Monday, January 14, 2008

USS Georgia Flag Project Begins State Tour

Today Governor Sonny Perdue and the USS GEORGIA Return to Service (RTS) Committee announced the USS Georgia Flag Project, an effort to take the Georgia state flag across 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. March 28, the flag will 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 Sonny 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, WA. 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.”

Giles has worked with the Georgia Regional Development Centers in planning the USS Georgia Flag Project. This flag is to be presented by Governor Perdue to the Commanding Officer of the USS GEORGIA at the Return to Service Ceremony in Kings Bay on March 28th, 2008.

Chairman of the committee and of the events surrounding the Return to Service (RTS), Sheila M. McNeill, is a past National President of the Navy League of the United States. Ms. McNeill said, “It is very rare to have a namesake ship home-ported in its home state. We are very pleased to have Governor Perdue as our Honorary Chairman. Our committee is working on a series of special events to show our appreciation for the dedicated service to our country by the men and women of the most powerful warship in the world, USS Georgia.”

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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