In Pictures and Story
Clark Cemetery was formed between 1947 and 1950 by moving the headstones/markers and remains from at least four other U.S. military cemeteries (Fort Stotsenburg 1 & 2, Fort McKinley, and Sangley Point Naval Cemetery) to the new 20.365 acre, 12,000 plot cemetery located just inside the main gate of Clark Air Base. All WWII dead were moved to the American Cemetery in Manila.
Clark Cemetery contains the remains of U.S. veterans from the USA, USN, USMC, USCG, USAF, Philippine Scouts (PS) and their dependents. Some, but not all, were veterans of the Spanish/ American, Philippine Insurrection, WWI, WWII (died after the war), Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq wars. The largest category interred are civilian, mostly U.S. and Filipino and their dependents, all of whom worked for the U.S. Government.
A special waiver was given to the provisions of the 1979 revised MBA to allow the U.S. flag to be displayed. This revision was secured from the Philippine government at the request of the Commander, 13th Air Force, Major General Burns. From 1979-1984, only one U.S. flag had been allowed to be flown on Clark Air Base, the one located immediately in front of 13th Air Force headquarters.
In addition, nationals from France, Spain, Canada, Japan, China, Vietnam and India are buried there. The earliest recorded burial is Santiago Belona, Pvt, PS, date of death: Jan 13, 1900. There are no records, but it is probable that this individual was moved from either Fort Stotsenburg 1 or 2.
There are nearly 9,000 individuals buried in the cemetery as of May 1, 2019. Dual flags have flown over the cemetery since March 1984.
This obelisk, at kilometer marker 100, honors those that suffered the forced march of 60,000 to 80,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war. It was sadly but accurately named "The Bataan Death March".
Ravaged by the forces of nature and malevolents alike, the beautiful perimeter fence that now stands was erected by Peregrine Development International on behalf of Global Gateway Logistics City.
This Plaque reads:
Clark Cemetery site was established in 1953 and contains non-world war II related remains from the base and other U.S. cemeteries in Manila. It is the last active USAF cemetery outside of the U.S. The graves date back to 1900. All branches of the United States Armed Forces are represented as well as Philippine Scouts, Philippine Constabulary, and citizens of other nations. The cemetery contains 12,000 grave sites in an area encompassing 20, 365 acres.
The Clark Cemetery was budgeted for and maintained by the U.S. Air Force from 1947 to 1991. When the Air Force departed the Philippines in November 1991, an MOA was signed with the Philippine Air Force where the latter agreed to provide proper care for the cemetery.
In less than two years, Clark Development Corporation (CDC) took over control of the cemetery. No care was provided to the cemetery by the Philippine Air Force/CDC from November 1991 to June 1994. VFW Post 2485 took over the job of maintaining the cemetery after deciding the cemetery condition dishonored all veterans buried there. A work force of U.S. volunteers (from
various veterans organizations) was organized
for the initial cleanup. Limited funds derived from donations were utilized.
In November 1994, VFW Post 2485 signed an MOA with CDC giving the VFW permission to maintain the Clark Cemetery and open it for burials of U.S. veterans, including Philippine Scouts. This MOA was renewed in February 2001 and again in March 2006 with an expiration date of March 2031. The cemetery work force consists of a cemetery chairman from VFW Post 2485, four
full time local nationals, and various other volunteers as needed to do the entire cemetery maintenance. In February 1996, CDC contracted for grass cutting, approximately 10 days per month, and a clean-up crew for trash and leaves on a daily basis. This didn't work out, so now VFW Post 2485 takes care of the entire cemetery maintenance.
At one time, support from the U.S. Congress to resolve the cemetery funding problems was led by Representative Montgomery in the Committee for Veteran Affairs. This action apparently died from lack of interest. The Clark Cemetery receives no U.S. or Philippine government funding. VFW Post 2485 can only budget cemetery maintenance through money donations from various individuals, military organizations, veterans groups, and civic/business organizations.
The history of Clark Veterans Cemetery has been told in many stories and articles. Visit the internet and do a search or visit your local library.