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'Don't Tread On Me' flags on all Navy ships
Stars and Stripes ^ | August 30, 2002 | Rick Chernitzer

Posted on 08/30/2002 7:45:11 AM PDT by Kennesaw

'Don't Tread On Me' flags set sail on all Navy ships

By Rick Chernitzer, Stars and Stripes Pacific edition, Friday, August 30, 2002

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — It used to be something the USS Kitty Hawk could call its own.

Traditionally, only the Navy’s oldest actively commissioned ship — currently the Kitty Hawk, now based here — has the honor of flying the “First Navy Jack” flag, a rattlesnake moving across a field of 13 red stripes above the warning “Don’t Tread On Me.”

But Navy Secretary Gordon England’s recent directive authorized all Navy ships to fly it in place of the Union Jack at the front of each vessel, to show the Navy’s solidarity with the war on terrorism.

“The temporary substitution of this Jack represents an historic reminder of the nation’s and Navy’s origin and will to persevere and triumph,” his letter stated.

The flag’s origins are believed to be based on a political cartoon Benjamin Franklin drew to encourage feuding colonies to unite against England.

It was based on a then-popular myth that a rattlesnake, chopped apart, could return to life if the pieces were rejoined. The cartoon showed a rattlesnake cut into sections, each to represent a colony; the caption warned, “Join or die.”

The phrase “Don’t Tread On Me” is credited to a band of newly enlisted Marines in 1775.

These elements, with the 13 red stripes for the colonies, were combined to comprise the first Navy flag. It made its battle debut in Fall 1775, as the Continental Navy prepared to engage the British fleet in the Delaware River.

The Kitty Hawk received its jack from the USS Independence in 1998.

The secretary’s letter states that each ship is to receive four flags. But for now, they’re in such short supply that ships from around the world are calling the Kitty Hawk seeking spares, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles Mishoe, a Kitty Hawk signalman.

“We didn’t have any to give them, but we also gave them information on how to get them,” he said. “We didn’t just leave them hanging.”

The Kitty Hawk is allowed to buy the flags from outside sources.

Lt. j.g. Dave Fleming, USS Cushing’s information systems officer, said his ship expects to receive its flags soon.

The jack’s motto, “Don’t Tread On Me,” makes the Navy’s role in the conflict “self-explanatory,” he said. “I think it’s great … so that no one else decides to take action against the United States.”

Several junior enlisted sailors, whose daily duties include raising the First Navy Jack on the ship during morning colors, predicted seeing a waterfront filled with the historic flag will strengthen their resolve.

“It’s kind of cool that it will be on every ship,” said Airman Recruit Kevin Anderson. “It says ‘Don’t Tread On Me,’ and that’s more than a statement.”

But Navy Airman Jane Cruz from the Kitty Hawk said while making the flag a common symbol is a great honor to those who are serving in the Navy, “Can we get another flag to show we’re the oldest ship?”


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Free Republic; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: donttreadonme; flag; navy
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1 posted on 08/30/2002 7:45:11 AM PDT by Kennesaw
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To: Kennesaw

2 posted on 08/30/2002 7:48:03 AM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: Kennesaw; aomagrat

3 posted on 08/30/2002 7:50:24 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: SamAdams76
Nope. This is it:


4 posted on 08/30/2002 7:50:26 AM PDT by wimpycat
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To: Constitution Day
Same wavelength. Heh heh heh!
5 posted on 08/30/2002 7:51:21 AM PDT by wimpycat
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To: Kennesaw
the Navy's oldest active commissioned ship is the USS Constitution
6 posted on 08/30/2002 7:52:11 AM PDT by camle
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To: wimpycat
Same wavelength. Heh heh heh!

Yep! This is awesome, isn't it?

But my picture is cooler AND it's from the USS Kitty Hawk website. :)

7 posted on 08/30/2002 7:54:52 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: SamAdams76
Powder..Patch..Ball FIRE!

