Soldier plays tribute to fallen comrades at Arlington National Cemetery

Sgt. Phillip J. Reddick plays taps in honor of fellow Va. Guard Soldiers Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker and Col. Paul M. Kelly Nov. 16, 2013, at their Arlington National Cemetery grave sites. Kelly and Booker were killed along with 10 other Soldiers Jan. 20, 2007, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter they were in crashed in Iraq.  (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Sgt. Phillip J. Reddick plays taps in honor of Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker and Col. Paul M. Kelly Nov. 16, 2013, at their Arlington National Cemetery grave sites. Kelly and Booker were killed along with 10 other Soldiers Jan. 20, 2007, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter they were in crashed in Iraq. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

ARLINGTON, Va. — Virginia National Guard Soldier Sgt. Phillip J. Reddick played taps in honor of fellow Va. Guard Soldiers Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker and Col. Paul M. Kelly Nov. 16, 2013, at their Arlington National Cemetery grave sites. Kelly and Booker were killed along with 10 other Soldiers Jan. 20, 2007, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter they were in crashed in Iraq. Reddick, an area coordinator and member of the Virginia National Guard Funeral Honors Program, joined more than 100 military buglers and trumpeters from 24 states in a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the sounding of taps by U.S. Army Bugler Keith Clark at the funeral of President John F. Kennedy.

Reddick attended church in Chesterfield with Booker and served in the same unit as both men. He offered to play taps at Booker’s memorial service, but since a bugler was already provided by Arlington Cemetery, Reddick served as a member of the casket detail. After volunteering to serve at the memorial service, he was invited to join the Funeral Honors Program when it was formed in 2007. He has personally supported the funeral honors for more than 850 veterans, and the Virginia Guard Funeral Honors Program has performed more than 11,000 military funerals.

“It was those two angels that led me into the honor guard,” he said.

In addition to honoring Booker and Kelly, Reddick said he was playing taps to remember the service of his grandfather who served in World War II and two uncles who served in Vietnam.

“It is an honorable thing, like no other,” he said of his service on the funeral honor team. “I will continue to do it until it is my time.”

During the ceremony, the musicians conducted a massed sounding of taps in the Old Amphitheater, then moved to sites throughout the cemetery to sound taps at noon.

The event was sponsored by Taps For Veterans, an organization devoted to providing live buglers for military funerals and ceremonies.

At the time of the crash, Booker was assigned to the 29th Infantry Division and Kelly was assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters – Virginia. Both Soldiers had previously served in the Sandston-based 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment. The unit was serving in Iraq in January 2007, and nearly 200 members of the battalion gathered in a chapel at their base west of Baghdad for a memorial service soon after the crash.

—–

Photos on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157637740296554/

More information:

Col. Paul M. Kelly bio at ArlingtonCemetery.net
http://arlingtoncemetery.net/pmkelly.htm

Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker bio at ArlingtonCemetery.net
http://arlingtoncemetery.net/ddbooker.htm

A Bugle Call Remembered: 50th Anniversary of Taps at the funeral of President John F. Kennedy
http://www.tapsforveterans.com/50th-anniversary-of-taps-jfk-funeral/

Related posts: