(WJLA) - At Arlington National Cemetery, a proud and crestfallen family joined the nation in bidding an honorable and emotional farewell to a young American hero who sacrificed his life for others.
On March 24, a civilian named Jeffrey Savage, for no clear reason, boarded the U.S.S. Mahan at Naval Station Norfolk. He then attacked a female petty officer, and wrestled away her firearm.
Petty officer Mark Mayo, 24, of Hagerstown, rushed to the scene to shield his shipmate while the gunman opened fire, killing Mayo. The Navy believes that Mayo's selfless, final act saved countless lives, as the gunman was quickly killed.
"When it looked like his shipmates were in extremis, he ran to the fight," said Navy Vice Admiral Bill Moran, who presented the flag to Mayo's mother, and shared with us what he said to her:
"Please accept this symbol of our appreciation for your son's honorable, faithful and heroic service."
Prior to the burial, Mayo's family received the Navy and Marine Corps medal, an award considered the nation's highest non-combat decoration for heroism.