Battle flags in World War II kept an unofficial record of the number of ships a submarine sank. Today, crews adorn the flags with their achievements during deployment. USS Colorado (SSN 788) returned from her maiden deployment Feb. 20 with a fully decorated flag flying from the bridge. The crew now proudly has the flag displayed in the Crew’s Mess.
The battle flag displays the crew’s port visits to Haakonsvern, Norway and Faslane, Scotland and notable accomplishments, including earning submarine warfare qualification, known as "dolphins," advancements and significant missions.
The Colorado Battle Flag Breakdown:
Starting with the upper left are the three port calls, Royal Navy Dolphins for their 1st Faslane visit, “Norge” patch for Haakonsvern, Norway, and another Scotland patch for their second visit.
20 Silver Dolphin and five Gold Dolphin patches represent the Sailors who earned their Submarine Warfare insignia during deployment.
Crew-designed deployment patch with the three watch-section mascots represented – Leviathan, Kraken and Triton.
The “1” represents the boat’s first deployment.
The USS Harry S. Truman patch represents operational support to the ship.
The 18 Colorado insignia patches represent significant mission accomplishments.
Finally, rank insignia patches for Sailors who advanced during deployment – three Chief Petty Officers, two first classes, four second classes, and 10 third classes.