USS Mayo (DD-422)

USS Mayo (DD-422) was a Benson class destroyer that served with the neutrality patrol, on convoy escort duties, supported the invasions of North Africa, Salerno and Anzio and ended the war on escort duties in the Pacific.

The Mayo was named after Henry Thomas Mayo, who served in the US Navy from 1876 to 1921, fighting in the Spanish-American War and as Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet during the First World War.

The Mayo was laid down at Fore River by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corps on 16 May 1938, launched on 26 March 1940 when she was sponsored by Admiral Mayo’s daughter in law Mrs C.G. Mayo and commissioned on 18 September 1940.


After a short shakedown cruise the Mayo joined the neutrality patrol.

USS Mayo (DD-422) east of Nova Scotia, 1942 USS Mayo (DD-422) east of Nova Scotia, 1942

In July the Mayo formed part of Task Force 19, which was formed to escort a convoy carrying US Marines to Iceland to replace the British garrison.

This was a powerful fleet, built around the battleships Arkansas and New York and the cruisers Brooklyn (CL-40) and Nashville (CL-43) and protected by two destroyer divisions – Des Div 13 (Benson, Gleaves (DD-423), Mayo (DD-422) and Niblack (DD-424) and DesDiv 14 (Charles F. Hughes (DD-428), Hilary P Jones (DD-427) and Lansdale (DD-426) with DesDiv 60 as the outer screen (Bernadou (DD-153), Buck (DD-420), Ellis (DD-154), Lea (DD-118) and Upshur (DD-144)

The task force left Argentia on 1 July and reached Reykjavik on 7 July.

In August the Mayo patrolled off Argentia, Newfoundland, as part of the fleet protecting the meeting at which President Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to the Atlantic Charter.

She spend some of the rest of 1941 escorting convoys to and from Iceland.


After the entry of the United States into the war the Mayo carried out convoy escort missions across the Atlantic. For the first half of the year she escorted slow convoys mainly from Boston.

On 15 January she collided with the British trawler HMS Douglas in bad weather off Iceland.

On 15 May she left Newport as part of the escort for the seaplane tender Albermarle (AV-5) (Benson and Mayo (DD-422)) which was carrying aircraft to Bermuda. They arrived on 17 May, the aircraft were unloaded, and the Albermarle departed for Narragansett Bay.

On 2 June the Benson, Livermore (DD-429), Mayo (DD-422), Gleaves (DD-423), Niblack (DD-424) and Kearny (DD-432) departed from Halifax as part of the escort for Convoy AT 16, heading across the Atlantic.

On 16 June the New York (BB-34), Livermore, Kearny, Gleaves, Niblack, Benson and Mayo  departed from Greenock as part of the escort for convoy CT 1, arriving at Boston on 26 June. 

On 13 July the Mayo, Kearny, Gleaves and Livermore left New York to escort Convoy AS 4 to the Persian Gulf. On 16 July she helped rescue 20 survivors from the US refrigerated cargo ship Santo Rita, which had been sunk by U-172 on 9 July.

In the summer she began escorting fast troop convoys from New York.

On 6 August the Arkansas, Brooklyn (CL-40), Roe (DD-418), Ericsson, Madison (DD-425), Eberle, Nicholson (DD-442), Kearny, Mayo, Niblack, Benson, Gleaves, Hilary P. Jones (DD-427) and Charles F. Hughes (DD-428) left Brooklyn to escort a convoy of fourteen US, British and Polish troop transports to Halifax, arriving on 8 August.

On 3 September the Mayo rescued 247 survivors from the troop transport Wakefield (AP-21), which had caught fire. The Wakefield was badly damaged by the fire, and later by heavy rain while she was being repaired and had to be rebuilt from the waterline.

The Mayo didn’t take part in the initial landings of Operation Torch, but instead reached Casablanca four days later, on 12 November, escorting reinforcements.

She ended 1942 with a spell of training in Casco Bay.


The first half of 1943 saw the Mayo continue with her convoy escort duties.

In August 1943 the Mayo and DesRon 7 joined the 8th Fleet in the Mediterreanean.

The Mayo provide fire support and anti-aircraft fire in support of the invasion of Salerno on 8 September.

On 11 September the Savannah was hit and badly damaged by a radio controlled bomb. The Mayo helped escort the damaged cruiser on the first stage of her voyage back to Malta for repairs.


On 17-18 January she took part in amphibious landing exercises off Salerno, in preparation for the landings at Anzio.

From 22-24 January 1944 the Mayo supported the fighting at Anzio. However at 2001 on 24 January a massive explosion killed seven and wounded twenty-five and almost split her in two. The cause was probably a mine but may have been a guided bomb. She had a large hole in the waterline on her starboard side, a damaged propeller shaft and no steering control. She was towed back to Naples for temporary repairs, and then towed across the Atlantic. She reached the New York Navy Yard on 5 April and needed four months of repairs.

After her repairs were completed the Mayo returned to escort duties, carrying out one trip to Trinidad and four to Europe before VE Day.


As the war in Europe was coming to an end, the Mayo was allocated to the Pacific. On 5 May 1945 she left New York as part of DesRon 7.

At Pearl Harbor she joined the fast carriers of TG 12.4.

On 20 June the task group attacked Wake Island on its way past towards the western Pacific.

When the group reached Ulithi, the Mayo was used on escort missions between there and Okinawa.

After the Japanese surrender the Mayo joined the escort for the convoy carrying the first occupation forces. This departed on 24 August and landed on Honshu on 2 September.

She was part of the fleet present in Tokyo Bay during the Japanese surrender.

She was then used to escort ships carrying more troops from the Philippines to Japan.

On 4 September she left Tokyo with Madison and Benson (DD-421) to escort Transport Squadron 16 to Guam. On the way they were diverted to Leyte Gulf, arriving on 11 September. On 12 September the same three destroyers were ordered to Manila, arriving on 14 September.

In November she was ordered back to the United States. She left Yokohama on 5 November, reached Charleston on 7 December and was decommissioned on 18 March 1946.

The Mayo remained in the reserve until she was struck off on 1 December 1971. She was sold for scrap on 8 May 1972.

Anyone who served on her during four periods between 26 June and 7 December 1941 qualified for the American Defense Service Medal.

She won two battle stars during the Second World War, for the Salerno landings and for the Anzio landings.

Displacement (standard)

1,620 design
1,911t as built

Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed

37.89kt at 51,390shp at 2,065t on trial (Mayo)


2-shaft Westinghouse turbines
4 boilers
50,000shp design


6,500nm at 12kt design
5,520nm at 12kt at 2,400t wartime
3,880nm at 20kt at 2,400t wartime

Armour - belt


 - deck



348ft 1in


36ft 2in


Five 5in/38 guns
Five 21in torpedoes
Ten 0.5in AA guns
Two depth charge tracks
One Y-Gun depth charge projector

Crew complement


Laid Down

16 May 1938


26 March 1940


18 September 1940

Sold for Scrap

8 May 1972.

U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History, Norman Friedmann . The standard history of the development of American destroyers, from the earliest torpedo boat destroyers to the post-war fleet, and covering the massive classes of destroyers built for both World Wars. Gives the reader a good understanding of the debates that surrounded each class of destroyer and led to their individual features.
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 February 2023), USS Mayo (DD-422) ,

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