Army/Navy game: The meaning behind this year’s unique uniforms

Sports

Cadets and Midshipmen will take the field at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Saturday, Dec. 11 for the Army-Navy rivalry game. Pictured are the jerseys each team will wear, with each carrying their own significance. (Left: Army, courtesy Army West Point Athletics/Dustin Satloff Photography. Right: Navy, courtesy Navy Athletics/Under Armour)

(NEXSTAR) – The iconic matchup between Cadets and Midshipmen during Saturday’s Army-Navy game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, will carry an even greater significance this year. When the two teams meet at MetLife Stadium in the 122nd continuation of their rivalry, they’ll also be remembering the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

As they play in ‘America’s Game’ just 11 miles from where the Twin Towers stood, Army will don uniforms paying tribute to the members of Task Force Dagger and the role they played in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. These members joined with the Northern Alliance to attack Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Army’s uniforms, with color schemes and light camouflage reflecting those of the Army Special Forces, also features the Latin motto, “De Oppresso Liber,” or “To free the oppressed,” printed on the front of the jersey. On the shoulders are the numbers of the Army Green Beret teams involved in the task force’s mission, known as Operation Detachment Alphas, according to Army Times. Numbers include 534, 555, 574, and 595. The back of the jersey reads “United We Stand.”

Meanwhile, Navy will wear “Fly Navy” uniforms highlighting American symbolism and “the most utilized multirole fighter jet in air carrier aviation, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet,” Under Armor announced earlier this year. The U.S.’ fleet of 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers can deploy up to 44 of these strike fighters at a time.

Found on the back of Navy’s helmets — which were each hand-painted to depict an accurate representation of the Super Hornet — are three wings, symbolizing the naval aviation career field: Single Anchor, Navy Pilot; Double Anchor, Navy Flight Officer; and AC, Air Crew. A red, white and blue color scheme, inspired by the U.S. military aircraft roundel, are accented on the helmets. On the upper left chest of the jersey is the Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet patch. The jersey and pants are entirely blue with red, white, and blue accents.

Army has won four of the last five matchups with Navy, including last year’s win at West Point. Kick-off is set for 3 p.m. ET on CBS.

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