The captain and crew of the Veterans for Peace historic anti-nuke boat, the Golden Rule, set sail from San Diego, California, on May 1, beginning a 15-month voyage from California to Japan.
1958 Golden Rule Captain and crew: William Huntington, Captain Albert Bigelow, Orion Sherwood and George Willoughby
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61 years ago, in 1958, the Golden Rule's crew attempted to stop U.S. atmospheric nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands by sailing from California to the Marshall Islands.
However, the U.S. Coast Guard in Honolulu, Hawaii, stopped the captain and crew twice, arresting and jailing them.
But their attempt gained international publicity to the dangers of the atmospheric nuclear testing and helped mobilize citizens throughout the world to put pressure on their governments to stop the testing. Atmospheric and underwater nuclear testing was finally stopped in 1963 with the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty by the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom.
The first leg of the voyage began on May 1, 2019, as the Golden Rule sailed from San Diego headed for her first stop -- Hilo, Hawaii. The trip will take approximately three weeks with the Golden Rule arriving in Hilo the week of May 21, 2019. The Golden Rule will stay in the waters around the Big Island of Hawaii for the month of June before heading for the island of Maui in July where she will remain until August 7. She will visit the small islands of Lanai and Molokai before sailing on to Oahu where she will remain for August, September and October. She will sail to Kauai for the month of November. In each of the islands, crew members will be speaking in schools and to civic groups about the continuing dangers of nuclear weapons to the safety of our planet.
In December 2019, the captain and crew of the Golden Rule will sail to the Marshall Islands where U.S. nuclear testing from 1946 to 1958 blew up several islands and atolls and radiated many Marshallese who are still suffering from the effects of the nuclear explosions. The combined explosive power of all the bombs dropped on the Marshall Islands during that 12-year period equals 1.6 Hiroshima-size explosions per day.
After a month in the Marshall Islands the Golden Rule will sail to Guam where the U.S. military is increasing the size of U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine and U.S. Air Force facilities. The next stops will be Saipan and Okinawa, site of many U.S. military bases.
The Golden Rule will arrive in Hiroshima, Japan, prior to the August 6, 2020 commemoration -- the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of that city and of Nagasaki.
Captain Dan Lappala, Alternate crewmember Chris Mayer, Hawai'i elder Puna Kalama Dawson, Crewmember 'CBe' Burton, Crewmember Jamie Skinner, First Mate Tom Rogers, Golden Rule operations manager Helen Jaccard.
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Captaining the Golden Rule from California to Hawaii is Captain Dan Lappala of Hilo, Hawaii. He has been a professional sailor for decades, has owned his own sailing company in Hawaii and has already sailed from the West Coast of the U.S. to Hawaii four times. This will be his fifth voyage to Hawaii.
First Mate Tom Rogers of Keyport, Washington is a retired U.S. Navy Captain who was the commander of nuclear submarines. After he retired from the U.S. Navy, he became a peace activist and is a volunteer with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action which is near the Trident nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Washington. The Trident submarine base at Bangor represents the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. and is the home port for 8 of the Navy's 14 Trident ballistic-missile submarines. The Trident bases at Bangor and Kings Bay, Georgia, together represent just over half of all the nuclear warheads deployed by the United States. When asked why he wants to eliminate nuclear weapons, Rogers said...
"Our kids deserve to grow up in a world without nuclear weapons. It is a failure of our generation that they must live in fear of nuclear annihilation and bear the cost of a massive modernization of our nuclear weapons complex."
Crewmember Connie Burton known as "C Be" is a sailor from Anahole, Kauai, Hawaii, and was taught to sail by Captain Dan in 2002 and has been sailing in Hawaii and Mexico ever since, including the Baha Ha Ha race from San Diego to Cabo. She has been involved with the Hokulea of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and has crewed on the Hawaiian Chieftain historic sail boat. She said she enjoys being a part of projects with an important purpose and "trying to inform people about the dangers of the nuclear weapons race is as important as it comes." In the 1980s she walked the length of Florida with a group challenging nuclear weapons.