WWII-era enhancements help return Red Oak Victory to former glory

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WWII-era enhancements help return Red Oak Victory to former glory
Photos contributed by Fred Klink

By Kathy Chouteau

Last Thursday, an early-morning operation aimed to return Richmond’s Red Oak Victory ship to its previous WWII-era state.

Just in time for Veterans Day, the major lifting operation performed by Maggiore & Ghilotti Construction and Braag Crane Services saw the placement of a 5″ gun onto the Red Oak Victory’s aft gun tub; the lifting of two 3″ guns from Hold 4 to the dock; and the pulling of a newly refurbished propeller from a barge that came over from the Mothball Fleet in Suisun Bay.

The multifaceted operation kicked off Thursday at 6:30 a.m. when the 5” gun was relocated from the dock adjacent to the ship onto its new, aforementioned spot on the ship. At 8 a.m., the barge with the propeller was moved, and following that, the Naval guns were repositioned.

“For the first time since 1946, a 5″ Naval deck gun can be seen in the Red Oak Victory’s aft gun tub,” said ship personnel in a statement. With the deck gun now being mounted on the ship, as well as the other enhancements, the Red Oak Victory has sailed ever-closer to its wartime state.

Prior to Thursday’s operation—and as the Standard previously reported—in July of this year the 40,000-pound World War II U.S. Navy deck gun was granted to the ship from the Treasure Island Development Authority and placed on the dock adjacent to the historic floating museum on Richmond’s waterfront.

“This gun will be accessible to visitors to the Red Oak Victory and will enhance the already extensive historic and educational exhibits on the ship,” said Red Oak Victory Director of Marketing Fred Klink at the time of the 5” gun’s initial move.

Visitors can check out the ship’s improvements when the Red Oak Victory reopens to the public Sat., Nov. 21—and on Saturdays and Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from there on out. Admission is $10 for a self-guided tour and masks and social distancing are required. According to Klink, the Red Oak Victory’s crew will be limiting the number of people on the ship at one time to 30.

The Red Oak Victory is the last surviving vessel built at the Richmond Kaiser Shipyards during World War II and is also one of the war’s last surviving Victory ships. It’s docked at 1337 Canal Blvd. in Richmond. For more info, call 510-237-2933 or click here.