2011 SS Lane Victory Adventure

God Bless These Brave Men Who Served In The Merchant Marine

Time To Sail Back Unto History On The Lane Victory 9/24/2011 (Page One)

West coast shipyard 1944
Victory cargo ships are lined up at a U.S. west coast shipyard for final outfitting before they are loaded with supplies for Navy depots and advance bases in the Pacific. ca. 1944

Land Victory adventure September 2011
Heading for battle near Catalina

Did You Know? - The first vessel was SS United Victory launched at Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation on 12 January 1944 and completed on 28 February 1944, and had her maiden voyage a month later. American vessels frequently had a name incorporating the word "Victory". The British and Canadians used Fort and Park respectively. After United Victory, the next 34 vessels were named after allied countries, the following 218 after American cities, the next 150 after educational institutions and the remainder given miscellaneous names. The AP5 type attack transports were named after US counties, without "Victory" in their name, with the exception of USS Marvin H. McIntyre (APA-129), which was named after President Roosevelt's late personal secretary.

US Victory Ship Production
Type Notes
272 VC2-S-AP2 6,000 hp (4.5 MW) general cargo vessels
141 VC2-S-AP3 8,500 hp (6.3 MW) vessels
1 VC2-M-AP4 Diesel
117 VC2-S-AP5 Haskell-class attack transports
3 VC2-S-AP7 Post War Completion

Highlights In The 2011 Brochure...

Land Victory adventure September 2011
Brochure Page 1

Land Victory adventure September 2011
Brochure Page 2

Land Victory adventure September 2011
Brochure Page 3

The LA Times Had An Article About This Voyage - Thanks You Ari Bloomekatz

Day cruise takes passengers back to World War II

People aboard the Lane Victory learn about the ship and its World War II service, watch a scene involving a fake German spy and listen to swing music. Some veterans reunite with old friends.

By Ari Bloomekatz, Los Angeles Times
September 26, 2011

Docked in San Pedro, the Lane Victory has long been designated a historic landmark for its service in the Korean War , the Vietnam War and World War II .

But the hulking 455-foot-long gray cargo ship rarely sees open water these days.

So when the vessel pulled out of the channel Saturday morning and headed toward Santa Catalina Island, Ralph Wetterhahn declared that the Lane Victory was now alive.

"Seeing this thing go to sea — when you crank up those boilers and those props start to turn — she's got life," said Wetterhahn, 69, a Vietnam War veteran who helped with Saturday's trip. "This ship has soul, it has a heartbeat from those boilers, and it's alive again."

The Lane Victory set out Saturday as part of its annual summer Victory at Sea cruises with about 800 passengers. It included a mock WWII-era fighting scene onboard.

One of the actors played an officer capturing a German spy who has leaked the ship's location to the enemy.

"I got the spy!" the officer yelled, escorting the man around the ship's hull.

"Throw him overboard!" someone shouted while others booed.

As part of the scene, the spy was supposed to call for fighter planes to destroy the ship. Because of overcast skies, however, the planes scheduled to participate in the show were canceled.

But other actors fired off blank rounds from the huge guns on deck at imaginary fighter planes anyway. Spectators shuddered at each crack of fire.

There was also a band that played swing and other music as actors in sailor uniforms danced and twirled women in crisp skirts.

Others assisting with the cruise answered questions about the ship and its WWII service.

"We tell the stories of what it was like" during wartime, said 42-year-old firefighter Fred McDowell, who was dressed in a green paratrooper uniform and carrying an old M1 Garand rifle.

The passengers, McDowell said, are "people from all walks of life. There's preschool children and people in their 90s."

Friends Mike Jacobs, 41, and Ryan Gardner of Northridge said they went on the cruise simply because they enjoy history and thought it would be a good way to spend the day. Others were there for reunions with veterans they had served with, or because they had friends or family members who once served or volunteered on the Lane Victory or other vessels.

Jack Ward, 82, who lives in Hawaii, said he came with his family to join other Navy officers he served with on the attack transport ship Lenawee during the Korean War.

Ward said being aboard the Lane Victory made him think about those he fought alongside, and about what he hoped his grandchildren would take away from Saturday's experience.

"I wanted them to know something about what it's like to be on a ship like this," Ward said. "I'm not trying to get them necessarily to become a military person, just to appreciate what I — in a selfish way, I suppose — went through and what others go through who serve our country."

For Air Force veteran Jana Hammond, 62, Saturday's cruise was a way for her family to memorialize her recently deceased father, who served in the Merchant Marines during WWII and later in Vietnam. He also volunteered on the Lane Victory when he got older.

She said her father — 88-year-old Harry Ray Gahring — decided to help on the Lane Victory about a decade ago because "he just loved the sea. He always wanted to go back to sea."

Hammond, who had been on the cruise before, and other family members held a short service at the back of the ship and dropped Gahring's ashes into the water.

"We're three generations of veterans," Hammond said: Her son is a Navy SEAL and recently returned from Afghanistan.

Several of her grandchildren were also with her.

"I hope they learn to appreciate our veterans," Hammond said.