Sunday, April 7, 2013


ANIMAL RACE. A field meet at Stotsenburg featured an Animal Race, held from Nov. 8-15, 1920. The participating wildlife included a goose, a chicken, a dog,  a pig and a few more fowls. Field meets were regular dependent activities in the early days of Clark and were held at the all-purpose drill grounds.

In the first two decades of Fort Stotsenburg, families of military servicemn had to find ways to amuse themselves in their down time. There was just the parade ground to work on, which was converted into a playing field for sports events like polo, equestrian competitions and softball games.

For dependents who were not into heavy sports, creative recreational games were the answers. There were “fun” races for pets and other animals that provided hours of enjoyment and laughter. With the reconstruction of Clark after the War, there was more deliberate planning for spaces and buildings for recreational purposes. By the end of the 1950s, many facilities, social clubs and leisure programs were already in place, for military wives and youngsters.

The Officers’Wives Club, was one of the first associations to be put up, which held meeting in the O’Club monthly. It organized luncheons, bridge parties and does volunteer work for charity. Meanwhile, the NCO Wives Club included in their regular social schedule a wide variety of projects to aid the needy, both on and off the base.

Not to be outdone, the wives of the airmen on base also banded together to form the “Lower Four Wives’Club”, which maintained a busy social and charitable schedule. Many of the wives also participated in their own Squadron Wives’ Club, a very active organization that had a Bowling League Tournament. It also held many social get-togethers for both wives and husbands.

The pride of the teen-agers is their own Teen-Age Club. Through sponsors, the club held weekly dances, social dinners and special field trips around the island.

For active little youngsters, there is plenty of action in the Clark Little League. This group sponsors football, basketball and baseball for little sportsmen in a competitive mode. Excitement ran high during the various seasons when high energy games are held, as parents and friends cheered on. Clark’s Little League Football ranked as one of the few and the best in the Far East.

Although outside the United States, Clark has very active troops of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The scouts, together with their leaders once embarked on fund drives, camp-outs and other activities with equal vigor. Highlight of Boy Scouting has been the 10th World Jamboree held in the Philippines in which Clark scouts participated. Sports-wise, the women have their leagues too.

There were various “Powder Puff” Leagues in softball, volleyball and basketball, where women engaged in fast, rousing games climaxed by hard-won championships. Bowling leagues occupied a prominent position during the season as the dependents hurry in the bowling alleys to help their favorite teams. Clark’s Gray Ladies of the Red Cross, on the other hand, thrived on the spirit of volunteerism. It always lent a helping hand at the hospital, on a volunteer basis.

When The Hobby Shop was opened, it offered courses in leathercraft, pottery and other artistic pursuits for dependents. Movies and theatrical performances staged by Clark students became staple entertainment in the base. Then there were the fund-raising exhibits, barbecue and swimming parties that bonded many military families.

With all these activities designed to amuse and fight boredom, there really was never and idle day in Clark for Americans and their dependents, who had come to serve their country in this little spot in Pampanga, thousands of miles away from their home.

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