A group of Japanese members of the bereaved families visited our museum with great interest. Miss Hideko, the leading Japanese tour guide, asked about the Japanese hospital used during WWII, as there were descendants of Japanese soldiers killed in Bamban that were originally camped and deployed at the said hospital.

I immediately replied, “CAMP DEL PILAR”!

That answer came from me immediately as I heard the inquiry from Ms. Hideko. My source is the book about Captain Henry Clay Conner, where a map was prepared by the Squadron 155 showing the locations of Japanese facilities at Clark Field and nearby Angeles.

Notable from among the structures of the camp were the two pillars, standing at the gate like artillery rounds. The camp became the artillery training center of the Philippine Army, where the Philippine division artillery personnel were trained. Many of the Bambanenses who enlisted for service prior the outbreak of the war became artillerymen who were trained at the camp, particularly the 21st Division and the 301st Field Artillery, Philippine Army.

At the height of the Air War over Clark Field area, the camp, aside from the hospital use, with its cadre barracks, was used as billet by the Japanese officers and men, as well as crews and pilots of the 95th Air Regiment, 5th Air Brigade, 4th Air Army.

With the arrival of the 37th Division U.S. Army that captured Clark Field in late January 1945, the camp was visited by General Douglas MacArthur.

Post-war, the facilities of Camp Del Pilar became part and attached to Clark Air Force Base, the largest air facility operated by the U.S. Air Force outside of continental America. Later, the former camp became the facility and headquarters of the Clark Air Base Command (CABCOM).

In the passage of time, the former Camp Del Pilar was lost to history, and the only remaining iconic structures were the two artillery round shaped pillars.

At present, the Artillery Memorial dedicated to the Filipino artillery from 1896 to present, stands at the former Camp Del Pilar and is now part of the Global Gateway leased properties.

The following photographs show the historical evolution of the camp through the two concrete pillars:
-Camp Del Pilar, as shown in photograph taken in February 1945. The two pillars are clearly marked and defined near the upper center of the image.
-The pillar, still standing after the ravages of WWII, as shown in the photograph taken by Carl Mydans.
-The photograph taken probably in the 1970s, the camp became the HQ of Clark Air Base Command (CABCOM). The facilities were utilized as evacuation centers for the victims of Mt. Pinatubo eruption starting in 1992.
-One of the pillars still standing on its original site, taken in 2010.
-Two photographs taken recently showing the pillars still standing on the former WWII camp, now designated as Artillery Memorial. The site is now part of the leased properties of Global Gateway.

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