It is custom in the United States Navy for ships to receive an individually designed heraldic emblem, which usually take the form of seals or crests. Since NYC's Fleet week, an event close to my heart, is celebrating 25 years this year (and the Bicentennial of the War of 1812), I thought I'd post a bit of information about four participating ships that my father had a hand in designing. Nothing is taken lightly in the design process, including the assembling of the ship's namesake crest - everything has meaning.
Crest: The demi-burst signifies the splendid achievement of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Presidency, in bringing the United States out of domestic crisis and through worldwide conflict. The ship's wheel recalls his appointment in 1913 as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. It also denotes his success in guiding America through the difficult years of his Presidential terms. The lozenge, traditionally a feminine heraldic symbol, is a reference to his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, who assisted him politically and became a force in her own right. The sides of the lozenge represent his four elections to the presidency. The rose, the state flower of New York, recalls his governorship of that state and is a canting reference to his family name. Scarlet denotes courage and sacrifice and gold indicates excellence.
Crest: The combined anchor and trident symbolize sea prowess and combat readiness. The life preserver ringing the anchor commemorates Admiral Mitscher’s compassion for his crew as manifested through his relentless determination in tracking down and recovering downed air crews. The three tines of the trident represent the ship’s significant capabilities in strike, air, and subsurface warfare. The trident’s position, rising above the crest, symbolizes the ability to project power over great distances. The gold wings represent Admiral Mitscher’s service and dedication, throughout his career, in advancing naval aviation and developing strike warfare.
The eagle, on the crest, is adapted from the Marine Corps Seal and reflects leadership and courage The two swords, Navy and Marine, are crossed for strength and teamwork and honor both services.
USS Donald Cook
Shield: Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally used by the US Navy; red is emblematic of valor and sacrifice. The reversed star denotes the Medal of Honor, our country's highest honor, posthumously awarded to Colonel Donald G. Cook for his spirit of sacrifice and extraordinary heroism. The gauntlet grasps a broken chain underscoring Colonel cook's internment as a prisoner of war by the Viet Cong during which he unselfishly put the interests of his comrades before that of his own well-being and, eventually, his life. The swords are crossed to signify the spirit of teamwork while symbolizing the heritage of the US Navy and Marine Corps. The Mameluke represents Colonel Cook's service as a Marine.
Crest: The eagle symbolizes the principles of freedom upon which our country as founded and highlights military vigilance and national defense. The tridents represent sea power and underscore USS DONALD COOK'S AEGIS firepower and the capability to conduct operations in multi-threat environments.