I spent a lot of time the last few days reading about MA2 (Master At Arms Second Class) Mark Mayo and his heroic defense of his shipmates on the USS Mahon during an incident involving a civilian intruder. He was murdered in defense of his shipmate, his ship, his country, and you and me.
There’s an excellent quote from the Bible that covers this: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 Petty Officer Mayo is an outstanding example of the men and women who serve today in our military. I was saddened by the loss of this fine man, and with the details of the story emerging, it has become quite clear that he took a bullet meant for a shipmate in defense of the defenseless.
It’s terribly easy to dismiss the role of the military when you don’t understand what they do on a daily basis. The fact is that each and every person on active duty, reserve duty, guard duty, and some assorted state militias has signed a statement that they’d give their life if needed. Last time I checked Taco Bell doesn’t require that of their employees, nor do NBC, Honeywell, General Motors, AOL, Amazon, or any other outfit except the assorted flavors of law enforcement and rescue/firefighters in our nation.
It may sound trite, but there are two kinds of people: the kind that run from the sound of gunfire and the ones who run toward the sound of gunfire. MA2 Mayo was the latter. I am honored to have served in the same navy as this young man.
Today I was with a bunch of warriors. Some retired, some active duty, and we sat around the bar telling stories, making hand signals to describe a flight formation, lying about our prowess in areas from the bedroom to the boardroom, and honoring our betters. There was a glass of whiskey in the corner of Keegan’s Irish Pub and an empty chair for our POW/MIA brothers and sisters. And when the time came, I made a toast to Master At Arms Mark Mayo for his heroic sacrifice. A hearty “Semper Fi” and a round of grunts went up from the assembled Marines who had invited me to join them.
Brothers and sisters. All members of the tribe. All saddened at the loss of one of our nation’s finest young people.
Rest your oar, Sailor. You stand relieved of the watch. We’ll carry on from here.