Hole in The Wall

The Hole in The Wall

By Garland Davis

It was a place of beginnings and endings, a place of firsts and lasts, a place of meeting and separation, a place of hopes and disappointments.

The Hole in The Wall was on the corner of Magsaysay and Gordon, the first place to get a cold one to begin liberty. It was also the place where a sick, hungover son of a bitch could gag down a couple of cold ones to help him make it through the day until liberty call when he would do it all again. It was the place where many memorable liberties began and the place where they ended. It was also the place where myriad seventeen to twenty-year-old kids had their first quasi-legal beer. I don’t know the drinking age there, but then, no one was checking ID’s. I guess Pesos sufficed to identify those old enough to drink.

It was a place where steadies waited for their sailor to come across the bridge. She waited to make sure some other girl didn’t catch his attention and steal him away. With more than fifteen thousand licensed hostesses in Olongapo, the competition for a sailor’s attention was fierce. Many girls breathed a sigh of relief when he appeared coming across the bridge because it meant that she, her mother, and sister would eat tomorrow.

It was a place where that same girl would say goodbye with crocodile tears the morning her sailor’s ship was leaving. There was the tingle in her stomach and the anticipation of the search for the next one. She could buy that pretty blouse with the fistful of Pesos he gave her right before he kissed her goodbye.

It was a place of disappointment for sailors and girls alike when the one they were waiting for didn’t come.

It was a place where the participants brought the young, or mostly old, women they had spent the night with and had chosen to enter in an “Ugly Contest.”

It was also the place where many sailors had their last San Miguel in the PI and said farewell to their last Olongapo girlfriend before leaving for discharge or retirement.

I know, I was one of those…

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Graf Spee

Graf Spee

Admiral Graf Spee

by Lukasz Kasperczyk

Admiral Graf Spee was a Deutschland-class “Panzerschiff” (armored ship), nicknamed a “pocket battleship” by the British, which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. The two sister-ships of her class, Deutschland and Admiral Scheer, were reclassified as heavy cruisers in 1940. The vessel was named after Admiral Maximilian von Spee, commander of the East Asia Squadron that fought the battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands, where he was killed in action, in World War I. She was laid down at the Reichsmarinewerft shipyard in Wilhelmshaven in October 1932 and completed by January 1936. The ship was nominally under the 10,000 long tons (10,000 t) limitation on warship size imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, though with a full load displacement of 16,020 long tons (16,280 t), she significantly exceeded it. Armed with six 28 cm (11 in) guns in two triple gun turrets, Admiral Graf Spee and her sisters were designed to outgun any cruiser fast enough to catch them. Their top speed of 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph) left only the few battlecruisers in the Anglo-French navies fast enough and powerful enough to sink them.

The ship conducted five non-intervention patrols during the Spanish Civil War in 1936–1938, and participated in the Coronation Review of King George VI in May 1937. Admiral Graf Spee was deployed to the South Atlantic in the weeks before the outbreak of World War II, to be positioned in merchant sea lanes once war was declared. Between September and December 1939, the ship sank nine ships totaling 50,089 gross register tons (GRT), before being confronted by three British cruisers at the Battle of the River Plate on 13 December. Admiral Graf Spee inflicted heavy damage on the British ships, but she too was damaged and was forced to put into port at Montevideo. Convinced by false reports of superior British naval forces approaching his ship, Hans Langsdorff, the commander of the ship, ordered the vessel to be scuttled. The ship was partially broken up in situ, though part of the ship remains visible above the surface of the water.

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