NORFOLK (NNS) -- When Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) California (SSN 781) is commissioned Oct. 29 it will join the fleet with a crest designed by the father of one of the boat's Sailors.
Ken Henley, father of Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SS) David Henley assigned to PCU California, reflected on designing a logo for the Virginia-class attack submarine which will become the seventh ship, and the first submarine, to be named after the Golden State.
"I guess as far as the recognition goes, designing the logo for the U.S. Navy has been the biggest design on a national scale," said the elder Henley.
He said he first heard about the logo contest when his son had called and urged him to submit a design.
"My son called me about a year ago and told me about the boat doing some type of competition to design the logo for PCU California," said Henley. "During lunch I created a thumbnail concept sketch."
Petty Officer Henley, who was named Sailor of the Year during a ceremony last week, expressed his pride in his father, the artist, for creating the logo for his command.
"I'm very proud of him," said the junior Henley. "The thing for me is that I can come down to the boat every day and I see the logo because it is on everything. The logo serves as a connection with my dad."
The junior Henley added that less than five logos were submitted, of which the entire command voted and selected the winning design back in late 2009.
"As a command, we wanted to go above and beyond with this logo," said Henley.
Ken Henley explained the concept of his logo and his reasoning for including certain key elements, which were integral to the state and the boat.
"Seven stars represent the seven previous vessels named after California; the triangle represents the Trident of King Neptune, the guardian of the sea; the Silver Dolphins are the emblem of pride worn by all submariners and the Grizzly Bear is the state animal that shows strength," said Henley.
He added that he incorporated the state colors of California, blue and gold to represent the blue sky of California and gold rush, the colors of the American flag and most important the Latin phrase "Silentium Est Aureum" when translated means "Silence is Golden".
Henley, who lives near Nashville, Tenn., had a slight advantage over others who submitted designs for the logo contest.
"I actually work in architecture and I am a conceptual designer, but have a background in art and design," said Henley.
In addition to creating conceptual designs for hospitals to universities in his spare time, Henley also creates caricatures.
The crest can be seen on the Submarine Group 2 Web site at: http://www.public.navy.mil/subfor/csg2/PublishingImages/USS%20California/uss%20california%20final%20COMP.JPG
California's commissioning is the second-to-last major acquisition milestone for the Virginia-class program in 2011. Since the commissioning of the Navy's first captured schooner in 1775, this ceremony remains a powerful moment - it is this point at which warships enter service to the Nation, join the Fleet, and become sovereign U.S. territories anywhere their operations may take them.
PCU California will be commissioned Oct. 29 at Naval Station Norfolk. The ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m., will be streamed live on www.navy.mil.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.