Fredericksburg ceremony to honor Soldiers killed in 2004 Iraq bomb attack

Sgt. Nicholas C. Mason and Sgt. David A. Ruhren

Sgt. Nicholas C. Mason and Sgt. David A. Ruhren

SANDSTON, Va. — The Virginia National Guard will host a memorial ceremony to honor at 9 a.m. Dec. 6, 2014, at the Fredericksburg Readiness Center. Mason and Ruhren were killed in action during a suicide bomb attack on Dec, 21, 2004, on Forward Operating Base Marez, in Mosul, Iraq. The attack killed 22 people, including 14 U.S. troops, and injured 70 others.

“This memorial service is our way to honor and remain connected to the selfless service and sacrifice of these two Soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. “This also serves as a fitting way to ensure that future generations remember.”

Mason and Ruhren were both combat engineers and members of the 229th Engineer Battalion, which is now the 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, based in Fredericksburg. They mobilized with the 276th Engineer Battalion for their deployment to Iraq in 2004.

Shortly after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, both Mason and Ruhren enlisted in the Virginia Army National Guard at age 17. Upon completion of military training in 2003 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., both Soldiers were assigned to Company A, 229th Engineer Battalion.

Mason, a native of King George, was 20 at the time of his death. He is survived by his father Vic Mason, mother Christine Mason and sister Carly Mason. He was a 2002 honor graduate of King George High School where he was a star wrestler, cross-country runner and track athlete. He completed his freshman year at Virginia Tech and was preparing for his sophomore year before being called to active duty with the Virginia Guard.

Ruhren, a native of Stafford, was 20 at the time of his death. He is survived by his mother Sonja Ruhren. He graduated from Garfield Senior High School in 2002 where he was active in many extracurricular activities including wrestling and football. He was one of the first members of the Garfield Senior High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC Program when it was established, and was promoted to the rank of cadet lieutenant by the first semester. While serving in the Guard, he took classes to become an EMT at the Rock Hill Fire Dept in Stafford.

Current and former members of 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 229th Engineer Battalion and 276th Engineer Battalion will be on hand for the ceremony that is scheduled to include a roll call of the fallen, 21 gun salute and remarks from Soldiers who served with both Mason and Ruhren.

The Virginia National Guard has lost 10 Soldiers to hostile enemy action since Sept. 11, 2001. The full list is online at the following link: http://vaguard.dodlive.mil/remember_the_fallen/

The ceremony is open to the public. The address for the Fredericksburg Readiness Center is 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway.

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