Historic photo of African American sailors marching on the pier at Port Chicago.
Port Chicago Sailors

POCH 2.080


320 Americans Killed in WWII Naval Magazine Accident

On the evening of July 17, 1944, residents in the San Francisco east bay area were jolted awake by a massive explosion that cracked windows and lit up the night sky. At Port Chicago Naval Magazine, 320 men were instantly killed when two ships being loaded with ammunition for the Pacific theater troops blew up. It was WWII's worst home front disaster.

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial preserves the site of the deadliest home front disaster of World War II,honoring those who lost their lives or were affected by the munitions explosion on July 17, 1944. The disaster and its aftermath illuminated the issues of segregation and racial inequality in the military, and today the memorial serves as a spring board for exploring social justice in our society.
The munitions explosion at Port Chicago Naval Magazine on July 17, 1944, was the largest stateside disaster of World War II. The blast registered 3.4 on the Richter scale,was felt more than 450 miles away and resulted in 320 fatalities and approximately 400 injured. The memorial is located at the site of the explosion, the final resting place for the un-recovered casualties.

Following the explosion, as before, surviving sailors received unequal treatment based on their race. Many African American sailors refused to return to work soon after the explosion and 50 were convicted of mutiny in the largest naval trial of its kind in US history. These convictions still stand today despite efforts to overturn them.

The Port Chicago explosion, the mutiny trial, and the response of African-American communities to these events exposed the shameful injustices of racism in the military.These events were a catalyst for the Navy, the armed services, and ultimately, the nation to weigh the costs of racial segregation. The memorial serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggles for equality and social justice today.

Port Chicago Naval Magazine was the largest ammunition transshipment facility on the West Coast and was essential to the success of the war effort in the Pacific Theater;much of the ammunition and bombs used by US forces in the Pacific passed through the hands of sailors at Port Chicago. This transshipment facility continues to operate today under the US Army.


Remembering the Fallen

Below, is a list of those who were killed in the Port Chicago explosion. You may also download a Word document by clicking this link.


U.S. Naval Magazine & Naval Barracks (121)


S2c James C. Akins

S2c Matthew Forkner, Jr.

S1c Harold Johnson

S2c Wesley Saunders

CM3c Clarence Allen, Jr.

S1c Joseph R. Francis

S2c Henry L. Johnson

Lt. Roland Schindler *

Lt. (jg) Maxie L. Anderson *

S2c Ford S. Franklin, Jr.

Lt. (jg) James B. Johnson *

CM3c Carl C. Scott

S2c Leslie K. Asahe

S2c Artie J. Frazier

S1c Milton F. Johnson *

Lt. Vernon C. Shaner

S2c Isaiah Ash, Jr.

CM1c Elmer B. Froid

S1c Daniel L. Jones

S1c Joseph J. Sheckles

S1c David Bacon, Sr.

S1c Gerard Gabriel *

S1c Ivery L. Jones

S2c Willie Sims *

S2c Henry W. Bailey *

S2c Bennie L. Gaines

S1c Henry Joseph, Jr.

S1c Isaac E. Smith *

CM3c Leonard Baker

S2c Elgar Gant

S1c Samuel Kearney

S1c James P. Smith

S2c David Barnes, Jr.

S1c(CH) John S. Gibson

S1c(SC)(B) Calvin King

S1c Ellis Taylor

S2c Joseph Battle

S2c Jethero Gilbert

S2c Clifton King

S2c Joseph M. Tolson

S2c Raphel O. Beasom

S1c Samuel Glenn, Jr.

S2c Verne Land

MA2c Maxie D. Towles

S2c Silas Bell

S1c Lewis D. Goudblock

S1c Sidney J. LaPorte, Jr.

S1c(CM) Mervin L. Van Dunk

Lt. Thomas L. Blackman

S2c Harry L. Graham

S1c Willie Law, Jr. *

S1c Issiah Wade

S2c David E. Blackwell

S1c William H. Green

S2c Cleo Lawson

S2c Charles Walker, Jr.

S2c Thimon Blaylock

S2c Ross B. Grinage

S2c Caludius W. Leslie

S2c Walter L. Walker, Jr. *

S1c Johnnie C. Borders

S2c A.D. Hamilton

S2c(SO) Aaron A. Lewis

S2c Woodrow L. Walker

CM1c James H. Born *

S2c Ernest E. Hamilton

S2c T.C. Lewis

CM2c(T) William C. Warren*

S2c L.T. Bowden *

S2c Emaral Hamm

S2c Lemuel M. Long *

S2c James L. Washington *

S2c Charles L. Boyce

S2c George R. Hammond

S2c Robert Lyons

S2c Woodrow Washington, Jr.

