US Navy warships will again fly Union Jack after 17 years

After nearly 17 years, United States Navy warships will return to flying the Union Jack, replacing the First Navy Jack flown in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

A news release says Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson issued an order Thursday calling for the blue banner with 50 white stars to return June 4 to commemorate the World War II Battle of Midway.

The Navy's current maritime flag, the First Navy Jack, features red and white stripes with a rattlesnake and the words "Don't Tread On Me." As the commissioned ship with the longest total period in active status, the USS Blue Ridge will become the only warship authorized to fly the First Navy Jack.

Richardson says the return to the Union Jack accompanies a "new era of competition."