Ardmore honors Iraq war veteran
ARDMORE, Okla. (KTEN) — Iraq war veteran First Lt. Jacob Mason will be honored at a funeral service in Ardmore on Monday afternoon.
Mason, 26, was killed in an August 25 training accident at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Mason's remains were honorably returned home to Oklahoma last week. Friends and family members said he made an immense impact during his short life.
"They took the time to write these memories of him and explaining how he touched their lives, and that says everything you need to know about him," said Rick Mason, Jacob's father.
The Masons were not expecting a large crowd when they arrived at the funeral home on Friday evening.
"We turn in there and there are 300 people standing up on the hill," Rick Mason said.
A friend took to social media to get the word out about the procession, and residents of Ardmore quickly gathered to honor Mason.
"I'm very thankful that so many people dropped everything so quickly to come out here, within just four hours of notice, to be here and welcome him home," said friend Alex Stubbs.
Mason was known for his service to others.
"He could've done anything in life that he wanted to do, but he chose to protect us and to represent his country," said mother Lisa Mason. "That's what he loved and not leaving anybody behind."
"He was a one-in-a-million type of guy," Stubbs added. "He was so nice, so funny... 'always went the extra mile' type of guy. I guess he showed that by sacrificing his life for us"
Mason's sister Jessica said it has been special to see how Jacob touched so many people.
"He's always been my protector," she said. "He's my big brother, and I'll always love him. That was really cool by getting to read all the different stories of how all these other people loved my brother. It was just really sweet to read, and comforting, and just very humbling to be like, 'Wow, Jacob... you did a lot, bro, and I'm just really proud of you.'"
Jacob Mason was commissioned as a U.S. Army officer in May 2019. After graduating from the basic officer leader course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mason was assigned to Fort Carson, Colorado, where he served in the S-3 operations section, 4th Attack Battalion.
Mason was later deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve from June 2020 to March 2021.
Awards include the Army Commendation Medal with Combat Device; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal with Campaign Star; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; and Air Assault Badge.
The funeral service for First Lt. Jacob Mason will take place at 2 p.m. Monday at the Church of Christ on Merrick Drive, 1951 Merrick Drive, in Ardmore.