Henry Thomas Mayo was born in Burlington, Vt., 8 December 1856. Upon graduation from the Naval Academy in 1876 he experienced a variety of naval duties including coastal survey. During the Spanish‑American War he served in Bennington off the west coast of North America. Appointed rear admiral in 1913, he commanded the naval squadron involved in the Tampico incident of 9 April 1914. His demands for vindication of national honor further accentuated the tense relations with Mexico.
Promoted to vice admiral in June 1915, as the new Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet, he received the rank of admiral 19 June 1916. For his organization and support of the wartime U.S. Naval Forces both in American and European waters, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and various foreign decorations. He evidenced foresight in urging the postwar development of fleet aviation.
Admiral Mayo retired 28 February 1921 and for 4 years served as Governor of the Philadelphia Naval Home. He retained his commission as an admiral by a 1930 Act of Congress. He died at Portsmouth, N.H., 23 February 1937.
(DD‑422: dp. 1,620; l. 374'4"; b. 36'1"; dr. 11'9"; s. 37.5 k.; cpl. 191; a. 5 5", 8 20mm., 5 21" tt., 2 dct., cl. Benson)
Mayo (DD‑422) was laid down 16 May 1938 by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Fore River, Mass.; launched 26 March 1940; sponsored by Mrs. C. G. Mayo, daughter‑in‑law of Admiral Mayo; and commissioned 18 September 1940, Lt. C. D. Emory in command.
Mayo joined the expanding neutrality patrol after shakedown and escorted marines to Iceland in July 1941 as they took protective custody of this key island. As President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill agreed to the Atlantic Charter during the second week in August, Mayo guarded their meeting by patrolling off Argentia, Newfoundland.
The formal entrance of the United States into World War II lengthened her convoy assignment beyond the western Atlantic. Escort of slow merchant convoys out of Boston gave way in summer 1942 to duty with fast troop transports out of New York. U‑boats and bad weather were not the only dangers to be encountered. When Wakefie1d caught fire 3 September Mayo swiftly moved alongside the burning ship and removed 247 survivors. With the invasion of north Africa, Mayo appeared at Casablanca, Morocco, 12 November, 4 days after D‑Day, to protect the landing of reinforcements. A retraining period at the end of the year in Casco Bay, Maine, temporarily interrupted convoy assignments.
With DesRon 7, Mayo joined the 8th Fleet in the Mediterranean in August 1943. She gave fire and antiaircraft protection to the beachhead at Salerno, Italy, 8 September and again 22 to 24 January 1944 to the assault beaches at Anzio. At 2001 on the 24th a sudden explosion killed seven and wounded 25 of her crew while almost breaking her in two. Despite a gaping hole at the waterline, starboard, she survived a tow back to Naples for a temporary patch, and 3 March began the long tow back to the States. Pulled into New York Navy Yard 5 April, Mayo required 4 months for repairs.
Mayo made a voyage to Trinidad and four to Europe before Germany was conquered. DesRon 7 sortied from New York 5 May 1945 for the western Pacific, and at Pearl Harbor joined fast carrier TG 12.4. Planes from this group struck Wake Island as a training gesture 20 June as the ships sailed on westward. Upon reaching Ulithi, Mayo began a series of escort missions to Okinawa. On 24 August she got underway escorting occupation troops which were landed on Honshu 2 September. She shepherded additional troops from the Philippines and Okinawa before sailing from Yokohama 5 November for San Diego and Charleston, arriving 7 December. She decommissioned 18 March 1946 and went into reserve at Orange, Tex., where she remains into 1969.
Mayo received two battle stars for World War II service.