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Navy SEALs ordered to remove ‘don’t tread on me’ Navy Jack from uniforms

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Carl Higbie
Author, 'Battle on the Home Front'
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      Carl Higbie

      Carl Higbie is a former Navy SEAL and author of <i>Battle on the Home Front</i>. He also hosts the web radio show <a href="http://renegadetalk.fm/">renegadetalk.fm/</a> on Tuesdays and Sundays.

The Navy Jack is the ‘don’t tread on me’ flag, one that has earned a revered place in America’s naval history and a beloved place in sailor’s hearts, through its use for over two centuries. This symbol of America’s naval ferocity has spanned our country’s entire existence, flying from the masts of the Continental Navy during the war of independence, to today’s War on Terror. In fact, an amendment to the Navy code called SECNAV Instruction 10520.6 clearly states that as of 31 May 2002 all ships are to fly the flag throughout the duration of the War on Terror.

So why would ranking SEAL commanders ban the historical symbol? Is the proverbial top bass banning the flag? Is President Obama?

Clearly the administration and sycophant “top brass” officers have degraded America’s military prestige; from hand-tying rules of engagement, to uniform regulations that make our military allegedly more compatible with foreign forces, to the banning of an awe-inspiring flag that traces its roots to the first U.S. Navy. We have a civilian-led military, but why should our ranking commanders be complicit in the administration’s war on it? Why don’t they stand up to Obama and his leftist cronies?

During my two deployments to Iraq, “Don’t  Tread on Me” was a phrase seen on nearly every uniform and platoon space — including mine. From patches to flags to large paintings on concrete barriers, our commanders themselves wore the insignia on their sleeves — until now.

Perhaps this is why so many of my former teammates felt compelled to send me the email below. They may not be able to expose the administration’s travesty, but I can. The email, dated October 22, reads:

ALL:

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

Thanks

Senior Enlisted Advisor

[Name Redacted]

After reading the email, I first wondered, ‘why?’ (Actually, first I headed to the gym to take out my frustration and anger on some unsuspecting weights with the fury and intensity only a former Navy SEAL can exert.) Why would our leaders sell out our heritage? Why would they rob present and future sailors of our battle cry?

When a friend of mine asked his leadership the same question, he was told, “The Jack is too closely associated with radical groups.” We must assume that this thought policeman embedded in the SEAL community is speaking of the Tea Party, whose flag (which also dates from the American Revolution) depicts a snake with the same defiant slogan as The Navy Jack.

This begs yet another question: Who defines “radical group”? The last time I checked, all military personnel are under oath to “support and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” The Tea Party stands for constitutional rights and founding principles of civil liberties and limited government. Radical? Not unless you’re a leftist hell-bent on destroying the foundations of our country. Or as the President has stated as the objective of his presidency, “to fundamentally transform” America.

My friends asked me what they should do about this order. I answer them by saying, “You took an oath to defend this country from enemies foreign and domestic. Will you put your career before country? Will you put your career before your sacred oath?” I cannot tell anyone how to respond. I can tell you though that an enemy — foreign or domestic — that tries to take the Navy Jack from my uniform could only do so by ripping the patriotic patch from the uniform of my cold, dead body.

We all have choices to make. The Obama administration and the yes-men top brass have decided to wage war on our Navy’s heritage. Will the SEALs choose to defend that heritage and defy them, with all the impertinence the flag’s slogan implies? Or will they be tread upon?

Listen to Carl Higbie discuss the SEAL patch order, among other things, on his podcast below: