Norfolk, Va. - It's been more than a year since a Norfolk sailor Petty Officer Second Class Mark Mayo was shot and killed aboard the USS Mahan. Now, for the first time, we're hearing from Navy officials about who is being held responsible.
"My job is to ensure that doesn`t happen again,” says Rear Adm. Rick Williamson, Commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. “I will do everything within my power."
Williamson has replaced the head base security officer, who was in charge of both civilian and military police. A higher ranking officer is now in charge.
Also, three of the five civilian police officers who were guarding Gate 5 that night have been given disciplinary notices. Two have since resigned. Williamson says the guards allowed Jeffrey Savage, an unauthorized civilian truck driver, on base without ever checking his ID.
“The training was there,” Williamson says. “They did not execute that training. I don`t know why that happened. My job is to ensure that doesn`t happen again.”
The three guards could face anything from suspension to termination, but that decision won't come until next month. Williamson says in the meantime, they can appeal.
“That process is a very deliberate process, very prescribed process,” he says. “I have to inform those individuals the evidence that has come from the investigation. I have to give them the opportunity to respond to that information, seek council if it’s going to resort in an adverse action in this case it will and we proceed from there.”
Savage didn't only get through gate security. He walked right past a sentry at Pier 1, then up the brow of the USS Mahan, where he took the watch stander's gun. Savage was not stopped until MA2 Mayo ran over to help. He jumped in front of the female guard as Savage started shooting.
Mayo was killed and another sailor then shot and killed Savage.
“We`re committed to learning from this,” Adm. Williamson says. “We`re committed to getting better.”
The learning process has included adding more security at piers, fixing faulty equipment, like security cameras that weren't working that night and making sure officers always wear protective vests. Mayo was not wearing his when he was shot.
“I think we owe that to the Navy,” he says. “I think we owe that to Petty Officer Mayo and to his family.”