HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The 177th Armored Brigade and the University of Southern Mississippi have announced the Golden Eagles will wear the brigade's Distinctive Unit Insignia on their helmets for the team's upcoming Independence Bowl game Dec. 27.

"The University of Southern Mississippi does a lot to support our Soldiers and families," said Col. Jack E. Vantress, commander of the 177th Armored Brigade located at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. "Our hope is that when these players pick up those helmets, they can see our Spearhead to Victory logo and know we are firmly behind them and rooting them on to victory."

The brigade's Distinctive Unit Insignia features a prominent golden fleur-de-lis inside a red spearhead and the words "Spearhead to Victory" on a blue banner. The golden color pays homage to the Armor branch, while the blue and red represent the Infantry and Artillery branches. The spearhead symbolizes the tactics employed in Armor warfare, and the fleur-de-lis represents the brigade's campaigns in France during World War I: St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Lorraine.

"Coach Hopson and the Golden Eagles have demonstrated a commitment to winning that inspires us all," Vantress added. "We're honored to be able to share in this experience with these outstanding student athletes, coaches and alumni."

USM will represent Conference USA against Florida State from the Atlantic Coast Conference in the Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. This will be the third straight bowl game for USM and the third appearance for USM in the Independence Bowl. They have won their previous two appearances, in 1980 over McNeese State and in 1988 over the University of Texas -- El Paso.