A silver sea dragon rising out of the water while wrapped around a trident and chomping on a skull? No, it's not a description of a Marine's latest tattoo, but the freshly designed official crest for the Japan-based 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The MEU's logo got a serious upgrade last week, created and designed by two junior Marines assigned to the unit.
Pfc. Luis Marcial, a maintenance management specialist, hand-sketched the concept, and Lance Cpl. Alexis Betances, a graphic designer, turned it into an official insignia.
The outcome: a design that "instills confidence in our allies and partners while striking fear in our enemy's hearts," Col. Robert "Bams" Brodie, the 31st MEU's commanding officer, said in a statement. "I am exceptionally proud of the Marines who designed our crest and overwhelmed by their creativity."
So what does the red-eyed dragon wrapped around that trident symbolize?
According to the release, the East Asian sea dragon pays homage to the MEU's relationship with partners in the Indo-Pacific region. The trident rising from the water -- featuring an eagle, globe and anchor at its base -- symbolizes the unit's amphibious warfighting nature.
The three stars on the right side of the logo are not only a shoutout to the MEU's parent command, III Marine Expeditionary Force, but also represent the unit's motto of "Ready, Partnered, Lethal."
And, of course, no Marine unit's design would be complete without a reference to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. That skull tucked into the dragon's mouth? That represents the defense secretary's focus on lethality, according to the release.
"Our new crest inspires a warrior spirit and focuses our Marines on the tenets of discipline, strength and fierce courage in the face of adversity," said Sgt. Maj. Edwin Mota, the MEU's top enlisted Marine. "We confront a dynamic and unforgiving environment, and the Marines of the 31st MEU are prepared to act."
The artwork from Marcial and Betances replaces the MEU's existing logo, which featured an eagle flying in front of an anchor and the words "Strike from the Sea."