MA2 Mayo could rate rare medal


NavmarineA petition to award Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mark Mayo the Medal of Honor has appeared on the White House’s website, but a leading expert in military decorations says that’s not in the cards.

Navy officials say Mayo was gunned down the night of March 24 while attempting to protect quarterdeck watch standers on the destroyer Mahan, after a man identified as 35-year-old truck driver Jeffrey Savage, an ex-convict, gained access to the pier and disarmed the ship’s petty officer of the watch.

“He doesn’t qualify for the Medal of Honor because it wasn’t in combat,” said Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran who manages the Military Times’ Hall of Valor awards database. “But what this sounds like is a Navy and Marine Corps Medal.”

If the early accounts of Mayo’s actions bear out in the investigation, his actions would rate one of the rarest of all military decorations, Sterner said.

“It’s no small honor,” he said. “It’s what’s known as the non-combat Medal of Honor.”

Sterner said the Navy and Marine Corps Medal has only been awarded between 5,000 and 10,000 times since its creation in 1942.

In order of precedence, the medal ranks below the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross, but above the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.

Notable recipients of the award include President John F. Kennedy for his actions to save his crew on PT-109, and James E. Williams, the most decorated enlisted sailor in history.


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  1. Angela Walker on

    I think this courageous man deserves more then just a medal! He have his life so that those on that quarterdeck could live another day!!! This man at 24 years of life showed more character for one act then many do in their entire life, myself included!

  2. I am honored to know a retired Marine who is the recipient of this very same medal. His actions at the federal building in Oklahoma City, on the day of that horrible bombing, saved the lives of many people. He went back into the building numerous times after the destructive explosion to recover victims and get them to aid.

  3. I believe that MA2 Mayo deserves to be honored for his bravery. Medals are not going to bring him back and his family suffers because of an individual that laced moral turpitude.
    I think the next Navy Ship to be named should be named after this brave sailor. His family should be there for the launch and commissioning ceremony.

  4. I don’t think he rates the Medal of Honor, but historically, there have been a few non-combat medals given out. I think the navy and marine medal is the perfect award. It doesn’t focus on the heroism but more so on the duty, camaraderie and the absolute selflessness MA2 Mayo exhibited.

  5. Pamela L Dolen on

    Like I wrote on another page regarding this!! MA. Mayo deserves everything we could give him! Have you thought about why that gentleman was on that particular ship?? What was he planning?? He could have been trying to do anything!! A Part of my family lives in Norfolk and Portsmouth. And I thank God that so called gentleman didn’t get any further then he did!! And as far as the combat requirement goes the last time I checked we were still at war with terrorists!!

  6. There have been numerous MOH’s awarded for non direct combat actions.There is no requirement that a heroic action be during direct combat. Gen.MacArthur,Wainwright, T.Roosevelt all were awarded medals based on heroic leadership during a crisis.

  7. Pat Patterson on

    Yes, the Navy and Marine Medal would be appropriate for jumping into the line of fire to save someone.

  8. I believe MA2 Mayo was doing his job and doing it properly and it is unfortunate that he lost his life doing so. Did he do anything special other than what was his duties…I don’t think so. But he should be honored by his family receiving the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his actions. My thoughts and prayers go out to this Marine, his family and friends and yes he does deserve an award. And naming a ship after him would be an honor that so many could share and remember who he was. A Marine and Hero. Let his name go down with all the other good Military Personnel who gave their all while doing their duty. Bless him and his family.

  9. He wasn’t a Marine. MA2 is a Navy rating. Yes he should receive the medal but not a ship named after him. A life was lost, nothing can replace that. He was still doing his duty.

  10. What is the point of the watches he and others stand if were not considered at war. We are trained to act like were at war and stay alert. If he doesn’t get the medal then why should members of the military take watch seriously?

  11. David Johnson on

    He gave his life to protect others if that don’t say medal of honor I don’t know what does. Please please give the hero the medal of honor he and his family need this. I was a military police officer and can’t think of anything more deserving than the medal of honor. RIP MY brother

  12. Medal of Honor is for bravery in leadership in my opinion, the Navy and Marine Corp. medal is for bravery, much more appropriate in this situation

  13. Jojo,
    This is not the time or place for those type comments but while I do believe not all women are suited different duties, I am a MA1 (E-6) and I have been in plenty of aggressive situations with nice sized Marines and my weapon has never been taken away. While I agree that training needs to be more thorough, I seriously doubt this person was trained on various weapon retention techniques. I’ve seen just as many males fold up or have their weapons taken than females so you can take that ish somewhere else. OAN I had the distinct honor of serving with MA2 Mayo and my prayers go out to his family….may they eventually find peace again.

