Saying goodbye to a Great Friend and a True American Hero…. Fred Mayer

Fred and John

     There are not enough words to do justice to the Life of Frederick Mayer….. Fred was certainly a True American Hero in every sense of the word for his Heroic actions during WWII. Fred was the leader of an elite Operation code-named Operation Greenup in which his three man team was dropped behind enemy lines on a cold February night in 1945 over a frozen lakebed in the Alps above Innsbruck. Fred went in as a spy posing as a German Army Officer. Operation Greenup ended up being one of the most daring and successful intelligence gathering missions of WWII, saving thousands of lives on both sides ! (Read much more of this Mission by clicking on the links below)

     John and Fred met each other during Operation Greenup…… John was the Pilot in Command of the Black / Reconfigured B24 that dropped Fred and his team out over that frozen lakebed on tha dark and cold February night…… normally the crew never was to know whom they was to drop, but in this case due to weather delays, they got to know one another. Then it was not until way after the War in the mid seventies that they would once again meet and become the best of Friends from that point on ! (And by chance would have it, they did not live that far from one another !)


     I (Nevin) got to know Fred thru John….. and what an Honor it was to be in his presence !  I have to tell this very short story…… Once my wife Sharon and I was at John and Barbara’s home to a dinner celebrating one of John’s Birthdays, also there was Fred and his loving partner Virginia… when it was time to leave, Fred put on my jacket thinking it was his (Our jackets were similar) and home he went….. as I reached for my jacket after Fred had left, I grabbed Fred’s !   We got the jackets swapped later that week….. but what an Honor for me to say that Fred, this Great American Hero of WWII wore MY jacket !!!!!!  By the way, I still have that jacket and think about that often.

 Fred and his loving Companion Virginia

     To meet Fred you would never know the Heroic Actions of his past. He was such a soft and easy spoken man of small stature and so kind of heart…. up to just a few weeks before his passing he was still volunteering for Meals on Wheels for which he and Virginia had done for several decades. But to me this is not really a surprise…. because I believe True Heros, are people who see a need and act, with the goal of helping others without bringing attention to themselves. A response you could expect out of someone like Fred would be “I was just doing my job”

     Fred will be missed by many, but his memories and his actions will live on forever ! His time spent here on this earth has certainly made our planet a better place ! Goodbye Fred and Godspeed !

Please click on these links below and find out much more about one of our Great American Hero’s…….  Fred Mayer

New York Times Obituary/Tribute to Fred

Washington Post Obituary/Tribute to Fred

The Real Inglorious Bastards

Wikipedia on Fred

The Quiet American Hero




6 thoughts on “Saying goodbye to a Great Friend and a True American Hero…. Fred Mayer”

  1. Thank you Nevin for taking the time for the post & links about Fred Mayer. I read through all the links and found that all of the individual links completely chronicles his heroic service. I love history and it was a privledge to spend a few hours with Mr. Mayer in a group dinner years ago.

  2. Nevin,

    Many thanks for sending this sad but important email. I’m sure it was truly an honor to meet Fred.

    My dad, 1st Lt. Curtis Green, Jr. was temporarily assigned to the 885th BS flying missions similar to John’s (early September to mid-October 1944). His permanent assignement (if you will) was with the 461st BG, 15th AF in Italy.

    I’m really impressed, as well, with the picture of the Black B-24…. Would it be possible for you to email me a copy of it for my records? I’ve been reconstructing my dad’s military service and this would be a nice addition to include in that work.

    Many thanks!

    Curtis Green

    Garland, TX

    (469) 964-0572

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