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Eagle Scout project focuses on U.S.S. Chilton

Carter Giles is doing his best to preserve a piece of Chilton County history for future generations.

As part of an Eagle Scout project, he is constructing a case for the ball to be displayed at the Chilton County Courthouse.

The plan is for the bell to be put on permanent display at the top of the stairs for people to see as they enter the courthouse.

The bottom of the case will be covered with wood and will be coated with a finish that will add to the representation of the display.

“It’s all about honoring it the best that we can,” said Rachel Giles, Carter’s mother.

Beside the case will be a podium that will be made out of the same wood as the case and will have a pair of books containing pictures that detail the history of the U.S.S. Chilton, as well as the photos of men and women who served in the military from the county and list any conflicts that they served in.

Carter Giles has already spent time with Lally Bates to get photos and discuss his service during the Korean War.

“It is going to be a record for the people of Chilton County to know the sacrifices that were made by its fellow citizens,” Rachel Giles said.

Behind the bell will be a display giving its story, as well as a pair of resolutions from the Senate and the House of Representatives in Montgomery.

Billy Singleton introduced the bell to the citizens of Chilton County during an unveiling ceremony last Memorial Day in Jemison.

War bonds were sold in the United States during World War II. Chilton County was the community that raised the most war bonds in the entire nation, and was recognized with the naming of a ship in its honor.

“That really shows what the community was able to do, and why it is important to remember,” Rachel Giles said.

The plan is to introduce Giles’ Eagle Scout project during a ceremony on Memorial Day.

The U.S.S. Chilton was commissioned on Dec. 7, 1943 and was decommissioned in July 1972. The bell is the last surviving relic of the ship and remains property of the U.S. Navy until it is put on permanent display.

Talk of the project began just weeks after the bell arrived during the Memorial Day ceremony last year.

“We planned a meeting with Mr. Singleton, and everything just kind of took off from there,” Carter Giles said.

An Eagle Scout project involves not only the construction and design, but also raising the necessary funds.

“We were excited to have some young people involved,” Singleton said. “It has turned out to be a perfect fit.”

Once the case and display is completed, there will be a ceremony at the courthouse to commemorate the finished product.

Veterans who served on the U.S.S. Chilton, as well as those in Chilton County have been invited and are planning to attend the presentation.

Memorial Day is the tentative date that has been set for the project to be finished and the ceremony to take place.

Carter Giles is a junior at Chilton County High School and has been a Cub Scout and Boy Scout for Troop 57 in Clanton since first grade.

“We saw this as an opportunity and an extremely worthy project for the county,” Rachel Giles said.

Any residents with photos of themselves or an ancestor in uniform from Chilton County who served and would like to be incorporated in the display can call (205) 755-1705 or email rachel@carada.com.

Copies of additional letters, war documents or photos will also be accepted and considered.