Slain Maryland Sailor Buried as Hero at Arlington

Friday, Apr 25, 2014  |  Updated 3:26 PM EDT
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Hero Sailor Slain at Norfolk Buried at Arlington

A sailor from western Maryland who was fatally shot protecting another sailor aboard a Navy destroyer was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery Friday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Mayo, 24, was posthumously awarded the Navy Marine Corps Medal -- the highest noncombatant decoration for heroism by a sailor or Marine.

The vice chief of naval operations, Adm. Mark Ferguson, presented the award to Mayo's family before the burial. The citation says Mayo acted with total disregard for his own safety when he dove between another sailor and a civilian truck driver who had seized her gun aboard the USS Mahan at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., March 24.

The Navy says Mayo's actions saved the lives of four others.

"Petty Officer Mayo's actions on Monday evening were nothing less than heroic. He selflessly gave his own life to ensure the safety of the Sailors on board USS Mahan," Capt. Robert E. Clark, Jr., commanding officer, Naval Station Norfolk, said shortly after Mayo's death. "Petty Officer Mayo's family has endured a tremendous loss, as have the men and women of Naval Station Norfolk, in the loss of a shipmate and friend."

Mayo enlisted in the Navy in Oct. 2007 and reported to Naval Station Norfolk in May 2011. He had been a military police officer since 2008.

He grew up in Hagerstown, Md., and graduated from Williamsport High School in 2007 after winning a county wrestling championship in his weight class. His high school teachers say he was a charming but fearless competitor for whom the Navy represented another step out of poverty.

The Navy says the 24-year-old sailor saved another sailor's life by jumping between her and a civilian gunman who was trying to board a ship. The gunman, civilian truck driver Jeffrey Savage, was killed by Navy security forces responding to the scene.

Savage was a convicted felon from Virginia who had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter in a 2005 shooting in North Carolina.

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