Fallen Soldier: Matthew Mason

Matthew Mason
Dates: Died August 6, 2011
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Branch of Service: Navy
Rank: Chief Petty Officer (Seal)
Player: David Kitt

Navy Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Mo., died Aug. 6, 2011, in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed, killing all of his SEAL Team 6 teammates.

CPO Mason grew up in Holt, Mo., and played football and baseball at Kearney High School. He graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1998 where he met his wife.

A severe arm injury during fighting in Fallujah in 2004 didn't keep CPO 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 deployed seven times in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

"He could have gotten out of combat," said a family friend. "He just insisted on going back." He is a dual recipient of the Bronze Star with Valor Device, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal; he also received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with valor Device, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, among many others.

He is survived by his wife and three sons.