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!

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. @ 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. 🙂

  4. 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.”

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