It was May 1980 when I arrived in the Philippines and prepared to take command of the U.S. Naval Supply Depot (NSD) on the Philippines Navy base at Subic Bay. It was a dream assignment for a U.S. Navy Captain who loved the business of the Navy. At the change of command, a young Philippine dignitary came up to greet me. It was the new youthful mayor of Olongapo, Dick Gordon. What a day to remember. The next two years the Philippines would be my wife’s and my home and Dick Gordon would become my friend.
Dick Gordon had just taken over as mayor and invited me to his office. He asked for my help as a base commanding officer. He had plans. The city had little money and he wanted to help the families of firefighters and the police. Taking advantage of Olongapo’s reputation as an entertainment city, he organized quarterly “Mardi Gras,” street parades of student groups, dancers, musicians, marchers, etc., fantastic street parties that would raise money for the community. He charged a peso to come on to the streets. Sailors on liberty were not happy about having to pay. But soon everyone joined in. It was all about benefiting the people of Olongapo. Helping those that served the people of Olongapo. That is why I remember Dick Gordon. (more…)