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Navy Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason
Died August 6, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
37, of Kansas City, Mo.; assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team; died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down.
Fallen SEAL remembered as avid runner, athlete
The Associated Press
A severe arm injury during fighting in Fallujah in 2004 didn’t keep Matthew Mason off the Iraq War battlefield. Nor did it dull the competitive fire of the avid runner and former high school athlete from outside Kansas City.
Within five months of losing part of his left arm, absorbing shrapnel and suffering a collapsed lung, Mason competed in a triathlon. He soon returned to his SEAL unit.
“He could have gotten out of combat,” said family friend Elizabeth Frogge. “He just insisted on going back.”
Mason, the father of two toddler sons, grew up in Holt, Mo., and played football and baseball at Kearney High School. He graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1998. His wife, who is expecting their third child — another boy — also attended Northwest Missouri.
Mason returned to Missouri in May to compete in a Kansas City triathlon, and took his family to Walt Disney World for the first time this summer, Frogge said.
“He loved doing what he did,” she said. “He was the type of guy who thought he was invincible.”
Served on West Coast-, East Coast-based SEAL teams
Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Mo., enlisted in October 1999, according to the Navy.
Mason graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training in Coronado, Calif, in January 2001. He completed Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training in Coronado in June 2001, then reported to a West Coast-based SEAL team. He joined an East Coast-based SEAL team in June 2006.
His decorations include two Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation Medal with ‘V’ device for valor, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat ‘V’ device for valor, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons, two Presidential Unit Citations, Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, three Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, six Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, Rifle Marksmanship Medal and Pistol Marksmanship Medal.