Villamor Air Base

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Chapel and Golf Club of Villamor Air Base

Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base, or simply Villamor Air Base Template:Airport codes, is the headquarters of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and shares runways with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). It was formerly known as Nichols Field or Nichols Air Base and possibly as Nichols Freeport Zone. Chiefly used as a PAF transport/helicopter airbase, it is also the military installation that the Philippine president uses when departing for foreign or domestic trips, though foreign departures are mostly done at the Philippine Airlines-operated NAIA Terminal 2 (as PAL is the official charter airline for the Philippine president). Also, foreign dignitaries visiting Manila would usually arrive at the air base.

The base is named after Filipino WWII pilot Jesús A. Villamor.

History

Nichols Field was built in 1919 by the United States during the Philippine Commonwealth period and in 1941 was used as an airfield by the United States Army Air Forces in the South West Pacific Theatre. The field was the location of the U.S. Far East Air Force's U.S. 20th Air Base Group. Also, based at the field was Troop F of the U.S. 26th Cavalry Regiment.

A Fifth Air Force base, Nichols Field was within the territory of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, December 1941 – January 1945.

Nichols Air Base

Designated Nichols Air Base after Philippine independence, in 1997, the base was reduced to make way for construction of NAIA Terminal 3 and Newport City.

In 2007, a Skyway exit to both the air base and NAIA Terminal 3 was completed.

In 2010, the AVSECOM van (called by some as Ninoy Aquino's death van) which had carried the body of Ninoy Aquino to the hospital after his assassination in 1983 was found rotting inside Nichols Air Base (now called Villamor Airbase). This was reported only two years later in the popular ABS-CBN News website.[1] Photos of this "death van" were subsequently posted on the blog site of the Filipino investigative journalist, Raissa Robles, who reported the discovery.[2]


References