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LAST U.S. GROUP OF DEPENDENTS LEAVES SUBIC

The last group of U.S. dependents left this sprawling U.S. naval base for the United States Wednesday, as Washington prepared to hand over the mammoth facility to Manila by year's end.

Family members hugged and bade tearful farewells under a slight drizzle as 157 dependents, 68 servicemen and five civilian employees boarded a DC-8 Hawaiian Airlines jet at Subic's airport.The United States plans to turn over the base to the Philippines in December because the Pacific island nation's Senate rejected a treaty extending a U.S. lease on the site.

The pullout will end nearly a century of U.S. military presence in the Philippines, a former American colony. The United States last year abandoned its other giant Philippine installation, Clark Air Base, after a volcanic eruption devastated the site.

Subic - a major repair and logistics center for the U.S. Seventh Fleet - formerly housed 7,400 U.S. troops, 11,200 dependents and 800 Department of Defense employees.