|Pilot Captain John Douglas Bailey, O-431101 (POW, MIA) Wayne County, MN
Crashed December 18, 1944
Bailey was born in Michigan. John and his father were both named John so, everyone called John A., Jack and everyone called John D. Douglas.
He attended high school in Crosby, Minnesota and enlisted in the US Army in Detroit, Michigan. During 1944, he married Lois E. Bailey who was living in New York during 1944.
On August 15, 1943 he was piloting a P-39 Airacobra over Tsili-Tsili and claimed two Japanese aircraft shot down. For his service, he earned the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.
Dena Huitt, crew chief 41st Fighter Squadron adds:
"I remember Bailey. He was in the Squadron when I joined it and soon left for home. When he returned later for a second tour of duty everyone was surprised. I think it was on his first or second mission that he crashed and was seen slumped over in the cockpit. He was an excellent pilot."
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in Evansville, IN. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the Pacific and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group, 41st Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost, engine R-2800-59 serial number FP-003908. Weapon serial numbers noted in MACR.
Took off from Wama Airfield on Morotai on a strafing mission against Sanga Sanga Airfield on Tawi Tawi Island. Over the target, hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed a few yards from the southern end of the runway.
During the crash, the engine and wings broke off beyond the machine guns. The fuselage impacted intact. Orbiting above, flight leader 1st Lt Raby L. Jeanes observed Bailey in the cockpit, with his head against the instrument panel and circled four times.
On December 19, 1944 P-47s from the 41st Fighter Squadron searched the area and observed the wreckage of this 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
Bailey was likely taken prisoner by the Japanese Army, 25th Regiment. Guarded by Katsuno, who remembered Bailey asked to send a letter to his wife to inform her that he was alive. He 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 is still listed as missing in action (MIA).
Officially declared dead on December 19, 1945. Bailey is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
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1946 address: (wife) Lois E. Bailey, 601 3rd Street, Crosby, MN
John A. Bailey, Swatara, Minnesota
Quentin Bailey (brother)
Died June 1999
[obituary June 5, 1999]
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"
NARA Prisoners of War Data File - John D. Bailey
USAF Aerial Victory Credits - John D. Bailey
NHK "The Family History
of Hiroshi Katsuno" 2011
Actor Hiroshi Katsuno's paternal grandfather guarded Bailey and allowed him to escape
Thanks to Dena Huitt for additional information
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."
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May 5, 2019