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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Six Bailey Brothers Served the Country in World War II

Six Bailey Brothers of Punta Gorda, Florida served the country honorably during WWII. Actually, there were seven African American brothers who were in the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and the Air Force. The youngest Bailey brother served in the Korean War. Charlotte County Airport in Florida has a section named the Bailey Terminal.

Charles Bailey

Six of the Bailey Brothers served in World War II and the seventh was the first Black jet pilot in the Florida; he served in Korea. The Bailey Brothers were the offspring of Archie and Josephine Bailey, a close, tight knit family whose children traveled to school in other communities far away. Punta Gorda did not have schools for Black children.

                                                                   Lt. Charles Bailey

Lieutenant Charles Baily was a Tuskegee Airmen who flew 133 combat missions. He survived flying over enemy territory in North Africa and Europe. A member of the 99th Fighter Squadron, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, Four Oak Clusters and the Presidential Unit Citation.

                                                      Plaque at Charlotte County Airport

As Don Moore delineated from, the "Fighting Bailey Brothers" consisted of:

Maurice Bailey- (1906- ?)  Army, member of support unit that supplied food and ammunition to front lines.

Berlin Bailey- ( 1912-1987) Navy, served in Guadalcanal as an Electrician's Mate 3rd Class.

Charles Bailey-(1919-2001)  Army 99th Fighter Squadron

Harding Bailey- (1920-1984) Served in on the U.S.S. Mason as an electrician, the subject of my previous post. The USS Mason was a predominately Black ship in the WWII.

Paul Bailey- (1922-1987) Chaplain's assistant in the US Army, Pacific Theater

Arthur Bailey- (1925-1959) Served in Iwo Jima, Marines, drove a truck

Carl Bailey- (1929-1957) Was the first African American jet pilot in Florida, flew during Korean War.

Here is an excerpt from a Huffington Post article by travel writer Karen Rubin.  Rubin visited the Gulf Coast Military History Museum that has an exhibit on the Bailey brothers--
I learned that there would likely not have been a Tuskegee Airmen, except for Eleanor Roosevelt who pushed for Black aviators, trained at Tuskegee Institute, to be accepted as a flying force. To prove their capability, she went as a passenger in a plane with one of the Tuskegee pilots. A photo of her in the plane is on display, and makes you feel that this happened only yesterday.

Artist rendition of Charles Bailey's plane.
"My Buddy" was named after his father.

When speaking to my dad yesterday about the U.S.S Mason, he indicated that he never heard of them. I informed him that they were known as "Eleanor's Folly" and they received their recognition many decades later. "Kind of like us," he murmured. He asked me to repeat some of their feats and was impressed.

Dad then recalled seeing Eleanor Roosevelt on the front porch of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune's house, since it was on his paper route in Daytona Beach, Florida. He reports seeing a security detail for Mrs. Roosevelt when he dropped off her newspaper.

Charles Bailey attended Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida on a football scholarship. Because Dr. Bethune had the ear of the Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady arranged for his transfer to Tuskegee, where he could study aviation.

So, tomorrow I will give Dad the history of the Bailey Brothers. I am sure he will be pleased to learn about them. I will explain to him that the Six Bailey Brothers of Florida served in numerous branches of military during WWII. The seventh Bailey and the youngest served in Korea. Upon discharge they went on to successful careers in education, business and community involvement. I only stumbled upon them by researching the U.S.S Mason, where Harding Bailey was an electrician.


Charles Bailey was credited with shooting down two German fighter planes in Josephine, a plane ( P-40 Warfolk) named after his mother. Bailey also piloted My Buddy, a plane named for his father. ( P-51 Mustang)

Sources: Has photos of all brothers and family.,267119

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