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“My experience in the Navy was a pitiful thing.” (Video interview 41:40)

   Carl Tuggle
Collection image
Carl Tuggle at time of interview [9/20/2006]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Navy
Unit: Port Chicago, 4th Division
Service Location: United States; Pacific Theater
Rank: Seaman First Class
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Enlisting in the Navy in 1943, Seaman First Class Carl Tuggle hoped to be given an assignment as an aviation mechanic. Instead, despite the fact that he had never received training in munitions handling, he was shipped to Port Chicago, California, to work as a stevedore loading and unloading ammunition from ships headed to the Pacific Theater. Days at Port Chicago were long and arduous, with no opportunities for leave or off-duty recreation. On March 17, 1944, a munitions explosion killed hundreds of Port Chicago sailors--nearly all of them African American--and injured hundreds more. Having survived the blast, Tuggle refused to continue to work under such conditions; charged with mutiny, he was locked up in the brig for three months. The deadliest stateside disaster of World War II, the Port Chicago explosion starkly illuminated segregation and racist practices in the Navy.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
» Part 1 
Download: video (49 min.)
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»Executive Order 9981
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
At the time of the explosion, he was getting ready for bed; heard the explosion and knew exactly what had happened; aftermath of the explosion. (04:15) Refusal to work loading munitions; locked up in the brig. (04:15) 50 sailors court-martialed for refusal to work; he was shipped overseas to the Pacific Theater to work on general detail. (03:12)

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  October 26, 2011
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