Concord Naval Weapons Station (Now Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Detachment,Concord), California

Port Chicago is the name associated with the tidal portion of the 13,000 acre Concord Naval Weapons Station, the largest coastal munitions storage facility in the west. As originally conceived, the station was comprised of two sections: the Tidal Area (7,648 acres), on the water, used for storage and loading; and the Inland Area (5,272 acres), on the north side of Highway 4, once used for weapons storage. There are different loading systems on the shore, from a barge dock to piers with overhead cranes and rail access, as well as protected rail spurs called rail barricaded sidings (RBS), used for storing explosive-laden train cars. A high-security "Q" area near the water with its own guard station, provides 41 magazines surrounded by double fencing. Gradually over several decades, operations at the Inland Area were greatly reduced, until a decision was made in 2005 by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) to close the base, earmarking it for redevelopment to be overseen by the City Council of Concord, a process which is currently ongoing. The Tidal Area was transferred to the Department of the Army in 2008, and is now known as Military Ocean Terminal Concord (MOTCO). Port Chicago came to national attention in 1944, when the most powerful manmade, non-nuclear explosion in history occurred, killing 320 men (predominantly African American sailors), who were loading a ship at Pier 1. The remains of the pier are still visible today, and in 1994, the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial was dedicated to the memory of those who died.