U.S. Navy 7 Star Commission Pennant.

Sub-collection: U.S. Naval

U.S. Navy 7 Star Commission Pennant - U.S.S. Tuscaloosa.
This is a small, nylon, 7 star US Navy Commission Pennant from the USS Tuscaloosa that was presented to her skipper, Commander L. D. Mott when he relinquished command in 1973. It is a part of a presentation grouping, and framed with miniature dress versions of insignia and decorations, including: Bronze star with "V"; Navy Commendation Medal with "V"; Combat Action Ribbon; Navy Unit Commendation; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation; Navy Good Conduct Medal; US Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal; Vietnam gallantry Cross; Vietnam Service Medal.

The USS Tuscaloosa is a tank landing ship named for the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She was launched on 6 September 1969 and served with the Pacific Fleet. While under the command of Commander L.D. Mott she steamed between Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, spending some time on "Yankee Station." She also participated in exercises off the California Coast.

The masthead pennant has historically been a distinguishing sign of a warship, as well as the commanding officer of the ship flying it. Other names for such a flag are: commissioning, masthead, and long, narrow, or coach whip pennant. By international custom, the pennant is used by public vessels of sovereign states. England limited these pennants use to the King's ships in 1674. Presently, for most navies, the narrow pennant serves as the principal "distinctive mark" called for in article 8 of the 1958 Convention on the High Seas to differentiate warships from other vessels.

The raising of the commission pennant is seen as the key moment in the commissioning of a ship. Once aloft, it should fly continuously, except when replaced by an admiral's flag, a command pennant, or the flag of a senior civilian official as directed by U.S. Navy Regulations.

Originally all U.S. masthead pennants had 13 stars like this one. However, as pennants were generally too small for all the stars to be identified, a seven-star version was taken up for boats only in 1854.

The US Navy uses the commission pennant as the symbol of a ship's commanding officer. It is depicted on the commander's personal stationery. It is flown at half mast if the officer dies aboard ship. It is carried on a black-draped staff in front of the officer's casket in the funeral procession. When a ship is decommissioned, the last commanding officer is permitted to keep the commission pennant and they are often, as in this case, presented to a departing skipper.

The ceremonial protocol for commissioning and decommissioning a warship of the U.S. Navy stipulate the ensign, jack, and commission pennant are to be raised after the new captain reads the commissioning order. Their lowering is the final act before the last captain declares a ship decommissioned. "Commission pennant" was the official term adopted in place of a "masthead pennant" in 1922.

Provenance: Gifted to the Zaricor Flag Collection in 2010.

ZFC Noteworthy Flag
Item is Framed


USS Tuscaloosa, Wikipedia, 6 December 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Tuscaloosa_(LST-1187)

National Colors: Ensign, Jack, and Commission Pennant, Sea Flags, 6 December 2011, from: http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeohzt4/Seaflags/ensign/Ensign.html

Navy - Command and Commissioning Pennants (U.S.), Wikipedia, 6 December 2011, from: http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us%5Envcp.html

Commissioning Pennant, NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER, 6 December 2011, from: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq106-1.htm

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 2.75
Length of Fly 66.375


Width of Union/Canton 2.5
Length of Union/Canton 16.75


Comments on Star Measurements horizontal row
Size of Stars 1.375


Width of 1st Stripe 1.125
Width of 3rd Stripe 1.125
Width of Last Stripe 1.125
Size of Hoist 2.5


Is it framed? yes
Frame Height 16
Frame Length 20.5
Comments on Frame This USN Commission Pennant is zig-zag folded to fit into the frame.


Number of Stars 7
How are the stars embeded? Printed
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes


Number of Stripes 2
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe White
Has a Blood Stripe? no
Comments on Stripes Two stripes


Description of Crest/Emblem U.S.N. Commission Pennant


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Nylon


Stitching Machine


Type of Weave Plain


Comments on Method of Attachmen One grommet.
Method of Attachment Grommets


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Excellent
Damage Flag's appearance is like new, glued to backing.
Displayable yes


Date 1972-1973