One of the lasting images of the 2013 Red Sox celebrations has been the headgear of outfielder Jonny Gomes.
Whether it be the party at Fenway Park after clinching the AL East, the clubhouse in Tampa Bay after advancing to the ALCS, or the pandemonium at Fenway again once the team clinched its third AL pennant in the past nine seasons, Gomes has been seen sporting an official U.S. Army helmet, and the story behind the piece of military equipment has finally come to light thanks to an article on the Army's website.
In June, on a visit to Fenway Park with his three children, Master Sgt. Miguel Chacon of Natick’s U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine saw that a pair of batting gloves had been thrown to him from a group of players signing autographs.
Chacon was then told by an usher that the gloves had been thrown to him by Gomes, who is a well-known supporter of the U.S. military, and Gomes had seen Chacon there in uniform and wanted to thank him for his service. Chacon later thanked Gomes personally for the gift, but wanted to do more.
Later in the season, when Chacon was offered tickets to a Sept. 15 Red Sox-Yankees game, he decided to bring along with him the advanced combat helmet from his service in Iraq. During a pre-game tour of Fenway, he told a club official that he had brought the helmet for Gomes, who then escorted Chacon and Spc. Travis Crook downstairs to the door outside the Red Sox clubhouse.
Gomes came out of the clubhouse to greet the two and Chacon told Gomes the helmet was for him, and Gomes was thrilled. The three spoke for some time before Gomes returned to the clubhouse and Chacon and Crook returned to the stands to watch the game.
Chacon was pleased that the helmet has made its way into the Red Sox celebrations this year, which could culminate in a World Series title Wednesday or Thursday night in Boston. He believes Gomes showcasing the helmet is a great honor to the military and all who serve the United States.
Read the full story from Bob Reinert of USAG-Natick Public Affairs here.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer