USS America
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Coat of Arms


Description/Blazon

SHIELD

Per chevron Gules and Argent, in base a rattlesnake coiled to strike Azure and in chief two Pheons points up Or.


CREST

On a wreath Argent and Gules in front of a wreath of oak Or, a ship's mast flying the flag as purported to have been flown over the Serapis after its capture by John Paul Jones above a full sail Gules charged with a lion passant guardant of the third.


MOTTO

On a scroll Argent doubled of the like the words "DON'T TREAD ON ME", Gules. The words "DON'T TREAD ON ME" as the ship's motto best reflect the spirit and traditions contained within the name "AMERICA".


SUPPORTERS

On either side in front of three waves by the sea Azure and Argent a sea stag Or, having suspended from their necks by a chain of the second an escutcheon of the first, that to Dexter charged with a mullet and that to sinister with a FLEUR-DE-LIS both of the second.

Symbolism

SHIELD

The role of the Continental Navy in the American Revolution and of John Paul Jones as an outstanding figure throughout that conflict is the basic theme of the design. The two arrowheads (or pheons as they are known in heraldry) are symbolic of the welding of sea and Air Forces into a single mighty weapon, the Aircraft Carrier. The white of the field on which the rattler is depicted is an allusion to the ships sent to our assistance under the Bourbon Flag of France while the coiled rattlesnake was a symbol in popular use on captainsī flags in the Continental Marine. The Crest, showing an American flag (A type reputed to have been flown by the captured Serapis while in the Dutch Harbor of the Texel) flying above a British sail all in front of a golden oak wreath, symbolizes the most glorious event of John Paul Jones Naval career, The Battle of the Bonhomme Richard under his command with HMS Serapis. He defeated the Serapis in a desperate fight and as his own ship the Richard was mortally damaged, Jones sailed the Serapis into the Texel in Holland. The two stags represented on John Paul Jonesī coat of arms have been adapted as sea stags and used as supporters, attesting to his lifelong dedication and devotion to the naval service. The shields pendent from their necks testify to the honors bestowed upon Jones both by France, a country he loved and honored and by the United States, his adopted homeland.





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