02-Feb-2005 -- The confluence of 38 degrees North and 122 degrees West is located 2 miles East-North-East of the center of Concord California. In recent times it has been known as the Concord Weapons Station. It has been the controversial US Navy storage facility of weapons for over 60 years and the site of many demonstrations against the US Government and War. The site has also gained notoriety under the name Port Chicago (previously adjoining city on the west).
The weapons station has been serviced by a railroad and also by extensive docking facilities. It contains a great number of underground storage bunkers, from which weapons were removed and placed on ships at its docks. Starting with World War II and then with Viet Nam it has been a very busy place.
On July 17, 1944 there were two large ocean-going ships, the E.A.Bryant and Quinalt Victory, being loaded with bombs for World War II battles in the Pacific. At 10:18PM an explosion that is described as the worst home front disaster in US history killed 320 people, leveled the town of Port Chicago and broke windows in towns ten and fifteen miles away. The two ships disappeared from sight and pieces were recorded as reaching 12,000 feet in the air. Few pieces larger than a football were found. The explosion size was calculated to be 5 kilotons of TNT and it created a tidal wave 30 feet high. One of the few survivors at the Weapons Station reported "NO DOCK, NO SHIPS, NO RAILROAD, NO NOTHING".
This event was prior to the integration of minorities in the US Navy and all of the loading crews including 202 of the dead were Afro Americans . Three weeks later 328 members of the loading crews were ordered to resume loading ships at the repaired docks and they refused. Fifty of their members were identified as "ring-leaders" and prosecuted. The trial gained world-wide attention and continues to be discussed in Congress today.