Dec 15, 2014
Joe Calabrese and audience applaud Charles Mayhew

CLEVELAND -- US Navy Petty Officer Charles Mayhew, a Safety Coordinator for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA), will be honored at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, during an RTA Board Meeting.

He has received the Purple Heart and other awards for his heroic actions in combat while was serving in Afghanistan. He returned to work at RTA last month.

Mayhew serves in the US Navy Reserves. He was called into active duty and mobilized to serve in Afghanistan in January 2013. On Aug. 23, 2013, Mayhew was engaged in an intense, 24-hour firefight that nearly cost him his life. Military.com prepared a video to honor Mayhew.

Details of the firefight

Mayhew's Forward Military Post was attacked by a two-ton, suicide truck bomb, 100 suicide bombers and insurgent snipers with heavy weaponry. Mayhew says their goal was to kill as many Americans as possible and take over the Post.

Mayhew was thrown off his feet, hit his head and was debilitated by a concussion that kept him from being able to see clearly or even hold a gun. But Mayhew fought anyway, shooting in the direction of the Taliban, and was able to get back to his location 1/4 mile away.

“It was a long way to go with insurgents pouring into the area,” Mayhew recalls. “Fortunately, we were able to get back to cover and then engaged in a 24-hour firefight to hold them off.”

Although Mayhew was severely injured, he didn’t want to give up his command post or leave anyone behind. His first effort was to rescue civilian contractors trapped between the insurgents and the Military Post. They were obviously not armed and had been pinned down by the enemy. He also fought to bring back food and supplies to the camp to sustain the troops through the night.

After a severe battle with suicide bombers who took the lives of many of his closest friends, he and his troops recaptured the ground, eliminating the insurgency. He succeeded in getting the civilians back to safety and to the rally point. About 50 Americans in all fought off the insurgents.

Because of Mayhew’s heroic actions, he was awarded the Combat Action Badge, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Purple Heart.

RTA officials ask the community to join them in thanking Charles Mayhew for his heroic service to our country.