US Army Reserve musician honors final request of WWII veteran

By SSG Jason Travis
100th Army Band

News story photo
SSG Garnett prepares to sound Taps.
Clifford L. “Pete” Masden was born on March 20, 1920. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in January of 1942 and served as an aircraft armorer in the Army Air Corps until 1945. His combat history during World War II included service in Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Po Valley, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, North Apennines, Rhineland, Southern France, and Air Offensive Europe. He reached the rank of Sergeant before the end of the war, only spending five months out of his three and a half years of service on United States soil. After his discharge from service, he returned home and quickly married the woman who would be by his side for the next 69 years.

Staff Sergeant Benjamin Garnett is a trumpet player with the 100th Army Band, an Army Reserve unit at Fort Knox KY. Through both the 100th Army Band and a veteran-run civilian organization called Bugles Across America, SSG Garnett often volunteers his time to sound the Taps bugle call at the funerals of military veterans. Like most military musicians, he believes that all veterans deserve to have Taps sounded by a live bugler at their funerals, as opposed to the use of an electronic bugle or CD player.

Mr. Masden passed away on November 10, 2014 and the file containing his prearranged funeral requests and arrangements was opened. Included in the file was an order that Taps only be sounded by a live bugler at his funeral service, and attached to that order was one of SSG Garnett's business cards. The funeral director honored the order and contacted SSG Garnett to inform him of the request.

SGT Masden’s funeral service was held on November 13th at Resthaven Memorial Park in Louisville, KY, and SSG Garnett cleared his schedule to join the honor guard and render honors to the departed veteran. SSG Garnett said that when he was first contacted to fill this request, he got a little choked up. “For military trumpet players, sounding the Taps call is a sacred privilege. To be specifically requested to sound taps for a WW2 combat veteran is a huge honor,” he said.

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