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Lost piece of military history to go on display

Monday - 10/8/2012, 6:50am  ET

goettege.jpg
Frank Goettge is shown here, second from right, working with his team on board the USS McCawley enroute to Guadalcanal. Goettege gave up a position with the New York Giants to stay in the Marine Corps. Recently, his sword was found in a local antique shop. (Courtesy National Archives)
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WASHINGTON - A piece of military history almost became history in the area, but now it will become part of a sports hall of fame in a local museum.

Frank Goettge (pronounced get-chee) was a football legend turned Marine says Al Houde, senior ordinance curator for the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

"Some sports writers refer to him as the 'Great Goettge,'" says Houde.

Goettge played football for one season, his freshman year, at Ohio University. But, like many young Americans, he put his education and football career on hold and enlisted in the Marines. He joined the service in 1917.

"He was so good on the field that he was offered a professional contract with the New York Giants."

But Goettge turned the Giants down to stay in the Marines.

Recently, the museum received word about an old U.S. Marine Corps officer's sword found at an antique store in Fredericksburg, Va.

Fortunately, the store owner recognized the name on the sword and called the museum.

The sword was purchased by the museum and will need to be restored, but according to Houde, the sword should go on display in 2017 when the Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame gallery opens.

Goettge was an intelligence officer and battled with the corps in France and Germany, says Houde. He was killed in action during the battle for Guadalcanal.

WTOP's Kathy Stewart contributed to this report.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)