Believe me, I wasn’t looking for submarine insignia, when I came across this torpedo-toting loggerhead turtle. But when I saw him in his teeny tiny sailor hat at the University of Wisconsin (Wisconsin Maritime Museum) digital archive, I knew I was meant to post it. Not only is it Memorial Day weekend, it is also Fleet Week in New York and there are sailors everywhere.
The menacing loggerhead was one of 14 submarine insignia designed by Ray Young, a product designer at the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company. Manitowoc built 28 submarines during WWII, the last 10 of which had emblems designed by Young. Due to the stealth nature of submarines, a logo is not displayed on the vessel itself, but it is printed on stationery, made into jacket patches, mess hall items, and home-port flags.
Young’s illustration talents were discovered during an in-house “bake-off,” to design the emblem for U.S.S. Kete. His piece, a fish blowing a torpedo from its mouth, was a huge hit and once other commanders saw it, he was flooded with logo requests. “I knocked out an insignia every month,” Young said in an interview with the Herald Times Reporter.
Young also designed four insignia for subs from the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut.
This insignia for the U.S.S. Kraken earned the
distinction of “most outstanding sub insignia in World War II.”