S2c Alvin Brewer, Jr.

S2c John W. Hannan, Jr.

S2c Beattie J. Makins

CM3c Daniel West

S2c James Bridges

S2c Joe H. Hardaway

S1c(CM) Rossell E. Martin

Lt. (jg) Raymond R. White *

S1c Walter L. Brooks, Jr.

S2c John L. Harding

S2c(CM) Alonmo Martin

S1c Joseph B. White

F1c Johnnie L. Broome

S2c B.C. Harris

S1c Daniel Massie

S2c Arthur Whitmore

S1c Ernest L. Burnett

S2c Roscoe A. Harris

S1c Lawrence Mathews, Jr.*

S2c Mitchell A. Williams *

S1c Wilbert Calvin

S2c Phillip H. Harrison *

S2c Charles A. Mayfield *

S2c Maryland E. Wilson

S2c Lawrence L. Carlin

S2c Clifford Harvey, Jr.

S1c Mitchell McClam

GM3c Oliver Wilson

S2c Robert A. Carter

S1c George W. Hayes

CCM(T) Clarence K. McFarland *

S2c Samuel D. Wilson

Lt.(jg) John B. Christenbury*

S2c D.C. Haywood

S1c Calvin Milton

Lt. Harold A. Wood *

S2c Eddie L. Clark

S1c Douglas L. Hector

S2c Willis Mettles *

S2c James E. Woods *

S1c Eugene Coffee, Jr. *

S1c David L. Higginbotham

S1c Ernest C. Miller

S2c Walter E. Wright

F1c Bill Coleman

S1c Bobie R. Higgs

MoMM3c Ira Miller, Jr.

S2c Charles E. Wyatt

S2c Enos Coley *

S1c Cluster Hill *

S2c Otis K. Miller *

S2c Arthur A. Connor

S2c Joseph Hills

S2c Marshall Moore, Sr.

S2c Frank Cooley

S2c Charles W. Hite

CM2c Thomas Moore

S2c Norman H. Craig

S2c(SO) Rudolph V. Holden

S2c William P. Moore

S2c Eddie L. Cross

S2c Stanford Holley

Ens. Gilbert Mordoh

S2c Jessie V. Crimp

MoMM3c(T) Edred L. Holmes

S2c Eddie L. Neal

S1c Herman L. Curtis

S2c Ernest M. Howard

S1c James H. Nixon

S2c Horace Daniel, Sr.

S2c Frank J. Howard

S2c William H. Otky, Sr.

S2c Huby Dansby

S2c Earl H. Hudson *

S2c Auguster Packer

S2c Floyd M. Davis

S2c Glen Hughes *

S1c(SC) William F. Paschal

S2c Henry J. Davis

S2c Leroy Hughes *

S2c Robert F. Peete

S2c Willie Davis

S2c Theodore L. Hughes

S2c Lester L. Perry

S2c James L. Devaughn

S2c William Humphrey, Jr.

S2c Joe H. Person *

S2c Nathaniel Dixson

S2c Ross D. Hunt *

S2c Alfred Phillips

S2c Rayfield D. Doyle

S2c Wave Hunt

CM3c Charles Pickett

S2c Herman Dunbar

S2c Rudolph W. Hunter

S2c Houston Porter

S2c Arthur L. Ebenezer

CM3c(T) Leroy Ingram

S2c McCoy Porter

F2c Dunton I. Edwards

S1c D.C. Jackson

S2c David W. Potts

S1c Herbert L. Edwards

S2c James Jackson

SM3c(T) Samuel H. Powell

S2c Junice C. Ervin

CM2c James E.M. Jackson

CM2c Joe C. Preuitt

S2c Luther Eusery

S1c Levi R. Jackson *

S2c Arthur Reid, Jr.

S2c Ananias Evans, Sr.

S2c Paul E. Jackson

CM3c James E. Rhodes

S2c Horace Evans

S2c Robert A. Jackson, Jr.

S2c Clyde F. Richardson

S2c John H. Evans

CM3c Samuel Jackson, Jr.

S2c James A. Roberts

S2c William L. Evans

S1c Daniel L. Jamison

S1c Mango Roberts

S2c John B. Felisbret

S1c Willie Jennings *

MoMM3c Alphonse Robinson

S2c Robert L. Ferguson

S2c Clarence Johnson *

S2c Fred Robinson, Jr.

