Masten Still on Duty as Rifle Squad Leader
By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Tuesday, November 10, 2009
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Retired Marine Sgt. George Masten is the man behind the American Legion Post 35's rifle squad that is seen at every Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremony in the Hampton area.
The Stratham resident has volunteered to lead the post's rifle squad, which has been involved in saluting living and deceased veterans for the last 18 years.
"Everyone in the squad volunteers, and we all do it for the same reason," said Masten. "We do it to honor the living and salute the deceased."
Masten and his squad will once again be on hand during Wednesday's Veterans Day observances at Hampton Beach, Hampton Falls, North Hampton and Hampton.
This year's guest speaker for the Post 35's ceremony is Hampton's own Capt. Michael Edgar USN (CB).
American Legion Post 35 Commander Ralph Fatello said Edgar will be a great speaker on the day that is meant to honor all living veterans.
Edgar recently retired from the Navy after 26 years of service.
"Capt. Mike has seen it all," said Fatello, "from disaster relief aid during Hurricane Katrina to the Global War on Terrorism."
Also taking part in tomorrow's ceremonies will be the Post 35 Color Guard, WHS ROTC Color Guard and bugler Mark Weatherby. The National Anthem will be sung by Hampton resident Elaine Weatherby.
Fatello said Veterans Day is special time for all veterans. However, for Masten it's the culmination of a three-day celebration.
"George's birthday is Nov. 9, Marine Corps birthday is Nov. 10 and Veterans Day is Nov. 11," Fatello said. "It's a triple trifecta."
Masten calls its his three-day holiday.
Masten spent 14 years in the United States Marine Corps, and fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He spent 13 months in Korea and seven in Vietnam.
"Its a whole new world," said Masten, of his service. "It's a lifetime experience that you would not normally have had."
He received the Purple Heart in 1967 after he was wounded by a mortar round in Vietnam, an event that effectively ended his active service career, but not his service to his country.
Fatello said Masten has been a member of the American Legion Post 35 ever since.
Masten currently serves as the Post 35's Sergeant-at-Arms, as well as one of the keeper of the monument on which the names of the New Hampshire victims of the Global War on Terrorism are inscribed.
"To me, Veterans Day means a lot," Masten said. "It's a day for remembering veterans that I know and appreciating what they have done, especially World War II veterans. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here."
American Legion Post 35 of the Hamptons has announced its 2009 Veteran's Day observances. They will take place in North Hampton, Hampton, Hampton Falls, as well as on Hampton Beach on Wednesday, Nov. 11.