Clark Field in late October 1944 till the end of December of the year became the basement of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force, with most of the tactical units (air group) of the 1st and 2nd Air Fleet. This was due to the activation of the Sho-Ichi-Go Operation (also known as the Leyte Operation), the Japanese High Command considered to be the Philippines as the place of the decisive battle against General MacArthur’s landing in Leyte. At first, the 1st Air Fleet was the Imperial Japanese Navy’s air force responsible in providing necessary air support. However, with the American massive aerial operations in Mindanao and Central Philippines in the weeks before October 20, 1944, most of the fighters and aircraft of the 1st Air Fleet were lost.

When Sho-Ichi-Go Operation was thus activated, the 2nd Air Fleet moved to the Philippines, mostly deployed in the Clark Air Center, including Bamban, Mabalacat, Angeles and Porac airfields. Many of the pilots of the Second Air Fleet became Kamikaze Special Attack pilots.

The pilots of both the 1st and 2nd Air Fleet were young and graduates of YOKAREN Navy Preparatory Pilot Training Course. The first Kamikaze, the Shikishima Unit of the 1st Kamikaze Air Corps organized by Vice-Admiral Onishi Takijiro and led by Lieutenant Yukio Seki, were young pilots and graduate of Navy Preparatory Course YOKAREN Class 10. Many where residents of Ehime Prefecture, with Lieutenant Seki being the leader of Shikishima Unit.

In the past, group of Japanese descendants of war dead, members of bereaved families made several visits to our Bamban WWII Museum. One of the groups were from Ehime Prefecture and were descendants of the Japanese pilots from YOKAREN Navy Preparatory Pilot Training Courses. Many of those pilots from YOKAREN were deployed at the Mabalacat, Clark and Bamban Airfields, were many died and never to return back to their home country and family.

The descendants prayed for peace and for the repose of souls of all those who died in WWII.

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