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Celebrate 10 Years with the Red Oak Victory

Celebrate 10 years with the Red Oak Victory

By Chris Treadway
West County Times

Article Launched: 09/10/2008 04:12:36 PM PDT

One of the major steps to the creation of a national park in Richmond came a decade ago, when the World War II ship Red Oak Victory was brought back to its birthplace at the former Kaiser shipyards.

The 10th anniversary of the historic return will be celebrated aboard the Red Oak with "She Came Home!" at 3 p.m. Sept. 20.

"That's 10 years to the day that they moved the ship and brought her home from Suisun Bay," said Lois Boyle, board president of the Richmond Museum of History, which owns the Red Oak.

Tickets for the celebration, which includes dinner and dancing, are $25 each and should be ordered by Tuesday's deadline by calling 510-232-6593.

Boarding will begin promptly at 2:30 p.m., followed at 3 p.m. by entertainment, including "A Riveting Tap" a special dance number created just for the occasion by Sherrie's Dance Studio in El Sobrante and the vocal overture to "Rivets," a play about Rosie the Riveter and the Kaiser Shipyards that will be performed on the ship in October.

Speakers will include U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, county Supervisor John Gioia, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and National Park Service General Superintendent Martha Lee.

The mayor of Red Oak, Iowa, the town the ship was named for, has been invited as well.

The SS Red Oak Victory was launched from the Kaiser yards in November 1944 and saw duty during World War II, Korea and Vietnam before it was retired to the mothball fleet.

The "She Came Home!" event will celebrate not only the ship's return, but all the restoration work that has been done over the past decade, including work completed under a $1 million grant that included painting the ship's superstructure, attending to the long-neglected boilers and installing a sanitation system. ("No more porta-potties," Boyle said.)

Once destined to rust away or be reduced to scrap, the ship is now a key part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, anchored at Berth 6A, 1337 Canal Blvd. in the Port of Richmond.