Tribe of Athapascan Indians displaced by early American pioneers and currently residing on reservations in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. This is the fourth ship to bear the name. The first (AT-52) was a tug (1908–1946). The second (AT-64) was a tug commissioned in 1940 that sank in 1943. She earned two battle stars for her World War II service. The third (ATA-211) was an auxiliary ocean tug originally designated ATR-138, but redesignated in 1944. She served until 1962. In addition, motorboat Navajo III was acquired during World War I and redesignated S.P. 298 — though retained her former name (1917–1919).
(T-ATF-169; displacement 1,387 (light) 2,000 (full); 1ength 226'; beam 42'; draft 15'; speed 15 knots; complement 21; class Powhatan)
The fourth Navajo (ATF-169) was laid down on 14 December 1977 at Marinette, Wis., by the Marinette Marine Corporation; launched on 20 December 1979; the sponsor is unknown; and delivered to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on 13 June 1980.
Azure (Dark Blue) a compass rose Or quartered Or, Sable, Argent and Azure (Turquoise); on a wavy chief of the second a bear's gamb erased Proper. Dark blue and gold represent the Navy. The compass rose signifies worldwide mission capability. The colors of its quarters, gold, black, white and turquoise are significant in tribal tradition and representative of the four sacred mountains of Navajo mythology, Mount Blanca, Mount Taylor, Hesperus Peak and San Francisco Peaks. The gold chief, wavy of four, again represents the Navy and the sacred mountains. The bear paw, claws outstretched, symbolizes the salvage and retrieval missions of Navajo. The bear, a skilled fisherman, is also prominent in Navajo lore and is symbolic of strength and determination. Gold denotes excellence.
On a wreath Or and Azure (Dark Blue) a wreath of palm fronds Proper surmounted by a tricolor rainbow annulet of Gules, Or and Azure (Turquoise) couped at the top all superimposed by a demi-trident Proper. The rainbow annulet is derived from the seal of the Navajo Nation, designed by John Claw, Jr. and adopted in 1952. The three colors traditionally represent the tribe. The wreath is a symbol of honor and achievement. The demi-trident signifies mastery at sea and Navy expertise in accomplishing mission requirements.
The coat of arms as blazoned in full color upon a white oval enclosed within a dark blue collar edged with gold chain and inscribed "USNS NAVAJO" above and "T-ATF 169" below in gold letters.
Keeping A Steady Strain-- Motto inscribed in dark blue upon a gold-color scroll garnished dark blue and doubled of the like.
On 1 July 2003 Military Sealift Command (MSC) recognized Navajo as one of three ships as winners of the MSC Surface Ship Safety Award for the 1 October 2001 to 31 March 31 2003 competitive period. The ship received a plaque in recognition of her efforts and was authorized to display a large green "S" signifying the Surface Ship Safety Award on its bridge bulwark.
Navajo tows amphibious assault ship Belleau Wood from the pier at Pearl Harbor out to open waters for a sinking exercise as part of exercise Rim of the Pacific 2006, 10 July 2006. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brandon A. Teeples, U.S. Navy Photograph 060710-N-9288T-053, Navy.mil Photos).
On 17-18 September 2008 the Navy's Deep Submergence Unit tested a new system known as the submarine rescue diving and recompression system (SRDRS) with the Chilean submarine CS Simpson (SSK-21). The SRDRS is designed to be rapidly deployed to any location in the world via air or ground and can be installed on military or commercial vessels when a call for assistance is received. During the exercise, and with operators inside, the pressurized rescue module was remotely controlled via a topside control console aboard Navajo which carried the SRDRS for this evolution.
On 12 November 2009 sailors from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1, embarked on board Navajo, participated in Indian Salvage Exercise 2009, a bilateral diving exercise off the coast of Hawaii, with divers from the Indian Navy. U.S. Navy divers trained the Indians in KM-37 surface-supplied diving, mixed gas deep diving, underwater cutting, and welding.
Navy divers embarked on board Navajo participate in Indian SALVEX 2009, 12 November 2009. (Chief Warrant Officer Randy Duncan, U.S. Navy Photograph 091112-N-1183D-046, Navy.mil Photos).
Chief Navy Diver Jonathan Millen, assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1, conducts surface checks on a Royal Australian Navy clearance diver while participating in diving operations aboard Navajo during the Rim of the Pacific 2012 exercise, 26 July 2012. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anderson C. Bomjardim, U.S. Navy Photograph 120726-N-VF350-174, Navy.mil Photos).
Navajo passes the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell (WHEC-719) in the San Diego Bay near aircraft carrier Carl Vinson (CVN-70), 14 September 2015. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class D'Andre L. Roden, U.S. Navy Photograph 150914-N-FT110-062, Navy.mil Photos).
Detailed history pending.
Christopher B. Havern Sr.
25 November 2015