Help solve a Navy mystery in San Diego!

Corroded plaque shows tallship, ironclad, early warship, aircraft carrier and jets.
Corroded plaque shows tallship, ironclad, early warship, aircraft carrier and jets.

I’ve wondered for a long time about this mysterious plaque on San Diego’s Embarcadero. It’s located on the Greatest Generation Walk, right next to the USS Midway Museum, and stands back-to-back with a Pearl Harbor Survivors Plaque which I blogged about here.

Thousands of people walk by this old, corroded plaque every day, but I can find absolutely nothing on the internet about its origin. An image framed by rope includes several vessels, including a tall ship (perhaps the USS Constitution), an ironclad (perhaps the USS Monitor), an old warship with a side-mounted gun, an aircraft carrier, and some jets flying overhead. Words indicate the plaque commemorates the United States Navy’s 200 years of Building on a Proud Tradition. The United States Navy began in 1775 and celebrated its bicentennial in 1975.

Obviously, whoever placed the plaque at this location must know something about its history.  But even the Port of San Diego website, where the other monuments on the Greatest Generation Walk are listed and described, says nothing about it!

The slab that it’s embedded in appears very similar to the slab right next to it, containing the Pearl Harbor Survivors Plaque. But I’ve found nothing specific about that plaque, either!

Perhaps someone out there can identify this mystery plaque! What the heck is it? Where did it come from? Help solve this mystery!

Mysterious plaque by Midway Museum commemorates Navy's 200 year anniversary.
Mysterious plaque by Midway Museum commemorates Navy’s 200 year anniversary.

UPDATE!

I received more information about this plaque from the Port of San Diego. Please visit this blog post!

UPDATE!

William Abell wrote the following in the comment section:

My name is William Abell and I was an ML3 aboard the USS Ajax AR6 and I helped create this plaque in the ship’s foundry in 1975. I have a certificate from Admiral J L Holloway III commemorating the plaque’s creation and my part in its creation. The date on the certificate is Oct 13, 1975. The plaque was to be a gift to the City of San Diego. I am now a retired police commander living in Monroe WA.

UPDATE!

A subsequent comment directed me to the following information:

I am Molder Chief Petty Officer Jesse G. Lopez USN Ret. The foundry crew from Navy Repair Ship USS Ajax AR-6, created the pattern which was made by Patternmaker Chief Carlos De Santiago USN RET and molded by myself when I was a MLFN. Petty Officer Abell was our Third Class in charge of the molders.

AMAZING UPDATE!

I’ve received detailed information about the plaque, including photographs of its creation and creators! Click here!

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

27 thoughts on “Help solve a Navy mystery in San Diego!”

  1. I can’t seem to let this go. I’ve emailed someone who might have info and if I do not get a good answer – I’ve copied the pictures and will put it within my scheduled post. This is ridiculous that no one knows.

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  2. Hi there Richard, just popping over to say many thanks for the follow on my own wee blog. Welcome aboard. having read your about page I think it is great that you love where you live and want to show it to the world. Keep on clicking and have a great week. MM 🍀

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    1. So far, no luck. Someone out there must know something about the origin of this plaque. Perhaps there’s a Navy or military historian..? Hopefully someone will read this and provide some helpful feedback! Even a small clue might be useful! This mystery has made me more curious than ever!

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  3. My name is William Abell and I was an ML3 aboard the USS Ajax AR6 and I helped create this plaque in the ship’s foundry in 1975. I have a certificate from Admiral J L Holloway III commemorating the plaque’s creation and my part in its creation. The date on the certificate is Oct 13, 1975. The plaque was to be a gift to the City of San Diego. I am now a retired police commander living in Monroe WA.

    Like

    1. Thank you! I vaguely remember seeing your plaque many, many years ago out on the Broadway Pier, in the early 1980’s. Today it’s located in a true place of honor, where a large number of people pass by every day. It’s an important part of San Diego’s history! Thanks for leaving a comment and clearing up this small mystery!

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