Annie Doris Griffin was born in 1934 in Georgia to Benjamin Griffin and Theresa Crumbley. She grew up nearby Fort Stewart, Georgia and her older brother, Benjamin Griffin, Jr., later enlisted in the Army. As a result, Doris was familiar with the sights and sounds of Army life. While still young, she experienced a terrible tragedy. Her brother, while stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1953, was murdered during an argument after an automobile accident. This loss likely shaped Doris’ selfless work with servicemembers and their families throughout her life.
In 1964, she married a young Noncommissioned Officer, William Mayo. By 1981, William Mayo was assigned as the post command sergeant major at Fort Monroe. Doris, as with all her husband’s assignments, became very involved in the Fort Monroe community, serving in the Enlisted Wives’ Club and volunteering with Army Community Service. By 1983, Mayo was awarded this Certificate of Appreciation for volunteering 400 hours. One of the roles in which she served was the “Hi Neighbor” welcome committee, where she would help Fort Monroe spouses feel welcome in their new home. The Mayos seemed to feel at home at Fort Monroe with Doris’ daughter, Annette, marrying in the Chapel of the Centurion in 1983.
Her husband’s next assignment was with Fort Benning’s Infantry Training Center Command, so the Mayos settled in Columbus, Georgia where Doris continued to serve. In addition to volunteering her time at Fort Benning, she was President of the Sand Hill Sergeant Majors Wives Club and later a member of the Retired Sergeant Majors Wives Club. She passed away in 2016. Doris Mayo’s story paints the picture of a supportive Army spouse. She spent decades helping others, making Army families feel comfortable and cared for, and maintaining morale, essentially epitomizing the idea of selfless service.
Her biography, however, also exemplifies the difficulty in researching women. Since it was her husband who served in the official Army capacity, Doris’ influence is easier to trace by looking at her husband’s service. Unfortunately, tracking his assignments down also proved difficult. Additionally, Doris went by several names throughout her lifetime, and finding and searching for each name took a lot of time and care. Though Doris’ given name is Annie, she is only referred to as Doris Mayo whenever she is mentioned in Fort Monroe documentation. Earlier documents, prior to her marriage, have her listed as “Annie” or “Annie Doris”. Beyond that, Doris’ maiden name had to be located before we could do much research regarding her life before her marriage. This poses a challenge when researching many women!
Fort Monroe Authority. “Annie Doris (Griffin) Mayo.” Illuminating Shadows, April 17, 2023. [access date]. [URL].