  14. I agree with Samantha completely. This is no place to be making those types of comments. I am a realist and I believe that many times, bad things just happen. You cannot realistically prepare for every scenario. The only thing we can do is to thank MA2 Mayo, who I also served with in Rota, Spain, and thank his family for raising him to turn into the type of man he became. We can also pray for him and his family. He will be missed greatly by those of us who knew him. God Bless.

  15. I bet the person he saved believes he deserves this medal and more! That young man did something a lot of others probably wouldn’t do! He laid down over that solider and saved her life! WOW WOW WOW!! How Awesome is HE! And lost His life! Bless Him and His Family! This medal will not bring Him back! But may give His Family comfort, that showed they’re Solider gave His Life for Someone else!! And yes we are surrounded by terrorist! Even here in America! He should get this MEDAL!! This Man was a Very Brave Soldier!! And did His Job! Whoever would have thought it would have been on a base here in Norfolk, Where He should have BEEN SAFE!! That guy should have been checked before being allowed on that Base!! SAD SAD! However let Him through that gate should be in big trouble!

  16. As an MA I can’t believe the comments by Michael golden!! Really he didn’t do anything special? MA2 not a marine dove in front of another individual and made the ultimate sacrifice, when was the last time you made a sacrifice that was life altering? I’m pretty sure they don’t train us to jump in front of bullets and catch them with our bodies. Michael golden MA2 is a true hero, he was not a marine, and he deserves the highest praise. If you don’t think so protest it and see what kind of responses you get around Hampton roads where he was known.

  17. In reply to Michael Golden, you’re completely wrong about MA2 not doing anything special other than his duties. MA2 didn’t have to jump in front of bullets to save his shipmate. He could have allowed her to be killed, and then neutralize the shooter himself. But he went beyond the call of duty and sacrificed himself to save his shipmate. Would you have done the same? So please don’t make anymore uninformed comments because it makes you look foolish.

  18. I would never save anyone who had a gun and had it taken. I would shoot the Intruders and leave her to fend for herself. Why die for someone if they have the same means to defend themself and freeze up in the process. They are putting your life in danger just like in the case of MA2. Mayo

  19. Having served in the Navy, retired MACS I fully understand what may have happen MA2 Mayo responded as any good MA would have, he did what he was trained to do and did a great job. Watch standers don’t always get the training they need, especially in weapons retention and they often don’t have that mindset of keeping people off of them. Whenever your armed you have to always maintain a higher sense of awareness. And anyone can be disarmed, having served as a sworn police officer in three different cities I can tell you I ‘ve seen some girls (female officers ) that I would be proud to have as partners protecting my back. I’m sure this young lady did everything she could in her power to keep this from happening. My heart goes out to her and MA2 Mayo’s family thank you for your sacrifice and I hope they do name a ship after him.

  20. Completely agree. His bravery merits the Navy and Marine Corps Medal…but the medal of honor? No. There is plenty of reason to be proud of a Navy and Marine Corps medal.

  21. Jeremie Trujillo on

    Wow! I can’t believe I’m seeing all these different comments about MA2 Mayo. I knew him very well and have served with him too. This was a great man! Sadly to see his life gone at a blink of an eye.

    As an MA and soon to be retired, MA2 Mark Mayo is a true “HERO” in my book. He re-acted spot on. He re-acted in the way that we have been trained to do over and over again.

    There was just another “ACTIVE SHOOTER” yesterday at Ft. Hood and people lost their lives. They are still recovering from the last “ACTIVE SHOOTER”. Those brave men and woman did what they had to do, respond how they are supposed to respond.

    MA2 Mark Mayo sacrificed “HIS LIFE” in the “LINE OF DUTY”! Even though we are only military police officers, we still do all the same things as regular civilian police officers do out on the street.

    So, for MA2 Mark Mayo to receive the Medal of Honor is a must! Every day we are out on the streets patrolling, responding to calls to service and emergencies i.e. deaths, suicides, domestics and such.

    We are always “IN HARMS WAY”; you don’t know when things can pop off in a split second. All you do is re-act as quickly as you can and not stand their watching someone else and peeing in their pants! HE DESERVES THE MEDAL OF HONOR!

    MA2 Mark Mayo surely and certainly has earned it and has the right to be called a “HERO”. He saved how many lives on the ship?? Hundreds!! Let alone the quarterdeck watches life too!! He put his life on the line so that the quarterdeck watch can go back home to her family and loved ones; in which MA2 Mark Mayo can’t!

  22. Ami Kowalczyk on

    He is one of very few that deserve it. I did not know him but we were in Bahrain together. People have nothing but good things to say about him!

