, only to find out they are closed on Mondays. Then my friend decided to take me to the Clark Museum but by the time we arrived there, we realized it was also closed. To end the day, he just took photos of me at the CLARK signage and at the mall.