Starting with morning colors on June 4, 2019 the U.S. Navy will return to flying the “Union Jack,” from their jack staffs when in port or at anchor.
Announced in NavAdmin message 039/19, the policy change returns the “First Navy Jack” to its former role of signifying the oldest commissioned warship in the operational fleet.
The June 4th date to switch out the flags marks the 77th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Midway. As of 4 June 2019, the only warship authorized to fly the First Navy Jack is USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC 19), flagship of the 7th Fleet. ref Navy Times Feb. 2019.
Union Jack 50 Star (Daily) NSN 8345-00-656-1447.
Union Jack 50 Star (Holiday) NSN 8345-00-656-1448. Meets Department of the Navy NPT13 (B) specfications for Flag, Pennants & Customs.
First Navy Jack G-Spec flags are USA made of nylon flag material and are finished with brass snaps and rings on the hoist side, 2 rows of stitching top and bottom sides and 4 rows of stitching on the fly side. Flags are produced by Valley Forge Flag. Nominal G-Spec sizes and NSN #'s are:
SIZE 8, NSN # 8345-01-499-5046
SIZE 7 NSN # 8345-01-499-5049
SIZE 5 NSN # 8345-01-499-5053
The Rattlesnake Jack and the Modern Navy
As part of the commemoration of the bicentennial of the American Revolution, by an instruction dated 1 August 1975 (SECNAV Instruction 10520.3) the Secretary of the Navy directed the use of the rattlesnake jack in place of the union jack (blue field with white stars) during the period 13 October 1975 (the bicentennial of the legislation that created the Continental Navy, which the Navy recognizes as the Navy's birthday), and 31 December 1976.
By an instruction dated 18 August 1980 (SECNAV Instruction 10520.4), the Secretary of the Navy directed that the commissioned ship in active status having the longest total period in active status to display the rattlesnake jack in place of the union jack until decommissioned or transferred to inactive status.
By an instruction dated 31 May 2002 (SECNAV Instruction 10520.6), the Secretary of the Navy directed the use of the rattlesnake jack in place of the union jack for the duration of the Global War on Terrorism. (ref; history.navy.mil, Naval History and Heritage Command, The U.S. Navy's First Jack)