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Welcome Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial!

By October 29, 2009

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Welcome Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial to the National Park System!

Located  close to San Francisco, the area's national importance was recognized but not officially so that federal money could be spent on education, historic preservation, or public awareness. But this week, President Obama signed the Defense Authorization Act, which calls the following: transfer to the National Park Service of the five acres around the site; the National Park Service and the military to coordinate public access through an active military base; and for the establishment of a visitor orientation facility.

Can't recall the area's history? On July 17, 1944, crews at the magazine in the San Francisco Bay area were loading two Pacific-bound naval vessels with active munitions when the explosives ignited. Explosions broke windows as far away as San Francisco, destroyed both ships, and killed everyone at the waterfront. It caused the greatest loss of life on the home front during World War II - 320 men died (202 were African Americans due to segregation), and almost 400 others were injured. In the years that followed, the navy began desegregating units and munitions were redesigned for safety.

Reservations for visiting Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial can be made by calling 925-228-8860. You need military clearance as well as reservations, so call at least two weeks in advance.

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