Jack B. Mayo was born on 26 December 1929

Became an F-80 pilot with the 36th Fighter Bomber Squadron (FBS) known as the "Flying Fiends", attached to the 8th Fighter Bomber Group (FBG), stationed at K-13, Suwon, Korea. By the end of February 1953 the 8th FBG’s veteran F-80s were being phased out and replaced with new F-86F-30 Sabre jet fighter bombers. 1st. Lt. Jack B. Mayo of the squadron’s Mike Flight took possession of aircraft FU-395, which he christened "Sonny Boy." The squadron’s first deep thrust into North Korea was against the Army General Headquarter, followed by a May Day assault on radio broadcasting stations at Pyongyang. In May 1953 Mayo would replace tour-expired Captain Jack Magee as flight leader of Mike Flight. During June and July the 36th conducted heavy bombing and strafe missions against enemy airfields to prevent any possible build-up of forces as cease-fire negotiations continued. Following the signing of the truce agreement on 27 July, the 36th FBS remained at Suwon Air Base for a further fifteen months, conducting training operations. On 19 October the squadron returned to its temporary home at Itazuke Air Base, Japan, where, over the next ten years, it participated in Fifth Air Force operations and exercises.

Married Jeanie Johnston in 1954 in Alexandria, Louisiana, while he was stationed at Alexandria AFB.

Was a member of the U.S. Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School’s (EFTPS) Class 60-D, together with fellow Group 1 candidate James Wood, and two pilots who made the final seven – Captains Virgil "Gus" Grissom and Gordon Cooper. Mayo graduated from EFTPS on 3 April 1957.

Captain Mayo was killed on 11 January 1961 when his F-105D (591730) crashed near Eglin AFB in Florida.

His friend, and fellow Group 1 aspirant, Lon Walter recalls that, "Jack Mayo and I were stationed together as air armament test pilots at Eglin AFB, Florida, in the late 1950s, assigned to the Test Operations Division. After being asked to participate in the Mercury astronaut selection program and undergoing the testing connected with that, we returned to our jobs at Eglin to await the selection results. As it turned out, we both were temporarily flying out of Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, Nevada, in April 1959, in connection with a huge aerial demonstration billed as the ‘World Congress of Flight’ when we read of the final Mercury selections in the local newspaper. Later, we each received a nice letter from NASA, attesting to our having been in the group of 32 finalists, and thanking us for undergoing the selection process.

"In the summer of 1960, our career paths diverged when I was transferred to Maxwell AFB, Alabama, to attend the USAF Air Command and Staff College. In January 1961, I received a phone call from a friend at Eglin, informing me that Jack had been killed while flying a test mission in an F-105 fighter aircraft. As I understand it, he was to test fire the M-61 "Vulcan" cannon while flying over the Gulf of Mexico. Over the radio, he was heard to count down ("10, 9, 8, etc.") until he squeezed the trigger, and at that point all communication was lost. As it turned out, there had been an explosion, and Jack went down with the aircraft."

 

1st Lieutenant Jack B. Mayo, USAF

Flight Leader, Mike Flight, 36th FBS, Suwon, Korea, 1953