The American Victory



              American Victory Mariners Memorial & Museum Ship
                            705 Channelside Drive
                              Tampa, FL  33602
                     (813) 228-8766 Fax: (813) 228-8769
                      Website: www.americanvictory.org
                     E-Mail: amvic@americanvictory.org

     World War II Era SS American Victory Sails for the First Time with
                                 Passengers

Tampa, FL - - After more than four years and four days of restoration and
reactivation work involving nearly 80,000 hours of donated volunteer work,
the SS American Victory set sail on Saturday, September 20, with 497
passengers and crew for her first cruise.

The American Victory's Shakedown Cruise was sponsored through the generosity
of Maritrans, Inc., the Tampa-based petroleum carrier.

The highlight of the cruise was a roaring flyover by a World War II vintage
Navy AT-28. Passengers were treated to a number of passes, including a low
and slow pass for photographers.

After passing under the Sunshine Skyway, the ship’s engines were stopped
according to maritime tradition for a touching wreath laying service.  The
crew of the SS City of Rayville, one of the first American merchant cargo
vessels lost during World War II was honored, as were the crews of the three
Victory Class ships sunk in 1945 during kamikaze attacks off Okinawa, the SS
Canada Victory, the SS Logan Victory and the SS Hobbs Victory. Following the
sounding of eight bells, five former American Victory crewmen placed the
memorial wreath in Tampa Bay to commemorate their fallen shipmates.

Passengers enjoyed a continental breakfast upon boarding the American
Victory, a hearty barbecue lunch and an afternoon snack, along with
tremendous views of Tampa Bay from the American Victory's decks, an
unscheduled passing with the USCGC Pea lsland near the Sunshine Skyway, a
narrated tour of the Port of Tampa and tours of the engine room and other
areas of the ship.

On-board activities for ‘junior mariners' included marlinspike skill
demonstrations, a shipboard safety challenge, signal flag deciphering and
maritime history quizzes.  The ship’s Radio Officer, "Sparks," sent Morse
Code messages from passengers through the airwaves to friends and relatives
on land --- one message even got a response while the ship was at sea!

A number of traditions were initiated during the Shakedown Cruise and will
become part of every American Victory Relive History cruise, including
Shifting Colors after the last mooring line is secured, piping aboard
Merchant Marine and Armed Service veterans, complete with side boys, boson’s
whistle and salutes, “Setting the Watch” and weaponry demonstrations using
the ship's 3-inch gun.

A number of World War II reenactors were aboard for the cruise, some
outfitted in full combat gear including weapons, brought back wartime
memories for many veterans on board, as did the swing music of The Treble
Clefs Band, the Floyd Johnson Band and a group of energetic swing dancers.


The American Victory, a ship of the famous Victory Class of merchant cargo
vessel, was built in May 1945 and served during World War II and the Korean
and Vietnam wars, carrying military cargo, ammunition and supplies to GIs
serving in those wars.  Following World War II, she carried foodstuffs,
clothing and manufacturing machinery to the war-ravaged countries of Europe
under the auspices of the Marshall Plan.  After serving in the James River
Reserve Fleet for 30 years, the American Victory was towed to Tampa for
restoration and reactivation as mariner's museum and cruising ship.

The American Victory is one of only a handful of the more than 2,700
American-flagged merchant cargo vessels built between 1939 and 1946 that are
still afloat.

"The Shakedown Cruise was truly a momentous waypoint for us said Captain
John C. Timmel, President and Founder of the not-for-profit group that is
restoring the ship.  "The support of Maritrans, the general public, the
maritime community, Merchant Marine veterans and our dedicated volunteers
got us underway.  We are proud of the maritime experience we provided to our
passengers and will do even better on our next cruise."

The next cruise, billed as the American Victory's Matron Voyage, is
tentatively scheduled for late January 2004. Detailed information about the
Matron Voyage and the full schedule of 2004 "Relive History" cruises will be
available soon on the ship's website, www.americanvictory.org
 .

CAPTIONS FOR ACCOMPANYING PHOTOS:

(NOTE:  Attached photographs are the property of the SS American Victory.

 Use is authorized with accreditation.)

Photo ID: AmVic Departs The SS American Victory slides away from her berth on September 20, for the first time with passengers, after four years and four days of restoration work involving more than 80,000 volunteer hours.

American Victory Picture


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Photo ID: AmVic Flying Bridge Shakedown Cruise passengers gravitated to the ships' flying bridge prior to sailing to get a ‘captain's eye view of undocking operations.

American Victory Picture


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Photo ID: AmVic Memorial Passengers pause to honor Merchant Marine crews of the SS City of Rayville, one of the first merchant ships lost during World War II and the crews of the crews of the three Victory Class ships sunk during the 1945 kamikaze attacks off Okinawa, the SS Canada Victory, the SS Logan Victory and the SS Hobbs Victory. Following the sounding of eight bells, former American Victory crewmen placed a memorial wreath in Tampa Bay to commemorate their fallen shipmates.

American Victory Picture


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Photo ID: AmVic Ranger A World War II Reenactor portraying a Second Division Ranger enjoys a cup of joe from his canteen while awaiting the ship's departure.

American Victory Picture


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Photo ID: Manning the Rails Passengers man the rails' as the American Victory returns to her home berth.

American Victory Picture


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Photo ID: AmVicFlyBy: A restored Navy T-28 swoops alongside the American Victory’s port side during a "low and slow" photo pass.

American Victory Picture


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3-Inch Gun A reenactor trains the American Victory's forward 3-inch gun on an approaching Navy T-28 aircraft, but didn't fire !

American Victory Picture


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NAG Piping Aboard An Armed Guard veteran is ceremoniously "piped aboard" the American Victory during the ship’s Shakedown Cruise.

American Victory Picture


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