USCGC William Flores (WPC 1103)
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Coat of Arms



Azure, within an annulet of twenty-seven mullets Argent, two bendlets sinister couped of the second surmounted by a buoy Sable garnished and fimbriated of the second, the buoy bearing the number "23" all of the second, in chief issuant from an undulating riband fesswise throughout Proper, a demi-compass rose Or.


From a wreath Argent and Azure, issuant from stylized waves of the sea, Celeste and of the second, fimbriated of the first a silhouette of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Sable.


A scroll Argent edged and garnished Azure and inscribed "COURAGE IN ADVERSITY" in Azure letters.


On each side of the shield, sprigs from the blackthorn tree fructed Proper.



The USCGC William Flores is named for Seaman Apprentice William Ray Flores who showed extraordinary courage and heroic efforts in saving the lives of twenty-seven of his shipmates but gave the ultimate sacrifice--his own life. Flores died while helping his comrades in the frantic minutes after their 180-foot cutter Blackthorn collided with the 605-foot oil tanker Capricorn near the entrance to Tampa Bay, Florida on January 28, 1980. Flores was nineteen years old and had been in the Coast Guard only a few months when the collision occurred. Seaman Apprentice Flores stayed aboard the sinking vessel to assist trapped shipmates and to comfort those who were injured and disoriented. Flores used his belt to hold open the locker door where the life jackets were stored, allowing him to throw life jackets to his shipmates. The wavy Red, White and Blue ribbon represents the Coast Guard Medal, the service's highest award for heroism in peace time, that was posthumously awarded to Seaman Apprentice Flores for his heroic efforts. The Black buoy with the number 23 signifies the buoy that was taken from near the accident site at Mullet Key, Florida and used as part of a memorial at the Blackthorn Memorial in Galveston, Texas. The number 23 represents the number of shipmates who perished on the Blackthorn that day. The two diagonal stripes represent the rank of a Seaman Apprentice. The circle with twenty-seven White stars is symbolic of the twenty-seven lives saved by William Flores. The compass rose represents navigation and guidance.


The silhouette of the bridge depicts the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge that was located near the entrance to Tampa Bay where the Blackthorn and the Capricorn collided.


The sprigs of the blackthorn tree symbolize the strength needed to persevere in the face of adversity and also commemorate the USCGC Blackthorn (WLB-391).


The coat of arms as blazoned in full color on a White oval field within a Dark Blue designation band, edged with a Gold roped border and inscribed "USCGC WILLIAM FLORES" above and "WPC 1103" below in Gold. The cutter William Flores is the third in the new Sentinel Class.

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