Modern Car Tour to Rosie the Riveter Museum and SS Red Oak Victory Ship
January 2022

Red Oak Victory was built by the Permanente Metals Corporation's Richmond Number 1 Yard in Richmond, California and launched on 9 November 1944. Victory ships were not intended to be long lasting, but the welds of the Red Oak Victory are still intact after 76 years. The ship is 455 feet (139 m) in length, and armed with one five-inch/38 caliber gun; one three-inch/50 caliber gun, and eight 20 mm guns. The ship was acquired by the United States Navy on 5 December 1944 and commissioned the same day as USS Red Oak Victory (AK-235). Following a fitting-out period, Red Oak Victory was loaded with cargo and departed San Francisco for Pearl Harbor on 10 January 1945. Red Oak Victory departed Hawaii on 10 February loaded with munitions needed in the Marshall and Caroline islands. Sent onward from Enewetak, she arrived in Ulithi on 28 February, and then began operating under 6. Operating out of the does not exist)" Philippines, she issued cargo and ammunition to various ships in the fleet through the end of the war in August 1945. During a hazardous tour of duty in the Pacific, Red Oak Victory handled many tons of ammunition, supplying the fleet without a single casualty. Red Oak Victory was decommissioned in 1946 and returned to the U.S. Maritime Commission. Red Oak Victory was used by the Luckenbach Steamship Company from 1947 through the 1950s, during which time the vessel went to Japan, Korea, Cuba, Pakistan, India, Singapore and Japan again. Red Oak Victory was operated by American Mail Lines for the Military Sea Transport Service from 1966 to 1968, making a dozen voyages to Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines carrying military supplies loaded at West Coast ports. From 1968 until 1998, she was laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay. Destined to be scrapped, Red Oak Victory came to the attention of the Richmond Museum Association in 1993. In 1996 Congress passed legislation authorizing the conveyance of the ship to the Museum Association. Red Oak Victory was turned over to the Richmond Museum of History and returned to a new home in Richmond on 20 September 1998. She is being restored and operated by the Richmond Museum of History, and is part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park.

Chuck Christensen

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Photos provided by Bob Meneely & Chuck Christensen