USS Montpelier Sailor Rewarded for Creativity
NORFOLK, Va. – A young Sailor onboard the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Montpelier (SSN 765) was recently honored for his ingenuity in creating a command logo for two consolidated submarine squadrons. FT2(SS) Christopher Ulibarri was awarded his first Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal by Capt. Eugene P. Sievers, Commander, Submarine Squadron Six (CSS6) during a ceremony held Aug. 11 at Naval Station Norfolk.
A new command seal became a necessity when Commander, Submarine Squadron Eight (CSS8) and CSS6 were consolidated into the current CSS6 squadron, April 28. Designing the logo to incorporate the heritage and tradition of past seals from both squadrons was a challenge, but it was one Ulibarri readily accepted and had a great time accomplishing.
“I’m kind of the ship’s unofficial artist,” said Ulibarri, a native of Austin, Texas. “I create everything from tattoos to caricatures of the chief’s as gifts, so I saw this as a great opportunity to contribute to the legacy of the squadron while doing something I enjoy.”
FTCM(SS) Brian Apfel, Montpelier’s Chief of the Boat, recommended Ulibarri’s talents to YNCM(SS) Timothy Baisley, CSS6’s staff command master chief, when Baisley recently embarked the submarine to conduct training.
Baisley was immensely pleased with the final product.
“We couldn't ask for a better rendition,” Baisley said. “The periscopes and the number six represent WWII Submarine Squadron 16 which became CSS6, while the shark, 8-ball, and cigar retain CSS8's heritage.”
Also, the three stars represent the two squadrons that have merged and another command that will merge with them in the near future.
The leadership at CSS6 began accepting design submissions several months ago, but none of the submissions contained all of the elements needed to depict the heritage of the past submarine squadrons. Once Ulibarri had the concept that Baisley wanted to capture, the initial design was completed in less than 24 hours.
“Master Chief Baisley filled me in on the history of the squadron logos and how important it was to keep the history alive with this new design,” Ulibarri said. “I designed the new logo around the shark because I knew I wanted to keep it in the design.”
Ulibarri’s interest in art began when he was a child. Ulibarri’s mother, Cathy, is a graphic designer who has been in the art field her entire life and she sent him to his first art lesson at age three. Throughout his life she has continued to develop and nurture her son’s artistic abilities, which included playing a role in the winning design.
“We needed to transfer the original artwork into a digital vector model instead of scanning it in,” Ulibarri said. “I sent the design to her to create the vector art and she sent the finished design to Master Chief Baisley. I hope this is not the last time I have a chance to use my art to contribute to the squadron’s history.”
In addition to receiving the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Ulibarri was also presented his original artwork design matted and framed with the new command coin by the CSS6 Chief Petty Officer’s Mess.
Montpelier recently departed Norfolk for a regularly scheduled deployment.