Victory is an American Victory-class cargo ship used in World
War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War. The ship was preserved
in 1989 to serve as a museum ship in the San Pedro area of Los
Angeles, California. As a rare surviving Victory ship, she was
designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
SS Lane Victory was named after Lane College, which was
established as a high school for black youths in 1882 at
Jackson, Tennessee by Isaac Lane, a bishop of the Colored
Methodist Episcopal Church in America. The school grew into a
prominent liberal arts college.
World War II
Lane Victory was built in Los Angeles by the California
Shipbuilding Corporation and launched on May 31, 1945. On her
first voyage, June 27, 1945, Lane Victory carried war supplies
in the Pacific. The War Shipping Administration gave the
operations of the ship to the American President Lines. United
States Merchant Mariners operated the ship. The United States
Navy Armed Guard, who manned the ship's guns, worked as
signalmen and radiomen. She made two Pacific cruises, beginning
July 10, 1945 to Manus Island, and the second starting August
30, 1945 to Guam, Saipan and Hawaii. The trip to Guam was to
bring food to the island. On the way Lane Victory sailed through
a typhoon and was tossed around for 14 days. On February 27,
1946 her second voyage ended. With the end of World War II, she
started shipping aid. In March 1946 she started delivering goods
to Europe under the Marshall Plan. With the end of the aid plan,
on May 11, 1948 Lane Victory was laid up at Suisun Bay,
In 1950 Lane Victory was taken out of storage and by October
1950 was back in service. She was then deployed to evacuate
Korean civilians and United Nations personnel at Wonsan, North
Korea. During December 1950 she evacuated over 3,800 U.S. troops
and 1,100 vehicles from Hungnam while under attack during the
Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Lane Victory offloaded troops,
vehicles and cargo as the cruiser USS Saint Paul and destroyers
laid down a covering fire. After unloading she evacuated 7,010
men, women and children, taking them south to safety. When the
ship arrived 7,011 passengers disembarked, as a baby had been
born during the voyage. On October 10, 1953 she was laid up in
Suisun Bay, California storage. An annual Korean War tribute day
is held aboard SS Lane Victory in honor of those saved.
In 1966 the ship was restored to duty again for the Vietnam War.
She also saw duty during the conflict moving ammunition and
supplies to and from the war zone in Vietnam. On April 29, 1970
Lane Victory was laid up again at Suisun Bay for storage in the
National Defense Reserve Fleet.
During her three-war career, she traveled through the Far East
Pacific, made a few transatlantic crossings and one
circumnavigation of the globe.
Because of the ship's excellent condition in storage at Suisun
Bay, the Maritime Administration decided to set aside Lane
Victory for preservation. President Ronald Reagan signed into
law H.R. 2032 on October 18, 1988, which turned over the ship to
the United States Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II. Joe
Vernick, John Smith and a group of Merchant Marine veterans had
worked for years for the ship to be released from the Reserve
Volunteers from the United States Merchant Marine Veterans of
World War II worked for three years to restore the ship to
working condition after she had sat, slowly decaying, in Suisun
Bay for nearly two decades. Many upgrades were performed in
order to bring Lane Victory up to Coast Guard standards. She was
drydocked in 1992, and her hull was proved sound. On September
10, 1992 her sea trials started and proved her seaworthy.
In June 1994 Lane Victory participated in a mock Normandy
invasion in the Santa Barbara Channel in celebration of the 50th
anniversary of D-Day. In September 1994 she escorted the Liberty
ship SS Jeremiah O'Brien from San Pedro to San Francisco in
celebration of Jeremiah O'Brien's return from her voyage to
On October 9, 2007 SS Lane Victory received a Special Heritage
Award from the World Ship Trust in San Diego.
She serves as a training facility for the Los Angeles County
Fire Department, Los Angeles City Fire Department, local law
enforcement agencies, FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard and other United
States Armed Forces.
Of the 534 Victory-class cargo ships completed, only three
remain working – SS Lane Victory at Los Angeles, SS American
Victory at Tampa, Florida, and SS Red Oak Victory at Richmond,
After her 1988 acquisition by the U.S. Merchant Marine Veterans
of World War II, Lane Victory was towed to the Port of Los
Angeles in San Pedro on June 12, 1989. She was turned into a
museum and work ship again. In 1990 Lane Victory was designated
a National Historic Landmark. A volunteer crew maintain and
operate the ship and her two onboard museums. On September 13,
2000 Congress passed Resolution 327, recognizing SS Lane Victory
as a representative of the service and sacrifices of the U.S.
Merchant Marine to the nation during times of conflict: "Whereas
vessels of the United States merchant marine fleet, such as the
S.S. LANE VICTORY, provided critical logistical support to the
Armed Forces by carrying equipment, supplies, and personnel
necessary to maintain war efforts"
In February 2012 she moved from Berth 94 in Los Angeles Harbor
by the Vincent Thomas Bridge to Berth 46 in Los Angeles Harbor
at the end of Harbor Boulevard-Miner Street, south of the
bridge. She was reopened to the public on February 17, 2012. She
was moved, again, to Berth 49 in early 2013 as Berth 46 is being
turned into a future super cruise ship dock.