The following article, Undefeated Air Force Football Team to Don Uniforms Dedicated to WWII Heroes Despite Backlash, was first published on Flag And Cross.
The Air Force Academy’s football team will bring an undefeated record and a dash of controversy into Saturday’s game against Navy.
The 6-0 team will debut its alternate uniform — one that honors the Doolittle Raiders of World War II.
“The Doolittle Raiders see the field Saturday,” the Air Force Academy’s football team said in a Wednesday post on X.
The Doolittle Raiders see the field Saturday pic.twitter.com/XgfjDVQYti
— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) October 18, 2023
— Air Force Falcons (@AF_Falcons) October 18, 2023
“The jersey features letters and numbers of steel and rivets like on the B-25 aircraft the Raiders flew in the mission,” the Air Force Academy said in a news release. “The right chest lists tail numbers of the aircraft that flew the mission. The left sleeve features the squadron patch of the Raiders, which was created and graciously permitted for use by the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association.”
The right leg of the pants bears the words “Ever into Peril,” the mantra of the Doolittle Raiders. The same phrase is on the left leg in French: “Toujours au Danger.”
“Led by United States Army Air Force Lt. Col. James H. ‘Jimmy’ Doolittle, the Raiders bombed selected targets in the Japanese capital of Tokyo and other military locations on the Japanese homeland,” the release said.
The uniform has drawn some flak on social media.
Equating football to a literal war is a very bad thing.
— New Nature Boy (@net_elephant) August 18, 2023
This is awful taste.
— jake in salt lake (@trashpandamagoo) August 18, 2023
Delete this. Do better!
— Jonathan (@iampangean) August 18, 2023
Despite those comments, Troy Garnhart, a representative of the Air Force Academy’s athletic department, told the Military Times, “This year’s edition of the Doolittle Raiders has been extremely well-received.”
He said the post announcing the commemorative uniform “has caused a few negative social media posts, but most of the people on the forum have reacted to the negative posts in a supportive way for the academy.”
The attack, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, sent 16 B-25 bombers on a one-way mission over Japan. As noted by Air & Space Forces, the raid caused limited damage but gave American morale a major lift while spiking concerns in Japan that its homeland was not invulnerable.
“The Doolittle Raiders are not just Air Force heroes, but American heroes,” Patrick Donley, director of the Doolittle Leadership Center at the Air & Space Forces Association, said in August.
“The Air Force-Navy game is also an ideal forum to highlight the Doolittle Raid,” he said.
“First, it was a great, early example of successful joint warfare, requiring tremendous cooperation and trust-building between the Army Air Forces and the Navy,” Donley said. “And second, the raid demonstrated boldness, courage, and innovation — traits that are vital for Airmen, Guardians and, really, the entire joint force today.
“Finally, the Raiders put their lives on the line to fulfill their duty, a remarkable and fearless demonstration of sacrificial, selfless leadership.”
The “Air Power Legacy Series” of uniforms previously honored the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, Operation Linebacker II in the Vietnam War and the Flying Tigers who flew out of Burma during World War II.
— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) October 17, 2023
The undefeated Falcons will take on 3-3 Navy at noon Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.