Home Front Tragedy
ACME News Wirephoto, dated October 19, 1944

Just before 10:20 p.m. on July 17, 1944, the worst U.S. Home Front disaster of WW II occurred at the U.S. Naval Magazine at Port Chicago, California, some 35 miles north of San Francisco. 5,000 tons of ammunition in two ships being loaded by black sailors exploded, sending a blast more than 12,000 feet into the sky. The explosion destroyed the pier, a train, and both ships, instantly killing everyone aboard (some 320 men). The photo shows the wreckage of Building A-7 (Joiner Shop) in the center and ship pier beyond. Note bulldozer and damaged automobiles in the foreground, railway crane at left, and scattered pilings. More information?

from the U.S. Navy Historical Center collection