  23. I believe this man, MARK MAYO had put his life on the line everyday as his friend Jeremie Trujillo had stated they are like MP’s. I was in the Army (13 Foxtrot). I have some very interesting stories from friends that are MP’s. These things go down just like a city/suburban cop would have to respond to at a moments notice. It is nerve-racking sometimes to have to be on-call like that. To distinguish exactly WHAT the medal of honor is awarded for, in honor of Mark Mayo. Please read this part especially:
    The Medal of Honor was created in 1861, early in the American Civil War, to give recognition to men who distinguished themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity” in combat with an enemy of the United States.
    Mayo was clearly gallant and intrepid. Being intrepid this to be fearless. People can bullshit and say they are fearless. When the shit hits the fan. To push aside that fear in order to do what you think needs to be done is courage and honor. He was in combat with a possible terrorist as far as he was concerned at that time. From reading all of the published comments that everyone had written about Mark Mayo. This person was definitely a high-value target for the United States as soon as he had incapacitated that other guard and stepped foot onto United States’s Navy Base.
    Just suppose the “civilian possible terrorist” did get past the odds of all those other soldiers he needed to. What do you think would’ve happened next? Seriously assholes…. Have some fucking respect!!!!

    For him to choose to jump on someone else, in order to save them, and isn’t considered an act of COURAGE AND HEROISM. Please disregard that Vietnam Veteran that’s trying to speak ill of the dead. He’s obviously getting a little old and probably going through spots of dementia. That man should not be in the position he’s in. I see it happening all the time with the Vietnam Veterans
    talking trash bc they fought a war that they were never going to win. I’ll give respect to any and all members of the Armed Forces that the Vietnam War was much harder in certain things due to technology but everything else related. To participate in that fight with hand-to-hand combat in which sometimes it came down to. You should be commended for that. For a lot of men, it was against their will at first to be enlisted back then with flying bullets overhead, or flying drones today still doesn’t change what war on terror is.

    We should not be threatened in our home. We may not be the richest country anymore but we’re still pretty powerful. I don’t agree with politics a lot of the time but I believe in protecting our country.

    I wish I could go back into the Army and continue my MOS (13F), but it’s not possible for me due to an injury. I can’t do the same things I used to and it truly aggravates me. Although my life still goes on.(MA2) Mark Mayo’s won’t. From what I’ve read Mark Mayo was definitely a man to admire bc of all the good things he did and whom he was sounds like he had character.

    One other possible scenario that comes to mind to me, for him to push aside his fears, do his job, and get it done could have been his capacity to love whether or not it was romantic. He put his life down for another to live. That ceremony for the medal of honor would definitely keep his family in higher spirits than they are now.

    God, I know you’re taking care of Mark Mayo for his act of heroism, but please also bless Mayo’s family in these next few weeks, months, or years that they don’t have their son. Please also do this in order to help support them and give them strength to carry on without him for they will be reunited with him in eternity. Mayo did pay the ultimate price and died, but he did it for another to live. I’ve seen some people run when the shit hits the fan and bullets are flying, but he stepped up as a man and took care of another sailor directly. Plus the hundreds of other lives that were on base /board. He was vigilant at his post just as every other should be at all times. Then he went above and beyond his call of duty. Mark Mayo deserves that MEDAL OF HONOR.

  24. SFC Stevenson on

    I respect what PO Mayo did. But, in the end, he was doing his job. The job he volunteered for and was trained for. I’m not sure why people are drawing such a huge distinction from what every Infantry soldier does on a daily basis when he mans his weapon and protects his buddies.

  25. Kevin Mccormick on

    Everyone keeps saying MA2 Mayo was doing his duty, 24 yrs in the USN what training prepared you to do what he did, numerous MOH have been awarded for soldiers diving on a grenade to save fellow soldiers where is this different except in was state side.

  26. MA2 Mayo,

    Even though you are not with us anymore, I just wanted to take the time to personally thank you for being not just a United States Sailor but an exemplary human being as well. You have shown another generation what it means to serve and sacrifice. For that, shipmate, I am proud to say that I was a part of this forever brotherhood too. You have taught me to re-evaluate my own life and to appreciate every day like it were my last. Thank you for your service and we are ALL indebted to you. Rest in Peace shipmate.

  27. Michael Dye, AT1, Ret. on

    Let’s look at this logically. Leave the emotions out of it… The MOH is ONLY for uncommon acts of bravery, involving risk of life, performed DURING COMBAT, in theater. PERIOD!

    MA2 Mayo performed an act of uncommon bravery, which cost him his life, NOT during combat, in theater.

    Bottom line. His act, while heroic, DOES NOT meet the requirements for the Medal of Honor. It absolutely DOES meet the standards required for the Navy & Marine Corps Medal and that is the proper award… According to the regs.

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