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Concord in Contra Costa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Dangerous Work

 
 
Dangerous Work Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 17, 2019
1. Dangerous Work Marker
Inscription.  July 17, 1944 was a typical day at Port Chicago Naval Magazine. Men of the Merchant Marine and the U.S. Navy Armed Guard prepared the empty, brand new SS Quinault Victory for loading on one side of the pier and prepared the nearly full SS E.A. Bryan , across the pier, for the next day's voyage. Meanwhile hundreds of US Navy stevedores worked around the clock to fill the Bryan's five cargo holds with 175 kinds of ammunition - everything from bullets to 2,000 pound artillery shells.
These enlisted men received little training and no classes in handling of explosives.
While professional longshoremen at Mare Island loaded 8.7 tons per cargo hold per hour, the enlisted men here averaged 8.3 tons, But the admiral of the 12th Naval District insisted on 10 tons per hour: his officers raced their crews against each other, and bet on them, in an effort to boost their rate.
At 10:00 p.m. the loading of the Bryan was nearly done. More than 4,600 tons of shells and bombs filled the Bryan's five holds and her last 400 tons of explosives sat on the dock. Then something went terribly wrong.
 
Erected
Dangerous Work</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 17, 2019
2. Dangerous Work Marker
2019 by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansDisastersWar, World II.
 
Location. 38° 3.45′ N, 122° 1.795′ W. Marker is in Concord, California, in Contra Costa County. Marker is on Port Chicago Highway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5110, Concord CA 94520, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Port Chicago Naval Magazine (within shouting distance of this marker); (Port Chicago) Disaster (within shouting distance of this marker); The Only Train Stop in Clyde (approx. 2.4 miles away); De Anza Expedition 1775-1776 (approx. 4.3 miles away); A Window into the Past (approx. 4.3 miles away); From an Accident to a Preserve (approx. 4.3 miles away); Dr. John Marsh (approx. 4.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Concord.
 
Regarding Dangerous Work. Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial is on the grounds of Military Ocean Terminal Concord. Access is restricted.
 
Also see . . .  One of the last Port Chicago Survivors tells harrowing story of blast -- NBC Bay Area. A television video story
What is left of Pier One image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, July 17, 2019
3. What is left of Pier One
of the Port Chicago Disaster, (Submitted on July 18, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 20, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 18, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 125 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 18, 2019, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Oct. 29, 2020