SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- At morning colors on Sept. 11, all U.S. Navy ships will begin flying the First Navy Jack in place of the Union Jack for the duration of the global war on terrorism.
The flag, which was first used by the Continental Navy in 1775, consists of a rattlesnake superimposed across 13 alternating red and white stripes with the motto, "Don't Tread On Me."
Commodore Esek Hopkins used the First Navy Jack as a signal to engage the British in the American Revolution. The Jack in today's fleet represents a historic reminder of the nation's origin.
In a brief ceremony on Sept. 5, Capt. Ray Berube, Commanding Officer of the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center San Diego, presented Cmdr. Clayton Saunders, Commanding Officer, USS Rushmore (LSD 47) with a set of four flags.
Rushmore, along with the rest of the fleet's ships, will begin flying the First Navy Jack on Patriot Day as directed by Secretary of the Navy Gordon England.
"In accordance with the guidelines set forth by Secretary of the Navy Gordon England and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark, it is my pleasure to deliver to you the First Navy Jack to be flown on board USS Rushmore and all U.S. Navy ships during the global war on terrorism," stated Berube.
Upon receiving the flags, Saunders spoke on how the First Navy Jack will bring to mind the part the Navy plays in attaining freedom.
"In the years since 1775, our primary mission, to ensure the freedom of the seas, has remained unchanged. Today, terrorists threaten free commerce and individual liberty. This flag represents a renewed commitment by the Navy to our first principles, to secure freedom, both at home and abroad," remarked Saunders. "It is fitting that the honor of receiving the first flag should fall to the Rushmore, America's Gator."
Each ship in the fleet will receive four flags (one holiday and three regular). Non-deployed ships received their initial Jack through their local FISC Logistics Support Center representative.
The flags were sent directly from the commercial vendor by mail to deployed ships. The flags will eventually be stocked and available through the Navy supply system.
For more news from Naval Supply Systems Command, go to their Navy NewsStand Web page at www.news.navy.mil/local/NAVSUP.
To view SECNAVINST 10520.6 authorizing display of the First Navy Jack during the global war on terrorism, go to http://neds.nebt.daps.mil/Directives/10520_6.pdf.
To view the Presidential Proclamation proclaiming Sept. 11, 2002, as Patriot Day, go to www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/09/20020904-10.html.