On Nov. 4, 1921, Charles H. Mayo, M.D., was commissioned as a brigadier general in the Medical Reserve Corps of the United States Army. This recognition was followed by a similar commission for his brother, William J. Mayo, M.D, on Dec. 23, 1921.
The Mayo brothers combined global values and American patriotism. Dr. Will joined the Medical Reserves Corps in 1912, followed by Dr. Charlie the next year. Like many Americans, they watched the outbreak of hostilities in Europe in 1914 with growing anticipation that the United States would become involved in the conflict. Both brothers served on the General Medical Board of the United States Council for National Defense shortly after it was established in 1916 with the goal of preparing America for possible military action.
When the United States declared war on Imperial Germany in April 1917, the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army, William Gorgas, M.D., asked Dr. Will to be a consultant to his office in Washington, D.C. Under Dr. Will’s leadership, a team of surgical specialists was formed, on which Dr. Charlie also served.
In 1926, the Mayo brothers were honored for their service to the nation when they received the Distinguished Service Medal of the United States.