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Shipmates remember MA2 Mayo as 'a hero'

Apr. 7, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Master at Arms 2nd Class Mark Mayo was killed in a March 24 shooting on Naval Station Norfolk.
Master at Arms 2nd Class Mark Mayo was killed in a March 24 shooting on Naval Station Norfolk. (Navy)
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NORFOLK, VA. — Soft cries filled the auditorium as the chief of the watch three times called out for Master at Arms 2nd Class Mark Mayo, a call unanswered. The sobs were soon broken by the somber notes of Taps, as hundreds of sailors stood to honor their fallen shipmate, killed in a March 24 shooting on Naval Station Norfolk.

Mayo, 24, was fatally shot when he put himself between the petty officer of the watch and Jeffrey Savage, a civilian truck driver not authorized to be on the base. Many details of the encounter remain unclear, including Savage’s motivation for storming the destroyer Mahan’s quarterdeck and stripping the petty officer of the watch of her weapon around 11 p.m. on that Monday night.

Mayo was remembered as a courageous, bold and selfless sailor at a memorial service held here Monday morning.

Capt. Robert Clark, head of Naval Station Norfolk, described Mayo as an “illustrious warrior” with noble qualities and a courage that comes from deep within.

Lt. Errol Johnson, a security officer, said Mayo had no mask, but character; no cape, but courage; no super powers, but self-sacrifice ... "he is the true definition of a hero."

"We owe our lives to his actions," said Cmdr. Zoah Scheneman, skipper of the destroyer Mahan. Mayo will “live forever in Mahan, and in the hearts of the sailors who walk her decks.”

MA2 Virgil Savage described his friend as a devout Dallas Cowboys fan, and a “little guy [who] carried himself life a giant.”

And MA2 Namon Houston, fighting back tears, said he was “proud to say I was Mark Mayo's friend.”

Many are calling for the awarding Mayo the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the highest non-combat heroism award.

Mayo, a Hagerstown, Md., native, enlisted in the Navy in October 2007 and reported to Naval Station Norfolk in May 2011, according to Navy personnel records. He had been advanced to MA2 on June 16, 2012. He had previously served in at Rota, Spain, and Bahrain.

His awards include the Good Conduct Award, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon.

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