U.S. Maritime Commission Press Release announcing Dedication of U.S. Maritime Service Training Station at Port Hueneme, California, on August 30, 1941

PR 1003




 August 26, 1941


Formal dedication of the United States Maritime Commission's first Pacific Coast training station for apprentice seamen will be held Saturday, August 30 at Port Hueneme, California, where the Commission has erected a $750,000 educational institution to provide seamen for the expanding American merchant marine.

Participating in the ceremonies will be the AMERICAN SAILOR, the Commission's new training ship which has been assigned to the Port Hueneme station. The last word in training vessels, the AMERICAN SAILOR will arrive this week on its maiden voyage from Baltimore where it was converted from a freighter into one of the largest and most modern vessels of its kind. On board the AMERICAN SAILOR are trainees who have already received preliminary shore training at the Hoffman Island Station at New York.

The principal address at the dedication ceremonies will be made by Captain Edward Macauley, member of the Maritime Commission. Others who will speak are Telfair Knight, Director of the Division of Training of the Maritime Commission, Captain W. F. Towle, Superintendent of the training station, Commander W. N. Darby, United States Coast Guard, Chief of the United States Maritime Service, Frank Colston, President of the Ventura County Chamber of Commerce, E. O. Green, Harbor Commissioner for the Oxnard Harbor District, will be master of ceremonies.

The new training station is located at Port Hueneme, approximately 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 35 miles south of Santa Barbara. This new port has been constructed by the Oxnard Harbor District which has made available to the Commission, without cost, docking facilities for the AMERICAN SAILOR and land adjacent for recreational facilities.

The station has been erected on approximately seven acres of land transferred to the Commission by the Coast Guard which administers the United States Maritime Service for the Commission. The buildings include dormitories, class rooms, machine shops, a hospital, recreation rooms, and complete equipment for training purposes.

Port Hueneme has an enrollment capacity of 400 trainees which can be expanded under emergency conditions. The first class of apprentices will be enrolled soon after the dedication. These enrollees will receive their preliminary shore training and, they will go aboard the AMERICAN SAILOR for sea training when the present class of trainees on that vessel graduate. Apprentices take a six-months' course and are paid $2l per month.

The Commission's other training activities on the West Coast include a school for training prospective licensed officers at Government Island, Alameda, California. The Commission has a similar school at Fort Trumbull, New London, Connecticut.

The Commission is also training cadets on the Pacific Coast at Treasure Island, San Francisco, The cadets, after following a three to four year course, eventually become officers of the merchant marine. The California Maritime Academy, San Francisco, is coordinated with the Commission's cadet training program and uses the training ship CALIFORNIA STATE, furnished to it by the Maritime Commission which also contributes annually to the maintenance of the Academy,

The Commission maintains a duplicate of the Port Hueneme station at St. Petersburg, Florida, where apprentices are similarly trained for deck and engine departments, Apprentices are also trained at Hoffman Island where gunnery instruction is also given. Radio operators, cooks and stewards receive training at Gallups Island, Boston. With all units in operation, the Commission's training system has an annual capacity of 6,000 apprentice seamen, 750 radio operators and approximately 1,000 prospective licensed officers.

In its 6,000-mile voyage to Port Hueneme, the AMERICAN SAILOR made the trip on schedule and lived up to expectations. Formerly the 6,865 gross ton freighter EDGEMONT, the vessel was converted at a cost of $l,750,000 into what many believe to be the finest training ship in the world.

It includes among its facilities class rooms, machine and carpenter shops, sick bay complete with operating table, dental chair and apothecary, an air-conditioned auditorium equipped with a motion picture projector for instruction and recreation, barber shop, tailor shop, laundry, library and a galley which also serves as a school for seagoing cooks and bakers.

The vessel is thoroughly fireproofed and installed with fire-detecting and fire-fighting equipment, Four new transverse bulkheads have been built to give the ship eleven watertight bulkheads. The lifesaving equipment consists of two 30-foot boats, one pulled by oars and one with hand-propelling equipment, two motorboats and eight Coast Guard surfboats. Frequent boat drills of all types are an important part of the training curriculum.

Like its sistership, the AMERICAN SEAMAN, which is assigned to the St. Petersburg, Florida, station, the AMERICAN SAILOR has distillers that can produce 104,000 gallons of fresh water every day. Recently the AMERICAN SEAMAN performed a mission of mercy by going to Bermuda so that its salt water evaporating plant could be used to relieve a shortage of drinking water there.

The AMERICAN SAILOR includes in its complement 71 officers, instructors and regular crew members. Lt. Commander A. C. Richmond, United States Coast Guard, is commanding officer.

U. S. Maritime Service
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