Army pulled the curtain back Sunday on its uniform design for Dec. 8′s tilt against rival Navy in Philadelphia, and the result is one of the better football uniforms we’ve ever seen.
Nike once again led the designing charge for the Black Knights, revealing a sleek, all-black ensemble with red accents that pays tribute to World War I soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division.
The “Big Red One," as the division came to be known due to its prominent shoulder insignia at the time, comprised more than 28,000 men from four infantry and three artillery regiments at the time of its 1917 formation, the result of President Woodrow Wilson’s promise to the Allies that a division would be sent to France.
The force, which was twice the size of German divisions on the Western Front, would become the first permanent division in the Regular Army to fight in The Great War.
The Big Red One also became the first division to claim an American victory in WWI, a decisive trouncing of German forces at the Battle of Cantigny, a small village north of Paris.
Fighting alongside French forces, the Big Red One’s 28th Infantry Regiment routed the occupying Germans in only 45 minutes. Repeated counterattacks were attempted by German forces, but none broke through.
The fierce fighting earned the the 28th Infantry the nickname, “The Black Lions of Catigny,” a moniker Army will pay homage to with insignia on the uniform’s sleeves.
The uniform also features collar insignia, replicates of the bronze collar emblems worn by enlisted soldiers from the Big Red One’s 28th, 26th, 18th and 16th Infantry Regiments, 7th and 5th Field Artillery Regiments and 1st Engineer Regiment.
A flag on the back of the beautiful matte black helmet features 48 stars, an accurate reflection of the American Flag at the time the Big Red One went to war.
(Hawaii and Alaska became official states in 1959.)
Big Red One details are featured down to the uniform’s cleats, completing a look that will be hard to beat.
The Black Knights take on the Navy Midshipmen at 3 p.m. at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field Dec. 8.
CBS will once again be the game’s broadcast home.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.