|Lt. Mayo flew a P-38 for the 475th Fighter Group similar to this one painted by John Shaw.|
Leo Mark Mayo could have been 100 years old today.
He was born on March 8, 1917 in Louisiana. His parents were also both born in Louisiana. His father was a teacher who later became a furniture salesman. Leo had one older sister and four younger sisters. By 1940 Leo had completed 4 years of high school and was enrolled in college and working as a salesperson.
He enrolled in the Air Corp on September 4, 1941 as an aviation cadet. He trained to fly P-38s and became a 1st lieutenant in the 432nd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group.
According to pacificwrecks.com:
On November 2, 1943 took off from North Borio Airfield (Dobodura No. 15) piloted by 1st Lt. Leo M. Mayo on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells over Rabaul. Weather was 6/10 scattered cumulus clouds from 10,000 to 18,000'.
Over the target, fifty to sixty Japanese fighters intercepted. Departing for Kiriwina Airfield, Lt. Mayo attacked a Japanese fighter from the rear opening fire and causing it to explode. A piece of wreckage from the exploded fighter impacted the right wing of this P-38. Mayo was observed to bail out and landed in the water. When Mayo failed to return, he was officially listed as Missing in Action (MIA).
This P-38 was seen to crash by 1st Lt. Howard A. Hedrick who reported in MACR 1263, page 4:
"I was flying no. 4 in Lieut. Mayo's flight when the accident occurred. We had started for Kiriwinia when Lieut. May saw a Tony and attacked it. He came up behind the Tony very fast and started firing from about two hundred (200) yards. The Tony started burning immediately but Lieut. Mayo kept closing. It exploded with Lieut. Mayo was very close and a large piece shaved his right wing off. He bailed out and landed in the water about fifty (50) feet off shore near Cape Mope, New Britain."
There is a memorial to Lt. Mayo at Hasley Cemetery in West Monroe, Louisiana.
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