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First Navy Jack

Have you seen this flag flying lately? If you live near a U.S. Navy base, the answer is probably yes. It’s the First Navy Jack, also known as the Culpeper Ensign, and has been flying again on all the ships of the fleet.

This flag is the naval version of the Culpeper Minutemen’s flag from Culpeper County Virginia, who were part of Col. Patrick Henry’s First Virginia Regiment of 1775. Variations of the rattlesnake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me” were popular throughout the colonies, leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.

Kitty Hawk FNJ DTOM

Raising the First Navy Jack on the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk

Previously during the Bicentennial Celebration, all U.S. Navy ships flew this flag again, and in 1977, the Navy Secretary directed that the oldest active ship in commission would have the permanent honor of flying the the First Navy Jack. That ship was the U.S.S. Independence (CV 62) When she retired in 1998, the honor went to the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk (CV 63), commissioned in 1961.

On May 31, 2002, Secretary of the Navy Gordon England ordered all ships of the fleet to begin flying this historic and symbolic flag once again, for the duration of the war.

The more I look at it, the better I like it, so I’ve asked Larry to order one for me. If you’d like one, drop an email to and he’ll order one for you, too.

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