The Kansas City Chiefs announced on Saturday that they’d be wearing a special commemorative patch in Week 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This patch will honor those who served in Operation Linebacker I & II in the Vietnam War. It’s the 50th anniversary of the operations — both strategic bombing campaigns that occurred in 1972. The operations claimed the lives of many brave soldiers, including Derrick Thomas’ father, US Air Force Captain Robert J. Thomas.
“Robert Thomas aboard the B52G Stratofortress callsign Charcoal 1. ‘Charcoal 1’ was shot down on December 18, 1972, after the aircraft was hit with two surface-to-air missiles. Two of the crew were killed instantly from the missile attack. The remaining crew parachuted from the flaming aircraft. Three would survive.”
The Chiefs’ Assistant Equipment Manager, Cale Kirby, is credited with the idea for the patch. He knew the connection between Derrick Thomas’ father and Operation Linebacker, also recalling that it was the 50th anniversary of the campaign.
Here’s a look at the patch, including the reasons for specific design elements:
To commemorate and honor the 50th anniversary of Operation Linebacker I & II, a military operation during the Vietnam War that claimed the life of Derrick Thomas’ father and many other brave soldiers, we will be wearing this patch during Sunday’s game 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/vUIc9AMHBG
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) November 12, 2022
Players also received some custom-designed Operation Linebacker shoes in their lockers ahead of the game.
— Elijah Lee (@elee_doubleace) November 13, 2022
And here is a closer look at the patch, courtesy of Mitch Holthus:
.@Chiefs @ChiefsRadioNet 11:47am pic.twitter.com/oIEBPuqVLp
— Mitch Holthus (@mitchholthus) November 13, 2022