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  P-47D-28-RA Thunderbolt Serial Number 42-28513  
5th AF
35th FG
41st FS

Click For Enlargement
USAAF c1943
Pilot  Captain John Douglas Bailey, O-431101 (POW, MIA, BNR) Wayne County, MN
Crashed  December 18, 1944
MACR  11508

Aircraft History
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in Evansville, IN. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-47D-28-RA Thunderbolt 42-28513. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 35th Fighter Group (35th FG), 41st Fighter Squadron (41st FS). No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engine R-2800-59 serial number FP-003908. Armed with eight .50 caliber machine guns serial numbers 1275492 (General Motors), 1275640 (Frigidaire Division), 1274234 (Frigidaire Division), 1274290 (Frigidaire Division), 1274757 (Frigidaire Division), 1274757 (General Motors), 1275643 (Frigidaire Division), 1275693 (Frigidaire Division) and 1275493 (Frigidaire Division).

Mission History
On December 18, 1944 took off from Wama Airfield on Morotai piloted by Captain John D. Bailey on a strafing mission against Sanga Sanga Airfield. Over the target, hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed a few yards from the southern end of the runway at roughly at 10:30am. When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).

During the crash, the engine and wings were torn off and the fuselage landed intact. Orbiting above, flight leader 1st Lt Raby L. Jeanes observed Bailey in the cockpit, with his head against the instrument panel, likely unconscious from the impact. His squadron mates circled the crash site four times to watch for signs of life before departing due to dwindling fuel.

On December 19, 1944 his squadron mates searched the area and saw the wreckage of his P-47, but no sign of Bailey or anyone around Sanga Sanga Airfield. The tail and center section of the fuselage had been collected and placed along side the wings. A row of 55 gallon drums had been placed alongside the wreckage. Green brush and trees were placed over all the wreckage to camouflage it from view, but the metal skin was still visible from the air. The P-47s strafed the wreckage, setting it on fire and burning fiercely.

Fates of the Pilot
In fact, Bailey was taken prisoner by the Japanese Army, 25th Infantry Regiment. One of his guards was Katsuno, who remembered Bailey asked to send a letter to his wife to inform her that he was alive. Honoring his request, Bailey was allowed to write a postcard to her. Later, Katsuno was ordered to kill Bailey but instead allowed him escape. Bailey's ultimate fate and grave is unknown. He did not survive the war and remains listed as missing in action (MIA).

Bailey was officially declared dead on December 19, 1945. He earned the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters.

Bailey is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He also has a memorial marker at Lakewood Cemetery in Crosby, MN.

Are you a relative of Bailey? Contact Us

John A. Bailey (father)
Olga Christine (née Bodsberg) Bailey (mother)
Quentin Bailey (brother) passed away June 1999 [obituary June 5, 1999]
Lois E. Bailey (wife)

Paula Johnson-Marsolek (cousin once removed of Bailey)
"John D. Bailey is my first cousin, once removed. He is my father's first cousin. And John's mother and my grandmother (my father's mother) were sisters. Another thing I need to say is that John and his father were both named John so, everyone called John A., 'Jack' and everyone called John D. 'Douglas'."

USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-47D-28-RA Thunderbolt 42-28513
"28513 (41st FS, 35th FG, 5th AF) shot down by AAA over Sanga Sanga Airfield at Tawi-Tawi Island, Philippines Dec 18, 1944. MACR 11508. Pilot survived and became POW. Escaped but believed killed."
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Bailey, John D. page 15 (PDF page 20), Alphabetical list by theater of operation (SWP) Bailey, John D.: 344 (PDF page 350), Chronological List: 08/15/43 394 (PDF page 399) and 41st FTR SQ page 348 (PDF page 552)
Missing Air Crew Report 11508 (MACR 11508) created December 27, 1944
NARA Prisoners of War Data File - John D. Bailey
"Individual has been reported through sources considered official"
USAF Aerial Victory Credits - John D. Bailey
American Battle Monuments Commission - John D. Bailey
FindAGrave - Capt John Douglas Bailey (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FIndAGrave - John Douglas Bailey (memorial marker photo)
NHK "The Family History of Hiroshi Katsuno" 2011
According to actor Hiroshi Katsuno his paternal grandfather guarded Bailey and allowed him to escape
Fight For Island Air Bases page 267
"Lt. John D. Bailey, Air Corps, Detroit Mich. - Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross: "For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial fights in the Southwest Pacific area, from July to October 1942. During this period Lieutenant Bailey participated in more than 50 operational flight missions during which hostile contact was probable and expected. These flights included interception missions against enemy fighters and bombing planes. Throughout these operations, Lieutenant Bailey demonstrated outstanding flying ability."
Thanks to Paula Johnson-Marsolek and Dena Huitt for additional information

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Last Updated
December 19, 2019


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