Marine Corps Vet Who Survived Four IEDs Tells The Incredible Story Of How He Got His Cherished Washington Nationals Hat Back

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Jena Greene Reporter
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How’s this for a wild story?

Ken Brasington, a Marine Corps veteran who wore his prized Washington Nationals hat around the world on deployment, recounted the story of how he lost it at a wild Washington Capitals game this month. Brasington, 38, and his wife travelled to watch the Caps play the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ovechkin scored three goals to give the Caps a 5-4 lead and an overzealous fan threw Brasington’s beloved hat onto the rink to celebrate the hat trick. (RELATED: Alex Ovechkin Voices Strong Support For Vladimir Putin)

“I thought, ‘Oh my God, there it goes,'” Brasington recounted to The Washington Post. “I just watched it on the ice.”

The hat, which may have been lost forever at that moment, had become a part of his identity since it was first purchased in 2004.

“I think, total, that thing has seen 33 countries, four IEDs, and two combat zones,” he explained.

And there he was, leaving the Caps game without it for the first time. He left his contact information with a staffer and pleaded to have it returned to him. But it didn’t seem hopeful.

So Brasington got in touch with a Capitals beat reporter, who got in touch with a Carolina manager. It turns out, most of the hats were just sitting in a bag at PNC Arena, where the Hurricanes play.


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Miraculously, Brasington’s hat was right on top of the pile.

“From the way that he had described it to us, we pretty much knew right away that that was the hat,” said Pace Sagester, Hurricanes manager of communications and team services. “We dug through a couple other hats just to make sure, but that was pretty much the only Nats hat. It’s super beat up; the bill has, like, chunks missing out of it. It’s almost pink it’s so faded. It’s not something I would want to put on my head, but it’s special to him.”

So he sent a photo of the hat to confirm it was indeed Brasington’s, and shipped it to him, along with a handwritten note and a Hurricanes hat.

“Obviously, we would do that for anyone, but the fact that he did serve and that was a hat that was special to him because it had been with him in Iraq and Afghanistan, we knew that we needed to do anything we could to get him that hat back,” Sagester said.

As for Brasington, he’s planning on keeping the hat in a safe place now. Like locked up, in a display box.

“That way, everybody wins,” Brasington said, referencing his wife, who isn’t the biggest fan of the beat up hat. “I keep my hat, and she doesn’t have to see me wearing it.”

Talk about an unbelievable story.

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