SHIELD: The colors of the shield are taken from the coat of arms of George Mason,
Revolutionary owner of Gunston Hall. The red cross, from the flag of England,
reflects his country of origin and source of the name Gunston. The border of nine
stars represents the nine battle stars earned for World War II and the nine battle
stars earned in the Korean War. The red cross also refers to Operation "Crossroads",
the 1946 series of atomic bomb tests in which USS GUNSTON HALL participated at
Bikini Atoll. White, symbolizing high ideals and virtue, exemplifies the part
the Gunston Hall played in the U.S. Navy's humanitarian efforts in 1955 to evacuate
almost 800,000 refugees from North to South Vietnam, Operation "Passage to Freedom".
CREST: The sea lion, taken from the device of the first USS GUNSTON HALL, represents her and recalls her long and distinguished service. The torteau refers to the World War II Pacific actions against Japan and the threat of Kamikaze attacks. The motto DEFENDING THE CONSTITUTION is referred to by the parchment in the sea lion's grasp, recalling also the Bill of Rights which was based on Virginia's Declaration of Rights, authored by George Mason. The tower refers to Gunston Hall estate and the security provided by the modern Dock Landing Ship. The red fleur-de-lis is adapted from George Mason's coat of arms. The grassy knoll stands for the land of Virginia and is a canting reference to the function of the Gunston Hall, i.e., it is an allusion to the "landing" ship.
The foregoing excepted from the LSD-44 official USN website
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