Video courtesy University of Utah Football, Ute Equipment

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The University of Utah Football team will don uniforms paying tribute to the USS Salt Lake City, a heavy cruiser during World War II. While we will not see the uniforms on the Utes until their November game against the Oregon Ducks, Utes Equipment unveiled the uniforms on Tuesday.

According to the Utah Division of State History, the USS Salt Lake City “helped gain revenge for the sinking of the USS Utah at Pearl Harbor.” The cruiser named after Utah’s capital would unofficially be credited with taking part in more naval engagements than any ship in the fleet, even being dubbed “the one-ship fleet.” The USS Salt Lake City “survived everything, including its own nation’s most destructive weapons.”

SLIDESHOW: Archived photos of the USS Salt Lake City

The Division of State History reports the USS Salt Lake City is credited for being the first ship to fire on Japanese-held territory when it apparently opened fire on Wotje Island in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The vessel launched in January 23, 1929, and continued serving the U.S. Navy until the late 1940s.

Here is an excerpt from the Division of State History’s website about the USS Salt Lake City:

The immense atomic explosions that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war and inaugurated a new and frightening chapter in modern warfare. The Salt Lake City played a role in the further development of these powerful weapons. In 1946 the Swayback Maru and other obsolete vessels served as part of the atomic bomb test fleet near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific. Although the ship survived, she was deemed highly radioactive and on May 25, 1948, ships and aircraft sank the Salt Lake City off the southern California coast.

SLIDESHOW: USS Salt Lake City uniforms

The uniforms the Utes will wear this season have numerous references to the USS Salt Lake City. Here is a look at what those references are:

  • USS Salt Lake City is written across the chest of the jersey and ‘one ship fleet’ is seen on the back neckline
  • In the video reveal, the jersey number is 25, a nod to the vessel’s hull number
  • The base color of the uniforms are dark gray and feature ‘dazzle-camo accents’ on the shoulders, sides of the pants, and gloves like those seen on the USS Salt Lake City
  • A single battle star is on the right shoulder meaning when the ball is in play, there will be 11 stars on the field, signifying the 11 battle stars earned by the USS Salt Lake City
  • One of those battles is seen on the helmets, each of which are hand-painted by one artist

You can see the Utes in these USS Salt Lake City uniforms during their November 20 game against the Oregon Ducks.