Olongapo was an extraordinary part of our world known to millions. This tiny section of the Far East served as playground for Vietnam. An amusement park for the American Seventh Fleet, contractors and other service members from around the world. Rides in this park featured people’s lives, creating impassioned experiences. Written with deepest respect for those with their names etched into The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Many who experienced joy for the last time while in Olongapo. The Olongapo experience was a true phenomenon, a saturation of life.
During the peak of Vietnam, the area grew from a population of 40,000 in 1964 to a bulging 138,000 plus by 1969. The undisputed king of liberty ports in Asia, Olongapo’s nightclubs bloomed from 35 to over 300. Pay by play girls increased to over 8,000 while pay by the hour hotels zoomed to more than 200. All of this amazing expansion crammed into just over one acre of frenzy. Men who had been off the coast of Vietnam and people shore based made up the 9 to 14 thousand visitors to the city every night of the year. Most were on brief liberty passes after months at sea and others awaited transfer to Vietnam. The combination created a free spending environment that poured millions of dollars into Olongapo every month.
My novel is not just for the millions who miss such a unique concentration of life, it is for those who never knew the Olongapo experience.