Coat of Arms
Blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Naval service, and are symbolic of the Navy's element, the sea, and ever-present goal of excellence. The color red symbolizes action and courage. The observer sees the oncoming prow of WADSWORTH in red, as it cuts the blue sea, the home of the modern frigate. The three seagulls remind the observer that three Naval Ships have borne the proud name of "WADSWORTH". It recalls the ancient sailor's belief that seagulls are the souls of departed sailors and bring good fortune by their presence. The crest represents the USS CONSTITUTION under full sail and comemmorates the fact that Commodore Alexander Scammel Wadsworth (then second Lieutenant of CONSTITUTION) received a Silver Medal for Heroism, and the thanks of Congress, for his part in CONSTITUTION's engagement with the british frigate "GUERRIERE".
This engagement, in which CONSTITUTION defeated GUERRIERE in a brief but violent action, was the first American victory over the heretofore omnipotent Royal Navy. The act captured the heart of the American people and gave a much needed boost to the morale and confidence of our young nation. In this action, CONSTITUTION won her familiar title, "Old Ironside", when GUERRIERE's shots were seen to bounce off her sides.
The motto selected for WADSWORTH is taken from the words Captain Isaac Hull, then Commanding CONSTITUTION, addressed to his men just prior to engaging Guerriere. "Men," he said, "now do your duty. Your officers cannot have entire comand over you now. Each man must do all in his power for his country." The naval service of both Commodore WADSWORTH and USS CONSTITUTION would continue for many years, but they both won their place in history on that day in August, 1812 when they began the United States Navy's winning tradition of giving everything "for one's country".
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