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King George, Stafford Guardsmen among 22 killed in suicide blast at U.S. base.
Date published: 12/22/2004
Photo gallery: View images from Mosul
Two Virginia National Guardsmen from Stafford and King George counties were among 22 people killed yesterday in the attack on a military facility in the northern Iraq city of Mosul.
Family members confirmed today that Spec. Nicholas "Nick" Mason, a 2002 King George High School honors graduate, died in what military officials are now calling a suicide bombing.
The identity of the Stafford soldier has not been released. But Gov. Mark Warner's office contacted Stafford officials this morning to ask them to fly the flag at half-staff in honor of someone from the jurisdiction who had been killed in Iraq, county spokeswoman Cathy Riddle said.
The 20-year-old Mason originally served with the 229th Engineer Battalion in Fredericksburg. He was reassigned to the 276th Engineer Battalion out of Richmond when it was mobilized last December, according to Lt. Col. Chester Carter, spokesman for the Virginia National Guard.
Mason's father, King George Court Clerk Vic Mason, said he understood his son had been scheduled to leave Iraq in February and be home by March.
"The main thing was, he was proud to be in the Army, proud to do what he felt was right for himself and his country," Vic Mason said today.
Nick Mason wrestled on the school team for four years, serving as captain the last three. He also was on the cross-country team for three years and was a volunteer firefighter in the county.
He had been attending Virginia Tech on a full scholarship from the National Guard.
The governor's office declined to release the name of the Stafford soldier killed pending notification of the victim's family. Under Defense Department policy, names are not released until 24 hours after all families have been contacted, Army spokeswoman Maj. Elizabeth Robbins said.
Forty-three Guardsmen from the Fredericksburg unit were deployed to Iraq last year. Some are stationed at Forward Operating Base Marez, where yesterday's attack occurred. Others are farther south at a more remote base.
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