November 4, 2013
A new U.S. Navy directive mandates that SEALs replace the traditional “Don’t Tread On Me” Navy Jack on the sleeves of their uniforms with the American flag.
The original Navy Jack was made up of 13 horizontal stripes — seven red and six white. A rattlesnake was later added diagonally across the flag, along with the words, “Don’t Tread On Me,” on the lowest white stripe.
More recently, the jack was replaced with white stars on a field of blue, with the number of stars representing states in the union, like the American flag.
After the 9/11 attacks, all U.S. Navy ships of war were ordered to return to the traditional “Don’t Tread On Me” rattlesnake design for the duration of the “war on terror.”
The jack, flown on the bow of the ship, is the first identifying insignia seen by an approaching ship. The message is loud and clear: I’m an American warship — don’t tread on me.
Navy SEALs follow the same directive — until now, according to The Daily Caller , which reported that the following email was sent to SEAL team members on Oct. 22:
WARCOM and GROUP TWO/ONE have pushed out the uniform policy for NWU III and any patches worn on the sleeve.
All personnel are only authorized to wear the matching “AOR” American Flag patch on the right shoulder. You are no longer authorized to wear the “Don’t Tread On Me” patch.
Again the only patch authorized for wear is the American flag on the right shoulder. Please pass the word to all.
Senior Enlisted Advisor
America’s naval history, resolve and battle cry are embodied in the “Don’t Tread On Me” motto. After Japan’s Dec. 7, 1941, sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto reportedly said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
What Japan actually did was tread on a dozing rattlesnake — one that struck back with a terrible ferocity. That is our heritage.
When he asked why the flag was changed, one SEAL said he was told, “The Jack is too closely associated with radical groups,” The Caller reported.
When military resolve is infected with political correctness, the battle is lost.