DALLAS, November 4, 2013 – Former Navy Seal Carl Higbie claims a senior enlisted advisor has banned “Don’t Tread On Me” uniform patches for active-duty operators. Per Higbie’s Daily Caller column, an email circulated on October 22 advising personnel to wear only an American flag patch on their right shoulder. The correspondence was forwarded to him by multiple active SEALs.
“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,” the email reportedly said. The Navy Jack is a very popular symbol among SEALs, Marines and Navy personnel, including but not limited to conservatives, constitutionalists and libertarians.
The flag features a rattlesnake and the words “Don’t Tread On Me,” against 13 red and white horizontal stripes. Continental marines carried the message into battle against the British for its symbolism of resistance. Since 2002, all U.S. Navy ships began flying the First Navy Jack in place of the Union Jack for “the duration of the global war on terrorism”.
Higbie warns this move highlights the growing breach between lower ranks and “yes-men” of the top brass which threatens military cohesion. He believes the Obama administration is waging war on the Navy’s heritage in pursuit of political correctness, and complicit leaders embrace this agenda for career health.
“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.”
The “Don’t Tread on Me” phrase is also present on the bright yellow Gadsden flag, which is used by the Tea Party, constitutionalists, civil libertarians and limited-government proponents.
Some people are seeing this as a political message. We’re inclined to think otherwise. When dealing with an E9 of any service, sometimes picayune adherence to uniform regulations is mere picayune adherence to uniform regs. That’s the side of the bet the house has its money on.
Also, until our Plan To Save The Army™ by requiring all sergeants major to have at least an average IQ is implemented, remember that when we say half of all senior enlisted advisors are below average, we could be talking relative to the whole damn world. When a senior NCO does something that seems inexplicably stupid, sometimes a brief conversation with the NCO in question is all it takes to move that action into the explicably stupid category.
Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S). His focus was on weapons: their history, effects and employment. He started WeaponsMan.com in 2011 and operated it until he passed away in 2017. His work is being preserved here at the request of his family.