TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ A flag with a very special meaning to the City of Tucson that once flew over a U.S. Navy light cruiser named for the city is in bad shape and in need of repair.
The USS Tucson saw service during World War II. Its flag has been stored by city officials who are concerned about its condition, but don't have the money to restore and preserve it.
The USS Tucson
The 18-foot flag was kept folded in a display case for more than 50 years. Visitors to the Tucson Mayor and Council Chambers may have noticed it outside the entrance until it was taken down more than a year ago.
"It's been so long since anybody has seen the flag unfolded that we don't know what kind of damage there is," said Geoff Gonzales, a management assistant in the City Clerks Office. "We didn't even want to touch it unless there's a professional conservator doing it."
Tucson was presented the flag after the 6,000-ton Oakland class light cruiser was decommissioned in 1949.
The USS Tucson flag at the City Records Center. The flag used to hang in the lobby of the Mayor and Council Chambers. The city put the flag in storage about a year ago because it was deteriorating.
The USS Tucson protected aircraft carriers launching bombing missions in the final assault against Japan in July and August 1945.
Research conducted by the city said it was the only time that the cruiser saw combat, and that Japanese aircraft never got close enough to the cruiser for it to fire its guns.
Today, the USS Tucson name lives on as a nuclear attack submarine based in Norfolk, Va.
Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup said steps would be taken to renovate the flag and Councilman Steve Leal said he would help raise money to pay for it.
It was announced earlier this week that a local organization has put up $3,000 to help restore the USS Tucson flag the city has stored away until it can be examined by a professional conservator.
The USS Tucson 770 Club is dedicated to supporting the nuclear attack submarine that now bears the city's name.