SS Red Oak Victory: One of the last Victory ships

Melinda McCrary, executive director of the Richmond Museum, gives a brief history of the SS Red Oak Victory ship.

With the holidays around the corner many are looking for fun things to do in Richmond. Don’t worry because you won’t have to go far. One of the few remaining Victory ships, the SS Red Oak Victory, is now a floating museum open to the public at Kaiser Shipyard No. 3 in Richmond. The hours of operation are Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 3PM. You can call 510-237-2933 for more information or to book tours of eight or more.

During WWII, Victory ships were produced in large numbers off the California coast. This class of cargo ship is slightly bigger and more powerful than the similarly designed Liberty ships. They transported much needed supplies, including highly volatile ammunition, to the U.S. fleet until the Allied victory in 1945.

In the video below, Melinda McCrary, executive director of the Richmond Museum, explains how the SS Red Oak was used and where she got her name.


 

Go on a journey inside the SS Red Oak Victory and learn more about the ship by clicking on the tabs that appear when you hover over the picture of the ship.

 



 

Learn more about where the SS Red Oak Victory traveled to by clicking on the red pins on the map.


 

The mass exodus of male soldiers during the Second World War created a severe labor shortage throughout the United States. As a result, women began working jobs previously held by men. By 1945, one out of every four married women worked outside the home. The image of Rosie the Riveter, created as part of a government campaign to enlist female workers, inspired women in Richmond, California to seek work in the local shipyards where the SS Red Oak Victory was built.


 

Scroll through our historical timeline by clicking on the arrows to learn more facts World War II, the Kaiser Shipyards and the SS Red Oak Victory.


 

Bob DiChiara, 90, was one of the first men aboard the SS Red Oak Victory. He served on her crew until the war’s end. DiChiara recently recalled his experiences from his home in South Florida.

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2 Comments

  1. Brooks Rowlett

    Please note that as can be clearly seen painted on the hull, the correct name of the ship is SS RED OAK VICTORY, not just SS RED OAK. This is further confirmed by the National Park Service link about the ship, as can be seen at this link: http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/wwIIbayarea/red.htm
    All of the US Merchant Marine Victory ships included the word Victory as the last word of the name. Only Victory ship hulls taken over by the US Navy as attack transports with USS vs. SS names did not have Victory as part of the name. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Victory_ships for the complete list.

  2. I attempted to post this two nights ago and it still hasn’t shown up. This article gets a very very basic fact wrong. All US Merchant Marine Victory Ships had the word “Victory” in their name. You can even see in the photo that the name painted on the side of the ship is “RED OAK VICTORY”. The National Park Service website also correctly calls the ship by that name. I suggest you publish a correction.

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