NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Officials at Naval Station Norfolk remembered fallen Sailor MA2 Mark Mayo as a hero in a news conference Wednesday. His family told media he was a hero and much, much more.
“On behalf of my officers and crew, I want to offer my thoughts and prayers to the family of MA2 Mark Mayo,” said Cmdr. Zoah Scheneman, Commanding Officer of USS Mahan.
Petty Officer Mayo died while serving as the chief of the guard on USS Mahan late Monday night. His job was to provide security on base and the ships docked at the naval station. The Navy says the 24-year-old died heroically, sacrificing his life to save another.
While MA2 Mayo was on USS Mahan Monday night, he noticed a petty officer in a struggle with an intruder. He ran to her rescue and confronted the civilian suspect.
“He jumped into the way, between the gunman and petty officer of the watch,” said Capt. Robert Clark, Commanding Officer of Naval Station Norfolk. “She fell to the ground. He covered her and gave his life for hers.”
MA2 Mayo was fatally shot by the suspect.
The news is heartbreaking for his family back in Hagerstown, Maryland, but in an interview with local media, each member made it clear how incredibly proud they are of Mayo.
“He served his country and protected people. He was a protector and he believed in what he did,” said Sharon Blair, Mayo’s mother. ” … He knew what he needed to do, and I praise God that he did.”
“I was proud of my brother when he joined the service and I still am,” said Mayo’s brother, Timothy Borum. “I’m just trying to understand why and how this happened. I’m still trying to grasp it.”
Mayo enlisted in the Navy right out of high school in 2007. A couple years later he was transferred to Naval Station Norfolk where he became a Military Police Officer.
“His job was military police it is a high risk thing and he did what he had to do to serve his country,” added Mayo’s father, Decondi Mayo. “He did his job.”
Mayo’s mother indicated his choice of work was not a surprise, that it was core to who he was as a person: “Ever since Mark was about the age 8-years-old, Mark told me he wanted to be a police officer,” Blair said. “When they were young, they used to play cops and robbers and Mark was the cop of course.”
WAVY’s sister station in Hagerstown spoke to his high school teachers and coaches, who remember MA2 Mayo as charming, with a competitive streak. One coach said he joined the Navy to further his education.
“His bravery and professionalism personified the plans and policies we have in place, working together in support to protect each other,” said Cmdr. Scheneman.
Many comments are being left about MA2 Mayo on the Officer Down Memorial Page, located here.