This isn’t just any normal hat.
A navy veteran is hoping to be reunited with her Navy ship hat, which she earned while serving in Desert Storm. The beloved clothing item was lost during a recent tubing trip when its owner nearly drowned after briefly getting stuck underwater.
Navy hat Navy veteran Trish Burnell is hoping to be reunited with the Navy ship hat she earned while serving in Desert Storm. (Trish Burnell)
Trish Burnell spoke with Fox News, explaining that she wore the hat “almost every single day.” She explained that aside from letting people know that she served on the USS Hunley, it also was a symbol of her pride for her service.
“It also allows other veterans to recognize each other and give a hardy nod or talk about the ‘good old days,’” she explained.
Burnell was wearing the hat during a recent tubing trip on the Saco River in New Hampshire. While she had grown up in the area, this was her first time tubing down the river (she wasn’t permitted to swim in it as a child because of the “curse of the Saco”).
During the trip, Burnell briefly went underwater and got her left leg caught. While she was eventually able to free herself, she explained, “Your life truly does pass before you when you think you’re about to die.”
Unfortunately, when she surfaced, she realized that her Navy ship hat had been lost.
“Pure sadness set in when I realized my hat was no longer on my head,” Burnell said.
She shared her story on Facebook, expecting only a few sarcastic comments from her friends. Instead, she was met with an outpouring of support. Burnell says she’s heard from people all over the country who wish her luck. She’s even been contacted by other former crewmembers of the USS Hunley.
“I shouldn’t really be surprised by that because that’s what military people do, we’re like a giant family,” she said.
A group of her friends are planning on returning to the river to search for the hat. While Burnell says she’s incredibly moved by the effort everyone is putting in, she’s still sad that her hat is still missing. As she explained, that was the hat she wore while serving on the ship and then when she traveled the country after being discharged.
“I felt like my best friend that I had most of my life had just disappeared and abandoned me without so much as a goodbye,” she explained.