She enlisted in the US Army in 1987 and served a three-year contract, while stationed in Germany. She remained in the reserves following the end of her contract.
Specialist Mayes was working on a degree in business when her reserve unit was called to deploy to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm / Desert Shield.
On February 25, 1991 a SCUD missile leveled the barracks Specialist Mayes was in. She rests in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Rochester Mills Pennsylvania.