From our fearless Ready Room Leader, "Spike" Prendergast (composed by Vic Socotra) comes this great gem:
...The following is the story of the building…and naming…of NAS Cubi Point, and ends with the “long secret recipe” for the famous Navy cocktail known as “The Cubi Special”. Enjoy!
ADM Arthur Radford, Chief of Naval Operations had a dream He was going to cut a mountain in half, and create a modern operating base on the island of Luzon on the Bataan Peninsula. The airfield would serve a deep-water anchorage for deep-draft naval ships. It would be constructed on land permanently ceded to the United States in its former colony, and provide an umbrella of strength for the new Republic of the Philippines, formerly the American colony of the Philippine Islands, or P.I.
We still called it the P.I. thirty years later when we visited Radford's Folly, the best long runway in the Far East
Young Arthur Radford could hardly have known he was a man of destiny when he graduated from Annapolis in 1916. The Great War was raging overseas, and those magnificent men in their flying machines were driving technology forward at breakneck speed. At the beginning of the conflict, the flimsy crates were suitable only for reconnaissance. By the end, they had become lean and lethal birds of prey.
Radford started in battleships as a deck officer, USS SOUTH CAROLINA being his first, but he saw that the future of the Fleet was in the air above the sea. He applied for flight training and was designated Naval Aviator #2896 in November 1920. He was part of the great contest between the Army and Navy for dominance of the skies. The Army was symbolized by pugnacious Billy Mitchell. He was a pistol of a junior officer who claimed the bomber made the Navy obsolete. He successfully sank surplus warships at anchor, and declared he had validated Italian Giulio Douhet's bold assertion that "command of the air made all other military forces obsolete." It was confused thinking, since one would have to alight on the ground sometime, but it was intoxicating stuff. It drove interwar development into all manner of astonishing things. The Army Air Corps pursued strategic bombers; the Navy great ships of the air, in the form of the Zeppelins confiscated from Germany
Arthur Radford was part of the great adventure. In addition to helping to devise the intricate system- of-systems that evolved to became the modern aircraft carrier, he surveyed the wild storm-tossed Aleutian Islands from the air and planted naval airfields in the Caribbean to make sea-power bloom.
Radford was working at the Bureau of Aviation in Main Navy on Constitution Avenue in the District when war boiled over in the Pacific. For two years he chafed at the shore assignment, but in the pivotal year of 1943 he was appointed Commander of Carrier Division 11, and led it into action against the Japanese at Baker, Makin and Tarawa. He was cited for "courageous initiative and aggressive determination," and those are the proper words to characterize his service through the conflict.
Even as the war rolled inexorably to its grim climax, Radford was back in Washington fighting the real war against the Army, and the increasingly bold Generals of the Air. The existing War and Navy Departments were structurally inappropriate to the challenge of the new age. He assigned additional duty on the Special Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee on Reorganization of the National Defense to examine possible unification of the Armed Forces before returning to the fight as Carrier Division SIX for the end of it.
He held a variety of senior posts in the great demobilization, as the drumbeat of Unification thumped ever louder. As a consequence, he felt he "just had to say no," and became ringleader in the Revolt of the Admirals in 1949.
As part of the great reorganization, the Air Force was established in 1948 to recognize the innovative technical capabilities of the next-generation long-range bomber and the Bomb. It was built on the heroic contributions of the fifty-thousand young airmen who perished in the strategic bombing campaigns against the Germans and Japanese. The new service had was smooth, and polished, and it had a welcome message for the taxpayer: strategic bombing was not only effective, but with the introduction of atomic weapons and the mighty B-36 bomber, no other military forces need be funded.
Arthur Radford appeared before the Senate to argue passionately that tactical aviation was necessary in future conflicts, and that the next-generation aircraft carrier, the USS United States, was urgently needed. His arguments failed against the compelling Air Force vision of the future, and Unification of the services under the leadership of the Air. Navy training funds were slashed, and the new Air Force reigned supreme in the new order, at least until sudden gunfire required the presence of soldiers and Marines in Korea.
