U.S. Naval Academy Class Rings

Graduates Remembered

Admiral Henry Thomas Mayo

Mayo
Midshipman Henry T. Mayo

The Naval Academy Museum received Admiral Henry T. Mayo’s class ring on loan from his wife Mrs. Carrie Mayo on December 6, 1937.[1] Mayo’s ring is characterized by a gold band and setting and adorned with a class crest (an eagle, 2 dolphins, an anchor, and "'76") and "USNA" on the opposite side.

Admiral Henry Thomas Mayo was born on December 8, 1856 in Burlington Vermont. Cadet Midshipman Mayo graduated 14 of 42 cadet midshipmen from the Naval Academy on June 20, 1876.[2] Ensign Mayo served on gunboat USS Yantic (IX-32) in the Arctic during the 1883 Greely Relief Expedition. He was also a veteran of the Spanish American War and World War I. Rear Admiral Mayo’s sea commands included the USS Albany and battleship USS California. He commanded various battleship squadrons and divisions culminating as Commander Atlantic Fleet during World War I. For his service, he was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.[3]

As a Rear Admiral, Mayo was involved in the Tampico Affair. On April 9, 1914 a misunderstanding occurred between United States sailors and Mexican land forces loyal to General Victoriano Huerta. The incident eventually broke diplomatic relations between the two countries, and led to the occupation of the port city of Veracruz for over six months. Rear Admiral Mayo demanded a public apology and a twenty one gun salute to the American flag following Mexican officials’ seizure of a US crew on the Tampico wharf. It was this action and the refusal of the Mexican government to comply that prompted President Woodrow Wilson to seize the Mexican customs house at Vera Cruz, resulting in the city’s American occupation.

Rear Admiral Mayo died on February 23, 1937 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at the age of 80. The Navy named the destroyer USS Mayo (DD-422) in his honor.

Navy Distinguished Service Medal

Awarded for actions during the World War I:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to Admiral Henry Thomas Mayo, United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility as Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet in connection with the organization, training and maintaining of the fleet in a condition for war both in American and European waters.[4]

References

[1] United States Naval Academy Museum card file of Curator James Cheevers, retrieved January 7, 2014.

[2] United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, Inc., 2013 Register of Alumni, (Chesapeake, VA: Harris Connect, 2012), A6.

[3] William B. Cogar, Dictionary of Admirals of the U.S. Navy, Volume 2: 1901 to 1918, (Annapolis, MD, 1991), 180.

[4] "Hall of Valor," militarytimes.com, accessed May 5, 2016, http://valor.militarytimes.com/recipient.php?recipientid=16686.