The U.S. Air Force Academy’s football team will honor the U.S. Space Force in 2022 with a new uniform design, the school announced Thursday, one the team will debut on Oct. 1 during a clash with rival Navy at Falcon Stadium in Colorado.
Designed for the Air Power Legacy Series, the uniforms include the Air Force athletic mark at the center neck fused together with the Polaris star and orbit to unite the symbols of the two services.
The helmet features the team’s traditional lighting bolt, a shared image between the Air Force and Space Force, while each shoulder will be adorned by a patch representing the new service’s two bases, Buckley and Peterson-Shriever.
The design, according to Gen. John Raymond, chief of space operations, is intended to showcase the service’s role in protecting U.S. security interests.
“We find ourselves in a period of great competition for space with nations that don’t share our view,” Raymond said in a release.
“It’s a competition where the outcome is no longer assured, and it’s a competition that we cannot lose. Because if we lose our access and ability to operate freely in space, we all lose.
Since 2016, the Air Force Academy’s Air Power Legacy Series football uniforms have honored various individuals, equipment or units, past and present, specific to the service.
The academy’s first special edition uniforms, which featured Tiger Shark teeth on the helmet, were an homage to the nose art found on numerous aircraft during World War II.
The Air Force Academy’s football jerseys have also honored groups and select aircraft, such as the Tuskegee Airmen, C-17 and F-35.
Today, the Air Force Academy functions as the military academy for Space Force cadets.
The campus just outside of Colorado Springs commissions around 96 guardians into the service every year, hosts three space-focused majors, and offers course work in the design, development and flight of satellites.
Zamone “Z” Perez is an editorial fellow at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa, where he helped produce podcasts. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched humanitarian intervention and atrocity prevention in his thesis.