Tears at Olongopo
By: Dave Beekman, Spring Valley, CA
A funny thing happened on Shore Patrol. Seems I had Shore Patrol again. This time at the main gate Subic Bay Naval Station, Olongopo, Philippines or 'PI' as we called it.
I was paired off with a Marine again too. I guess they just weren't taking any chances when it came to Marines & Sailors getting into fights. Anyway, it was a very peaceful watch; Sailors and Marines coming in and out of the gate all evening.
We had the Cinderella liberty rule here as in Hong Kong: Non Rated had to be on base by 9 PM, Rated - Non Coms. (Non Commissioned Officers) 10 PM and Chiefs, Sergeants & Officers; midnight. There was also a rule that the 'Girls' from over in Olongopo were not to come aboard the base with out proper ID. Lots of civilians worked on base and they had proper ID. None of the 'girls' did.
Like I said, the watch was going smoothly; no fights, no girls trying to get on base, nothing. Along about 9 PM when Non-Coms had to be on base, along comes this young Marine with a girl on his arm. They stopped at the gate where she gave him about the warmest sendoff I have ever seen. Pretty soon the tears begin to flow. She is going to miss him 'like no one ever before.' Being a rather soft hearted guy, I thought this display of affection was most 'touching.'
By & by the Marine breaks her embrace and gets through the gate just before 2 bells. (Navy talk for 9PM). The girl waves a tearful goodby and heads back, on foot, into Olongopo City which borders the base. Well, I thought: All's well that ends well.'
The watch was going well again; Marines & Sailors going in and out the gate. No more Non-Coms as it was almost 10 PM.
By & by we see another couple approaching the gate in the distance tightly embracing and the girl wailing just like the first one. Wait, something familiar about the girl. Lo and Behold it IS the same girl. With a different Marine; a Non-Com. (at least she was moving up in the world.)
I think it was there at Olongopo just after my 22nd birthday that my 'innocence' was shattered.. Lucky for me, our ship got underway the next morning and I never saw Olongopo again.