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Star-spangled Program at the U of M Will Honor U.S. Service Personnel University News
For release: March 19, 2010

For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901/678-2843

A flag flown aboard the USS Memphis, a U.S. Navy fast attack submarine, will be raised above the University of Memphis campus at 11:30 a.m., Monday, March 22, to inaugurate a commemorative program called “Military Flags Around the World.” (The event had been scheduled for Feb. 15, but was postponed due to inclement weather.)

The flag will be raised at the south flagpole on the Student Plaza, which is between the Rose Theatre and the Administration Building. U of M administrators, ROTC units, and other military personnel will participate. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.

USS Memphis
USS Memphis photo taken by Paul Farley.

The program honors Americans, especially U of M alumni, who have served and are serving in the U.S. military, as represented by the Reserve Officers Training Corps units at the University.

“Military Flags Around the World” will continually fly a United States flag that has been previously flown above a military installation somewhere in the world. Each flag will have been sent from the U of M by an ROTC unit commander to a U.S. ship, squadron, base, or post. After flying at that site, each flag will be returned to the U of M ROTC unit with a certificate of authenticity, which will be available for viewing on a University Web site. Then, at regular intervals (approximately every three months) the returned flags will be flown at the University of Memphis.

The program was suggested by CDR Curtis Dunn, the U of M Naval ROTC Executive Officer, to Dr. Ralph Faudree, provost for the University. In addition to the University’s adoption of the idea, it is also supported by the Navy League of Memphis.

The current USS Memphis is a Los Angeles-class submarine, homeported in Groton, Conn. A nuclear-powered vessel with a personnel complement of 12 officers and 98 enlisted men, she is the sixth United States vessel to carry the Memphis name.

Launched in April 1976, she completed an around-the-world cruise via the Panama Canal in 1981. During that time, she operated with the Sixth and Seventh U.S. Fleets. The USS Memphis also conducted two polar transits in the summer and fall of 2005, and she was deployed against Iraqi insurgents in the summer of 2006.

USS Memphis
USS Memphis photo taken by John Narewski.

The name Memphis was first given to a United States ship in 1853. It was a wooden, five-gun crew steamer, chartered by the U.S. Navy for the Paraguay expedition. It was renamed Mystic in 1859.

The second USS Memphis was a civilian steamship purchased by the U.S. Navy from a prize court in September 1862. It was decommissioned and sold in May 1869.

The third USS Memphis had been known for most of her career as Tennessee. She was destroyed by a tsunami three months after being renamed the Memphis in 1916.

An Omaha-class light cruiser by the same name saw action in World War II; and a Cumberland-class fleet oiler was acquired by the U.S. Navy in November 1956 and sailed under that name until she was sold to the U.S. Army in 1967.

Another ship has carried the name Memphis, but she sailed under a different flag. She was the CSS Memphis, a Confederate steamer during the Civil War.

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