The Army West Point football program will wear alternate uniforms during its annual rivalry game against Navy on Dec. 12 that celebrate the contributions of the 25th Infantry Division, which fought in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War.
Formed in 1921, the Hawaiian Division of the United States Army was split into the 24th and 25th Infantry Division in 1941. The latter was stationed at Schofield Barracks on the Island of Oahu when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor before moving to Guadalcanal to fight in some of the fiercest battles in the Pacific Ocean.
The “Tropic Lightning” moniker was adopted in 1953 to represent the speed at which the 25th Infantry Division accomplished its missions. Their iconic shoulder insignia, which is a yellow lightning bolt on top of a red taro leaf, can be seen on both sides of Army’s dark green helmet. It is jokingly referred to as the “Electric Strawberry.”
The olive green jersey, meanwhile, feature a stenciled number font, a white “Wolfhounds” logo on the left sleeve and an American flag on the right sleeve, as well as the “Tropic Lightning” tag on the right chest.
The flag has just 48 starts for the number of states during the Korean War era (1950-53), with Alaska and Hawaii officially added in 1959.
The dark green pants, last but not least, feature “Wolfhounds” down both sides as a nod to the 27th Infantry Regiment, which was one of the designated fire brigades from the 25th Infantry. They earned their nickname by aggressively pursuing Bolshevik Forces while guarding the Trans-Siberian Railroad in World War I and were the first American regiment to defeat a full-scale Korean attack in the Battle of Pusan Perimeter in the Korean War.
During this crucial defensive action, Corporal Kennth Taylor painted the words “27th Inf, Courtesy of Fox Co.” on the broad side of a destroyed NKPA T-34 tank. The phrase can be seen on top of the shoulder numbers of the jersey.
The “Wolfhounds” logo can also be seen on the back of the helmet alongside an American flag and a decal for the 5th Ranger Infantry Company, an airborne unit assigned to the 25th Infantry Division during the Korean War. The back bumper and the inside of the collar both feature the motto “New Aspera Terrent,’ which is loosely translated from Latin to mean “No Fear on Earth,” “Frightened By No Difficulties” and “Difficulties be Damned.”
Usually held at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, the 121st Army-Navy Game will take place at Michie Stadium in West Point, New York, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. ET on CBS.
Check out more photos of the Black Knights’ “Tropic Lightning” uniform below:
Photos courtesy of @ArmyWP_Football on Twitter.