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Port Chicago Blast

March 01, 1998

Re "Blast Survivors Again Try to Clear Names," Feb. 20, on the 1944 Port Chicago ammunition ship explosion: Who did they think unloaded these ammo ships? When we were not using the ammunition for its intended purpose, Marines and Army personnel were used to unload the ships, along with natives who volunteered.

Since most of us had been in the South Pacific for nearly two years, we felt it was our duty to help out. We suggested that they put us on a ship and send us back to Port Chicago to do the loading, since it would be no more hairy than what we had been doing. We did not have a dock for unloading on Guadalcanal, so much of it was wading and pushing drums and whatnot through the surf. Evidently our letter and offer were not recognized. In late 1943 or thereabouts, an ammunition ship blew up offshore at Guadalcanal.

GEORGE FRENCH

Torrance

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