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Staff Sgt. Johnnie V. Mason View/Sign Guest Book
Staff Sgt. Johnnie V. Mason

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Age:   32
Hometown: Rio Vista, TX
Date of Death: 12/19/2005
Incident Location: Mahmudiyah, Iraq
Branch of Military:   Army
Rank: Staff Sgt.
Unit: 717th Ordnance Company, 184th Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group (Expl
Unit's Base: Fort Campbell, KY

Johnnie V. Mason, an explosives expert, was nearly killed in July when a bomb went off prematurely, temporarily knocking out his hearing and giving him a raging headache.

But 15 minutes later, he was back on the job at the very same spot. "You are, without a doubt, nuts!" Sgt. Guillermo Thorne told him admiringly that day. Mason, 32, of Rio Vista, Texas, was killed Dec. 19 in Mahmudiyah by a bomb. He graduated high school in 1992, entered the Army that fall and was assigned to Fort Campbell.

At first, Mason became a door gunner and maintenance chief on Black Hawk helicopters. But he wanted to pursue one of the Army's most challenging and rigorous careers _ explosive-ordnance disposal.

"He found humor in everything he did," said Brook Mason, his widow. "He could read technical manuals and wiring diagrams and instantly understand them, and he'd be smiling the whole time."

He frequently prodded drivers to be more aggressive. When his Humvee once sideswiped a truck in heavy traffic, Mason quipped, "If you ain't rubbing, you ain't racing!"

He also is survived by a daughter, Ashley; and a son, Adam.
Source: Associated Press
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