SHIELDAzure, three crossed arrows fesswise or, in front of an anchor erect fouled between four mullets argent; a chief wavy per fess rayonne gules and of the second.
On a wreath or and azure, an American Bald Eagle standing with wings displayed proper in front of a ship's wheel quarterly gules and or, issuant above the wheel five gold rays and four mullets alternately azure and gules.
SHIELDThe chief or upper section of the shield represents the World War II active duty of Thomas S. Gates, Jr., in which he served in the grades of Lieutenant through Commander, USNR, aboard various aircraft carriers in the Pacific Theater. The deep blue represents the waters of the Pacific Ocean where Gates' wartime service was accomplished and, with the gold above, symbolizes the US Navy tradition. The heraldic rayonne division of scarlet and gold, simulating fire and flames, is symbolic of the severity of the Japanese kamikaze attacks concentrated upon United States aircraft carriers during the invasions of Lingayen, Iwo Jima and Okinawa in which Gates participated. For the Lingayen operation, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. The anchor and stars, adapted from the flag of the Secretary of the Navy, refer to his tenure as Under Secretary and Secretary of that Department. His subsequent term as the Secretary of Defense is indicated by the three arrows which appear on the flag for the official.
The eagle, symbolic of power and authority, along with the ship's wheel , alludes to the strong leadership Gates provided while serving as Under Secretary and Secretary of the Navy and later Secretary of Defense during a period of technological changes which included: missiles for guns; nuclear for conventional power; jets for propeller aircraft; and even space exploration. This era of change is recognized by the alternating colors of the wheel. Gates' last public service followed his appointment by the President to head the United States Liaison Office to the People's Republic of China (a post which carried the rank of ambassador). He stated that his task would be "to work for the normalization of Chinese-American relations." This concept is indicated by the blue and red stars above the gold rays. The blue represents the United States; red is for China; and the gold rays from the President's Seal emphasize the significance of this appointment and his contributions to the United States in this role.
On a scroll argent edged gules the words "DEFENDER OF THE REPUBLIC " in letters azure.
The coat of arms as blazoned in full color on a white vertical oval with flat sides enclosed by a dark blue border edged on the outer side with gold rope and inscribed in gold with the words "USS THOMAS S. GATES" above and "CG 51" below.