Private: San Pedro Military History
The Pacific coastline is full of great military stories and sights.
Your excursion begins immediately with your guide along filling you on the history of the area as well as the symbolic and real memorials and their meaning to past wars.
One highlight is your visit to the Battleship Iowa Museum, located in Long Beach, which may not sound fascinating at the start, but once you learn about how the Iowa received the Top Secret mission of transporting President Roosevelt across the Atlantic for the Tehran Conference, you will be drawn into the story. Roosevelt’s party included the Joint Chiefs of Staff along with their aides as well as his own presidential staff.
After returning the President home, the IOWA proceeded to the Pacific theatre of war. via the Panama Canal, clearing it by one foot on each side and steamed across the Pacific Ocean. The Iowa participated in numerous bombardments of Japanese held islands, sank a Japanese Cruiser, shot down several planes and was awarded 9 battle ribbons. Much of this story is told in photographs and there are several different 'tours' or exhibitions that you might want to include once you arrive at the ship.
Less than 10 minutes away is the SS Lane Victory Museum. Built in 1945 here in Los Angeles, CA, the S.S. Lane Victory served with distinction during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War as well as in times of peace as part of the merchant fleet. This stop will provide a totally different experience than the last as you will have complete access to the ship via a self-paced walking tour that encompasses the vast majority of the ship. Here one has the opportunity to see how the Merchant Marines of the World War II era lived and worked as well as two complete museums packed with videos, history, anicdotes and artifacts. Guests who take in the entire ship and its museums can expect to spend several hours.
You can visit the bridge where the ship’s officers navigated vast oceans while in fear of being discovered by wolfpack submarines and luftwaffe dive-bombers. Enjoy a walk along the passageways where these maritime heroes lived for months at a time. See their living quarters, their eating areas, and their recreation areas. Stand on the decks where the men stood and worked, with the goal of delivering food, ammo, mail, and supplies to the those fighting in the trenches while they did not know if they would survive the trip to see home again. And a small museum inside the museum will be very informative.
What is a military tour without a visit to a fort, and Fort MacArthur is just a short ride away. The Fort MacArthur Museum is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Fort MacArthur, a U.S. Army post which guarded the Los Angeles harbor from 1914 to 1974. The Museum was established in 1985, and it is housed in the corridors and galleries of historic Battery Osgood-Farley. The rooms, galleries and corridors of the Museum contain a variety of exhibits and displays which include: the history of Los Angeles harbor defenses, home-front activities in the greater Los Angeles area during the World Wars, Civil Defense, American Pacific Theater military campaigns, early American Air Defenses and the important role of Los Angeles as a military port for both the Army and the Navy.
And finally you will arrive at the Point Fermin Lighthouse, the first navigational light into the San Pedro Bay, just a hair's throw from the Fort. The lighthouse was staffed by federal employees under the Treasury Department and regulated by the US Lighthouse Board. These employees were called Lighthouse Keepers. It was their job to keep the light lit as a beacon for ships, maintain the lighthouse lens, and the general up-keep of the building. Point Fermin's first lighthouse keepers were women. Here you will learn all about the building, maintenance and restoration of this lighthouse, and even the period where it was blacked out so it would not become a beacon for enemy fire.
All in all, this immersion into many of the tales and true stories of our military history become so real when you are standing in the midst of the vessels where men gave their lives. This excellent itinerary will deliver exactly what you would expect and your guide will fill in the details and facilitate your visits.
- PLEASE remember both your excellent guide and driver with gratuities.
- The order of this tour will be determined by the location of your pickup point.
- The admissions are not included in the tour.
Battleship Iowa Museum general admission is approximately $20 pp. You can purchase specific tours that may interest you when you arrive.
SS Lane Victory Museum is $7 pp.
Fort MacArthur asks voluntary donation of $10 pp.
Point Fermin Lighthouse asks voluntary donation of $10 pp.
- Point Fermin Lighthouse closed on Mondays.
- Fort MacArthur closed Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.
- Unfortunately, the battleship has limited ADA accessible areas, but arrangements can be made for visitors with mobility requirements. The museum has installed one chair lift on the Main Deck to bring guests to the 1st Deck to see the Captain’s Cabin where former President FDR stayed. There are many obstacles on the ship such as uneven decking, high door frames, and many sets of stairs that are safety hazards. Access is permitted for wheelchairs during most sea conditions except when the ship is experiencing unusually high tides.
Days offered: 7 days a week