After Navy SEALs Were Told Not to Wear ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ Symbol, Navy Snagged These Sweet Football Uniforms

After Navy SEALs Were Told Not to Wear ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ Symbol, Navy Snagged These Sweet Football Uniforms

This Saturday is “America’s” game — the annual Army-Navy football game. And the Navy team is debuting some fiercely patriotic new uniforms, heavily featuring “Don’t Tread On Me”.

navy uniform
navy helmet

In 2013, veteran Navy SEAL Carl Higbie shared an email that some of his former colleagues received, ordering them to no longer wear the “Don’t Tread On Me” symbol while in uniform, despite the Navy Jack being a patriotic symbol for the Navy since the days of the Revolution.

The email read:

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“WARCOM and GROUP TWO/ONE have pushed out the uniform policy for NWU III and any patches worn on the sleeve.

All personnel are only authorized to wear the matching “AOR” American Flag patch on the right shoulder. 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.”

… Well, now the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, has revealed some of the coolest uniforms imaginable for this Saturday’s annual Army vs. Navy college football game.

While SEALs may not be allowed to wear the patch, it’s pretty awesome to see the Navy still embracing the patriotic motto. We’ll have to wait and see if it helps Navy beat Army… although, given the history of the matchup, they might not need much help there!

Correction: Although there were stories out in the press saying the “Don’t Tread On Me” patch was no longer allowed, that doesn’t appear to be true.

A misunderstanding in the chief’s mess is to blame for the widespread (and false) rumor that SEALs can no longer wear the Navy Jack patch, a Navy official tells Navy Times.

A senior enlisted sailor misinterpreted the Navy’s uniform wear regulations for the Navy working uniform Type III, said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The mistake was attributed to a “game of telephone” between second- and third-hand sources in the chiefs’ mess.

…Navy officials disputed the rumors and explained that wear rules for the First Navy Jack patch have actually expanded.

“As of September 2013, all Naval Special Warfare personnel are authorized to wear the U.S. flag and the “Don’t Tread on me” uniform patches,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty told Navy Times. “In the past, NSW did not authorize wearing either patch unless one was deployed or in a work-up cycle. However, NSW recently sought special permission from the Chief of Naval Operations staff to wear the patches within the continental United States.”

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