|Pilot 2nd Lt. Elwood R. Bailey, O-010347 (MIA / KIA, BR) Parma, MI
MIA August 24, 1942
Built by Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, New York as a model G-36 with manually operated folding wings. Delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as F4F-4 Wildcat bureau number 02095. Shipped overseas to the South Pacific.
During late July or early August 1942 loaded aboard USS Long Island CVE-1 departed August 2, 1942 bound for the South Pacific. On August 20, 1942 took off from USS Long Island CVE-1 roughly 200 miles southeast of Guadalcanal and landed at Henderson Field.
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW), Marine Aircraft Group 23 (MAG-23) to squadron VMF-223 "Bulldogs". No known nickname or nose art.
On August 24, 1942 too off from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal piloted by 2nd Lt. Elwood R. Bailey at 2:15pm on a mission to intercept six B5N Kate torpedo bombers from Ryujo escorted by nine A6M2 Zeros. When this aircraft failed to return, Bailey was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was F4F Wildcat 02084 (MIA).
The crash site of this Wildcat was reported by Solomon Islander Clay Chualu.
Recovery of Remains
After the crash site was reported, team from Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) visited the crash site and recovered the remains of the pilot. On September 28, 2017 the Department of Defense (DoD) announced Bailey was identified.
Bailey was officially declared dead on August 25, 1943. He earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. Bailey is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4F-4 Wildcat 02095
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List August 1942 F4F Wildcat 02095 VMF-223 Lt. Bailey MIA
NARA "Report of action of the Forward Echelon of Marine Aircraft Group Twenty-Three during the period 20-30 August 1942" pages 3
"24 August 1942 - 1420 - Air raid. Fifteen (15) single-engine bombers supported by twelve (12) Zero fighters attacked. They were opposed by our aircraft as listed below: VMF-223 2ndLt Elwood R. Bailey - did not return from flight"
History of the Marine Corps Aviation in World War II pages 80-81 (August 24, 1942)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Elwood R. Bailey
FindAGrave - 2Lt Elwood Ray Bailey (tablets of the missing photo)
A History of Marine Attack Squadron 223 page 2-3 [PDF page 12-13]
"On 24 August, the Cactus Air Force met the enemy aircraft from the carrier Ryujo and the Battle of the Eastern Solomons was underway. At 1420 the two MAG-23 squadrons augmented by five Army P-400s which had arrived from New Caledonia; intercepted an enemy flight of 15 bombers and 12 fighters. These Japanese aircraft never reached Henderson Field. The Marines shot down 10 bombers and half of the fighters. Captain Carl alone was credited with two bombers and a fighter. The victory was not without its costs; three of Captain Smith's pilots Second Lieutenants Elwood R. Bailey, Lawrence C. Taylor and Roy A. Corry [sic, MIA August 26, 1942], failed to return, and one pilot was shot down and later recovered."
First Team and The Guadalcanal Campaign page 118-119 [August 24, 1942 mission]
"In turn the Japanese shot down 2nd Lt. Elwood Bailey of VMF-223. Although seen to bail out over Tulagi, he never came back."
Guadalcanal Tome I pages 116, 118-119
DPAA New Release "Marine Missing From World War II Accounted For (Bailey, E.)" September 28, 2017
"Marine Corps Reserve 2nd Lt. Elwood R. Bailey, killed during World War II, has now been accounted for. On August 24, 1942, Bailey was a member of Marine Fighting Squadron 223 (VMF-223), Marine Aircraft Group 23, (MAG-23). Bailey was piloting a F3F-f [sic, F4F-4] Wildcat in aerial combat with Japanese Military Air Forces [sic Imperial Japanese Navy] over Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, when he was reported missing in action after being shot down and failing to return to base. Interment services are pending; more details will be released 7-10 days prior to scheduled funeral services. DPAA is grateful to Mr. Clay Chualu, a Solomon Islander, for his assistance in this recovery. Bailey’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission site along with the others who are missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for."
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July 22, 2018