It’s been a while since I could write about exceptional people and their service to our country. I’ve missed being able to write about heroes, honor and different missions of those who serve, and I’d like to try and make it a more regular habit to bring you these articles when I can on Warrior Wednesdays, starting today.
I first heard about the Bailey’s when I was volunteering at the Military Heritage Museum, as there was a framed newspaper article on the wall which told all about them. About a year later, when I was working up in the office, I helped find one of the Tuskagee Airmen uniforms to lend to one of the area Historical Societies which was doing a display on one of the brothers. It’s been in my mind to write about these ‘boys’ so more folks could learn about them.
It’s probably a sure bet that when Archie and Josephine Bailey raised their nine children in the early part of the 1900’s no one had a clue of what this black family would give to our country.
Seven boys and two girls grew up in Southwest Florida during a time when most black kids had to travel far for an education, if they even found a school to go to. One by one all nine found their way into each of the branches of the US Military, all but the youngest served in World War Two, and the youngest son Carl who was the first Black fighter jet pilot from Florida, flew in the Korean War.
The eldest son, Sgt. Maurice Bailey served in the Army, and was a part of the “Red Ball Express” support unit which supplied food and ammo to the front lines in Europe. As the German lines fell apart, they supplied surging Allied advances across Europe.
E-5 Berlin Bailey served as an Electrician’s Mate, 3rd Class in the Navy, at Guadalcanal.
Harding was an electrician on the U.S.S. Mason, a predominately Black Destroyer Escort ship. Destroyer Escorts were an answer to the threat of German U-Boat in the Atlantic during the Second World War.
Lieutenant Charles Bailey flew 133 combat missions as a proud member of the Tuskagee Airmen, an all-black unit who trained at the Tuskagee Institute. As a member of the 99th Fighter Squadron,
(The squadron is famous for never losing an Allied bomber to enemy fighter planes during World War Two) he flew a P-40 Warhawk nicknamed “Josephine” after his mother, and shot down German planes. He also flew a P-51 Mustang plane he nicknamed “My Buddy” after his father. Flying missions over Europe and North Africa, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, Four Oak Clusters and the Presidential Unit Citation for his amazing service.
Pfc. Paul Bailey was a chaplain’s assistant assigned to Company D, 2805th Engineering Battalion in the Western Pacific during World War II. He received the Good Conduct Medal, the APTO Medal and the World War II Victory Medal for his Service.
Cpl. Arthur Bailey drove a truck in the Marines and served at Iwo Jima.
Carl Bailey who first was mentioned was too young to serve in World War Two, and flew the Republic F-84 Thunderjet at the end of the Korean War after attending Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.
After their Military Service the brothers graduated from college and went on to successful business, teaching, and community leadership careers. Their hometown remembers the fighting Baileys and has named a portion of the local airport, a park and a Cemetery after them.
God Bless our Troops and Veterans, and thank you all for your Service. Have a safe and blessed day all.