The shield's thirteen red and white stripes around the edge are from a flag of the revolution and stand for the union of the colonies. A profile of George Washington is at the center; his leadership was the essence of the victory at Princeton in 1777. The smaller shield which bears Washington's profile represents the defense of our country, then and now. The golden anchor symbolizes the nation's proud heritage as a seagoing power.
The crest's upward thrust of the trident symbolizes the vertical launching system of the new USS Princeton, and the interlaced lightning bolts represent its quick striking ability. The three times of the trident stand for the ship's multi-mission warfighting capabilities: anti-air, antisubmarine, and surface/strike warfare. The semi-octagonal background shape is a representation of the ship's SPY-1B radar arrays and emphasizes the revolutionary capabilities of the AEGIS Combat System. The five stars represent the previous US Navy ships which bore the name PRINCETON.
The ship's motto is derived from a letter written on November 15, 1781, by George Washington to the Marquis de Lafayette in which he wrote: "It follows then as certain as night succeeds day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and that with it everything honorable and glorious." It is from this quotation that the ship's motto "HONOR AND GLORY" is derived.
A Proud Namesake
CG 59 is the sixth ship in a proud series of U. S. Navy ships to honor the name PRINCETON. The first vessel named Princeton was a sloop of war, commissioned in 1843. She was the first Navy vessel to be powered by a steam-driven screw. On February, 28, 1844, while demonstrating a new type of cannon to the President and numerous dignitaries, ten people were killed when the cannon burst. Among the casualties were the Secretary of State and two senators. The ship was decommissioned in 1849.
The second PRINCETON was an armed transport and training ship, commissioned in 1852, and in service until 1866. The third vessel named for the Battle of Princeton was a composite gunboat which was commissioned in 1898. She served in the far east and off Nicaragua, and was decommissioned in 1919.
The fourth PRINCETON was the Independence class carrier CVL 23, commissioned in 1943. Her battle record included raids on Tarawa, Bougainville, the Gilbert and Marshall Island, Guam and the Battle of Philippine Sea. She was sunk in a fierce battle off Surigao Straits in 1944. Among the awards she received were the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Ribbon with 9 battle stars and the Republic of the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation.
The fifth PRINCETON was an Essex class carrier, CV 37. The ship was already in construction when CVL 23 was sunk, and the name PRINCETON was given to the new replacement. Commissioned just after the end of World War II in 1945, she was reclassed in 1950 as CVA 37. The ship earned the Navy Unit Commendation and 8 battle stars during the Korean War. In 1954, she was reclassed as an amphibious assault ship, LPH 5. She served off the coast of Vietnam conducting support missions for the U. S. Marines, which earned her a Meritorious Unit Commendation. She was also the primary recovery ship for APOLLO TEN. the fifth PRINCETON was decommissioned in 1970.
The sixth PRINCETON was commissioned in 1989 in Pascagoula, MS on 11 FEB 1989 and has completed three deployments to the Arabian Gulf and won two consecutive Battle Efficiency Awards in 1992-1993.