Fort Stotsenburg - Clark Field - 1903-1945

Although the Americans first came to Angeles in 1899 Fort Stotsemberg was not established until 1903 on the outskirts of Angeles and near to Dau and Mabalacat, at the base of Mount Pinatubo. The first time Clark Field was used was in 1919 after a small airstrip on the fort.

President Roosevelt signs an executive order on September 1 establishing 7700 acres as Fort Stotsenberg, with Camp Wallace and Camp John Hay being established in November. Fort Stotsenberg was centered on what was Clark's parade ground in modern years.

The first flagpost at Fort Stotsenberg is commissioned on September 16 near the modern 13 AF headquarters.

An executive order expands Fort Stotsenberg from 7700 to 156,204 acres, covering much of modern-day Clark and the mountainous region to the north.

In March Lieutenant Frank Lahm heads the Philippine Air School on Fort Stotsenberg with one aircraft. The first concrete buildings (the modern 13 AF headquarters) and a gymnasium are built.

Five aircraft hangars are constructed at what was the motorpool in modern times.

The first dependent school, Leonard Wood School, is opened at Clark.

Construction of a small runway began along what in modern times was Dyess Highway as it passed by the flightline. The airfield was officially designated Clark Field. Three additional hangars were built. In September a series of tent dormitories was built, and in November the 3rd Aero Squadron was formed, giving rise to the popular "3" that would tag many organizations at Clark in later years (3 TFW, etc). The first plane to arrive was a DeHavilland DH-4.

The first permanent enlisted dormitory is built.

The second dependent school, Worchester School, is opened on November 8.

The Japanese launch an attack on Clark Air Base on December 8, destroying dozens of aircraft. Clark was evacuated on December 24.

On April 9 American forces fell on Bataan and Corregidor, leading a few days later to the brutal Bataan Death March from Bataan to San Fernando (about 20 miles southeast of Clark). Japanese forces maintain possession of Clark Field.

American forces begin air raids on Japanese occupation at Clark in October, continuing for four months and damaging over 1500 Japanese planes.

On January 31, American forces regained possession of Clark Field after three years of Japanese control. However a few Japanese soldiers still held tough in the nearby mountains, and sometimes sneaked onto base at night to sabotage American planes.



Join Our Newsletter
Get Special Offers

Search this site