SS Red Oak Victory
International call sign: Kilo-Yankee-Victor-Mike
When the SS Red Oak Victory was launched on November 9th, 1944 in the Kaiser Permanente shipyard, she was the 558th ship built in Richmond California for World War II. The SS Red Oak Victory carried ammunition throughout the Pacific Theatre during the last year of the war.
After World War II, the SS Red Oak Victory was decommissioned from the United States Navy and returned to the United States Maritime Commission. The ship was leased short term to private companies, then returned to the carrying cargo for United States military during the Korean conflict in 1950-2, but scant evidence remains of the voyages. Later, the SS Red Oak Victory made her last military cargo voyages in support of the Vietnam conflict in 1966-8. The following year, in 1969, the SS Red Oak Victory was deactivated and put into permanent storage in the Suisun Bay Ready Reserve Fleet in the Suisun Bay, east of San Francisco Bay.
In the mid-1990s, the SS Red Oak Victory was identified as one of the best preserved ships from the Kaiser Richmond shipyard in the reserve fleet with the potential to become a floating museum. The Richmond Museum Association enlisted the help of Congressman George Miller, who wrote the conveyance language and added it to the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1996.
The SS Red Oak Victory is still being restored and recently had hull work completed in dry dock. The all-volunteer crew continues to work toward lighting the engines for the first time since 1968. When the ship is fully functional, the Richmond Museum Association hopes to take cruises around the San Francisco Bay and sail to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in 2019.