San Miguel Communication Station

Posted 1-14-01
Kevin Scott, San Miguel, 80 - 85

I was a Navy Dependant from 1980-1985, ages 10-15, and lived on the San Miguel Communication Station. I too, remember the P.I as some sort of fantasy land.

I remember that if you were not 17 years old, you had to have an escort to leave the base.  We easily got around this at San Miguel by walking out onto the all hands beach, and walking a half mile down the beach into the barrio and catching a trike to Olongapo.  Believe me, I did A LOT of travelling, unknown to my parents!!  You didn't even need money!   Just pick up an interesting item from your house that couldn't be bought in the P.I. and you had tricycle credit to ride all day.
I learned to Scuba Dive at the tender age of 14 at the Coral Climbers club in SM, and made many dives on the Capone Islands just offshore of SM, as well as at Sharks Cove and a few at Grande Island.
I remember the devastation of a Super Typhoon in 1982, I believe, that absolutely destroyed the base!
I remember Operation Cobra Gold 82, (I believe) where they turned our base into a Mock war zone for 3 days, with amphibious assaults on our beach, and Marine's running through housing in mock conflicts.  No dependents were allowed to go outside for 3 days.  We just watched World War III from the windows of our houses.  They even evacuated helicopter loads of dependants.
I remember Vietnamese Refugees washing up on our shore frequently, dead and alive, and then they were temporarily housed at our Elementary School Library, and we had a lot of interaction with them, and learned of their struggles and plight.
I remember the Barrio San Miguel fisherman accidentally catching a Whale Shark (30+ feet long) in their nets, and carving it up on the beach and distributing it throughout the village.
I remember almost drowning when I and a buddy swam to the Capone Island from the San Miguel Beach. (5 miles)  We made it barely!  We saw a couple of visiting Special War Seals or Recon do it one day, and thought we could do it too.  We did, but barely lucky to be here today.
I remember the river that ran through the base emptied out into the ocean across our beach, and when swollen, would create one heck of a rollercoaster ride across standing waves in the river over the sand dunes, and you had to jump out before it emptied into the surf, or the surge would push you about a half mile out into the South China sea before you could even think about swimming an exaggerated arc back into the beach.  I learned this the hard way too, almost drowned here also.

I dreamed of returning and maybe even of retiring in the PI, and joined the Navy myself.  The PI was closed before I had a chance to return, and I served 9 years in the USN before separating and taking a job in Federal Law Enforcement. I still have memories of the PI that will never fade however, and I believe the experiences I had while there, made me a better person. One day I will make it back for a visit.  I'm attaching a URL to a picture of my 7th and 8th grade class at OHP...   If you're in it, or know anyone in the pictures, I'd love to make contact with them.

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