Mabalacat, firm to revive US cavalry in Clark

March 30, 2011


MABALACAT — The tourism office of the local government here, in cooperation with the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC), is set to bring back Clark’s history with the revival of the 26th US Cavalry, Philippine Scouts.

The local government and the CIAC agreed in principle the establishment of cavalry horse stables within the area of the Clark civil aviation complex.

“We are supportive of the tourism development in the Clark Freeport,” said CIAC president Victor Jose I. Luciano.

Luciano said more foreign and local tourists are visiting Clark via the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) and that potential tourism destinations should be further developed.

For his part, Mabalacat Mayor Marino Morales noted that the revival of the 26th US Cavalry will bring back the heritage, honor and tradition of the Philippine Scouts in the former Fort Stotsenberg, now Clark Freeport.

Morales said the Cavalry, which he described as a “Living Museum”, will also serve as a corporate marketing theme of Clark Freeport and the Clark airport.

Morales thanked Luciano for supporting the move to revive the Cavalry.
The absence of horse stables had been plaguing the reinstalled 26th US Cavalry, Philippine Scouts Memorial Regiment led by Executive Officer and Ceremonial Lieutenant Guy Hilbero.

Hilbero, who is also Mabalacat tourism officer, said the mounted patrols seek to recreate the glorious past of the US Cavalry of the US Army, which found the abundant grasslands of Sapang Bato suitable for their horses.

The US Cavalry settled in the area after the three-day “Battle of Angeles” where they quashed local insurrection.

In 1902, the military reservation was officially known as Fort Stotsenburg named after Colonel John M. Stotsenburg of the 6th US Cavalry, First Nebraska Volunteers.

Stotsenburg was killed in action at Quingua, Bulacan (now Plaridel) on April 23, 1899 during a fierce fighting with Filipino Republic Army troopers.

The US Cavalry set the stage for the establishment of the area as a strategic command outpost of the US military in the Asia Pacific that soon became the largest military installation outside continental America.

The Cavalry resembles the mounted police of New York City, Royal Canadian Rangers, and the Buckingham Palace Guards in London.

The US Cavalry on several occasions played polo games at the Clark Parade Grounds.

In her book “We Band of Angels” the late nurse Elizabeth Norman wrote: “At Fort Stotsenburg, where the Cavalry was based, the officers held weekly polo matches and sometimes against Manila Polo Club. It was a halcyon life: cocktails and bridge at sunset, white jackets and long gowns at dinner, good gin and Gershwin under the stars.”

“We need to appreciate and look back to our Phil-Am cultural heritage and history, if not with the US Cavalry there’s no Clark Field and there’s no Clark International Airport Corp. and Clark Development Corp. or Clark Freeport Zone today,” Hilbero said.

Hilbero attended the 25th annual national reunion of Philippine Scouts Heritage Society in Long Beach, California on May 8 and 9th of 2009.

He was invited by Senator John Alexander Patterson of Rhode Island. At least six members of the 26th US Cavalry have also attended the event.

On Dec 10, 2010, Morales and Hilbero welcomed 26th Cavalry veteran trooper Felipe Fernandez who witnessed the bombing of Fort Stotsenberg in 1941, during simple rites commemorating the bombing of Clark and the gallantry of the late Captain Colin Kelly.

Fernandez was presented with a restored and framed 1939 photo of him standing next to a horse as a 26th cavalryman.





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Mimosa Golf Estate, Clark Field (Clark Airbase), Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga, Philippines
Tel: (045) 599-5600 0922-870-5194 0917-520-4401 Ask for Daniel, Lito or Cosh

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