The USS Kidd is a US Navy destroyer that has a unique tradition of flying a pirate flag as it returns from a deployment. The flag, known as the Jolly Roger, features a skull and crossbones and has a history of being used by pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries. But why does the USS Kidd have this special privilege and what does it mean for its crew?
The USS Kidd is named after Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, who was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. His namesake, Captain William Kidd, was a Scottish sailor who was executed for piracy in 1701. The admiral’s widow, Inez Kidd, obtained official permission from the Navy for the ship to fly the flag and paint a pirate on its stack in 1943. The USS Kidd became known as the “Pirates of the Pacific” and earned eight battle stars for its service in World War II, as well as several awards for its operations in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The Jolly Roger is a symbol of pride and morale for the USS Kidd and its crew. It is flown at the discretion of the commanding officer, usually to celebrate successful missions or to honor the ship’s legacy. The flag is also a way to showcase the crew’s esprit de corps and their dedication to their mission and their country.
“The Jolly Roger is an indicator of our success at sea. It’s something that reminds us of our history and why we exist,” said Cmdr. Nathan Wemett, former commanding officer of USS Kidd.
“The Jolly Roger is a way to showcase our esprit de corps. Not only do we uphold the legacy of Adm. Isaac Kidd, but also those who served before us,” said Cmdr. Matt Noland, current commanding officer of USS Kidd.
“The Jolly Roger is a symbol of pride for this crew. It represents our dedication to our mission and our country,” said Chief Petty Officer Jeremy MacKnight, command master chief of USS Kidd.
“The Jolly Roger is a tribute to our namesake. It shows that we are not afraid to stand up for what we believe in and fight for what is right,” said Petty Officer 1st Class James Anderson, operations specialist on USS Kidd.
The USS Kidd is the only surface ship in the US Navy that has official permission to fly the Jolly Roger, but it is not the only one that has done so. Other ships have flown the flag as a sign of defiance or victory over enemies, such as submarines that sank enemy vessels or aircraft carriers that launched successful strikes. The practice dates back to World War I, when British naval officers adopted the flag from German U-boats that used it to taunt their foes.
The Jolly Roger is a tradition that connects the USS Kidd and its crew to their past and their future. It is a reminder of their courage and their commitment to defend their nation and its values. It is also a way to have some fun and enjoy their achievements.
The USS Kidd is not just a warship, it is also a pirate ship. And as the Pirates of the Pacific, they fly their flag with pride and honor.
– A US Navy Destroyer Sailed Into Port Flying the Jolly Roger, Business Insider, September 23, 2020
– Here’s Why The Destroyer USS Kidd Was Flying A Huge Pirate Flag As It Pulled Into Port, The War Zone, November 27, 2020
– This Navy Destroyer Flies a Pirate Flag: USS Kidd and Jolly Roger, Popular Mechanics, September 25, 2020