Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial

Overview

Port Chicago Naval Magazine was dedicated as a National Memorial to honor the courage and commitment of the Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Merchant Mariners, and working civilians killed and injured in the largest homeland disaster during World War II. On July 17, 1944, 320 men, over 200 of which were African-Americans, were instantly killed when a loaded munition ship blew up during loading operations. The Memorial recognizes the critical role they and the survivors of the explosion played in winning the war in the Pacific. Port Chicago National Memorial was dedicated in 1994 by the survivors of that tragic event and their families, Naval personnel, and National Park Service. The explosion and its aftermath was a catalyst, one of many, that helped persuade the U.S. Navy and the military establishment to begin the long journey on the road to racial justice and equality following WWII. Reservations are required to visit this site.

Map

Activities

Seasonality / Weather

Public access to the Memorial is through two week advance reservation only, Tuesdays-Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. (allow 1½ hours). No access Sundays, Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and during Military Ocean Terminal Concord (MOTCO) operations. Every July, an annual Commemorative Event takes place at the Memorial to honor those who died at Port Chicago while serving their country during World War II.

Directions

Driving: 

From Oakland/Berkeley, take Highway 24 east to Walnut Creek. Merge onto Interstate 680 north, towards Sacramento. Merge onto Highway 242 north to Concord. Exit Port Chicago Highway north to the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

From Sacramento, take Interstate 80 west. Exit onto Interstate 680 south to Martinez. Exit onto Highway 4 east to Concord. Exit onto Port Chicago Highway north to the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

Visitors arrive at the Memorial by park shuttle from the entrance gate to the Concord Naval Weapons Station, receive a guided tour of the Memorial, and are shuttled back to the pick up location.

Accessiblity: Transportation is accessible to wheel chair users with advanced notice. The Memorial is on one level.

Flying: 

The Memorial is about a 45-60 minute drive from either the Oakland and San Francisco International Airports.