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Notice anything special on the crest of the new USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier?

Update, Sept. 7: Just to clarify, though the fleur-de-lis was in use before Scouting began, the Navy has said this use of the fleur-de-lis is indeed a reference to Ford’s Scouting career.

As the only Eagle Scout ever to become U.S. president (so far), Gerald Ford stands among the most successful men ever to emerge from the Boy Scouts of America.

That legacy continues with the USS Gerald R. Ford, a $13.5 billion, 1,106-foot aircraft carrier set to join the U.S. Navy’s fleet in 2016.

Last month, the ship’s crew released the Gerald Ford‘s official crest.

It features 38 stars, representing Ford’s tenure as our 38th president. The colors include blue and maize, honoring his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Michigan. But it’s the fluer-de-lis at the top of the compass that really caught my eye.

The fleur-de-lis, of course, shows off Ford’s achievements as a Boy Scout, and its northern position on the compass says a lot about how much Ford’s life direction was positively shaped by his time in Scouting.

Here’s the crest:


Special thanks to Marc Leonetti, Scoutmaster of Troop 544 in Suffolk, Va., for the tip!

22 Comments on Notice anything special on the crest of the new USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier?

  1. I would saw that the moto also stem from what the President learned as a Scout as well.

  2. Does this actually have anything to do with Scouting or is this just a traditional compass rose. The fleur-de-lis is a traditional indicator for the north mark. This is in fact why Baden-Powell used the fleur-de-lis as the symbol for Scouting.

    • Did you READ the article? It says that Scouting was indeed the reason it was used.

      • Did you notice that Mike’s comment was posted before Bryan’s update of clarification?

    • David S Chen // February 19, 2017 at 3:26 pm // Reply

      The Fleur-de-lis has always been the traditional indicator for North on maritime compasses, far before the time Scouting was established. It is indeed the reason Baden Powell chose the Fleur-de-lis to represent Scouting.

  3. I think the thought is nice, but probably not the entire basis for using the fleur de lis as the marker for north on the compass. A fleur de lis has been on of many symbols included as part of a Compass Rose or map compass for centuries.

    • To echo Michael Hayward, “Indeed, it _is_ the _sole_ reason for the use of the fleur-de-lis.” As a matter of fact, it is clearly a BSA fleur-de-lis. There are many different styles of fleur-de-lis out there, and this is the one they chose. Besides, the Navy, themselves, ACKNOWLEDGED the reference:

      Thanks, Michael, for posting the link.

  4. The fleur-de-lis at the top of the mariner’s compass may not refer to Scouting, but it’s a traditional symbol used on maps to represent the true north direction. When Baden-Powell first developed the Scouting program (for soldiers), the graduates of the program got to wear a small, embroidered fleur-de-lis on their uniform, to show that as Scouts they knew how to find directions, alon with many other skills. After Baden-Powell published his “Scouting” manual, kids in England used it to develo their own Scouting program. Baden-Powell then held the first campout at Brownsea Island, revised his book as “Scouting for Boys”, and kept the fleur-de-lis as Scouting’s symbol. So the fleur-de-lis took on a new meaning.

    • Straight from the Navy’s press release:
      “The ship’s crest incorporates many symbols reminiscent of President Ford’s life and legacy, including a Fleur de Lis on the compass pointing true North, which comes from his rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts”

      • Thanks for adding this. Yes, the fleur-de-lis is an intentional reference to President Ford’s time in Scouting.

  5. What an honor and tribute to such an honorable man.

  6. @ Clinch… agreed! and knowing that the fleur-de-lis made its way from the compass rose to Scouting makes it even more special, as each young man finds his direction in life. 🙂

  7. Nice speculation and history lessons here in the comments, but the US Navy specifically says the Fleur de Lis was deliberately chosen because of his Eagle Scout rank. The fact that twelve stars are white has nothing to do with the Scout Law and is a simple mathematic artifact of 38 – 26 = 12.

    “The ship’s crest incorporates many symbols reminiscent of President Ford’s life and legacy, including a Fleur de Lis on the compass pointing true North, which comes from his rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts; 38 stars surrounding the emblem to represent his tenure as 38th President of the United States – 26 stars are a different color to note his time stationed aboard USS Monterey (CVL 26) during World War II.”

  8. Another man of stature to come out of Scouting (and his time in Scouting is so often over looked) is Martin Luther King Jr.

  9. James Meyette // February 18, 2017 at 3:42 pm // Reply

    Reading IS fundamental. As has been stated MULTIPLE times here AND in the US Navy Press Release, the use of the fleur de lis IS indeed a nod to President Ford’s Scouting career.

  10. That is a wonderful tribute to both him, the BSA, and all of us in the program. As both a Scout and Scouter of over 50 years and a vet, I can say these things don’t come along often and this makes me smile.

  11. 12 silver stars for 12 points of the law?

  12. The official NAVY News Service Press Release with many details and questions answered:

  13. Let’s just hope it’s crew doesn’t trip every time they try to go up a stairway like President Ford did. LOL

  14. Bobby and I were at his home in Alexandria twice. He was an honest man and really did not want the job of POTUS . One of the few politicians I admired.

  15. John A. Kingston Sr // February 19, 2017 at 9:43 pm // Reply

    Just plain cool. Great tribute for a great President and Eagle Scout.

  16. Let’s not forget that Gerald Ford served on an aircraft carrier during WWII. The ship spent time in combat in the pacific. Ford did not have to do that, either. His background got him a job at Pensacola that would have kept him in the States, but he requested, and was granted, sea duty. Gutsy move; nice guy; good president.

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