The Wayland Mayo Story
Biographical Notes


After returning to the U.S. our crew, still under Capt. Torrey as AC, was sent to Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington. Our crew was designated HO4CO of the 103rd Strat. Reconn. Sqdn, and, by order of Lt. Col. Edison Arnold, we were selected to be a standboard and lead crew. We needed replacements for Korea as the conflict was still going on. I was selected to instruct an aerial photography school. The planned program involved training a class of students from classroom through actual flight time. I received a letter of commendation from Co. S.E. Manzo, commanding officer. See below for a copy of this correspondence.

Crew HO4CO received orders to photograph an atomic blast series at Yucca Flats, Nevada. This was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. We could only make it up to 27,000 ft. as the engines were overheating.I still do not know if the blast was tethered {tower mounted} or an air drop. I observed what appeared to be a B-45 much higher than we were. The blast was spectacular, almost beyond description. We were quickly hit by the first shockwave, shortly thereafter another from the bounceback from the ground. Within minutes there was a massive boiling fireball that soon mushroomed on up past 50-60,000 ft. The destructive power was beyond belief, a sight I shall never forget.


111th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing M
Fairchild Air Force Base
Fairchild, washington

111OD 201.22

Date: 2 January 1952

Subject: Commendation

through: Commanding Officer
103rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron
Fairchild Air Force Base
Fairchild, Washington

To: S/Sgt. Wayland M. Mayo
103rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron
Fairchild Air Force Base
Fairchild, Washington

1. During the period 20 September 1951 to 10 November 1951, you were assigned duty as instructor in the 111th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing Air Photographer’s School. The officer in charge of this school has reported to me that you have been an unusually valuable individual to the proper operation of this training course. Specifically, you have demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the aerial photographic career field and have imparted your knowledge to your classes in a manner considered to be well above the average of senior Airmen who normally conduct such classes. Your subordination of personal interests, your ability and initiative, and the enthusiasm which you have exhibited, have all been directed toward the students attaining the high standards desired of our aerial photographers.

2. All of the foregoing is most deserving of recognition, consequently, it is my pleasure to officially commend you for your high level of performance of duty in this Aerial Photographer’s School which is so important to the effective combat operations of this wing. The leadership which you exhibited is most desirable in the senior Noncommissioned Officers of the Air Force Today. Your example of the high qualities desired in our Noncommissioned Officers is a most desirable influence on those younger airmen now entering the Air Force.

3. A copy of this correspondence, with endorsements, will be placed in your 201 File.

Colonel, USAF


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