PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- Sailors hoisted the colors crisp and promptly to start the New Year Jan. 1. Throughout 2018 the First Navy Jack will rise under Old Glory, renewing a culture of tradition and resolve at Pearl Harbor.
Rear Adm. Brian P. Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii, ordered the flying of the First Navy Jack as a tribute to Sailors lost in 2017 and as a reminder of a renewed warfighting culture forged with purpose in 2018.
"Here in Pearl Harbor, we rose to the challenge 76 years ago as 'Remember Pearl Harbor' sharpened our warfighting culture," Fort said.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will fly the "Don't Tread on Me" Union Jack throughout 2018 to honor the 17 Sailors who died aboard USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).
It's unclear when exactly the U.S. Navy first adopted the First Union Jack as we know it. What is certain -- is when the country and our Navy has faced difficult times the flag has risen on the bow of the ship, signifying resolve.
"In the wake of 9/11, when our culture was tested, we rose to the challenge once more. At the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, Gordon England, we returned to our First Navy Jack, 'Don't Tread on Me,' on the jack staffs of all Navy warships as a historic reminder of the nation's and Navy's origins and our will to persevere and triumph."
Base Command Master Chief Allen Keller said flying of the First Navy Jack is a symbol of resolution. He challenges his Joint Base family, service members and civilians alike, to move forward and build on history and tradition.
"2017 was a challenging year for the Navy," said Keller. "We as an installation will fly the Navy First Jack as a reminder to every Airman, Sailor, civilian and family member to get back to basics, honor our country and remember our history."
The original flag, the Gadsden Flag, was named after Continental Army Brigadier General Christopher Gadsden who designed it in 1775 and was used by the Continental Marines.
The Navy Jack's motto goes back in history when young America, British colonies then, were fighting the great Britain to claim their independence.