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SS Jeremiah O'Brien Dodged a Bullet Today

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 10:45 am
by John Neuenburg
The WWII Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O'Brien in San Francisco dodged a big incendiary bullet early this morning.The seafood warehouse on Pier 45 where she is tied up caught fire.



People on their email newsletter list received this today

Dear Friends,
At 4:15 am, a four-alarm fire broke out at Pier 45, next to the SS Jeremiah O'Brien. Damage to the sheds was extensive, but thanks to the quick response of the San Francisco Fire Department the ship and her personnel are safe and secure.

We thank the SFFD and their fireboats for their incredible efforts in saving the ship. Without them, the ship likely would not have survived.
Please do not come to the ship. We are still assessing the situation and are working with our regulatory, municipal and community partners to gather more information as it becomes available.

We will continue to update everyone on the situation as it progresses.

Thank You,
SS Jeremiah O'Brien
National Liberty Ship Memorial

©2020 National Liberty Ship Memorial | 45 Pier Suite 4A, San Francisco, CA 94133

What a way to start Memorial Day weekend! Be safe out there!

Re: SS Jeremiah O'Brien Dodged a Bullet Today

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 12:23 pm
by Pasturepilot1
I'm glad they saved it for people to enjoy. I have toured the USS Iowa and USS Alabama. Can't leave out the RMS Queen Mary. They all served during the war.

Re: SS Jeremiah O'Brien Dodged a Bullet Today

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 5:42 pm
by johnseidts
I saw the O'Brien last year when in San Francisco on business. Very impressive. It is the last operating ship from the D-Day Flotilla (yes, June 6 1944). If you have not seen it, you should go see it when they are open again. There is an incredible exhibit of drawings that came from one of the passengers on the ship during D-Day.

And they have their Dodge WC-52 misidentified as a WC-53. They are a very nice group of people and I truly enjoyed visiting the ship.

Re: SS Jeremiah O'Brien Dodged a Bullet Today

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 8:15 am
by Pasturepilot1
About 3 years ago I was on top of the lighthouse at the Pensacola NAS. While talking to a lighthouse guide I mentioned the USS Iowa. He informed me that he worked on the ship to repair damage when the gun turret exploded in 1989 killing 47. A small world sometimes.

Re: SS Jeremiah O'Brien Dodged a Bullet Today

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 9:21 am
by John Neuenburg
The O'Brien is the only operation Liberty that is basically unaltered. In 1994 a crew of veterans and some cadets from the California Maritime Academy steamed her to France for the 50th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. Her 8th voyage. Average age aboard was 70.
Obrien in England 1994.jpg
They cruise for paying passengers several times per year including during the annual Fleet Week event every October. Many years ago when she was at Ft. Mason tied up at one of the WWII embarkation/debarkation piers, we displayed military vehicles by the ship. During the cruise many of us wore WWII army uniforms and equipment. When in San Pablo bay we were "attacked" by the Japanese. A US trainer painted with meatballs and a TBF torpedo bomber. Part of our group was a living history unit portraying 13th Armored Division. They were all airmen from Beale AFB, where that unit was raised, and they were sponsored by the museum. They brought an operational, blank adapted machine gun and blank-adapted M1 rifles. When the planes made passes at the ship they fired at them. Brass tinkling along the deck and entertainment for the civilians aboard.

The TBF made its attack with the torpedo bay doors open. I noticed two WWII vets - not sure if Navy or Merchant Marine, get nervous and walk to the opposite side of the ship. Bad memories?

Re: SS Jeremiah O'Brien Dodged a Bullet Today

Posted: Sat May 30, 2020 12:04 pm
by John Neuenburg
Here is an interesting video by the local TV channel 2 ... on-pier-45

They moved the ship to a temporary berth at Pier 35 North courtesy of Metro Cruise who leases it from the Port of San Francisco. This is south of the big tourist destination Pier 39 and is said to be a two month home while Pier 45 is cleaned up and inspected. The website hasn't talked about the fire yet and there is no news about the ship being open to visitors at Pier 35 North. This is a nice location from a visibility standpoint.
There has been little said about the USS Pampanito WWII submarine that is berthed in front of the O'Brien. She is tied up next to Shed A on the pier which was not damaged. This building houses the Musee Mechanique which is a popular tourist stop at Fisherman's Wharf.