A Salute To Our Service, Fire & Police Personnel - September 2014
HENRY BENJAMIN MASON, PFC, U.S. Army,   Serial Number 33040540

Hampton and Henry, somewhere in England prior to D-Day

Henry Benjamin Mason was born in 1917 in Charlotte County, VA. the son of Alexandria & Cora F. Mitchell Mason, and died on June 16, 1944 in Normandy, France.  
Henry enlisted in the U. S. Army on February 27, 1941, at Richmond, VA., where after basic training, he was assigned to the 9th. Infantry Regiment, where he saw battle action
the years leading up to the Normandy Invasion.

Henry was followed into service by his brothers, Hampton and Hillary, both of whom survived the war.

9th. Infantry Regiment Insignia and 2nd. Infantry Division Insignia

Henry is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France.


Omaha Beach as seen from the Normandy Cemetery

Of the first units authorized in the United States Army, the 9th Infantry Regiment, known as the "Fighting Ninth", is one of the oldest and most decorated active duty infantry units. The Act of July 16th, 1798 authorized the establishment of twelve additional regiments of Infantry for the U. S. Army, and in January of the following year the 9th, consisting of men recruited from Maryland with Josiah C. Hall as its' Lientenant Colonel, came into existence. A year and a half  later it was disbanded, only to re-surface for service in the War of 1812. After the war it was again disbanded due to army re-organization.

Indeed, the history of the 9th Regiment was interlaced with  every major conflict during the entire period of our existence as a nation. Its traditions stem from its first organization, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Indian Wars, the Spanish American War, three tours in the Philippine Islands, the Boxer Rebellion, World War I, World War II. the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Panama, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Having already been involved in combat and being "combat hardened", the 9th did not participate in the June 6th landings at Omaha, but instead were sent in on the 10th to strengthen and aid in the defense of the territory so recently conquered.

A portion of the esteem  of  an organization arises from its history and traditions. The 9th U.S. Infantry Regiment, known by all who served or encountered her as the "Fighting Ninth" and more recently by the additional title "Manchu", is a proud association, rich in history and in traditions as numerous and renowned as those of any combat unit in the history of warfare.

Pictures by and with the permission of:  Dan Phelan, Baltimore, MD.