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United States Military Academy

Registration number 20081014A

This certifies that the heraldic arms of the United States Military Academy are registered as an original design and are described by the blazon below

Arms: On a shield of the United States of America overall the emblem of the United States Military Academy, viz; a helmet of Pallas surmounting a Greek sword inverted bendwise Or.
Arms: A Bald Eagle displayed proper grasping in its talons 13 arrows Or and oak and olive branches Vert.
Motto: “Duty, Honor, Country"

Design rationale

According to archival records, the coat of arms and motto were adopted in 1898. Col. Charles W. Larned, professor of drawing, headed a committee to design a coat of arms for the Academy and stated several criteria for the design. The committee decided that the design should represent the national character of the Academy, its military function, its educational function and its spirit and objectives.

The committee began with the creation of an emblem that consisted of a sword, a universal symbol of war, and the helmet of Pallas Athena. Athena, a fully armed mythological goddess, is associated with the arts of war, and her helmet signifies wisdom and learning. The emblem is attached to a shield, bearing the arms of the United States , and on the shield’s crest is a bald eagle, the national symbol. The eagle’s claws hold 13 arrows representing the 13 original states and oak and olive branches, traditional symbols of peace.

The coat of arms was used without change until 1923, when Captain George Chandler, of the War Department, pointed out to Superintendent Brig. Gen. Fred Sladen that the eagle and helmet faced to the heraldic sinister side. The helmet, eagle’s head and sword were soon turned to their current position.

Since 1923, the coat of arms has been in regular use at West Point and is carved on many of the older buildings. In 1980, the coat of arms was registered with the Library of Congress as an “identifiable logo” for the Academy.

(Quoted from West Point website.)

Registered by

Michael Scully


Organization, Original, US, U

Roll of Arms