The Air Force football program unveiled new alternate uniforms on Monday afternoon that honor the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces.
The marks the fifth alternate uniform in the Air Power Legacy Series, which dates back to the 2016 season, when the Falcons first wore uniforms based on the Tiger Shark nose art that has been used on multiple aircraft dating back to World War II. The Falcons then paid homage to the F-35 Lighting II, the AC-130 “Spooky” gunship and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Air Force is 9-0 all-time while wearing their Air Power Legacy Series uniforms, with some being worn more than once.
This year’s rendition, which will make its on-field debut on Oct. 3 against Navy, features an all-gray uniform with black lettering that replicates the numbers on the side of the P-51 Mustang fighter planes flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. The two-toned helmet is red in the front and gray in the back, mimicking the aircraft’s signature red nose and tail, and includes one of four different squadron patches (99th, 100th, 301st and 302nd) on the sides.
Those squadrons joined forces in 1944 to form the 332nd Fighter Group, which escorted bombers on air combat missions over Europe during WWII. They were credited with flying more than 15,000 sorties – or combat missions of an individual aircraft – and shooting down 112 enemy planes, and their success helped influence then-President Harry Truman to desegregate the armed forces in 1948.
In 2019, Air Force renamed its airfield after Benjamin O. Davis Jr., the first black officer to solo pilot an Army Air Corps aircraft who later became the commander of the 99th Pursuit Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group.
The 332nd Fighter Group’s emblem and the National Star Insignia can be seen on the sleeves of the uniform, which also includes yellow stripes on the shoulders, similar to the wings of the P-51, as well as stenciled information graphics down the side of the pants. The name plate on the jersey, meanwhile, says “Red Tails” in cursive lettering, just like the hand-painted names on the side of the aircraft.
Check out more photos of Air Force’s newest Air Power Legacy Series uniforms below:
Photos courtesy of @AF_Football and @TAINational on Twitter.