New crest tops Coast Guard’s evolving presence in Western Pacific
Stars and Stripes September 20, 2023
The U.S. Coast Guard unit based in Guam has a new brand to go along with a beefed-up fleet, a new name and a mission that includes countering China’s influence in the Western Pacific.
U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam unveiled a crest on Monday that incorporates elements of the Chamorro culture of Guam and the Mariana Islands.
It also reflects a new designation that took effect last summer, Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sara Muir said by email Wednesday. Before that, the unit was called Sector Guam.
“Our new crest is more than just a symbol, it’s a reflection of our deeply rooted history and enduring relationships in the Pacific, spanning over a century,” said Muir, spokeswoman for the command based at Apra Harbor, Guam.
The new crest consists of a gold star above a giant manta ray in front of two gold tridents with a banner that reads, “Prutehi I Futura-ta,” meaning “Protecting our Future” in the Chamorro language. Spots across the manta ray’s back represent the islands of Micronesia, one of four sub-regions of Oceania, according to the sector’s website.
Muir said she designed the crest to reflect the broader missions and the various areas the Coast Guard sector serves.
The three-pronged trident on the crest signifies the unit’s commitment to maritime safety, security and stewardship, according to the website. The North Star, another element on the crest, guides the unit through the complexities of Pacific culture and maritime navigation.
The final element is a latte, a two-stone structure found on Guam and throughout the Mariana Islands. “The Latte Stones are a nod to our home base in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands,” Muir said. “They symbolize strength and resilience.”
The unit operates as far south as Australia and as far east as the Marshall Islands, she added.
Since 2020, the Coast Guard base at Guam has replaced its 110-foot patrol boats with three, 154-foot Sentinel-class cutters, the Frederick Hatch, Myrtle Hazard and Oliver Henry. They are armed with four .50-caliber machine guns and a remote-controlled 25 mm cannon.
The Coast Guard’s role in the Indo-Pacific is expected to expand in the coming months.
“We will innovate to meet civilian security challenges, expanding United States Coast Guard presence, training and advising to bolster our partners’ capabilities,” the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area commander, Vice Adm. Andrew Tiongson, told reporters July 26, according to the U.S. State Department.
The crest change was not just a routine update, Muir said.
“In the Pacific, the merging of art and symbolism often tells a deeper story than words alone can express,” she said. “Our new crest serves as a visual narrative, a tangible representation of the Coast Guard’s evolving role and strengthened commitments in the Pacific region.”