Thursday, February 21, 2019

So Long First Navy Jack, it Was a Good Run

Eight months after 911, then SECNAV England directed the following,

From: Secretary of the Navy
To: All Ships and Stations (less Marine Corps field addressees not having Navy personnel attached)


Ref: (a) U.S. Navy Regulations, 1990

1. Purpose. To provide for the display of the first navy Jack on board all U.S. Navy ships during the Global War on Terrorism.

2. Discussion. 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 signal for the “whole Fleet to Engage” the enemy provided for the “strip’d Jack and Ensign at their proper places.” Thus, from the very beginning of our Navy, the Jack has been used on board American warships. 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.” The temporary substitution of this Jack represents an historic reminder of the nation’s and Navy’s origin and will to persevere and triumph.

2. Action. The first navy jack will be displayed on board all U.S. Navy ships in lieu of the Union Jack, in accordance with sections 1259 and 1264 of reference (a) . The display of the first Navy Jack is an authorized exception to section 1259 of reference (a). Ships and craft of the Navy authorized to fly the first Navy Jack will receive an issue of four flags per ship through a special distribution.

Gordon H. England

Focus on a couple of things;
2. "The temporary substitution of this Jack represents an historic reminder of the nation’s and Navy’s origin and will to persevere and triumph."

Now, today, we have this;
The Navy released a NAVADMIN 039/19 directing the display of the Union Jack in lieu of the First Navy Jack aboard Navy ships and craft, Feb 21.

U.S. Navy ships and craft will return to flying the Union Jack effective 4 June 2019. The date for reintroduction of the Union Jack commemorates the greatest naval battle in history: the Battle of Midway, which began on 4 June 1942.
Read the release, but the excuse to make the change just rings hollow;
“Make no mistake: we have entered a new era of competition. We must recommit to the core attributes that made us successful at Midway: integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson. “For more than 240 years, the Union Jack, flying proudly from jackstaffs aboard U.S. Navy warships, has symbolized these strengths.”
“The Union Jack is deeply connected to our heritage and our rise as a global nation with a global Navy,” said Richardson. “The Navy is a symbol that projects American values to the world. Just as the Navy embodies the values and principles that we hold dear, our very appearance in port and at anchor communicates important messages.”

Look at the reason the change was made back in 2002 - it doesn't line up with what we are doing in 2019. 

In essence, we are declaring the GWOT over. I expect the both GWOT medals to stop as well as the National Defense Ribbon too.

I'm only slightly kidding.

The full NAVADMIN is not available online yet (clunky again), and perhaps there will be more once it is.

OK fine. We'll say farewell to the more martial and attractive First Navy Jack for the rather sedate (yawn) Union Jack.

At least they're throwing this bone;
This policy change does not affect the wearing of the First Navy Jack patch as an optional uniform component on TYPE II/III Navy Working Uniforms.
For those who are too young to remember the pre-2002 Navy, there was zero enthusiasm for the Union Jack. No one wanted or even thought of wearing it as a patch. It had zero brand attachment to the USN. The First Navy Jack? Well, it took off like wildfire. Everyone, well, ALMOST everyone, loved it. From 2003 through 2009 I had a large one on wall of my offices here and in Europe.

There was a cadre of the usual suspects who did not like it, as its excessive martial vibe and, in the years that followed, its non-wokeish "problematic" structure received tut-tuts.

From the start, sadly, we knew it was just temporary. I don't think England thought it would stay to 2019 ... but then again, in 2002, we didn't think GWOT would last that long either.

If I were emperor, I would have made the change permanent, but I'm not.

So, if GWOT is over, can we all go home now?

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