Alabama high school donates missile and launcher to museum

Published 2:48 pm Sunday, March 27, 2022

People donate items to classrooms and teachers all the time, but an Alabama school is turning around the theme by donating a missile and a tank-like carrier painted red, white and blue to a veterans museum.

An MGM-52 Lance Missile, once capable of delivering nuclear or conventional weapons before it was deactivated at the end of the Cold War, and an M752 launcher have sat outside the old Athens High School for decades. They were donated to the school’s ROTC program in the 1970s, The News Courier reported.

“Whenever we had visitors call and ask for our location, we would tell them to just follow the ‘tank,’” said James L. Chambers, senior Army JROTC instructor.

The building now houses Athens Middle School, and the equipment is being given to the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives for restoration in coordination with Collin Daly, chairman of the Limestone County Commission, said museum director Sandra Thompson.

With the help of a towing company, a crew loaded the vehicle on a tractor-trailer and hauled it to the museum recently. Thompson hopes the Career and Technical School can begin restoration work immediately.

“It adds to our collection and allows visitors to see what came before the technology that we have today,” said Thompson.

Chambers said he hated to see the display go.

“Athens High School JROTC cadets spent many days and nights huddled around the launcher during training, socializing or simply waiting for rides home,” he said.