Return to Naval Historical Center home page. Return to Online Library listing

WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Online Library of Selected Images -- Picture Data

Photo #: NH 83348-KN (Color) Heraldry

Insignia: USS Spruance (DD-963)

Emblem adopted in 1974 and provided by the ship in February 1975.
The complete heraldic description sent at that time is provided below.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 121KB; 610 x 765 pixels


Coat of Arms of USS Spruance (DD-963)


Shield: Azure (Navy blue) with a stylized double trident of gold, the tines joined to a single crossbar, 3 tines to chief and 3 tines to base, and without a handle.

Crest: On a wreath of gold and azure (Navy blue), a white cherry blossom (of the same design as worn by the Japanese navy in World War II), the lower petals in front of and inclosed within a red demi-torteau, the horizontal axes of the cherry blossom and the torteau coinciding, all beneath an arced banner of azure (Navy blue) charged with four white stars, each end of the banner fastened to a banner staff of gold, the staffs saltirewise between the cherry blossom and the torteau.

Motto: Wisdom -- Fortitude -- Reason


The trident is a naval symbol of authority, power and maritime domination. The "double trident" device was devised to indicate that Spruance is a new class of Navy destroyer unlike any ever to fly the flag of the United States; it is almost twice (or double) the size of the destroyer of World War II, and will operate with equal effectiveness alone or in large carrier task forces. The overall shape of the "double trident" suggests the ship's primary function of submarine tracking and antisubmarine warfare.

The six-points of the tridents additionally refer to the ship's versatility and multi-mission: (1) bombardment of enemy shore positions; (2) support of amphibious landings; (3) escort of military and merchant ship convoys; (4) surveillance and trailing of surface ships as well as submarines; (5) establishing blockades; (6) search and rescue operations.

The six points also allude to the ship's armament: (1) the two 5 inch guns fore and aft; (2) the antisubmarine rocket launcher (ASROC) at bow; and (3) the torpedo tube launchers on port and starboard.

The sensors and electron{ic}s are indicated by the three verticals (formed by the tines) and the crossbar: (1) surveillance detection sonar; (2) weapon fire control system; (3) surface and search radars; (4)detection and tracking systems including helicopter.

The "double trident" device is purposely without a "handle" because of the attention given to habitability and manning and the use of automation of propulsion, electronics and armament.

The "double trident" also refers to the class numerical designation of the Spruance -- 963, the six points and the three verticals together referring to the number "9", and the six points to the number "6", and the three verticals to the number "3".

The crest is a tribute to Admiral Spruance, for whom the ship is named, and his brilliant and decisive victory over a large Japanese naval force at the Battle of Midway in 1942.

The cherry blossom, similar in design to that worn by personnel of the Japanese navy, symbolizes in itself a number of associations with the strategic Battle of Midway. The ends of the petals simulate the letter "M" for Midway; the letter "V" for victory; and the Greek letter "Sigma" for Spruance. The five petals allude to the five Japanese ships, four aircraft carriers and one cruiser, sunk in the battle. The fifteen small dots and the larger center dot add up to 16 and thus refers to "Task Force 16", the designation of the task force under Admiral Spruance's command. The fifteen small dots also allude to the six cruisers and the nine destroyers, and the large center dot to the two aircraft carriers which comprised Task Force 16.

The red disk, cut off at "midway", refers to Admiral Spruance's defeat of the Japanese at Midway, which was the decisive naval action in the Pacific and halted any further Japanese advances.

The crossed staffs signify the cancelling out of Japanese naval air power and naval ambition. The four white five-pointed stars on the banner of blue indicate the ultimate rank achieved by Admiral Spruance during the Second World War in the Pacific.

Return to Naval Historical Center home page.

19 May 1999