This is a neat story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Six-year-old Mason Rudder of Missouri dreams of one day becoming a Navy SEAL. His uncle was a SEAL and his grandfather was in the Air Force. Seeing the military men in his life has fired up passion in him to follow in their footsteps.
However, even though Mason frequently plays military games around the house, the young boy will be unable to live out his dream when the time comes. Rudder was born with Escobar Syndrome, a genetic disorder that limits his movement and decreases his range of motion.
Knowing their son’s wish will realistically never be fulfilled on a professional level, Mason’s parents, George and Suzanne Rudder, arranged for him to spend his birthday at the tactical training center in Farmington, Mo. to train with a former SEAL. Jared Ogden, an ex-Navy SEAL and current operations manager at Asymmetric Solutions, responded to a Facebook message from Mr. Rudder, agreeing to host Mason for a special “Navy SEAL for a Day” experience. Ogden worked with Mason to handle high-powered rifles and handguns, ultimately leading to a Taliban raid “mission”.
Mason’s mission was to detonate a bomb (similar to the one used to capture Osama bin Laden) and help his team enter a Taliban leader’s lair. “Team Mason” cleared several rooms and assassinated the target, who was represented by a mannequin.
Ogden said he hopes Mason will never forget his Navy SEAL experience, which was made complete with a Navy SEAL trident pin.
“I want to instill in him that there’s a lot of ways to serve. You can do it in a uniform. You can do it in a lot of different ways. Mason’s got the heart of a lion, and with that heart and attitude, he’s gonna go far. You wear that with pride. Good job, team leader.”
Watch younger Rudder participate in the mock SEALs operation in this video by Joel Currier of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.