Celebrating the Mayo Brother’s Military Service #throwbackthursdays

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In 1917, Rochester held a World War I parade on Broadway in 1917. Some years before the start of World War I, the Mayo brothers had enlisted in the reserves and had been commissioned first lieutenants in the Medical Reserve Corps. Despite their expectations, neither Mayo served in France during World War I.

Left to right are William Mayo, M.D., and Charles Mayo, M.D., in their military uniforms.

Instead, both initially served on the General Medical Board of the U.S. Council for National Defense shortly after it was formed in 1916 to prepare America for possible military action. After the U.S. declaration of war in April 1917, William Gorgas, M.D., surgeon general of the U.S. Army, asked William Mayo, M.D., to be a surgical consultant in his office in the nation's capital. Under Dr. Will's direction, a team of surgical experts was formed, which included both Mayo brothers. They alternated their military duty in the Surgeon General's office. That way, one brother could always be at the clinic to care for patients. In this way, the Mayo brothers served their country and fulfilled their duties to Mayo Clinic.

In 1921, they were both commissioned brigadier generals in the Medical Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army. In March 1926, the Mayo brothers were honored for their wartime efforts with the Distinguished Service Medal of the U.S.

Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke

Kelley Luedke is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her kitty, and exploring new foods.