It’s not what you think it is. What is it, then? Only the coolest callsign in the entire history of naval aviation.
Warning: Hopefully you’ve read my Rules of the Road. Rule #5 is keep it clean. I will keep it clean in this post. I will, however, dabble in some adult topics that you won’t generally find on my blog. My best guess is that it would be R-rated. Nothing too graphic, but I will describe some interactions and activities that would not be suitable for a young teenager. If you are easily offended by such material, you’d do well to take a pass and come back next Monday. I won’t have any hurt feelings so long as you don’t judge.
There are very clear lines of demarcation that define particular Navy eras. There were the days of sail and there were the days of steam. There were traditional boiler plants and there were nuclear reactors. There were those who experienced Tailhook before or during 1991 and those who experienced it after. Finally, there were those who served in a Navy that visited Subic Bay, Phillipines and those who did not. I will bring those who did not one step closer.
The human brain – a mighty and powerful organ – generates an immediate response upon hearing certain words or phrases. Were you to ask a Sailor what thought comes to mind when you say “Subic Bay”, he will, in all likelihood, say “sex”. No inkblots or mind activity maps required. That’s not entirely fair to Subic, or her neighboring sister city Olongapo, but it’s true.
The advantages of visiting Subic were many, some operational and some not. Flying out of Naval Air Station Cubi Point was incredible. In the below picture, you can see the runway, with Subic Bay beyond and to the left.
The views are stunning, obviously. It’s a truly gorgeous piece of real estate, which is part of what made it a great place to visit. Short of snow skiing, you could partake in just about any activity there. If you wanted to get away from the bustle, you could get a cottage on Grande Island to enjoy water and sun.
You could scuba dive. You could sail. You could jet ski. And it was cheap. Very cheap. That was a huge part of the appeal, especially for the younger Sailors who could get their own hotel rooms, enjoy incredible food, and generally live like rockstars without draining two months of pay. Such luxuries are not available to them in places like Dubai and Singapore.
For their part, the Filipino people are wonderful. They are hard-working, very family-oriented, and exceedingly kind. It is rare not to see Filipinos smiling. To visitors, they play the role of gracious host with exquisite perfection.
They are also, on the whole, not a wealthy people. With abject poverty comes a willingness to do certain things that the rich would not. Sex sells. Even the idea of sex sells. Prostitution is not known as the world’s oldest profession by accident. Olongapo, therefore, morphed into a carnal carnival of sorts in order to help Sailors part with their money, and part with their money they did.
To be clear, I do not condone prostitution or the solicitation of prostitutes. It is not only a violation of the UCMJ, it contributes to human trafficking. I know this because I did Trafficking in Persons training 473 time at Navy Knowledge Online. It might have been once per year. I can’t remember exactly. At any rate, I’m just saying it happened, perhaps more often than you might think.
Just a few years after it was super cool to have a WHAM! sweatshirt, there was an aviator who flew the War Hoover, what with all it’s “whoooooop” sounds and other vacuum cleaner-like noises. Our hero made port of call at Subic Bay, and would you believe he had the hankering. Not a hankering. The hankering. The distinction is important, for you can satiate a hankering with some good food and a cold beer. The hankering requires certain rituals that begin on streets like the one you see in the photo above.
There is a selection process. Once complete, drinks are purchased. His are cheap. Hers are not. Thus begins some manner of haggling. Over what exactly, I cannot say. Not my thing and never was. I gather there is negotiation regarding what actual services are being purchased, and whether finality is event-based or time-based. I have to believe the event-based option is better for the one providing the service. With contractual agreements complete, the pair begin a procession to a neutral site, more often than not up a set of stairs and on the current premises.
Before long, this fella was doing the dance with no steps in the style of the missionary (whatever that means), all belly-to-belly like. While this was wonderful, it did not match the particular manner in which he saw the deed going down. So he made vain attempts to capsize her without disengaging, which was proving more than he could manage given his partner’s lack of cooperation. She commenced to wriggling and other protestations. In an effort to remain back-to-sheets, she even widened her base, just like a turtle might do in an effort to avoid being flipped over onto its shell. She wanted no part of phase two operations. Our hero was flummoxed. This was Olongapo. Were his desires that unorthodox or debasing?
He stuck with his plan, flashing a degree of persistence that would make any naval aviator proud. He was determined. Whether because she tired of resisting or just gave up, he managed to overturn her. Immediately thereafter, she realized that his intentions were not all that repugnant. With audible relief, she said, “Ohhhhhh!!! You just want the style-doggie!”