ARLINGTON — World War II veteran James Bailey was laid to rest Friday in Arlington National Cemetery surrounded by family, old and new friends, and escorting veterans groups.
Baily was still in high school when he enlisted in the United States Navy on June 13, 1944, and served until his discharge on March 20, 1946. He returned home and completed his studies, receiving a diploma from Chester High School, Class of 1948.
Immediately following graduation, Bailey enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving as an instructor for Radar Fundamentals and a Communications Advisor to the Saudi Air Force.
He worked on the guidance system for Friendship 7, the rocket that carried astronaut John Glenn on the first U.S. orbital flight, and advised the Italian Air Force on the Jupiter missile.
Bailey served as a nuclear missile launch crew member for three years before retiring in September 1966.
During his 18 years of service, Bailey was the recipient of numerous ribbons and awards including the WWII Asiatic Pacific WWII Victory Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal with 5 loops representing his 18 years of service, American Theater Ribbon, American Defense Ribbon, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Longevity Service Award with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, as well as several Missile Man badges.
Following the military ceremony, his son Clinton Bailey said, “I’m so glad we did this because my dad would be so proud of seeing everyone that came to support and honor him and his family.”
He went on to say a special thank you to everyone who accompanied his family on the trip from Chester, Ohio to Arlington, Virginia.
Longtime Bailey family friend Thomas Kibble said, “It was an honor and I feel very privileged to get to be here and watch all of this, and make sure Clinton was okay.”
As previously reported in The Daily Sentinel, members of Bailey’s family planned to leave the White-Schwarzel Funeral Home accompanied by Meigs County Bikers, Revalatorz, Los Cuervos, Justice Riders and Red Knights and members of Pomeroy American Legion Drew Webster Post 39, Middleport Sweeney Bennett Post 128, Tuppers Plains VFW Post 9053, Racine American Legion Post 602, Meigs County DAV Chapter 53, and Meigs County Honor Flight Advocate JoAnne Newsome who would travel with the group by car.
According to Newsome, the journey went off “without a hitch.”
“There were no problems, most people showed courtsey and respect during our travels. The Bikers were well organized and along with the West Virginia State Police, led us safely to our destination.”
The accompanying group was made up of 50 Bikers, most of who carried riders and 20 vehicles. With the Bikers leading the way, the West Virginia State Police escorted the group across the entire state.
The Bikers comments were, “It was a wonderful, amazing, ride, we would do it in a heartbeat for another veteran.”
As part of the Honor Flight group, Newsome escorts veterans on flights to war memorials in Washington, D.C., and she said she was honored to be a part of this group as well.
“I totally enjoyed the fast and furious ride up. I was proud to be Jim Bailey’s guardian on his honor flight; he and Jack Lewis were my first honor flight veterans. I began working with Honor Flights in 2013 and I’ve loved it ever since. It was a privilege to be part of this ride.”
All participants agreed it was worth the journey.
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.