Sgt. Maj. Derrick N. Mays enlisted in the Marine Corps in October 1990 and graduated from MCRD Parris Island, S.C. Upon completion of Marine Combat Training in February 1991, Mays received orders to Communications Company, Headquarters Battalion, 2d Marine Division, as a field wireman. In February 1992, he reported to Headquarters & Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.
Mays deployed with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in support of Operation Provide Promise in September 1992. He was promoted to the rank of corporal in July 1993. In December 1993, he deployed with 2nd Bn., 2nd Marines, to Okinawa, Japan. Mays was promoted to sergeant in January 1995, and in February, he deployed to Norway for a cold weather exercise. Upon his return, he received orders to Communications Electronic School, Twentynine Palms, Calif. He served as an instructor for field wire courses from May 1995 to March 1998.
In March 1998, Mays reported to Drill Instructor School at Parris Island. He graduated from DI School Class 3-98 in June 1998 and reported to Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, where he served as a drill instructor and senior drill instructor. In February 1999, he was promoted to staff sergeant. While on the drill field, he was selected as Senior Drill Instructor of the Quarter and later served as Recruit Training Regiment visits staff noncommissioned officer in charge.
In May 2001, Mays received orders to Communication Branch, Marine Corps Base Okinawa, Japan, as the Construction Chief for Outside Plant North. He was promoted to the rank of gunnery sergeant in October 2003. He served as a company gunnery sergeant in Headquarters and Service Battalion and also director of the corporals course during his tenure there.
In May 2004, Mays reported to Savannah, Ga, where he served as the assistant Marine officer instructor for Savannah State University and Armstrong Atlantic State University. As AMOI, his duties were platoon sergeant for Mountain Warfare Training in Bridgeport, Calif., and sergeant instructor at Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Va., as well as faculty advisor, drill master, and command fitness leader.
In July 2007, Mays was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. He deployed with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, to Al Anbar Province, Ramadi, Iraq, in November 2007. In February 2008, Mays was frocked to first sergeant and assumed the duties as first sergeant of Fox Co., 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. In May 2009, he redeployed with Fox Co. to Afghanistan's Helmand Province.
In December 2009, Mays was reassigned to Beach and Terminal Operations Company Bravo, 4th Landing Support Battalion, 4th Marine Logistic Group, Hunter Army Air Field, Ga., as the Inspector-Instructor first sergeant. Mays was frocked to sergeant major in February 2013 and served as the squadron sergeant major for Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533, Marine Aircraft Group 31, 2nd Marine Air Wing, from February 2013 to July 2015.
In July 2015, Mays was assigned as the sergeant major of 2nd Recruit Training Battalion at MCRD Parris Island.
Mays is a graduate of Webster University. He holds a master's in Human Resource Management, a bachelor's and associate's in Interdisciplinary Studies from Columbia College. He is also a graduate of Command and Staff DEP, Amphibious Warfare DEP, Sergeants Major Course, Senior Enlisted Resident Course, Senior Enlisted Leadership Legal Course, Senior Enlisted EO Workshop, Senior Enlisted Joint PME and a host of other PMEs.
Mays’ personal awards include: Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal gold star in lieu of second award, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal gold star in lieu of second award, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal gold star in lieu of second award, Combat Action Ribbon and Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
Mays is married, and they have three children.