Operation Classic Resolve
In February 1989 an almost bloodless revolution brought Corazon
Aquino into office as the seventh president of the Republic of the
Philippines. Aquino had been swept into office on a wave of high
expectations that she would be able to right all of the wrongs done
to the Philippines under Marcos. When she could not do this and when
the same problems recurred, Filipinos grew disillusioned.
Philippine politics between 1986 and 1991 was punctuated by
Aquino's desperate struggle to survive physically and politically a
succession of coup attempts, culminating in a large, bloody, and
well-financed attempt in December 1989. This attempt, led by
renegade Colonel Gregorio Honasan, involved upwards of 3,000 troops,
including elite Scout Rangers and marines, in a coordinated series
of attacks on Camp Crame and Camp Aquinaldo, Fort Bonifacio, Cavite
Naval Base, Villamor Air Base, and on Malacaņang itself, which was
dive-bombed by vintage T-28 aircraft. Although Aquino was not hurt
in this raid, the situation appeared desperate, for not only were
military commanders around the country waiting to see which side
would triumph in Manila, but the people of Manila, who had poured
into the streets to protect Aquino in February 1986, stayed home
Warboat History - In the Summer of 1990 a few months after Just Cause. a Incident Involving SBU-12 deployed detachments to Naval Special Warfare Unit One (NSWU-1) in the Philippines.
NSWU-1 is the forward deployed base for NSW forces in the Pacific and had been stationed in Subic Bay Philippines since the end of the Viet-Nam war. West Coast Seal Plts and SBU Dets. would do a six-month deployment in support of Pacific Command. At the time of the incident the SpecBoat Dets were operating PBMKIIIs and SWCLs.
The PB detachments would routinely conduct joint training with its Philippine Navy Counterparts which also had PB MKIIIs attached to "Assault Boat Unit." which was located at Cavite Naval station in Manila Bay.
The SBU Det. upon receiving orders to conduct joint training with its Philippine
Counter-parts, two U.S. PBs transited to Cavite and tied up for the night.
The next morning a political uprising had begun against President Corizon Aquino and the
Philippine Navy would not support their President. Because of the good relations between
Philippine and U.S. Navy The SBU dets were told to return to Subic. The two PB MKIIIs got underway for home, when without any warning the were attacked by a flight of 2 of the P.I.
Air force's F-5s. These Jets strafed and dropped 500lb bombs at the now radically evading tactics of the PBs. By the time the SBU crewmen could get ammo out and loaded the attack was over. It is assumed the Philippine F-5 assumed the PBs were part of the rebel Navy and not U.S.
Upon return to NSWU-1 Naval Special warfare assets SEALs and SpecBoats moved to sea and working with a USN Frigate laid off
Manila Bay for a week. Waiting for orders to conduct a NEO Operation, which is the "non combat rescue" of American civilians from the US embassy. The Operation never took place as the Coup attempt was quelled and US forces were not needed.
The Philippine Incident is a great example of how a "peacetime" deployment overseas can turn real time at any moment especially for those who serve in Naval Special Warfare.
Submitted by Jim Gray
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