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1st Lt James A. Mayo US Army- WWII


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I’m sad to say but I don’t know a lot about this man’s history, let alone his military service. Jim was my grandmother’s (step-dad’s mother) second husband. He was originally from Kerrville, Texas. We graduated from the University of Texas with an engineering degree. After serving in WWII, he settled in Port Arthur, Texas and took a job at Gulf Refining Company from which he’d eventually retire.  He was a gentleman’s gentleman.  He was quiet, unassuming, kind, and very generous. He was also one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known.  He passed away in 1996, if I recall correctly and it wasn’t until then that I found out he was a WWII veteran. Jim never spoke of his service to me. Years later, my grandmother passed away and I ended up with some photos of Jim in WWII. I am the family repository for all things military, which doesn’t bother me at all. I actually feel quite honored. 

I believe he initially enlisted in the Army in November of 1940 and rose to the grade of Sergeant while serving with the 36th Infantry Division. I can only assume that he later became an officer because of his college education as he attended OCS and went through artillery training at Fort Sill, October 1942- January 1943. He then served as an artillery officer in the 1st US Army's VII Corps. He was stationed in Bournemouth, England prior to D-day in 1944 and went to France via LST on D+20. It is unclear which exact artillery unit he was assigned to, but I know they operated the M1 8” (203mm) guns. So far, my research indicates that only one of the eight units operating those guns were stationed at Fort Sill, the 153rd Field Artillery Battalion. Jim received the Bronze Star from Gen Williston Palmer some time around March 1945 as per the censor stamp on a photo. 
 

The following photos are from that small collection. None of his uniforms, documentation, etc were offered to me. I don’t know if he kept anything like that or if he did, what happened to it. I guess it could have gone with his family elsewhere. 

 

The government is not currently processing records requests due to COVID and I’m not sure If I could get them anyway as I wasn’t “family”. I’m hoping you fine folks might be able to shed some light on this man’s service career. Thanks. 

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R. Patterson

Boatswains Mate

USCG 1998-2010

“The Boatswain’s Mate and Coxswain is A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF THEM ALL.”- 1944 edition of the BM2c training course material. 
“They gave us an engine that first went up and down. With some more technology, the engine went around. We know of steam and diesel, but what’s a main yard for? A sailor ain’t a sailor, ain’t a sailor anymore!”- The Last Shanty

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These two are from a series of photos taken at Fort Sill during Jim’s OCS and field artillery training. He can be seen seated fourth from the left in the first photo and in the left frame of the second. 

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R. Patterson

Boatswains Mate

USCG 1998-2010

“The Boatswain’s Mate and Coxswain is A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF THEM ALL.”- 1944 edition of the BM2c training course material. 
“They gave us an engine that first went up and down. With some more technology, the engine went around. We know of steam and diesel, but what’s a main yard for? A sailor ain’t a sailor, ain’t a sailor anymore!”- The Last Shanty

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On his second hand bicycle in Bournemouth, England just prior to D-Day. 

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R. Patterson

Boatswains Mate

USCG 1998-2010

“The Boatswain’s Mate and Coxswain is A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF THEM ALL.”- 1944 edition of the BM2c training course material. 
“They gave us an engine that first went up and down. With some more technology, the engine went around. We know of steam and diesel, but what’s a main yard for? A sailor ain’t a sailor, ain’t a sailor anymore!”- The Last Shanty

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May 1, 1945- Frankenberg, Germany 

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R. Patterson

Boatswains Mate

USCG 1998-2010

“The Boatswain’s Mate and Coxswain is A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF THEM ALL.”- 1944 edition of the BM2c training course material. 
“They gave us an engine that first went up and down. With some more technology, the engine went around. We know of steam and diesel, but what’s a main yard for? A sailor ain’t a sailor, ain’t a sailor anymore!”- The Last Shanty

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July 28, 1945- Haina, Germany 

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R. Patterson

Boatswains Mate

USCG 1998-2010

“The Boatswain’s Mate and Coxswain is A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF THEM ALL.”- 1944 edition of the BM2c training course material. 
“They gave us an engine that first went up and down. With some more technology, the engine went around. We know of steam and diesel, but what’s a main yard for? A sailor ain’t a sailor, ain’t a sailor anymore!”- The Last Shanty

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1945- Unknown locations in Germany. 
 

One photo shows a M1 8” gun named Son of Satan. Jim is kneeling second from the left. 

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R. Patterson

Boatswains Mate

USCG 1998-2010

“The Boatswain’s Mate and Coxswain is A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF THEM ALL.”- 1944 edition of the BM2c training course material. 
“They gave us an engine that first went up and down. With some more technology, the engine went around. We know of steam and diesel, but what’s a main yard for? A sailor ain’t a sailor, ain’t a sailor anymore!”- The Last Shanty

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Finally, General Williston Palmer awarding Jim with the Bronze Star. This is an official Army photo from the Signal Corps. It has been censored as seen on the reverse of the photo. Location and exact date are unknown, but censor stamps indicate April and March 1945. They got the name of his hometown incorrect. 🙄

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R. Patterson

Boatswains Mate

USCG 1998-2010

“The Boatswain’s Mate and Coxswain is A JACK OF ALL TRADES AND A MASTER OF THEM ALL.”- 1944 edition of the BM2c training course material. 
“They gave us an engine that first went up and down. With some more technology, the engine went around. We know of steam and diesel, but what’s a main yard for? A sailor ain’t a sailor, ain’t a sailor anymore!”- The Last Shanty

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