The Fouled Anchor

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The Fouled Anchor

By: Travis L. Hawkins

The fouled anchor is a Naval symbol of an anchor with a chain wrapped around it or “fouled”. The fouled anchor has long been the symbol of the Chief Petty Officer. In terms of the Chief, the fouled anchor symbolizes the trials and tribulations that every Chief Petty Officer must endure on a daily basis, I.E. dealing with junior sailors,change,and just finding time to hit the golf course..

The “USN” stands for Unity, Service, and Navigation symbolizing the unity of the CPO Mess, the undaunted service to God and country of each and every Chief Petty Officer and the Navigation that the Chief is expected to provide to each Sailor, each Navy ship and the entire Navy. The history of the fouled anchor as a naval insignia got its start as the seal of the Lord Howard of Effingham. He was the Lord Admiral of England at the time of the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. During this period the personal seal of a great officer of state was adopted as the seal of his office. The fouled anchor still remains the official seal of the Lord High Admiral of Great Britain. When this office became part of the present Board of Admiralty, the seal was retained--on buttons, official seals, and cap badges. The U.S. Navy's adoption of this symbol and many other customs can be directly attributed to the influence of British Naval tradition. The fouled anchor is among them. In closing there are a lot of Navy traditions that should be learned and upheld by the sailor of today and the sailor of tomorrow, but it is our job to continue the trend of the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service which is Honor,Courage,and Commitment.
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