Bailey, John Edward, Maj

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1966-1966, 1115A, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing
Service Years
1959 - 1966
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

23 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by CMSgt Walter M. Stolpa, Jr. (Bud) to remember Bailey, John Edward, Maj.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
May 10, 1966
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Fort Snelling National Cemetery - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Wall/Plot Coordinates
07E 044

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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Aviator (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
469th Tactical Fighter Squadron388th Tactical Fighter Wing
  1966-1966, 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1966-1966, 1115A, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1961-1973 Vietnam War
 My Aircraft/Missiles
F-105G  Wild Weasel  
  1965-1966, F-105G Wild Weasel
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  May 25, 2015, General Photos2
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

A tooth and a few bone fragments brought to a close a lifetime of searching and the efforts of hundreds of people chronicled in a file cabinet full of government reports. I was 10 months old when my father died. He was 29.

St. Patrick's Day was a serendipitous occasion to make the identification public, a family friend noted. It was on St. Patrick's Day in 1957 that Patricia Gavin was introduced to John Bailey. Everyone called him Jack.

Although I was barely 5 months old when he left early in 1966, holidays always bring him to mind. They always will.

As a reporter, I am often asked to distill lives into terse passages. The facts here are simple: The remains of Air Force fighter pilot Maj. John Edward Bailey, a Minnesota native, were identified from anthropological analysis and other evidence. This leaves 2,069 Americans unaccounted for from the war, which took 58,000 U.S. lives from the 1950s to 1975.

We knew it was coming. At every step of the investigation, the government's joint task force for accounting notified my mother by phone and followed up with a letter. She would relay the information to my sister, Molly, my brother, John, and me.

The latest report was based on the recovery of a tooth and small bones from a crater in the former North Vietnam, apparently carved by his F-105 jet in May 1966. The excavation also yielded possible pieces of a flight helmet, a parachute harness ring and a zipper pull tab.

The first reports arrived within days of his crash. One of the other two pilots on the mission reported that Jack's plane lurched to the right, he jettisoned pylons and a belly tank, and his F-105 tumbled nose-over-tail and slammed into the ground.

The canopy appeared to be intact and the pilot heard no tone in his headset, which indicated Jack had not ejected.

He was listed as missing in action, though there was little doubt that he had been killed. That whisper of a doubt disappeared after the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, when he was not among the prisoners of war returned to the United States.

In July 1973, Mom held a memorial service. One member of an honor guard handed her a neatly folded American flag. Another sounded taps. At age 7, I did not understand why.

 As a young man, John was an USAF navigator classmate of mine. We entered training on 17 Nov 1959 at Lackland AFB, Texas as class 60-19N. After eight weeks of preflight training, we transferred to Harlingen AFB, Texas for undergraduate navigator training. After eight months of tough academic and flying training, about half of the class successfully graduated on 4 Oct 1960. Like I, John went on to Mather AFB, CA for advanced navigator upgrade training as Class 61-K. There some trained for duty as navigators in air refuelers, reconnaissance aircraft while others trained as navigators and bombardiers in B-52 and B-47 bombers. Upon graduation in June 1961, I believe John went on to an assignment as a B-52 navigator. Like most of us navigators, John had a strong desire to go to pilot training. A few years later, he was selected for USAF pilot training and upon graduation he went on the upgrade training in the F-105 aircraft. His first assignment was to Korat, Thailand where he was to fly very dangerous missions over North Vietnam. On his very first mission on 10 May 1966 while bombing a bridge 15 miles north of the DMZ near Xuan Hoa, NVN, he was lost when his aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed. The crash site was excavated in July 1995 and in March 1999 John's remains were identified and returned to the USA for burial. As a navigator classmate, John was a good friend, a dedicated student and he stood out as a young leader. He is undoubtedly sorely missed by all that knew him. I am proud to have known and served with him. His loss was not only a loss for his family, friends and classmates, but a great loss to the Air Force and America as well. He gave his all for the country he loved. For that he will always be remembered. Posted by: Lt.Col. Karol E. Franzyshen
Relationship: USAF Navigator Classmate
Tuesday, May 24, 2005

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