Navy tradition requires that each ship of the United States Navy have its own distinct coat of arms, which reflects both the heritage embodied in the ship’s namesake and its future mission objectives. Unique in design for each ship, the crest will represent the ship’s identity throughout its service life, and help foster unity and esprit de corps for the crew.
USS Washington’s crest blend Washington State icons Mount Rainier, the Seattle skyline, evergreen trees; and silhouettes of the previous two WASHINGTONs. The central image is the submarine, surging forth from the waters of the Puget Sound, emblazoned with a paint scheme reminiscent of Native American art depictions of an orca whale, the state’s official marine mammal.
Along the top of the state border, 6 hollow stars represent previous naval vessels named for George Washington and 2 solid gold stars representing the ships named for the state. At the bottom, submarine dolphins, one silver and one gold to represent the enlisted and officer warfare insignia. They sit atop a block of battleship armor plating on which is printed the ship’s name and motto, “Preserving Peace, Prepared for War.” The motto is derived from a quote from the state’s namesake, George Washington, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”
Set behind the state is a ring adorned with the official state tartan, as adopted in 1991 for the state’s centennial. The color scheme of the tartan is a green background for the rich forests of “The Evergreen State,” with perpendicular bands of contrasting colors symbolic of the features of the state: blue (for the lakes, rivers and ocean), white (for the snow-capped mountains), red (for the apple and cherry crops), yellow (for the wheat and grain crops), and black (for the eruption of Mount St. Helens). At the top center of the tartan ring is the ship’s hull number, “SSN 787,” split by the silhouette of George Washington.