The United State Navy announced via official press release that Master-At-Arms 2nd Class Mark Mayo will be posthumously award the Navy and Marine Corp Medal at his burial this Friday.
Petty Officer Mayo died in the line of duty protecting his ship, the U.S.S. Mahan, on March 24th, 2014, after a civilian intruder boarded the Mahan, disarmed the Petty Officer of the Watch, and engaged in a shootout with Petty Officer Mayo and other responding sailors.
Petty Office Mayo died of his wounds onboard the Mahan after begin shot 4 times by Jeffery Savage. According to eyewitness reports, Petty Officer Mayo put himself in the line of fire to protect the disarmed watchstander.
The Navy Times reports that Vice Chairmen of Naval Operations Mark E. Ferguson will present the family of Petty Officer Mayo with the posthumously awarded Navy and Marine Corp Medal on Friday at his burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Navy and Marine Corp Medal is one of most rare medals awarded to Sailors and Marines, who often refer to the medal as the non-combat Medal of Honor. Petty Officer Mayo will join a class that includes former President John. F. Kennedy for his brave action following the sinking of PT-109 and the late Chief Boatswain Mate (BMC) James E. Williams, the most decorated sailor in history, for his brave action during the Vietnam War. The Navy Times sought out military decorations expert Doug Sterner, who was quoted as stating that “the Navy and Marine Corp Medal is the rarest in the Navy,” estimating that only between 5,000 to 10,000 medals have ever been awarded, but the exact numbers are unknown.
Petty Officer Mayo, a native of Hagerstown, Maryland, had served in the United States Navy for seven years and was stationed on board the U.S.S. Mahan as a Master-At-Arms. The Navy had previously honored Petty Officer Mayo with a memorial service at Naval Station Norfolk on April 7, 2014, which was attended by his Command as well as Officers and Sailors from the Mahan.
Petty Officer Mayo will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday at 1 p.m. EST.