- It was the U.S. Navy to the rescue Monday for a Scripps Ranch couple who lost their garage door-sized U.S. flag in a downright un-American crime the day after the Fourth of July.
Capt. Rich McDaniel of the USS Sterett presented Tim Curran -- himself a captain with the county Sheriff's Department -- and his wife, Debby, with a replacement Stars and Stripes aboard the San Diego-ported guided-missile destroyer.
About 2:45 a.m. on July 5, Debby Curran, awakened by the family dog, looked outside and saw a young man making off with the large U.S. flag she and her husband had hung on the front of their home to celebrate Independence Day.
She hurried outside to see the thief getting into a late-model Dodge Durango. The woman ran over to the SUV and was trying to open its driver's door when the bandit sped off, pulling her to the ground and leaving her with scrapes and bruises.
The Currans had displayed the flag, a gift from Deputy O.K. Jones, for the last dozen Fourth of July holidays in a row, sheriff's spokeswoman Melissa Aquino said. Jones is a retired Navy command master chief who served on a now-decommissioned guided-missile cruiser also named the Sterett.
McDaniel saw a news story about the unpatriotic theft and decided to do something about it, according to Aquino. In addition to replacing the Currans' large flag, he gave them a tour of his ship, the fourth U.S. sea vessel to be named after early American naval officer Andrew Sterett.