In keeping with its theme from 2022, this year, the Army Black Knights football team will again sport an infantry division-themed uniform designed by Nike.
“The 2023 Army West Point uniforms for the 124th Army-Navy Game tells the story of the soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division during the opening phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom,” a release said.
In March of 2003, the Iraq War began — making this the 20th anniversary of the conflict — with an offensive invasion by 3rd ID. It was the largest deployment of the division since World War II.
“The 3rd Infantry Division’s success hinged upon its ability to seize and maintain the initiative against a determined adversary in harsh and unforgiving terrain,” the release noted. “The Dogface Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division accomplished this feat through the clear application of the U.S. Army’s characteristics of the offensive: surprise, concentration, audacity, and tempo.”
The Nike uniforms are tan throughout, denoting the desert nature of the war as well as being reminiscent of the camouflage pattern worn by OIF troops. Player numbers and lettering mimic the font from Army vehicle “bumper numbers.”
Both sides of the matte gold helmet feature 3rd ID mascot “Rocky the Bulldog.” In addition, 3rd ID soldiers have been given the nickname “dogface soldier.”
The division is known as the “Rock of the Marne” after holding its position on the Marne River in France during World War I, earning a decisive victory over the Germans. As such, much of the uniform pays homage to this history with denotations on the pants and back of the helmet.
“In adopting their mottos, symbols, and ethos on the field of friendly strife, we seek to emulate their application of these characteristics to defeat our rivals,” the release added.
The 2023 Army-Navy game is on Dec. 9, 2023 and will be played at Gillette Stadium.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.