1 Reply Latest reply on Oct 27, 2020 8:11 AM by Alex Daverede

    Did US Navy ever have names painted on bow of ship?


      Did US Navy Ships ever have their Names painted on the Bow of the Ship?

        • Re: Did US Navy ever have names painted on bow of ship?
          Alex Daverede Adventurer



          The short answer is no.


          U.S. Navy ships have almost always carried their names across their sterns (sometimes called the fantail) since the founding of the service.


          Today’s ship identification marking system dates from the 1920’s when the Navy was forced to formally identify the categories of its various ships due to the arms limitation treaties of the day.  These categories were given abbreviations consisting of two to four letters followed by a number assigned in sequence.  For example, the USS Arleigh Burke has the hull number DDG-51.  She is the fifty-first hull with the designation of guided missile destroyer, so she carries the number 51 in large numbers on the bow and smaller numbers on the stern n addition to the ship’s name spelled out in raised welded letters across the fantail.


          There is also an informal means of displaying the ship’s name that originated in the 1950’s.  The ship’s deck force (the boatswains mates, BMs), who normally paint the ship, would craft an elegant name board out of heavily varnished wood and brass letters that would be hung from the ship’s bridge wings along with the ship service ribbons, medals, and efficiency awards, like this example from the frigate USS Lang (FF-1060) in 1989:



          Occasionally ships with certain names would display that name in nonstandard fashion, like this example from The destroyer USS John Hancock (DD-981) from the 1980’s and 1990’s.


          I hope you find this information helpful.


          A. J.

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