Naval aviation, surface warfare and the Marine Corps are among the service branches that have been highlighted by the design of the specialty uniforms created annually by Under Armour for the Army-Navy Game.
This year, the Midshipmen will shine the spotlight on the submarine service when they take the field at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
The U.S. submarine force will be recognized during the 124th edition of the Army-Navy Game, being played Dec. 9 at the home of the New England Patriots. Navy will wear uniforms designed to pay homage to submariners with the theme being "Silent Service."
Navy Athletics and Under Armour unveiled the 2023 Army-Navy Game uniform Monday afternoon. The entire uniform is flooded with Eclipse Navy (Under Armour's darkest shade of navy blue) to mimic the covert design of a submarine hull.
The uniform was purposefully designed to embody the force's nickname: Silent Service. The overall design was intended to be simple and utilitarian to convey the stealth purposes of a submarine's design.
Under Armour and Navy Athletics have discussed a submarine-themed uniform for quite some time and the apparel manufacturer put together an in-depth mock design three years ago.
"Under Armour does a great job of getting out in front of this always presents multiple uniform designs in the works," said Greg Morgenthaler, Navy's associate athletic director for equipment operations.
"We knew it needed to be a dark year in order to do the submarine theme right, so we held this idea until this year when were the home team," he said.
The designated home team in the annual Army-Navy Game wears dark uniforms, while the visitors wear light colors.
Honoring the submarine service in 2023 also makes sense since the game is being held in the New England region for the first time in Army-Navy history. Groton, Connecticut, has become known as the "submarine capital of the world." It is home to Naval Submarine Base New London and the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine.
Morgenthaler, who works closely with Under Armour on all specialty uniform designs, said the leadership of the U.S. submarine force was "fired up and very excited" to learn that branch of the Navy would be highlighted this year.
Design elements of the font are in contrasting white to mimic classification numbers of a submarine hull. These elements were strategically selected to only highlight elements that require on-field legibility like the player numbers and names, the Navy wordmark, the Marine Corps globe and Under Armour logo. On the pants, numbers are stacked vertically to mimic depth numbers of a submarine hull.
Meanwhile, the sleeve patch was created using the Naval Academy Athletics anchor locked-up with the submarine warfare insignia or "dolphins/fish." The design encompasses a historically inspired rendering of dolphins flanking a submarine in the middle.
The Submarine Warfare insignia was developed in 1923 by Captain Ernest J. King, who proposed that the Navy create such a device for qualified submariners. The hard-earned badge distinguishes and identifies the members of the submarine community and has since become a source of pride for the silent service.
The back neck of the uniform features the slogan "Silent Service" and features the silhouette of a U.S. submarine on top of a sonar screen that is dotted with stars to indicate targets.
Each helmet is hand painted with the right side depicting a Virginia-class submarine underwater and the left side depicting Navy's customary anchor with the submariner pin integrated with color changing pragmatic paint. The front flex panel depicts a color changing radar which is used on submarines to find their target. The front decal of the helmet says Navy, while the back decal says Silent Service.
Franny Drummond of Paint Zoo was once again responsible for hand-painting all the helmets. Both the radar on the front of the helmet and the anchor on the left side will change colors depending on how the light hits the helmet.
"I think the helmets are really, really cool. It's seriously high-tech to utilize paint that changes colors," Morgenthaler said.
Also introduced Tuesday was the Navy Subsurface football, a limited collector's edition modeled after the on-field game ball for the 2023 Army-Navy Game. Crafted with rich brown playoff leather, translucent laces and intricate white stitching, this ball also features the iconic Submarine Force insignia.
With a small porthole embedded in the center of the sonar screen, this replica football transports you beneath the water's surface and offers a multi-sensory experience. The first hint of light slowly unveils an underwater world and kicks off a sensory journey blending sight, sound and imagination.
"All I can say about the first-of-its-kind football is that you have to see it to believe it," Morgenthaler said.
This year, 158 midshipmen earned the service assignment of submarines or nuclear submarines. Several former Navy football players who are recent graduates were commissioned as submariners, including standout placekicker Bijan Nichols (Class of 2023), offensive tackle Bryce Texeira (Class of 2022) and defensive tackle Marcus Edwards (Class of 2020).
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