A native of Columbus, Major General Raymond E. Mason Jr. (ret.) graduated from The Ohio State University in 1941. He served in the European Theater of Operations during World War II, in the Fourth Armored Division of General George S. Patton’s Third Army. He was a member of the active reserves for 35 years.
Gen. Mason is a graduate of the USA Command and General Staff College and attended the U.S. Army War College. Prior to retiring from the military in 1976, he held several high-ranking Pentagon positions, including Assistant Deputy Chief for Operations and Special Assistant to Deputy Chief of Logistics.
In 1949, Gen. Mason purchased Columbus Truck and Equipment Company and began a distinguished career in the transportation industry. Time magazine named him Truck Dealer of the Year in 1972, and he has received two awards from Mack Trucks.
In 2006, Gen. Mason gave funds to convert the endowed professorship in military history named after him to an endowed chair.
The current Mason Chair is Peter Mansoor, who assumed this position in September 2008 after a 26-year career in the U.S. Army that culminated in his service in Iraq as the executive officer to Gen. David Petraeus, the commanding general of Multi-National Force-Iraq, during the period of the surge in 2007-08.
Mansoor is author of two books about his service in Iraq: Surge: My Journey with General David Petraeus and the Remaking of the Iraq War (Yale University Press, 2014), which was a finalist for the inaugural Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History in 2013, and Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq (Yale University Press, 2008), honored by the Ohioana Library Association as non-fiction book of the year.
He is also editor, with Williamson Murray, of two books based on conferences held at the Mershon Center: Grand Strategy and Military Alliances (Cambridge University Press, 2016), and Hybrid Warfare: Fighting Complex Opponents from the Ancient World to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
His first book was The GI Offensive in Europe: The Triumph of American Infantry Divisions, 1941-1945 (University Press of Kansas, 1999), which won the Society for Military History distinguished book award and the Army Historical Society distinguished book award in 2000.
Mansoor is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Alpha Theta. His research interests include modern U.S. military history, World War II, the Iraq War, and counterinsurgency warfare.