Aviation History "Preserved"
Military aviation history isn't always about planes and pilots. Sometimes it's soaked into a patch of red paisley carpet or etched into a slab of wood. For pilots and crew who headed into harm's way in the Western Pacific, the watering hole known as The Cubi Bar at Cubi Point Naval Air Station in the Philippines was the closest thing to home. And now, anytime they're in the Pensacola area, they can visit their old haunt, check to see that their squadron plaque is still hanging and maybe play a game of shuffleboard. After Subic Bay closed in the early 1990s, the National Museum of Naval Aviation had the bar dismantled and shipped to Pensacola where it was reassembled down to the last detail. "Every squadron that was in the western Pacific, it was here. There's a lot naval history in this room," said former patron and Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan, who recently had lunch there. The bar was among the first places squadron members would head after months of duty. These days, the atmosphere is a little more sedate. "It was a forward deployed base with aviators who had been at sea for months," said Cmdr. Jeremy Gillespie, a former P-3 pilot who patronized the bar in its original location. "There was a lot more drinking and smoking, a lot of steam being blown off."