Veterans' Memorial Project

Kenneth Dillon Bailey

Danville, IL

World War II

College: Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences

