Veterans Day in San Francisco – Red Bluff Daily News


I wish you had been with me on Veterans Day when 29 people traveled to Oakland aboard the Mt. Lassen Motor Transit with Troy Blank at the wheel.

We watched a short film about the history of the ship before boarding the official presidential yacht used by President Franklin Roosevelt, the USS Potomac. It was an amazing experience with friendly docents and crew.

The film mentioned that it was built in 1934 as the Electra Coast Guard. The 165-foot vessel, weighing 376 gross tons and cruising at speeds of 10 to 13 knots. Became a US Navy ship in 1936. Renamed USS Potomac and served as a Presidential yacht until her death in 1945.

“On August 4, 1941, four months before Pearl Harbor, FDR boarded the USS Potomac for a fishing trip and a visit to Martha’s Vineyard. Instead, he was secretly transferred to the heavy cruiser USS Augusta the next morning bound for Newfoundland where he would meet British Prime Minister Winston Churchill – their first meeting as heads of state. During this top-secret rendezvous, the principles of the Atlantic Charter, which formed the Allied partnership during WWII FF and what Roosevelt called the United Nations, to plan for post-peace war. With the direct involvement of the United States in the war at the end of 1941, the recreational use of the USS Potomac by the President came to an end. During World War II, the ship was primarily used as a naval sonar research vessel. Special transducers and generators for sonar equipment have been installed.

“After FDR’s death in April 1945, the Potomac began a long and despicable decline from its former role in world affairs. After many adventures and many owners – including Elvis Presley – it was seized in 1980 in San Francisco by US customs for its role as a front for drug traffickers. Towed to Treasurer Island, the proud ship’s hull was punctured one night and sank. Refloated by the Navy two weeks later, she was sold at the Port of Oakland for only $ 15,000. The Port of Oakland led a cooperative effort with unions, shipping companies and dedicated volunteers to complete a $ 5 million restoration.

“Opened to the public in 1995, the Association for the Preservation of the Presidential Yacht Potomac now operates this National Historic Landmark as an active memorial to FDR and the memorable moments in which he led our nation.”

I was surprised at how small the USS Potomac was. FDR’s bed was a small wooden bunk between the dining room and the aft deck. The dining room was nice and there was an elevator (closed) to the upper deck for FDR.

We were near the aircraft carrier USS Hornet and a private container ship USS Matsonia. Both ships are part of the Emergency Response Ready Fleet under the US Maritime Administration, whose crew is made up of civilian merchant navies. At 11 minutes past 11, there was a minute of silence, then Taps was heard.

There was an artificial island that was a Navy Air Force base during WWII, near where we boarded the USS Potomac.

Then we turned west and passed a freighter with cranes near Pac Bell, now Oracle, Park, under the Bay Bridge and near the Ferry Building. There was a large cruise ship at one of the docks and then we were near Pier 39 and could see the seals which many tourists were observing. Next come Fisherman’s Wharf, the Pan Pacific Dome and the Palace of Fine Arts.

A guide was telling me the story of the Chrissy Field airstrip, the Presidio parade ground and a museum, and I wish I had used a tape recorder instead of trying to take notes, as I do not remember the meaning of “Japanese American language.” “

When we reached the Golden Gate we turned around and were near Angel Island State Park and Alcatraz. A seal was swimming near our yacht.

The guides and crew mentioned how lucky we were, as the bay was smooth and calm instead of choppy with wind blown waves, while the sun was hot and sunny instead of hazy . I was so glad I didn’t cancel the trip as I was worried there would be fog or rain and cold.

We were told the bay is 50 square miles and 11 to 15 feet deep. They dredge the bay at 50 feet, so the big ships can get in, and Oakland Harbor has been built.

They were told that the rocks surrounding Treasure Island came from the Caldecott Tunnel and the Yerba Buena Tunnel during their construction.

Old buildings are demolished and housing and businesses will be built on Treasure Island. My parents took Marilyn and I to the Treasure Island World’s Fair, but the photos are all I remember from the event.

There were three empty cargo slips and four container ships unloading at the Port of Oakland. I heard that Oakland wanted to build a waterfront ball field with a huge steel recycling area.

It was a great trip, being on the San Francisco Bay on a sunny November day.

I have noticed that many new orchards have been planted along I-5 and 505 over the past year and a half, since our trip to Paso Robles for the CCA-CCW mid-year meeting was in the dark. , in both ways.

On our way home our bus must have stopped at the Cordelia weigh station, but it was a green light and we continued on. Traffic was stop and go at 3:15 p.m. near Travis Boulevard.

The hills and fields weren’t as green south of Fairfield, as they hadn’t gotten as much rain as we did.

Jean Barton has been writing his column in the Daily News since the early 1990s. She can be reached by email at [email protected]


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