Clark Air base - aftermath of Japanese Attack Dec. 8, 1941; Wikimedia Commons

Clark Air base – aftermath of Japanese Attack Dec. 8, 1941; Wikimedia Commons

 

It is difficult to understand General MacArthur’s failure to place American military forces in the Philippines on a proper war footing immediately after hearing news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Nine hours after he knew of the Pearl Harbor attack, many American aircraft remained on the ground, vulnerable to attack. The result was the effective elimination of American air power in the Western Pacific, withdrawal of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet from Philippine waters and extreme compromise of the defense of the Philippines against a subsequent invasion by Japanese troops.