On July 21st, the National Park Service, the Friends of Port Chicago National Memorial, the U.S. Army’s 834th Transportation Battalion from Military Ocean Terminal Concord, and 250 attendees gathered to honor all those killed in the largest homeland disaster during World War II.
The memorial ceremony commemorating the 68th anniversary of the disaster included comments by Rep. George Miller and new base commander Kenneth Sheets among others. Reverend Diana McDaniel received the 2012 Friends of Port Chicago Commemorative Heroes Award for her decade of efforts to raise awareness about the site and stories. The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps-Arkansas Division provided the color guard and played Taps. Visitors attended interpretive tours following the ceremony, and also viewed a new documentary film about the disaster entitled “Into Forgetfulness.” This film can be accessed through the park’s multimedia presentations webpage.
The memorial reminds visitors of all those who lost their lives in the explosion on the night of July 17, 1944, when two transport ships filled with ammunition violently exploded. A total of 320 men died; 202 of them were African-American sailors serving in a segregated military unit.
For more information about the site and story, or to learn how to visit the memorial, please go to the park’s webpage.