Black History Month
Col. Yvonne L. Mays
STEUBENVILLE — Col. Yvonne L. Mays, a native of Steubenville, serves as director of staff, New Jersey Air National Guard in Lakehurst, N.J., a position she has held since December 2017.
The Steubenville High School graduate and daughter of Freddie and Frankie Allen of Steubenville is the principal adviser to the adjutant general of the state of New Jersey on all matters concerning the 108th Air Refueling Wing, the 177th Fighter Wing, subordinate units and civilian matters pertaining to the New Jersey National Guard.
She is directly responsible for the New Jersey Air National Guards’ efficient and prompt delivery of support services to the two wings. Mays is the principal assistant to TAG, NJANG/CC and joint staff regarding execution of ANG and AF policies and programs. She formulates and coordinates policy affecting more than 2,200 Airmen and their families.
She oversees development, execution and evaluation of programs relating to the daily command and control of NJANG and directs ongoing reviews of missions, facilities, force structure, mobilization, readiness and strength within NJANG.
May enlisted in the Air Force in 1983 as an air transportation specialist, serving on active duty for nine years. She supported numerous operations such as “Operation Just Cause” and deployed OCONUS in support of Desert Storm. Soon after Desert Storm, she transferred to the Reserve component, serving six more years as an enlisted Aerial Porter.
While serving as a “reservist” and still enlisted, Mays earned a dual graduate degree in human resources and management. While in the Reserve component, she worked in the civilian community as a general manager for Taco Bell and later as a human resource manager for Charleston Place Hotel.
In 1998, she left the Air Force Reserve and joined the South Carolina Army National Guard to attend Officer Candidate School at the Palmetto Military Academy at Fort Jackson, S.C., which presented a challenging adventure to becoming a military officer. Being the only Air Force candidate in the program, she was selected by her peers as the graduating class 50 speaker.
After earning her commission in 1999, she transferred to the New Jersey Army National Guard, where she applied and received a full-time position as the director of personnel at the 177th Fighter Wing. She went on to serve as commander, mission support flight. During her tenure, she supported Operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom.
In 2003, she was selected to serve as the wing executive officer and in 2008 was selected to serve as the executive director to the adjutant general of New Jersey. In 2010, she served as the state public affairs officer and went on to serve as the bilateral affairs officer in Tirana Albania for 12 months.
Major awards and decorations she has received are the Meritorious Service Award with two oak leaf clusters; the Joint Service Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters; the Army Commendation Medal with an oak leaf cluster; the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters; and the Air Force Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters.