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FHS group secures USS Farragut anchor for campus


A piece of history that represents “Farragut Admiral” in a direct way is expected to be on display alongside Bill Clabo Field in the Farragut High School stadium sometime during 2006 FHS football and girls soccer seasons this fall.

Ripe with symbolism, the anchor from de-commissioned U.S. Navy destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 37) will be available for transportation from where the destroyer is being dismantled — Brownsville, Texas — according to Mark Braden, legislative correspondent with U.S. Rep John J. Duncan Jr.’s office in Washington, D.C.

“… International Shipbreak-ing Limited out of Brownsville, Texas contacted me this morning … . They have graciously decided to donate the nine-feet high, eight-thousand-pound anchor from the ex-USS Farragut to Coach [Eddie] Courtney and Farragut High School,” said Braden, an FHS alumnus and former Admiral football player under Courtney (current FHS head coach) in a letter to farragutpress Friday, May 19.

“That’s excellent … that’s super,” said Clyde Floyd, a 1952 FHS graduate, U.S. Navy veteran and Admiral football historian, who along with Courtney hatched the idea to obtain a piece of the destroyer earlier this year.

“Everybody’s been wanting an anchor for years,” Floyd added. “They’ve been hunting something sort of standard down there at the football field for years [for players] to rub [upon entering the field just before kickoff] like the rock at Clemson, that type of stuff.”

The original goal was to get “something from the ship that we could display at the football stadium,” Courtney said. “It’s a piece of history and something to add a little pride, maybe, a little morale — we’re known as the ‘Admirals.’ We’re going to try and put it on the hill there where you come in the pass gate.”

“The hill” is on the far northeastern side of stadium real estate located in the corner grass lot at the drive-in entrance inside the stadium and the school entrance road from Kingston Pike.

Floyd said he’s made several attempts to gain an anchor for the football stadium. “I went two weeks for eighteen years to Charleston, South Carolina, and I checked on it from time-to-time,” adding he had “no trouble” finding an anchor. “But the trouble I had was getting it from Charleston to Farragut.”

But those anchors weren’t from the USS Farragut.

And though Braden indicated the USS Farragut anchor will be set “aside for pick-up,” Courtney said he’s contacted “a couple of trucking companies that do hauling nationwide, and we’ve talked to a couple of them as to whether they could work it out in their schedule.”

Farragut’s Football Booster Club will be in charge of raising all necessary funds for shipping costs and any other expenses, the coach added.

Courtney said his first contact with Duncan’s office came in February, and added he’s talked directly with Duncan twice. “He’s been in contact with different people in the Navy department, the ones certainly overseeing the project,” Courtney said. “We’ve received a lot of cooperation.”

As for dealing directly with Duncan, “It’s been very positive, something he wants to try to see if there’s any way possible to be a part of. He thought that was unique, trying to do something special,” Courtney said. “He uses our track [at Bill Clabo Field] to work out on, jog on, so there’s a lot of interest there.”

Courtney added he hopes to have arrangements made with a moving company and the anchor secured, transported and in the stadium by the start of the 2006 football and girls soccer season.

Commissioned Nov. 14, 1956, and first launched July 18, 1958, the 512.5-foot, 5,800 destroyer was decommissioned Oct. 31, 1989. The fourth ship to bear the name USS Farragut, the DDG 37 was transported to Brownsville for scrapping from Philadelphia, Pa. Feb. 6.

 

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