2008-02-07 / News

USS Georgia flag will make official stop here today at 3

The official Georgia flag that will be displayed on board the USS Georgia - the only active duty Navy ship that's homeported in its namesake state - will arrive in Wilkes County today as part of the flag's 159-county tour.

A ceremony beginning at 3 p.m. in the County Commissioners Board Room in the Wilkes County Courthouse will mark the flag's officialstop in Wilkes County as it makes its way through a two-week tour of 13 CSRA counties.

Governor Sonny Perdue and the USS Georgia Return to Service (RTS) Committee started the USS Georgia Flag Project, an effort to take the Georgia state flagacross the entire state and into all 159 Georgia counties. The flag is travelling across the state, so that everyone may participate in welcoming the USS Georgia home. On March 28, the flagwill reunite with the Submarine in Kings Bay.

"This is an exciting project because it allows all Georgians to take pride in our armed forces," said Governor Perdue. "It is noteworthy that this tour allows all 159 Georgia counties to participate in welcoming the USS Georgia home."

The submarine's future was jeopardized in 1994 when the Nuclear Posture Review determined that the U.S. military had a surplus of Trident Submarines - 10 on the East Coast at Kings Bay and eight on the West Coast at Bangor, Wash. The Nuclear Posture Review committee made a decision that four of the 18 submarines would be eliminated.

This sparked the U.S. Navy to keep in service the four submarines and convert them from strategic deterrence submarines to a precision strike and special operation force capable submarine.

"We have worked diligently with the 16 Georgia Regional Development Centers in planning this unprecedented project to take the Georgia State Flag on a trip across the entire state and into all 159 Georgia Counties," said Don Giles (Captain, U.S. Navy Ret.), Navy League member and RTS Committee Flag Project Coordinator. "The response at scheduled meetings with County Commissioners in every county has been enthusiastic. To date, attendees at the first 40 counties' ceremonial events reveal that true patriotism is alive in Georgia and that Georgians are truly supportive of the men and women who serve in our great Navy and in all our uniformed services."

The USS Georgia is 560 feet in length, displaces over 18,000 tons submerged and can carry a crew of 15 officers, 139 enlisted crew members and up to 66 Special Operations Forces for a sustained, long endurance deployment.

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