Rear Adm. Gary Mayes was raised in Indianapolis. Mayes graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in 1987 and received his commission from Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1988. He was designated a naval aviator in 1989. He also earned a Master of Military Studies from the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College in 1999 and graduated from the Joint Forces Staff College in 2002.
Mayes’ afloat and operational assignments in the SH-60B/R involved tours with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 and 46. He served as the executive officer and commanding officer, HSL 44.
He participated in operations conducted in Haiti, South America, the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Adriatic Sea and the Persian Gulf. He also served as the officer in charge of a combined East and West Coast HSL/HSM detachment of 16 helicopters conducting rescue and humanitarian relief missions in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that caused massive devastation to the Gulf Coast region. Mayes logged over 3,300 flight hours in fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
Ashore assignments include duty as a station pilot at Naval Air Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, flying the UH-1N and C-12B; Senate liaison officer in the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs; naval aide to the vice president of the United States; administrative aide to the secretary of the Navy; commanding officer of Naval Base Coronado; and deputy director, plans and programs, for Commander, Navy Installations Command. Prior to his promotion to Mayes was executive assistant to the assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment.
His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (five awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy Achievement Medal (three awards) and numerous campaign and unit ribbons.