Lt. Col. Anne McClain, who was assigned to the detachment, tweeted a message of “gratitude” on Saturday, ahead of the annual college football game, which pits the Army Black Knights of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York against the Navy Midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
“It’s Army-Navy game day! A long tradition of both teams is to design uniforms to honor our nation’s heroes,” McClain tweeted jokingly. “We are humbled that Navy chose to honor us, the Army NASA astronauts this year. Thanks Navy!”
The U.S. Naval Academy Football Team chose to honor NASA by painting an astronaut on the side of their helmets, and a NASA logo on the uniforms. Players are also wearing shoes designed to look similar to the boots that astronauts wear on a mission.
“When I heard that the Army wanted to honor us, the Army astronauts, with their Army-Navy football uniforms this year. I thought to myself.. that is so thoughtful,” Army astronaut Col. Andrew Morgan said in a video attached to the tweet.
Other current and former Army astronauts, including McClain, shared their gratitude to the Navy for the “honor,” while rooting for the Army to beat Navy in the minute and fifteen seconds long video.
The Navy revealed the new uniform last month, which honors the late naval aviator and Navy astronaut, Bruce McCandless II. The son of McCandless, Bruce McCandless III said his father never watched much football, except for the Army-Navy game.
“He was not a big football fan at all,” McCandless III told Navy Times. “But every year he’d be sure to tune in for that (game).”
The Army’s uniform honors the soldiers of 1st Armored Division during World War II. This year marked the 80th anniversary of Operation Torch, which was the Allied invasion of North Africa in November of 1942.
The famed football game goes back to the late 1800s, and Saturday’s match marks the 123rd annual game. The tradition is celebrated each year because it marks an opportunity for the two branches to compete against each other, even though they cooperate in war.