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Robert Love on: The "Fiasco" at Clark Field
Robert Love Q: After the fiasco at Clark Field, I understand that King said he would never allow any ship to be --

LOVE: ...There was no fiasco at Clark Field, in the first place.

Q: But we lost a lot of B-17s.

LOVE: No, we didn't lose a lot of B-17s, lost half of MacArthur's complement, and he only had three dozen aircraft, and it is very, very difficult to imagine those aircraft being operated out of the Philippines without those kinds of losses.

You have to remember the sequence of events. The Japanese were very fortunate. They appeared over Clark Field when the pursuit aircraft, which were defending the area, had come down for lunch. Had the Japanese appeared an hour later or an hour before, they would have had contested air space over Clark Field.

But you have to ask yourself, if they had sent all the B-17s to the south, as MacArthur had ordered, and was in progress, what would have occurred? One of two things. Either those B-17s would have operated against the Japanese, and they would have been lost in that process, or they would have been evacuated to Australia and played no part. Clark Field isn't that much of a disaster, and King didn't particularly take notice of that.

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