The cargo ship SS Red Oak Victory - AK235, was launched November 9, 1944 by Permanente Metals Corp., Richmond, California, for the U.S. Maritime Commission, acquired by the U.S. Navy December 5, 1944 and commissioned the same day with Lt. Commander John S. Sayer, USNR in command.
The Red Oak was loaded with cargo and departed San Francisco for Pearl Harbor January 10, 1945. From then until the end of the war she served as an ammunition ship for various ships in the South Pacific. After many other voyages, operating out of the Philippines, she issued cargo and ammunition to various ships in the fleet through the end of the war in August 1945. During a hazardous tour of duty in the Pacific, the Red Oak Victory handled many tons of ammunition, supplying the fleet without a single casualty.
In 1996, Congress passed legislation authorizing the conveyance of the Red Oak to the Richmond Museum of History. Saved from the scrap heap, the ship was moved from the Ready Reserve Fleet to Richmond on September 20, 1998. Restoration of the ship continues under the direction of the Museum Association and many dedicated volunteers.