Biography of Charles William Mays

Capt., Company Commander, Company 1538, Camp P-54, Camp Wyoming, Pineville, West Virginia

Col., USA, WWI, WWII, 407th FA Grp, Nurnberg Trials

   Col. Charles William Mays was born April 24, 1892 in Ft. Worth, Texas and died Dec. 3, 1975 at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. Before entering the Army, he was an assistant principal and teacher in Oklahoma. He was commissioned as an Artillery 2nd Lt. in the Army Reserves after going through the first Officers Training Camp (later referred to as Officers Candidate School - O.C.S.) at Ft. Riley, Kansas in 1917, shortly after the outbreak of World War I. In 1920 he was promoted directly to Captain in the Regular Army.

   As Captain in 1933, he was pulled from his job as an Associate Professor of Military Science and Tactics (teaching R.O.T.C.) at Purdue University to be the first commander of CCC P-54 Company 1538 at Pineville, West Virginia. The camp, known as Camp Wyoming, was adjudged Outstanding CCC camp in the Fifth Corps Area (Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia) in 1933.

   As Colonel, he went on to command the 407th Field Artillery Group in Europe in World War II. He was the first ever Marshal of the Court at the International War Crimes Trials at Nurnberg, Germany. During his military career, he was awarded many medals and commendations and maintained an expert rating for pistol shooting throughout his military career. He took great pride in having served through World War I, World War II, and the Korean Conflict. He retired in 1952 as Director of Training for the Utah National Guard after serving in the Army for 35 years. He was a 50 year Mason, an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and a member of the Sons of The American Revolution. At death he was survived by his wife, son, two daughters, and several grandchildren. In 1996, he was inducted posthumously into the Artillery O.C.S. Hall of Fame.

   Gold Medal CCC Company 1538: A Documentary authored by daughter, Kathy Mays Smith, is a history of the CCC camp the then Capt. Mays commanded. This hardback book traces this CCC camp from its birth in conditioning camp to its closure and beyond. It gives background of the CCC and the Army 1933 - 1942 and the great impact it had on training of men who served in World War II. It contains 440 photos and documents on photographic quality paper, input from many enrollees and families who served there. It has been referred to as a 'textbook history' of the CCC," and one review has predicted that it will become the definitive history of the CCC.

Books may be ordered from me via email at

Submitted by daughter

Kathy Mays Smith



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