They must not have received the memo.
The U.S. Navy approved a re-design of their uniforms and allowed sailors to wear “Don’t Tread on Me” flag patches on some uniforms.
As you’ll recall, Barack Obama’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made waves when it suggested that the Gadsden Flag – the yellow banner with the coiled snake about to strike and the words” Don’t Tread On Me” (DTOM) below – might be racist.
As of October 1, any sailor who is wearing the “NWU Type III” uniform can wear the Gadsden Flag patch. Seals and other special units may also wear the patch, WeAreTheMighty.com is reporting.
“During garrison and non-tactical exercises or operations, the non-tactical DTOM and Reverse Flag patches may be optionally worn at the discretion of the unit commanding officer and at the expense of the Sailor,” the Navy announced in Navy Administrations Message 174/16. “During tactical deployment exercises and operations, a tactical DTOM and Reverse Flag patch may be worn at the discretion of the unit commander and approval from the Task Force or Joint Task Force Commander.”
The Navy’s permission for sailors to wear the Don’t Tread On Me patches puts to rest a controversy prompted by a Republican congressional candidate two years ago who said SEALs had been barred from wearing the popular patch over fears it had a political connection to the conservative Tea Party.
On Thursday, we reported that the EEOC ruled that an employee who was wearing the Gadsden Flag might be engaging in “racial harassment” after a black co-worker complained. This, even though the flag has nothing at all to do with slavery or racism.
The only connection between the Gadsden Flag and racism is that the creator of the flag – Christopher Gadsden – owned slaves. That’s it. The flag was first used during the Revolutionary War aboard ships assembled by the Continental Congress to counter British blockades.
That it was used by ships during the Revolutionary War makes it poignant that sailors can use the patch today.