The"Gadsden Flag" Named after Colonel Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina, was flown early in 1776 by Commodore Esek Hopkins of Rhode Island, first Commander-in-chief of the Continental Fleet

8 posted on 08/30/2002 7:56:00 AM PDT by BallandPowder
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To: SamAdams76; Snow Bunny
Click on this image to view it full size.

Home page of the Kitty Hawk

9 posted on 08/30/2002 7:57:04 AM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: Kennesaw
authorized all Navy ships to fly it in place of the Union Jack at the front of each vessel

Forgive my ignorance, but I thought the Union Jack was Britain’s national flag. Could someone explain this for me?

10 posted on 08/30/2002 7:57:06 AM PDT by Between the Lines
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To: wimpycat
USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63): Don't Tread On Me History

"As the first ships of the Continental Navy readied in the Delaware River during the fall of 1775, Commodore Esek Hopkins issued a set of fleet signals. His signals for the fleet to engage the enemy provided for the "Strip’d Jack and Ensign at their proper places." Thus, the First Navy Jack was a flag consisting of 13 horizontal alternating red and white stripes bearing diagonally across them a rattlesnake in a moving position with the motto "Don’t Tread On Me."

In 1977, the Secretary of the Navy directed that the ship in active status with the longest total period of active service shall display the First Navy Jack until decommissioned or transferred to inactive service, at which time the flag shall be passed to the next ship in line with appropriate honors. The display of this jack by the oldest ship in the fleet is an appropriate form of recognition and promotes pride of service, enhances morale, and contributes to the tradition of naval service.

USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) became the oldest active ship in the United States Navy upon the decommissioning of USS Independence (CV 62) on September 30, 1998. Kitty Hawk is only the second aircraft carrier ever to hold the honor of flying the First Navy Jack."


11 posted on 08/30/2002 8:00:32 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: Between the Lines
I thought so, too. The capitalized term 'Union Jack' is more commonly associated with the flag of Great Britain, but there's a 1st level meaning here:

Main Entry: union jack
Function: noun
Date: 1674
1 : a jack consisting of the union of a national ensign
2 capitalized U&J : the state flag of the United Kingdom consisting of the union of the British national ensign

12 posted on 08/30/2002 8:01:48 AM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: Constitution Day
Powder..patch..Ball FIRE!

Benjamin Franklin diverts an idle hour In December 1775, "An American Guesser" anonymously wrote to the Pennsylvania Journal:

"I observed on one of the drums belonging to the marines now raising, there was painted a Rattle-Snake, with this modest motto under it, 'Don't tread on me.' As I know it is the custom to have some device on the arms of every country, I supposed this may have been intended for the arms of America."

This anonymous writer, having "nothing to do with public affairs" and "in order to divert an idle hour," speculated on why a snake might be chosen as a symbol for America.

First, it occurred to him that "the Rattle-Snake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America."

The rattlesnake also has sharp eyes, and "may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance." Furthermore, "She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. ... she never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her."

Finally, "I confess I was wholly at a loss what to make of the rattles, 'till I went back and counted them and found them just thirteen, exactly the number of the Colonies united in America; and I recollected too that this was the only part of the Snake which increased in numbers. ...

"'Tis curious and amazing to observe how distinct and independent of each other the rattles of this animal are, and yet how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living."

Many scholars now agree that this "American Guesser" was Benjamin Franklin. Franklin, of course, is also known for opposing the use of an eagle -- "a bird of bad moral character" -- as a national symbol.

13 posted on 08/30/2002 8:03:50 AM PDT by BallandPowder
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To: Cultural Jihad; Between the Lines
Here's the U.S. Navy union jack. It's just an enlarged version of the star field from the American flag.


