Matthew D. Mason
Chief Petty Officer (SOC - SEAL) United States Navy
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 705-11
DOD Identifies Service Members Killed In CH-47
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of 30 servicemembers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died August 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.
The following sailors assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:
Lieutenant Commander (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana
Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, California
Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Arkansas
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii,
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Connecticut
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Massachusetts
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Missouri
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas,
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, West Virginia
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Michigan
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, California
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, North Carolina
Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah,
Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Nebraska
Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa,
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Florida, and
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah.
The following sailors assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, California, and
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minnesota
The soldiers killed were:
Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Aurora, Colorado
Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas
Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Grand Island, Nebraska
Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas; and
Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas
The airmen killed were:
Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Florida
Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, California; and
Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pennsylvania
All three airmen were assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, North Carolina
For more information about the sailors, media may contact Lieutenant Arlo Abrahamson at 757-763-2007 or 757-620-3109.
For more information on Carter, media may contact the Colorado National Guard public affairs office at 720-250-1053.
For more information on Nichols, Bennett and Duncan, media may contact the 11th Aviation Command public affairs office at 502-626-5746 or 502-851-3466.
For more information on Hamburger, media may contact the Nebraska National Guard public affairs office at 402-309-7302 or 402-309-7303.
For more information about the airmen, media may contact the Air Force Special Operations Command public affairs office at 850-884-5515.
UPDATE: August 12, 2011 -- Sergeant Hamburger was posthumously promoted
to Staff Sergeant.
Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Missouri, 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.
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 Navy SEAL unit., where he worked as a chief petty officer for the elite military squad.
"He could have gotten out of combat," said family friend Elizabeth Frogge, whose husband grew up with Mason in Holt. "He just insisted on going back."
Mason, 37, was one of 30 U.S. troops and eight Afghans whose CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down five days ago in Wardak province in Afghanistan. The Pentagon confirmed his identity Thursday after debating for several days whether to release the troops' names because of security concerns.
The father of two toddler sons played football and baseball at Kearney High School. He graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1998. His wife, who was expecting their third child another boy also attended Northwest Missouri.
Mason was a member of the Delta Chi fraternity and played baseball at the Maryville university, according to his high school coach. He also played baseball at Metropolitan Community College's Maple Woods campus, said Frogge.
Mason was most recently stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia, as a member SEAL Team 6 unit that killed Osama bin Laden. Military officials said none of the crash victims was on that mission in Pakistan against the al-Qaida leader.
Mason returned to Missouri in May to compete in a Kansas City triathlon, and took his young 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. We thought if anybody was going A to survive, it would me Mason."
The casualties included at least one other soldier with Missouri ties. Bryan Nichols, a 31-year-old pilot who was born in Hays, Kan., but later moved to Kansas City, was one of three Army reservists based in northeast Kansas who died in the deadliest single loss for U.S. forces in the decade-long war. The 22 Navy SEALs who died represent the deadliest single loss by the elite force.
Navy SEAL Matthew D. Mason will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery following services in Missouri and Kansas.
Mason, 37, was one of 30 Americans killed August 6, 2011 when a helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan by Taliban insurgents.
The chief petty officer had seven tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was severely wounded in 2004 in Fallujah, which was the largest battle of the Iraq War.
Mason, whose wife, Jessica, is from Omaha, was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor device, Purple Heart and numerous other commendations. His survivors include two children.
Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Kearney United Methodist Church in Kearney, Missouri.
The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at
Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.
MASON, MATTHEW D
Posted: 22 November 2011
Photos By Eileen Horan, November 2011