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Here’s why the Union Jack is back

The resurgent “great power competition” at sea now officially trumps the Global War on Terror — at least on U.S. Navy ships.

Starting with morning colors on June 4, the Navy will return to flying the “Union Jack,” a small blue flag emblazoned with the stars of the 50 states — identical to the top left corner of the national ensign — from their jackstaffs, small flagpoles mounted on the bows of all Navy vessels when in port or at anchor.

Announced in NavAdmin message 039/19 and a Navy press release on Thursday, the policy change returns the “First Navy Jack” — and its “Don’t Tread on Me” rattlesnake slithering across thirteen red and white stripes — to its former role of signifying the oldest commissioned warship in the operational fleet.

It currently flies from all Navy jackstaffs.

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