14 posted on 08/30/2002 8:05:02 AM PDT by Pyro7480
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To: Constitution Day
But my picture is cooler AND it's from the USS Kitty Hawk website. :)

You ARE the man. :)

15 posted on 08/30/2002 8:07:30 AM PDT by wimpycat
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To: Kennesaw
I found some more history of the flying of this flag on this site: U.S. Navy Ensigns and Flags.

he national flag of the United States also serves as the nation's naval ensign. The jack--officially titled the union jack--is the union or canton of the ensign, and by regulation it is the same size as the canton of the ensign with which it is being flown. In the US Bicentennial Year (1976), all ships of the US Navy were ordered to wear the First Navy Jack in place of the union jack. This historical naval flag dates from the American Revolution and is one of the many "rattlesnake flags" of the period. Since 1976 the First Navy Jack has remained in use; as a special distinction, it is worn by the oldest US warship in regular commission.

16 posted on 08/30/2002 8:09:14 AM PDT by Pyro7480
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To: Pyro7480
I like this old jack, by jingo.
17 posted on 08/30/2002 8:09:15 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
I like it too. :-)
18 posted on 08/30/2002 8:10:55 AM PDT by Pyro7480
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To: Kennesaw; Colt .45
Bump!
19 posted on 08/30/2002 8:13:09 AM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: BallandPowder; wimpycat
Very cool.
Franklin was also the person who drew this famous cartoon in 1754:


Benjamin Franklin "Join or Die" Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia), May 9, 1754

20 posted on 08/30/2002 8:15:15 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: Pyro7480; Cultural Jihad
Thanks for the info!
21 posted on 08/30/2002 8:22:45 AM PDT by Between the Lines
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To: wimpycat
You ARE the man.

Naaah... search engines are just very helpful. :)

22 posted on 08/30/2002 8:35:36 AM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: Kennesaw
I got to serve on a vessel under the "Don't Tread on Me" flag during 1983-86 while serving onboard the U.S.S. Prarie (AD-15) homeported in Long Beach, Calif. It was always pretty cool when we pulled into other ports and were recognized for flying that flag. Of course, going "Over the Line" took on new meanings too, but that is for another thread....
23 posted on 08/30/2002 8:36:27 AM PDT by jettester
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To: Kennesaw
It's nice to see this flag used so widely. The pity is that so few Americans have the slightest clue about it.

I've been unable to find an image online, but the Navy has a nice new recruiting poster to accompany the new recruiting ad that is running on television. It's a photo of a Carrier Battle Group at sea, captioned: "Life, Liberty... and the Pursuit of all who threaten it."

Heckuva lot better than "An Army of One".

24 posted on 08/30/2002 8:37:30 AM PDT by Charles Martel
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To: BallandPowder
By the way,I was incorrect as to the loading sequence in Black-Powder firearms.I take this opportunity to apologize.I only shoot cartridges so you will have to forgive me.
25 posted on 08/30/2002 9:07:18 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: A Navy Vet
Bump!

You may have input to this! Safe Labor Day weekend, you squid you !!! Blackbird.
26 posted on 08/30/2002 9:09:04 AM PDT by BlackbirdSST
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To: Kennesaw


27 posted on 08/30/2002 9:16:27 AM PDT by Psycho_Bunny
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To: bandleader
Powder..Patch..Ball FIRE!

By the way,I was incorrect as to the loading sequence in Black-Powder firearms.I take this opportunity to apologize.I only shoot cartridges so you will have to forgive me.

No apology required. I'm always happy to educate (GRIN!)

28 posted on 08/30/2002 9:23:18 AM PDT by BallandPowder
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To: BallandPowder
Bump for later
29 posted on 08/30/2002 9:25:47 AM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham
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To: Kennesaw
My county courthouse still flys this flag:


30 posted on 08/30/2002 9:40:33 AM PDT by CapandBall
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To: CapandBall

Shameless promo.

31 posted on 08/30/2002 9:45:58 AM PDT by Liberty Teeth
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To: camle
True the USS Constitution is the oldest commisioned ship in the US Navy, but its not on active duty per se. Unless sitting at dock as a museum is considered active duty for the navy these days.
32 posted on 08/30/2002 9:52:54 AM PDT by AFreeBird
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To: Liberty Teeth
Nice Logo!

