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MCM 4 Champion
"We accept the Challenge"

USS Champion (MCM 4), the fourth ship to bear the name, was commissioned on 08 February 1991. The fourth ship of the Avenger Class of Mine Countermeasures Ships, Champion is homeported in Ingleside, Texas.

Ship's Shield and Crest

The Ship's shield contains dark blue and white which are emblematic of the U.S. Navy and the integrity and resolve of the three previous vessels which bore the name "CHAMPION." The pine tree reflects the continental service of the first Champion during the Revolutionary War and the resistance of the thirteen states against England. The pine appeared during that time as a symbol on early American flags. The bouget, or water-carrier, refers the water transport service of the second CHAMPION patrolling the Mississippi, Tennessee and Red Rivers between 1863 and 1865. The third Champion participated in World War II in the Pacific and is commemorated by the firebomb, referring to the kamikaze attack, which damaged her. The components of the chevron represent each of the previous CHAMPIONs and together symbolize the act of raising or retrieving floating weapons, or munitions, the mission of the new ship as mine countermeasures. Red, white, and blue also recall the markings of the British flag of the revolutionary war period and the flag of the emerging American Union.

The crest's upraised gauntlet grasping the dagger epitomized the ideals and capabilities of the USS CHAMPION. The wreath of laurel, a traditional emblem of achievement and honor, together with the gauntlet and dagger captures the spirit of the ship's designation and commemorates the previous ships' proud heritage and service. The stars indicate the battle honors of the three previous CHAMPIONs.

Previous Namesakes

The first Champion was a xebec (8 guns). She was commanded by Captain James Josiah, and served in the Delaware River in a force composed of ships of the Continental and Pennsylvania State Navies. It was this force that contested British efforts to establish sea communications with their forces in Philadelphia in the fall of 1777. After several months of gallant fighting against heavy odds the American ships attempted to run past Philadelphia. The State Galleys succeeded but the Continental Fleet, including Champion, was burned by its own officers on 21 November 1777, When Tide and winds turned against them.

The second Champion, and armed river steamer, was built in Cincinnati , Ohio in 1859 as Champion No. 4. She was commissioned on 26 April, 1863 with Acting Master Alfred Phelps, Jr. in command.

Operating almost continually from 27 April 1863 to 9 June 1865, Champion patrolled the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Red Rivers. She transported troops, Prisoners, supplies and cotton; towed and convoyed ships; and delivered dispatches. Her yeoman services ended at Mound City, Illinois , where she was decommissioned 1 July 1865. Champion was sold 29 November 1885.

The third Champion (AM-314) was launched 12 December 1942 by General Engineering and Dry Dock Co., Alameda, California; and commissioned 8 September 1943, LCDR J.H. Howard , Jr., USNR, in command.

Clearing San Diego 7 December 1943, Champion arrived in Pearl Harbor 13 December. Between 8 January and 4 March 1944, she was assigned to the task of guarding vital shipping between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco. More direct support for front line operations came from 18 March to 10 April, when she escorted two resupply convoys to Tarawa, after which Champion screened a convoy to Kwajalein from 19 April to 7 May 1944, in support of the Marshall Islands operation. After a short overhaul she sailed to Saipan for minesweeping operations and local escort duty in late June, then returned to Pearl Harbor for a more extensive overhaul. From 13 September to 17 November, Champion Guarded convoys from Pearl Harbor to Eniwetok and Saipan, before training for the Iwo Jima operation.

Champion arrived off of Iwo Jima on 16 February 1945, as the preliminary 3-day bombardment of the island began. Except for the period of 21 February through 4 March, when she sailed escorting unloaded assault shipping to Saipan from which she returned with resupply echelons, Champion remained off of IWO Jima until 7 March. After provisioning and refueling at Ulithi, she sailed for Kerama Retto and Okinawa. In these dangerous waters she conducted minesweeping operations and served in screens from 24 March to 19 June 1994. On a Convoy escort to Saipan, on 16 Apr a suicide plane crashed close aboard Champion, spraying debris which slightly damaged her and wounded four of her men. She returned to Seattle on 20 July for an overhaul and lasted through the end of the war.

In support of Far eastern occupation activities, Champion Sailed from San Pedro, 4 December 1945, called at Pearl Harbor and Eniwetok, and arrived at Sasebo, Japan, 1 February 1946. From this port she swept mines and patrolled the Tsushima Straights until 6 December, then she cleared for the west coast. Champion was decommissioned and placed in reserve at San Diego 30 January 1947. She was reclassified MSF-314, 7 February 1955. Champion received three battle stars for service in World War II.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:58:17 ZULU