Oregon Army National Guard 1st Lt. Nicolas "Nic" Mason of Milton-Freewater returned from Iraq on April 21. He was a member of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Headquarters Company 141, Convoy Security Battalion. The Brigade secures and escorts supply trucks from one destination to another, he said via e-mail. A de-mobilization ceremony was April 21 at the University of Portland. His brigade deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on May 1, 2009. "We completed our mission and I am proud of all the soldiers that I served with. I believe that we benefited the country of Iraq."
While deployed, Nicolas received the Bronze Star, Army Achievement, National Defense Service and Global War on Terrorism Service medals, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign star, a Combat Action Badge, an Overseas Service Ribbon and the Armed Forces Reserve and Oregon Faithful Service medals with M devices.
He will take a job at the National Guard Bureau in October. Located in Arlington, Va., the Bureau is headquarters for the U.S. Army and Air National Guard. "It will be a challenge but a tremendous opportunity as well. I am looking forward to it," he said.
The Walla Walla native grew up in Milton-Freewater. He graduated from McLoughlin High School in 2001 and from Oregon State and Liberty universities. His parents are Bruce and Carolyn Mason of Milton-Freewater.
Walla Walla High School senior Emma Burgess and Walla Walla Valley Academy senior Andrew Scott received the Exchange Club of Walla Walla Youth of the Year Awards this month, based on the theme, "Inspired by the power of community service."
They were given $1,000 college scholarships from Exchange Club and a personalized plaque as a keepsake. Emma will receive an additional $1,000 as she was selected as the club's Northwest District Youth of the Year scholarship recipient.
Her nomination packet has been forwarded to the national level for consideration by the organization's highest Youth of the Year award to be named July 22 in Palm Springs, Calif.
Emma is the daughter of Dana and Melinda Burgess. She hopes to study nursing at Gonzaga University. The son of Julie and Kraig Scott, Andrew has an appointment to the Military Academy at West Point and plans to major in history or economics.