LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- For the second consecutive season, head coach DeWayne Walker and the New Mexico State football team will honor the US military by wearing the crest of the USS New Mexico submarine on the back of their helmets for the 2010 season. In 2009, the Aggies wore the crest of the 2nd Engineer Battalion out of White Sands.
"We are pleased that we have been granted permission to wear the crest of the USS NEW MEXICO on the back of our helmets this year," Walker said. "We will wear these crests proudly during every game. The crest was important to put on the helmet because it symbolizes many characteristics of the state while honoring the contributions that men and women of the United States Navy are making to our country. The words on the crest "Defendemos Nuestra Tierra" means "defend our home." This re-emphasizes a common theme that I repeat to our team, that is, that we must defend our home turf at Aggie Memorial Stadium. I am proud to have the crest of the USS New Mexico SSN79 on the New Mexico State helmet in 2010."
The USS New Mexico was commissioned on March 27, 2010 at the Norfolk Naval Base and is now officially a member of the fleet of the United States Navy. The hugely successful commissioning events were a result of the tremendous financial and in-kind support provided by the citizens of New Mexico and many other states.
As the host state, New Mexico has a continuing obligation to support the crew of USS New Mexico. The SSN 779 Committee, a part of the Navy League's New Mexico Council, has taken on a continuing effort to raise funds and organize in-kind support for the SSN 779 crew.
Crest Design Contest -
The Crew of the USS NEW MEXICO selected a design submitted by Emilee Sena of Albuquerque as the winner of the crest design contest. The Crest Design Contest resulted in 180 entries. All of the entries were sent to the USS NEW MEXICO crew. CDR Dain setup a selection process through which the crew voted on the entries. They split the entries into six groups of 30 and voted for the top five in each group. The resulting 30 entries were named the semi-finalists. The crew then voted on the top six of the semi-finalists. Those six entries were named the finalists. The crew then voted on the winner from the six finalists. The voting process occurred over several weeks as the crew carefully selected the design that they felt would best represent their ship.
Emilee, who is a senior at St. Pius X High School, submitted her design as an oil painting. She describes the design as:
The top has a picture of a sunset in New Mexico, representing the beauty that makes New Mexico the " Land of Enchantment." The Sandia Mountains are shown in the picture at the time of the day when they demonstrate why they are the Sandias - they are a pink shade, like a watermelon. The red in the upper right corner represents the red in our nation's flag. The red symbolizes valor and the blood that has been shed to protect our country.
The blue in the lower left corner represents the blue of the American flag. Blue symbolizes justice, vigilance, and perseverance.
The Zia symbol represents the state flag, as well as the prominence of the sun in New Mexico.
The naval dolphins on the sides are a symbol for navy submarines and ships. They shine with a white color because they represent the white on the American flag. This color symbolizes purity and innocence.
The submarine in the center is representative of what the USS NEW MEXICO is - a Virginia class submarine. It has a bow wave in front of it because it is in motion. The people on top are naval officers, holding a flag proudly for the world to see. This represents pride in the U.S.
There is a nuclear symbol in the bottom left corner for two purposes:
- The Virginia class submarines are nuclear submarines.
- A lot of nuclear development has taken place in New Mexico, and so this honors the people that have, and will contribute to the growth of nuclear advancements. Two primary development centers in New Mexico are at Sandia Labs and Los Alamos.
The shape of the emblem is unique because it reflects the influence of the Native American people in New Mexico. It is the shape of a design that can be commonly found in Native American art, such as blankets and pots.
The gold in the border symbolizes courage, prosperity, wisdom, and confidence. These are all essential qualities for members of the Navy.