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MCM 1 Avenger
"Dux Et Defensor Simitae"

The mine countermeasure ship USS Avenger (MCM 1), was decommissioned after more than 27 years of naval service during a ceremony on board Naval Base San Diego, 30 September 2014.

USS Avenger was the first of the United States Navy's newest class of Mine Countermeasures ships. Her Keel was laid on May 2, 1983. Built by Peterson Builders Incorporated, in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin, she was christened by Mrs. Sybill Stockdale on 15 June 1985 and placed in active service on 12 September 1987.

Subsequent to her commissioning and a period of test and trials, Avenger arrived in her homeport of Charleston, South Carolina, and began operating as a member of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Avenger deployed to the Arabian Gulf as a coalition force member in support of Operation DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM on the 16th of August 1990. Avenger was the longest serving ship from all of the coalition forces during the SHIELD/STORM conflict and well as the first ship in the history of naval warfare to locate and neutralize bottom mines. The shapes that are painted on the port and starboard bridge wings represent actual mines neutralized during the Gulf War. Avenger was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and Combat Action Ribbon for her wartime accomplishments.

In 1993, Avenger shifted homeports to the newly constructed Naval Station Ingleside, Texas. Since that time she deployed to the Eastern Atlantic in 1993 and 1995, Mediterranean Sea in 1997 and 1999. In 2001 Avenger deployed to the Eastern Pacific via the Panama Canal and conducted Joint, Combined, and Bilateral exercises and operations on the West Coast.

Late in 2001, Avenger conducted test operations of a revolutionary jam resistant electronic navigation system. Avenger completed her most significant modernization in the summer of 2002. In 2004, USS Avenger deployed to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. Where she was one of the first two MCMs to participate in this national exercise.

Ship's Shield and Crest

Placed in the center of the crest, the shield was blue and gold, traditional United States Navy colors, symbolic of the sea and excellence. It was divided into three quadrants by an inverted "Y" representing a safe channel of passage. The upper left quadrant consists of two stars over an anchor honoring the previous U.S. Navy ships to bear the name "Avenger". The upper right contains the number one, the ship's hull number, surrounded by thirteen stars, one for each of the follow-on ships of the class. The lower sector has the Palmetto palm, the state tree of South Carolina, significant as the home of mine warfare when AVENGER was commissioned and originally homeported in September 1987.

The surface warfare logo superimposed over a Mark VI mine was indicative of the readiness of the qualified officers and enlisted men to face the challenge of the mine threat. The centurions with tridents represent strength and courage, traits required to face the danger of mine warfare utilizing our advanced system, consisting of the AN/SQQ-32 Mine Hunting Sonar, the AN/SSN-2 Precise Integrated Navigation System, and the AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization System.

"Dux et defensor semitae" translates to "Guide and protector of the pathway", referring to AVENGER's ability to provide a clear and safe channel of passage for other vessels.

The border shows a continuous lanyard of seventy-six turns showing the unity and commitment of this crew to make the first of the class the best of the class, and seventy-six original "plank owners" to accomplish this task.

Avenger Namesake

The first USS AVENGER was a wooden ram originally build for the War Department (Army). She was transferred to the Navy and placed to the Navy and placed in commission on the 7th of December 1863, under the command of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Charles A Wright. Avenger was assigned to the Mississippi River Squadron, Third District, under the command of Admiral David Dixon Porter and was responsible for patrolling the river between Natchez and the mouth of the Red River. In early March 1864, Avenger and her sister ship the VINDICATOR participated in the RED River Campaign to support the establishments; the shelling of Ft. DeRussy in May 1864, and the battle of Bruinsburg, MS in November 1864. Following the conclusion of the war, AVENGER was decommissioned on the 1st of the August 1865, and was sold at public auction. She remained in service as a merchantman out of New Orleans until 1871.

The second USS Avenger (SP-2646) was a wooden-hulled screw yacht built in 1917 in Camden, New Jersey. She was loaned to the Navy in May 1918 under a "free lease" from her owner Mr. Philips J. Wunderle, who was appointed a Chief Boatswain's Mate to serve as her first and only Commanding Officer. Outfitted with a deck gun, communications equipment and depth charges, she conducted four war patrols in the waters adjacent to her homeport of Cape May, NJ. She was decommissioned on the 19th of December 1918, and was re-converted to civilian use, and remained in service until 1929.

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Page last modified: 01-10-2014 18:53:45 ZULU