It is a naval tradition for a warship to proudly display a unique emblem, called a Ship’s Crest. These crests are displayed on uniform patches for the ship’s crew and ship’s plaques as well as other places where such an emblem is appropriate throughout the life of the ship.  The ship’s first Commanding Officer has the responsibility and distinction of selecting the design of that crest. The USS Colorado (SSN 788) Commissioning Committee offered to assist CDR Franklin in conducting a contest to solicit designs for consideration.

The Commissioning Committee conducted the contest in early 2015 and after three and a half months collected over 140 Senior Division entries. After reviewing the entries, the Commanding Officer and crew selected Michael Nielson as the winner of the Senior Division Ship’s Crest Design Contest. Michael was born and raised in Colorado and graduated from Ralston Valley High School in Arvada, CO, in 2008. He enlisted in the Navy immediately after graduation and was selected for the Navy Nuclear Power Program. While undergoing training he was selected for the Seaman-to-Admiral program and attended Oregon State University. After graduating in 2013 he was commissioned an officer in the Navy and began officer nuclear power training.

Shortly after completion of the contest LTJG Nielson was issued orders to report to USS Colorado after training, a request that he had made prior to entering the contest. LTJG Nielson’s design has been modified slightly and adopted as the official ship’s crest.

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Official Description of Ship’s Crest

  1. The crest of USS COLORADO (SSN 788) is contained within the silhouette of the head of a charging mustang, symbolizing the determined nature of the great state of Colorado. This nature of unbridled determination will carry on in the attitude of the crew of USS COLORADO. The fundamental elements of the background are derived from the Colorado state Above the waterline lies the white, snow-covered Rocky Mountains standing tall over the landscape and concealing destructive power within their icy ridges. These mountains represent the mighty and majestic nature of submarines. Upon the reflection in the water rests a submarine, representing USS COLORADO, transiting forward, into the unknown. Along the collar of the horse lie seven stars that represent the Battle Stars awarded to the battleship USS COLORADO (BB-45) for exemplary service in World War 11, and reflect the spirit of excellence present in the crew aboard the new USS COLORADO. Finally, the Latin motto, Terra Marique Indomila translates to “untamed by land and sea”.  Although only three words and a straightforward translation, the motto actually has three distinct meanings:

Terra Indomita:

The first part above the water, recognizes the state of Colorado standing untamed by land throughout  history ;

Marique lndomita:

The second part from the reflection, recognizes the submarine, USS COLORADO, standing untamed  by the sea;

Terra Marique  Indomita:

Together, the motto recognizes the spirit of USS COLORADO, both the ship and her crew, a spirit that remains untamed by the rugged terrain and weather extremes of land, and untamed by the rough waves and dark depths of the sea.

  1. From late 2014 into early 2015, the USS Colorado (SSN 788) Commissioning Committee coordinated a competition to design the official crest of the USS COLORADO. In April 2015, after receiving over l 00 submissions from all across the world, the Commissioning Committee and the crew of PCU COLORADO evaluated the submissions and ultimately selected the design of Michael F. Nielson, to serve as the ship’s official crest. After the selection, the designer was contacted to provide some personal background information and finalize the design. It was at that time the command and the Commissioning Committee learned that the designer was both a naval officer and Colorado native who was completing initial training for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and had orders to report to PCU COLORADO.  After completion of his training in October 2015, LTJG Nielson reported to PCU COLORADO as one of the first two Junior Officers.
  1. Be it hereby known, that this is the official crest of the USS COLORADO (SSN 788).

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