SHIELD: The wavy bars refer to the Chesapeake Bay. The pike suggests the peninsula between Baltimore harbor and the mouth of the Patapsco River, a strategic location in defense of Baltimore. The fort on the pile denotes Fort McHenry's location on Whetstone Peninsula in the upper Chesapeake Bay. The fort was named for James McHenry, Secretary of War under President Adams. The trefoil on the red cross symbolizes McHenry's immigration from Ireland to Philadelphia where he studied medicine and later volunteered as a surgeon during the Revolutionary War. The red cross, a symbol for medical establishments, also recalls the use of the fort as a military hospital during World War I. The colors blue and gold are traditionally associated with the Navy.
CREST: The eagle, symbol of the United States, grasps a representation of the flag that flew over Fort McHenry in 1814 and was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner. The bomb stands for the bombardment of the fort by the British fleet. The eagle standing on the bomb holding the United States flag high indicates the fort's successful defense against the British.
SEAL: The complete coat of arms in full color as in the blazon upon a white field enclosed by a blue oblong border arched at the top and in base, having an outer edge of gold continuous rope and inscribed USS FORT McHENRY at the top and LSD-43 in the base in gold letters.
MOTTO: DOMUS FORTIUM (Home of the Brave)