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Army-Navy 2023 uniforms embody the land-sea rivalry

It's the most wonderful time of the year: Army-Navy football! And this year's uniforms don't disappoint.
Miguel Ortiz Avatar
Army and Navy football helmets

The Army-Navy football game presented by USAA is the annual culmination of the longstanding rivalry between the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy. Beyond the service academies, the matchup also serves as a competition between the Army and the Navy at large. For the 124th meeting of the Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen, the two schools selected uniforms that embody the spirits of their respective services and highlight their different domains of battle.

Navy’s uniform honors the Silent Service (Navy Football)

On November 20, 2023, Navy struck first and revealed their uniform for the big game in collaboration with Under Armour. Honoring the U.S. Navy Submarine Force, the Midshipmen’s uniform is themed “Silent Service.” Highlighting the covert nature of submarine operations, Navy football notes that the uniform is “flooded with Eclipse Navy (UA’s darkest shade of navy blue).” This simple and utilitarian color scheme reflects the stealthiness of a submarine’s design as well as the boat’s hull.

Run silent, run deep (Navy Football)

The sleeve patch features the Naval Academy Athletics anchor and the Submarine Warfare insignia. Nicknamed “dolphins,” the insignia was created by Captain Ernest J. King in 1923 to identify qualified submariners. On the back neck, the uniform reads “Silent Service,” and features the silhouette of a submarine and a sonar screen with stars representing targets. Each hand-painted helmet depicts a submerged Virginia-class submarine on the right side and the Navy anchor and submariner pin on the left. This year, Navy football reports that 158 midshipmen earned a submarine or nuclear submarine service assignment.

(Navy Football)

A day after Navy’s reveal, Army fired back with their 2023 Army-Navy game uniform. Collaborating with Nike, the Black Knights honor the Dogface Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division. In 2003, during the opening phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 3ID executed the longest and most rapid armored advance since WWII: Thunder Run. Army’s uniform celebrates the 20th anniversary of this accomplishment.

Army’s uniform honors the 3rd Infantry Division (Army Football)

The tan color of the uniform mimics the tan of the camouflage patterns and the vehicle paint schemes used during OIF, as well as the desert environment that 3ID fought in. On the left shoulder is the 3ID unit patch in subdued tan, as found on the Desert Camouflage Uniform. The back of the uniform features the Iraq campaign streamer that 3ID earned during OIF. On both sides of the helmet is Rocky the Bulldog, the division mascot created by Walt Disney in 1965.

Rocky is the mascot of the Dogface Soldiers (Army Football)

3ID is also known as “Rock of the Marne.” During WWI, the division earned this nickname in July 1918 at the Second Battle of the Marne. There, elements of the 3rd held back advancing German forces who were determined to drive through Allied lines to Paris. ROTM and the division motto, “Nous resterons Là” (we shall remain there), are featured across the uniform as well.

3ID is also known as the Rock of the Marne (Army Football)

On December 9, 2023, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, the Navy Midshipmen and Army Black Knights will bring the Silent Service and the Dogface Soldiers to the football field. Beyond the game itself, Army is also competing to win the coveted Commander-in-Chief’s trophy after Air Force beat Navy (17-6) and Army beat Air Force (23-3).