Anchor is the emblem of the rank of Chief Petty Officer
of the United States Coast Guard. The Anchor is
fouled and has a shield superimposed to its shank.
To the novice, these are meant to identify
a Chief Petty Officer of the United States Coast Guard.
But to a Chief, the chain, shield and anchor have
a much deeper meaning.
The anchor is emblematic of a Chief. It is stability and security. It reminds Chiefs of the responsibility they have to keep those that they serve safe from harm and to maintain the finest traditions of the Coast Guard.
The historical significance of the shield dates back to the Revenue Cutter Service. Congress wanted the cutters to be distinguished from other vessels by a unique ensign. On that ensign, created in 1799, and in others since, the shield is a distinctive part of the design. The 13 stars and 13 stripes on the shield represent the 13 original colonies.
The chain is symbolic of flexibility and strength, to remind a Chief that the chain of life is forged day-by-day, link-by link. May it be forged with character and virtue in the fires of adversity that will be faced in the course of a career. It also stands for the reliance of one Chief upon another to get the job done and that every Chief shall endeavor not to be the weak link in the chain.
Lastly, the chain fouled around the anchor is the "sailor's disgrace" to remind a Chief that there may be times when there are circumstances beyond their control in the performance of duty, yet a Chief must still complete the tasks. It is during these times that humility and fortitude learned ages ago at initiation or on bitter experience, are brought to bear.
It is with great pride and supreme confidence that you will bear the responsibilities of Chief proudly and with conviction of purpose that we present you with the symbol of our calling.