Radford was not punished for his part in the revolt. He was Commander of the Pacific Fleet when the North Koreans struck, and elevated to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs by President Eisenhower as it ended. His commitment to oppose Communist expansion was adamant and unwavering. He became convinced as the Pacific Fleet commander that a major Naval Air Station was required in the Far East. Subic Bay was the natural location for such a facility, a magnificent natural harbor north of the bustle of metro Manila . The project required a Herculean effort. Civilian construction companies refused to bid on the project because of the vast amount of earth to be moved and the problems of maintaining a vast work force in the dense jungle terrain. Radford ordered the Navy's Seabees to take on the project. In five years of round-the-clock operations, Construction Unit Battalion 1, "CUBI," completed the job, which involved twenty million man-hours and flattening a 1,200 foot mountain to construct an 8,000 foot runway. Some say it was the equivalent level of effort as building the Panama Canal.
In July 1956, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Radford returned to Cubi Point to commission the new station. President Magsaysay of the Philippines joined the U.S. officials in dedicating the field "to the peace and security of the Free World."
Twenty years later, the Naval Air Station changed the name of its airfield to Arthur W. Radford Field, and the plaque that was commissioned may still be there, though it is a FedEx facility now and the Navy is long gone: "Dedicated in honor of Admiral Arthur W. Radford, whose foresight in founding U.S. Naval Air Station Cubi Point has enabled the United States Navy to provide invaluable support to the Seventh Fleet and to carry out its obligations under the Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty."
I did not walk around Cubi until 1978, two years after that. The plaque was still shiny, and the memories of the Vietnam conflict still fresh and raw. In order to provide for the morale of the Fleet, the shore infrastructure was impressive. The Officer's Club was legendary, and it was barely necessary to take one of the little black cabs to travel from Cubi Point to mainside Subic to have a nice dinner, much less travel out the Gate into the wild west of the Republic, where absolutely anything was possible for a purely nominal price.
There are two Navies:
The old one knew the Philippines with a personal intimacy that is embarrassing now, e.g., tens of thousands of fantastically talented "fallen angels" and more than a few sailors and Marines dancing with some "Bennie Boys."
The New Navy is one that has forgotten, and it is a prim and sterile service, shorn of its rebel Admirals and lush tropical heritage - - it is well known among the "shellbacks " and all duly initiated members of the "Ancient Order of the Deep and "Occult Mysteries of the Far East " that a man who won't f***, wont fight! So help me Neptune, Rex!
Just after the end of the first Gulf War, looming Mount Pinatubo blew its stack and buried Clark Air Base in hot ash and spread a foot of it at Subic Bay. The Philippine Senate had announced that it would oppose an extension of the Status of Forces agreement, and the destruction provided a convenient and expeditious end to the American presence that had continued since the end of the Spanish-American war. The last American ship out was the helicopter carrier USS Belleau Wood in 1992, a Marine Corps amphibious fighting ship!!
The ship carried something precious, something that links the generations. As the green hills sank into the sea behind, the Ship's Intelligence Officer placed an envelope in his safe. It contained the formula that had magical properties which distorted perception of time and space, and had enabled the long occupation. Other versions had been spirited off the Naval Reservation by diplomatic pouch, but they were corrupted by the State Department.
This is the recipe of the famous Cubi Special Cocktail, served to generations of happy military visitors to Subic Bay. By special permission of the Office of Naval Intelligence, it has been declassified, but on the provision that no endorsement of its consumption is to be construed thereby, and no expeditions into foreign lands be conducted under it's power.
The "CUBI Special"
· Mix 96 ounces orange juice
· 84 ounces pineapple juice
· 6 ounces mango juice
· 6 ounces cranberry juice
· 2-4 ounces grenadine
· Rum to taste. Lots of Rum.
· Add a hand full of sliced local miniature limes, aka "calemancies"
*'Tho a great drink at any time, it especially enhances the festive spirit of the "Mongolian Barbecue": luscious viands of diverse meats, with exotic veggies and sauces, grilled on flats of metal..., usually prepared by Filipino cooks at the once great naval clubs around the world, waylaid by Nuevo policies of the correct!
If mixing in trash cans or other bulk containers for landing parties of varying size and composition, proportions may be estimated at:
- 16 parts orange juice,
- 14 parts pineapple juice,
- 1 part mango juice,
- 1 part cranberry juice,
- 1/2 part grenadine.
- Lots of Rum; (between 10 and 15 parts)
If a quick fix is required, i.e., in a moving Duty Sedan, an approximation can be made with
- 2 parts orange juice to·
- one part cranberry juice and Rum.
For perfectly obvious reasons, notably its role in the fight against world communism, this is known as a Radford Special.
Copyright 2007 Vic Socotra www.vicsocotra.com