Group wants to bring submarine to Knoxville

Tens of thousands of our veterans call East Tennessee home, but one group says there's no consolidated museum to honor and display their military careers. 8-13-14

Tens of thousands of our veterans call East Tennessee home. But one group says, while there are many small tributes, there's not a consolidated museum to honor and display their military careers.

Knoxville group, Friends of the Clamagore, is hoping to make it happen with the help of a decaying submarine.

The USS Clamagore, a submarine commissioned by the Navy in 1945, currently sits at the Patriot Point Museum in Charleston, South Carolina. The Navy used the sub for 30 years.

Patriot Point told 10News it has an agreement with a company to sink the submarine and convert it into a reef.

"My son and I have been interested in Navy ships so we've gone around and toured some of those and researched. We recently discovered that the Clamagore was going to be sunk as a reef," Josh Richardson, Friends of the Clamagore's organizer, said.

He and his family's interest got him thinking. He didn't want to see the piece of history destroyed when he thought Knoxville would welcome it.

"I think East Tennessee would be a good home because the nature of the people of East Tennessee are always be counted on to answer the call in a crisis and this is a crisis to lose a national historic landmark and a memorial to the men and women who serve this nation," Richardson said.

He helped to form Friends of the Clamagore and now is trying to the get idea spreading on Facebookand through veteran's groups. As of Wednesday, the group had more than 800 likes.

For Navy veteran, Jim McCarter, the idea is personal. He served on the sub for nearly 3 years in the early 1960s.

"It was a terrific experience for me," McCarter, a Knoxville resident, said. "To think that we might be able to bring it here is just unbelievable."

McCarter traveled the world as a cook on the sub and gets together nearly every year with his crew. He's taken his children and grandchildren to see the submarine and wants future generations to have that same opportunity.

Richardson hopes the Clamagore could be the focal point to start a consolidated East Tennessee Military History Museum that could display other important artifacts and serve as an educational tool.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett's said he is interested but just learned about it last week and needs to do more research.


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