Port of Chicago National
"On the night of July 17, 1944,
residents in the San Francisco area were jolted awake by a massive
explosion that lit up the sky. At Port Chicago Naval Magazine 40 miles
east of San Francisco, 320 men were instantly killed when the munitions
ships they were loading with ammunition and bombs for the Pacific Rim
troops mysteriously blew up. It was the largest homeland disaster during
World War II.
Everyone within 1,000 feet of
the loading dock perished; Sailors, Marines, Navy Armed Guard, Coast
Guardsmen, Merchant Marines, and working civilians. Over 200 of the deaths
were young African-American enlisted sailors working for a segregated
military. The explosion and its aftermath led to the largest Naval mutiny
trial and was one of the catalysts to persuade the U.S. Armed Services to
desegregate following the war." -
Because the memorial is located on an active military
base, the National Park Service must escort visitors to the site.
required at least two weeks in advance.
(925) 838-0249. Visiting times are available Wednesday-Saturdays
between 9:00 am and 1:30 pm (allow 1 hour). The visit includes free
transportation to the Memorial on the military base and a guided tour.
Rosie the Riveter National Historic
website for Port of Chicago National Memorial