The Only U.S. Warship That’s Authorized To Raise the Jolly Roger

The crew of the USS Kidd fly the Jolly Roger flag for reasons that can be traced to its roots in Japan’s infamous surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. At that time, Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, Sr. was Commander of Battleship Division One. Kidd's nickname at the Naval Academy had been "Cap" in reference to Captain Kidd, the Scottish sailor who was tried and executed for piracy. After the Japanese attack began, Admiral Kidd made his way to his flagship, the USS Arizona, and took part in the battle until the ship exploded after bombs hit one of its ammunition magazines. Admiral Kidd was among the 1,177 officers and crew who died on the battleship, which still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor. Since that time, the USS Kidd has been authorized to fly the Jolly Roger flag as a memorial to Rear Admiral Kidd.