CM3c Clarence S. Fields

S2c Earl T. Johnson

S1c Eugene J. Rogers

S2C Jessie Finney

S1c Gabe Johnson *

S2c Robert Sanders *


U.S. Navy Armed Guard (13)

SS E.A. Bryan


S1c Wayland E. Causey

S1c Rudy J. Cebella

S1c Robert E. Chase

S2c Claude L. Chastain

SM3c John J. Gee

Lt. (jg) Ralph B. Hartmann

S1c Clarence R. Hollandsworth

S1c Kenneth H. Muirhead

S1c Jesse W. Mulligan

S1c Lloyd J. Quick

S1c Martin J. Setzer

S1c George H. Singer

S1c Listern L. Small


Maritime Service (31)

SS E.A. Bryan


Elmer A. Andraschko, Cook

Clifford R. Johnson, Utilityman

Albert A. Arsenian, Seaman

Ralph A. Lantz, Seaman

William C. Benhart, Oiler

John A. Louis, Engr.

Martin M. Cacic, Seaman

Frank C. Malizia, Carpenter

Ray E. Davis, Wiper

Edward Maniago, Messman

Donald L. Dennon, Wiper

Harry E. Nathan, Seaman

Thomas E. Dorsey, Seaman

Jesse Porter, Sr., Ch. Cook

George H. Falk, Bos'n

Richard D. Roberson, Seaman

Marcus J. Franklin, Engr.

Aaron C. Sangster, Jr., Seaman

Alfred D. Gilbert, Engr.

Ellsworth M. Shaw, Oiler

James R. Gilstrap, Seaman

Howard A. Smith, 1st Mate

Joseph D. Grange, Jr, Engr.

Andrew Suchan, Fireman

Fred Hayes, Seaman

Robert F. Townsend, 2nd Mate

Delbert R. Hutchinson, Fireman

Harding E. White, Messman

Peter C. Jepsen, Ch. Engr.

George H. Witt, Utilityman

Charles A. Johnson, Utilityman


U.S. Navy Armed Guard (17)

SS Quinault Victory


GM3c Jack L. Albin

GM2c Delbert P. Bergstrom

S1c(RM) Jack P. Bowman

GM3c John G. Hall

S1c George D. Hovland

S1c Andy Morrow

GM2c William H. Mulryan

S1c Henry J. Myers

S1c Woodrow A. Riiff

S1c Jacob D. Risenhoover

S1c William R. Robinson

S1c Charles H. Rondell

S1c Jay Rose, Jr.

S1c Otis K. Ross

S1c Woodrow W. Saint

S1c Arnold T. Sanders

S1c Harold S. Sano


Martime Service (36)

SS Quinault Victory


Robert D. Bailey, Utilityman

Karl L. Mallery, Engr.

Robert E. Bartlett, Messman

Lloyd K. McDaniel, Seaman

John D. Bell, Asst. Purser

Kenneth M. Moen, 3rd Mate

Frederick E. Bentley, Seaman

Robert S. Morill, Oiler

Donald H. Cheney, Elect.

Isadore E. Narinsky, Seaman

Hugh E. Crawford, Maint. Man

Roy L. Nelson, Carpenter

Floyd F. Crist, Seaman

David R. Parsons, 3rd Mate

Albert C. Dinde, Messman

Mike Pearson, Oiler

Wallace M. Durland, Seaman

Ellis B. Pinson, Engr.

Kenneth J. Eulrick, Seaman

Richard V. Potter, Fireman

Burke E. Falor, Utilityman

Virgil R. Sandberg, Engr.

Eugene W. Garrett, Fireman

Albert R. Scott, Ch. Mate

Robert K. Henricksen, Seaman

Lester S. Skance, Seaman

Elis Henriksen, Engr. *

Howard W. Sullivan, Seaman

Johannes H. Justesen, Steward

Robert J. Sullivan, Master

Walter F. Kannberg, Engr.

Glen E. Thompson, Engr. *

Robert E. Keim, 2nd Mate

Louis J. Widner, Messman *

Joseph B. Koeninger, Seaman

John A. Williams, Ch.


Navy & Contractor Employees (6)


Lawrence C. Bustrack, Macco Co. Office Manager *

Gundar Halverson, Macco Co. Timekeeper *

Raymond V. Hunnicutt, Brakeman Navy Employee

Thomas D. Hunt, Macco Co. Project Engr. *

Harry A. Middleton, Engineman Navy Employee

Fred Zanarini, Chauffeur Navy Employee *


Other Military (6)


Pvt. Elwin A. Blanke, Marine Corps *

BM1c Peter G. Broda, Coast Guard

MM1c William G. Degryce, Coast Guard

McMM3c Edward J. Portz, Coast Guard *

S1c Charles H. Riley, Coast Guard

S2c James C. Sullivan, Coast Guard *

Last updated: October 31, 2018

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