Saw your homepage... I broke the pb addiction (got too old) in 1993 after our team was ranked first in 1993 in the NPPL 5-man.

Also got 2nd in '93 at the national indoor behind PAs "All Americans". 3rd in '92.

I cant believe these new guns. My Automag use to be state of the art. Last year a buddy showed me a new gun called (I think) an "Angel" last year - unbelieveable!

33 posted on 08/30/2002 10:04:57 AM PDT by CapandBall
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To: Kennesaw
The Office of Counter-Intelligence has started flying the Gadsen flag and quoting TJ on their posters. Very weird.


34 posted on 08/30/2002 10:35:48 AM PDT by AdamSelene235
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To: Kennesaw; pbear8; CounterCounterCulture; Cool Guy; TheAngryClam; nastypumps
Some FReepers in the San FRancisco Bay Area have been seen carrying....; )

FReep on! : )

35 posted on 08/30/2002 10:53:02 AM PDT by American Preservative
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To: AFreeBird
actually Connie IS considered to be on active duty.

and I freely admit that this is merely a technicality. Connie ain't gonna go out and sink enemy subs, but technically she IS in active service, she has crew, officers, etc. and is a beautiful ship.
36 posted on 08/30/2002 11:31:07 AM PDT by camle
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To: BlackbirdSST
Works for me since I have those very words tattooed on a banner carried by an eagle in front of our National Ensign. Have a good weekend yourself.
37 posted on 08/30/2002 12:52:24 PM PDT by A Navy Vet
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To: camle
From the USS Constitution site:

1879-1881: The CONSTITUTION sails the Atlantic, to various points between the West Indies and Nova Scotia, as a training ship for naval apprentices. This is her final role as an active unit of the Navy.

38 posted on 08/30/2002 1:00:39 PM PDT by Tickle Me Pank
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To: Psycho_Bunny
I don't think it works with the rabbit. ;-)
39 posted on 08/30/2002 1:02:39 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Tribune7
Well, we may not be deadly, per se, but bunnies are sneaky and spiteful.

Piss one off and you'll never be able to confidently eat Raisin Bran again.

>:)

40 posted on 08/30/2002 1:17:14 PM PDT by Psycho_Bunny
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To: CapandBall
lol...that's the flag I stole mine from.
41 posted on 08/30/2002 1:17:50 PM PDT by Psycho_Bunny
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To: Psycho_Bunny
I think the motto "Live Free or Die" is New Hampshires.

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" had a killer bunny...

That is not an ordinary rabbit...
'Tis the most foul, cruel and bad-tempered thing you ever set eyes on.
That rabbit's got a vicious streak. It's a killer! Run away, run away!

42 posted on 08/30/2002 1:47:33 PM PDT by CapandBall
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To: camle
That's what I thought as well - Ironsides ping!
43 posted on 08/30/2002 1:50:24 PM PDT by NorCoGOP
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To: Kennesaw
bump
44 posted on 08/30/2002 1:51:46 PM PDT by Centurion2000
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To: Kennesaw

45 posted on 08/30/2002 1:55:08 PM PDT by Rocko
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To: Kennesaw

I Fly Culpepper at my house and have the Gadsen on my Car.

Liberty Teeth Web Site

46 posted on 08/30/2002 2:02:38 PM PDT by CyberCowboy777
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To: Liberty Teeth
Chad - do you have a link version of that style? Like this one only in the new colors.

Liberty Teeth Web Site

47 posted on 08/30/2002 2:05:35 PM PDT by CyberCowboy777
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To: CapandBall
Yes...I changed it a little because I liked the NH motto better but when I made that flag, I used a Culpepper Minuteman flag as the template.

>:)

48 posted on 08/30/2002 2:09:21 PM PDT by Psycho_Bunny
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To: Psycho_Bunny
OK, I take it back. I just remembered the killer rabbit from Holy Grail. :-)
49 posted on 08/30/2002 2:22:00 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: camle
It's not active. Doesn't go to sea.
50 posted on 08/30/2002 2:22:42 PM PDT by dljordan
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