As both a naval officer and a naval historian, I recommend the Navy secure the First Navy Jack and restore the traditional Navy jack.
In port, every U.S. Navy ship flies two flags. At the stern is the national ensign, and at the bow flies the Navy jack. Traditionally, the Navy jack has been the inset of the national ensign—stars for each state on a field of blue. For the past 17 years, however, all U.S. Navy ships have flown the “First Navy Jack,” a flag with 13 red and white stripes, a rattlesnake, and the words, “Don’t Tread on Me.”
Use of the First Navy Jack was directed by then-Secretary of the Navy Gordon England in May 2002. Secretary England wrote: “From the very beginning of our Navy, the Jack has been used on board American warships. . . . The temporary substitution of this Jack represents an historic reminder of the nation’s and Navy’s origin and will to persevere and triumph.” The Secretary ordered that the First Navy Jack remain flying until the end of the Global War on Terror.