The following is the U.S. Navy flag news announcement that all ships will display the rattlesnake flag during the War on Terrorism. It is a reprint of the official directive from the Department of the Navy, Office of the Secretary, Washington, DC.
31 May 2002
SECNAV INSTRUCTION 10520.6
From: Secretary of the Navy
To: All Ships and Stations (less Marine Corps field
addressees not having Navy personnel attached)
Subj: DISPLAY OF THE FIRST NAVY JACK DURING THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM
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 1258 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 R. England
SNDL Parts 1 and 2