Kansas City Chiefs coaches and players are wearing a patch on their sideline gear during today’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars to mark the 50th anniversary of Operation Linebacker I & II, an aerial bombing campaign conducted in Vietnam in 1972.
United States Air Force Captain Robert J. Thomas, a B-52 Stratofortress pilot and father of late Chiefs and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas, was among the 75 airmen killed in action during Operation Linebacker II.
The patch, which was created by Kansas City creative director Jordan Giesler, pays homage to the 97th Bombardment Wing, the unit the elder Thomas was assigned to during the operation, with its overall shape and the miniature flaming spear inside the “50.”
There’s a scroll at the bottom of the patch with “Operation Linebacker I & II,” as well as a small gold No. 58 inside of a red circle as a nod to the younger Thomas, who was killed in an automobile accident on Feb. 8, 2000. He wore that number during his 11 seasons with the Chiefs from 1989-99.
The camouflage pattern throughout the insignia matches the paint job of Charcoal 1, the bomber the elder Thomas co-piloted, while the aircraft’s silhouette can be seen behind the younger’s Thomas’ number. The typeface and fonts were inspired by Charcoal 1, as well.
Lastly, the patch features Kansas City’s primary logo at the top, tying Operation I & II to the franchise’s annual Salute to Service game.
Photo courtesy of @Chiefs on Twitter.