World War IIUS Army Air Forces
561st Bomb Squadron, 338th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force
Service Number: 37705914
Inducted: September 1943
Killed in action November 5, 1944 southwest of Frankfurt, Germany
Buried: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
Air Medal w/two Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart
Son of Mrs. Lucile Mayo Strickland of Arkansas.
His hometown was Yuma.
Arlington National Cemetery
Crew of B-17G #38413
Yuma Pioneer November 9, 1944
Local Boy Decorated with the Air Medal
According to a release from an 9th Air Force Bomber Station, Sergeant John L. Mayo, 20, of Yuma, has been decorated with the Air Medal at this Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress station. Sergeant Mayo is tail gunner on a Fortress and the award was for "meritorious achievement" during the bombing attacks on the Nazi war industries and military targets in support of Allied ground forces. He is the son of Mrs. Lucile Strickland of Route Two, Shirley, Arkansas. Before entering the Army Air Forces in September of 1943, he was engaged in farming near Yuma.
Yuma Pioneer November 30, 1944
An Eighth Air Force Bomber Station, England Staff Sergeant John L. Mayo, 20, of Yuma, Colorado, tail gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress, has been awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal, at this Eight Air Force base. The award was for "meritorious achievement" during bombing attacks on Nazi war industries and military targets in support of Allied ground forces. He is the son of Mrs. Lucile Strickland of Shirley, Ark. Before entering the AAF he was engaged in farming.
Yuma Pioneer December 7, 1944
Another Yuma Man Missing in Action
Relatives in this vicinity have been informed that a message from the government to Mrs. Lucile Strickland of Shirley, Arkansas, informs her that her son, Staff Sergeant John L. Mayo, has been missing in action in Germany since November 5. The message was received by Mrs. Strickland on Thanksgiving day and followed within a day or two the information that he had been awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Air Medal. John was a tail gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress and was 20 years of age. Before entering the AAF he was engaged in farming near Yuma.
Incident Summary (provided by Ger Boogmans)
John L. Mayo was the tail gunner in the crew of a B-17G (43-38413) from the 561st Bomber Squadron based at Knettishall, Suffolk, England, on a bombing raid to Frankfurt, Germany, November 5, 1944. A flak hit set number 3 engine on fire which was seen to be smoking. The pilot dove down in a flat glide under control, apparently to try to extinguish the fire. He hoped to be able to reach the Allied lines. However, the situation onboard deteriorated and the pilot made an attempt to make a crash landing 3 km southeast of Kirchheim-Bolanden. This failed. The B-17 crashed at 1150 hours, was completely demolished and caught fire. Only three airmen could extricate themselves from the wreckage.
The seven members of the crew killed in the crash were buried in a common grave in the Parish Cemetery at Bolanden. Names of the crew were recorded from their identity tags. After the war individual identification proved impossible and the crew was reinterred in a group burial at Arlington National Cemetery, Fort Myer, Virginia.
Arlington National Cemetery headstone photograph donated by Tracy Wahl.
Go to previous page | next page.
Return to Gold Star Veterans Listing.