USS Anchorage coat of arms to feature moose antlers

Mike Dunham

The coat of arms for the Navy's new USS Anchorage includes moose antlers.

Moose are a big feature in the urban landscape in the ship's namesake city, where it will be formally commissioned in May 2013.

Capt. Brian J. Quin, commander of the USS Anchorage, included the vessel's coat of arms in a slide presentation at City Hall on Wednesday morning.

The shield contains both Navy blue and Marine red, a reference to the ship's mission to transport marines. Two anchors are connected by a rope that forms a stylized "A." The motto, "Nil fato relinquemus," is Latin for "We leave nothing to chance." Quin said he got the idea while visiting the Alaska Native Heritage Center and learning how Native Alaskans were constantly preparing for oncoming seasons.

Above the shield are six Battle Stars earned by the previous USS Anchorage, which saw duty during the Vietnam War, and the silhouette of a sailing ship in front of the Chugach Mountains, framed by a pair of moose antlers. The shield sits on evergreen boughs.

The $1.3 billion ship is based in San Diego, Calif. It carries a crew of 400 and can transport up to 800 marines along with ship-to-shore transports for military personnel and their equipment. Technically called an "amphibious transport dock," it looks like a space-age warship and runs at about 22 knots. Quin called it "the pickup truck for the fleet."

A landing area of "about an acre" accommodates helicopters and vertical takeoff aircraft. It has an extensive onboard medical facility and can be deployed on humanitarian missions. It is expected to arrive in Anchorage in late April for commissioning, tentatively scheduled for May 4.