The keystone shaped shield alludes to the symbol and nickname of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the state John Murtha served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 36 years. The colors scarlet and Navy blue, traditional colors of the Marine Corps and Navy, embody the primary mission of LPD 26, to bring together a Navy and Marine Corps team ready to defend U.S. national interests across the globe. The silver lantern signifies the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award bestowed upon Congressman Murtha and resembles the lantern of the USS CONSTITUTION, the U.S. Navy’s oldest commissioned ship. The ribbon bar denotes Murtha’s service during the Vietnam War and his distinction as the first Vietnam combat veteran elected to Congress. The lightning flash symbolizes him as a champion for causes of those in need, to include wounded warriors, those stricken by disease and victims of natural disasters.
The demi-sun radiates fifty-eight rays, symbolizing Murtha’s fifty-eight years of service to the Nation as a Marine and in Congress. The eagle is a symbol of both the U.S. House of Representatives and his Marine Corps rank of Colonel. The arrows speak to the warrior spirit of John Murtha and the ship that bears his name. The olive branch denotes his commitment to peace and the ship’s commitment to preserve peace but remain prepared for war.
The swords symbolize the Navy and Marine Corps officer and enlisted team and John Murtha’s military career as he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1952 and retired as a Colonel in 1990. The swords point upward, indicating the ship’s readiness for battle.
The ship’s motto is “Jack” Murtha’s personal rally cry to “Make a Difference!” as he did throughout his career as a serviceman and a Congressman.
The coat of arms as blazoned in full color on an oval field within a dark blue designation band, edged with a gold roped border and bearing the name “USS JOHN P. MURTHA” at the top and “LPD 26” at the base.