Stories of the Port Chicago 50

Read excerpts of the actual testimony these men gave at the mutiny trial.

Jack P. Crittenden

Seaman Second Class Crittenden was 19 years old when he testified in his own defense in the Mutiny Trial on September 29, 1944.

He described that after the explosion he was transferred to Camp Stoneman, then Camp Shoemaker, and then Vallejo, where he was stationed as of August 9, 1944. As he and the other men got off the buses at Vallejo, Lieutenant Tobin was waiting to address them.

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Bennon Dees

At the time of the mutiny trial, Bennon Dees was a 19-year old Seaman First Class from Zion Hill, Alabama who went to school through the seventh grade. (Tr. 407, 410.) In the explosion, he sustained hand, leg, and back injuries. (Tr. 406.) He was hospitalized for four days after the explosion, according to the findings of the Navy’s Court of Inquiry.

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John Dunn

John H. Dunn was a 17-year old seaman second class weighing 104 pounds at the time of the mutiny trial. He testified he was in bed at the time of the explosion, the force of which blew him back out of bed.
He testified that he was a mess cook at Port Chicago, and he did not work on the docks.

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Ollie E. Green

In July 1944, Ollie Eaton Green was a Seaman First Class stationed at Port Chicago; he was 37 years old and a native of the Washington, D.C. area. As was the case for each of the Port Chicago 50, he testified in his own defense at the mutiny trial. (Tr. 326-348) What follows is a summary of his sworn testimony.

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Carl Tuggle

Carl Tuggle was one of approximately 200 Black men who were ordered to continue loading munitions after the explosion. Read his obituary in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

He also participated in the Library of Congress "Stories from the Veterans History Project." Listen to his story.