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MHC 55 Oriole
"Mea Est Venatio"

USS Oriole (MHC 55), was commissioned on September 16, 1995, at the Harborplace Amphitheater in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Oriole is the fifth of 12 Osprey Class ships authorized by Congress to be built. The ship's primary mission is reconnaissance, classification, and neutralization of moored and bottom mines in harbors and coastal waterways.

The ship is armed with two .50 caliber machine guns, a high definition, variable depth sonar, and a remotely operated robotic submarine used to neutralize mines. Oriole measures 188 feet in length, has a beam of 36 feet and displaces approximately 895 tons. The ship will carry a crew of five officers and 46 Sailors.

Ship's Shield and Crest

The Star-topped Trident with the Oriole perched on its staff represents ORIOLE's determination and perseverance in the hunt for, and destruction of mines throughout the oceans of the world. The four additional stars represent the previous ships named ORIOLE.

The waves of blue represent the seven seas in which ORIOLE will sail to protect and defend our nation's vital interests. The outer navy blue is the color of freedom, loyalty a devotion, and represents the Navy and the call to the sea for which ORIOLE's crew has answered. The red inner circle is the color of courage, valor, zeal, and sacrifice, which typifies honor.

The anchor, on which the crest is attached, represents the customs, traditions and heritage of the United States Navy. The gold rope encircling the Coat-of-Arms embodies the binding oath that the officers and crew have taken to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America.

"MEA EST VENATIO" is Latin for "MINE IS THE HUNT" and expresses the spirit and determination of each crew member to do his duty in ORIOLE's primary mission to keep the oceans of the world safe.

Previous Namesakes

Named for the Maryland State bird, four previous ships have been named Oriole: a Civil War sternwheel gunboat; a 15-gun sloop that served in the Maryland Naval Militia (1904-1906); a minesweeper (AM 7) (1918-1946) that participated in the clearing of the World War II North Sea mine barrage; and a coastal minehunter (AMCU) (ex-LCI(L) 973) (1952-1955).

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