Grovetown brought in its big gun April 12.
As part of a planned military memorial park, workers hoisted a several-ton, 105 mm demilitarized howitzer with an earth mover onto a slab of concrete in front of Grovetown City Hall.
It was quite a sight for some.
"We were surprised," said Charlotte Hinman, of Thomson, whose 2-year-old grandson watched in awe. "We came down here to sit on the gazebo and watch the trains go by."
Her grandson, Jay Hutcheson, of Grovetown, seemed most impressed by the John Deere earth mover, but thought the cannon was pretty neat, too.
"I like it," he said.
Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau had a similar take.
"It took a tremendously long time to get it, all the red tape and the loops and hoops we had to jump through, but it's here," the mayor said.
As part of having the cannon, the city had a strict procedure to follow to make it safe for display and must keep records to satisfy the Army.
The mayor said the howitzer is destined to become the focal point of a military memorial park that will include a wall inscribed with the names of all Columbia County men and women who served in the armed forces.
The cannon was purchased by Grovetown City Council in February for $267.13. According to military documents provided with the sale, the city's new howitzer was manufactured in 1953 and last saw service in Indiana in 1996 when it fired 10 high-explosive shells in training.
On Feb. 18 and 19, city recreation department employees towed the massive howitzer from an Army depot in Anniston, Ala., to Fort Gordon for initial demilitarization.
Ed Esposito, the owner of Service to Go, a custom welding company in Harlem that handled the demilitarization, said he'd never installed a cannon in a park.
"I never had to decommission one before, either," he said. "First time for everything."
Photo by J. Scott Trubey/Staff
Michael Lick (left) and John Carson, of Service to Go, direct the placement of a howitzer in what will become a military memorial park in front of Grovetown City Hall.
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