NOT many people know that there's an old cemetery inside Clark City, in Pampanga that was made for the bravest of dogs.
When Clark was still a US military air base, the 3rd Security Police Group (3SPG) operated there the largest military working dog unit of the United States Air Force (USAF) with hundreds of dogs during its entire history. Canines that died from natural causes or were put to sleep after they became ineffective for the job were interred at this K-9 cemetery.
Despite the passing of time, the violent eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 and the redevelopment of Clark into a freeport zone, the K-9 cemetery remained where it is, undisturbed but somewhat forgotten.
The K-9 cemetery lies in a 100-sq.m. piece of land, a mere speck in the map of Clark, which in total is about 32,000-hectare big. The dog cemetery is not a very popular attraction so finding it could be a bit tricky without a tour person or an app like Waze as guide. It is at the corner of Centennial street, near a major intersection and with a big green sign that says “K-9 Cemetery”.
The K-9 cemetery is surrounded by old trees. A short concrete bridge literally connects the K-9 Cemetery to the outside world.
For decades, the K-9 military working dogs and their handlers did a nightly search of the jungles, secured the flight line and guarded the base population. The dogs were trained to secure the base perimeter from intruders and thieves and to detect narcotics and bombs.
As to be expected, a lot of them were German Shepherds.
Based on archived pictures, the K-9 Cemetery in Clark Field looked like it started as a plain field marked by white crosses. In 1978, the crosses were changed to tombstones that look like short obelisks that bear the dogs' names and their officially issued identification numbers.
The tombstones are neatly arranged in rows and columns. Unfortunately, the statue of a dog and its handler at the center of the cemetery no longer exists. It has been removed and sent by the USAF to the Security Forces Museum in Texas, leaving a stump of concrete in the middle of the K-9 cemetery.
Although it is right along a busy street with no gate or walls to hide it from view, the final resting place of the USAF canines is as peaceful as it can be. The tombstones, many with faded letters and numbers, are all that remain of the once proud military kennel.
Based on some of the names, one could guess the personality or character of the dog in the grave. Some of the names that stand out are Pig, Sultan, Duke, Bullet, King, Max and Wolf. There are 284 tombstones so going through each and everyone could take a while.
The K-9 Cemetery is a must-see if you are a dog lover. Clark Development Corp. takes care of the K-9 Cemetery's upkeep and promised not to disturb it in the name of progress. As the only one in the country, the K-9 Cemetery and the dogs it contains can rest in peace...forever. --- MetroPets