PHILADELPHIA >> Army will be wearing a new uniform honoring one of its famed divisions when it plays Navy this weekend in its big rivalry game.
The uniforms are made by Nike, whose co-founder Bill Bowerman managed supplies for the 10th Mountain Division. The unit is noted for its ability to fight in harsh mountainous terrain.
A shoulder patch on the uniform features a blue background with crossed bayonets to denote the infantry and represents the Roman numeral 10 for the unit’s number. The patch is shaped like a powder keg and the word “mountain” is featured in white on a blue tab.
The white uniforms are made from material that minimizes weight, even when soaked with sweat. The uniforms allow for greater range of motion and are cut in a way to better deal with heat.
The original 10th Mountain Division was formed in 1943 at Camp Hale, Colorado, as an alpine unit. It was dubbed the 10th Light Division and re-designated the 10th Mountain Division a year later. Soldiers trained at high altitudes on skis and snowshoes and learned cold-weather survival tactics, sleeping outside without tents in the Rocky Mountains.
In February 1945, the unit had a defining moment in the Apennine Mountains of northern Italy. U.S. soldiers scaled a sheer, 1,500-foot cliff under cover of darkness and fought their way through the snowy mountains. The Germans, who had considered the peak impossible to scale, were quickly routed.
Bowerman, who died in 1999, maintained the mules for the 10th Mountain Division and served as commander of the 86th Regiment’s First Battalion.
“As a team, we take pride in remembering and honoring those that have come before us,” Army coach Jeff Monken said. “To be aligned with such a great division of the United States Army that has fought on some of the harshest terrain in the world makes this opportunity special.”
Navy unveiled its new uniforms in late November. The teams play Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field.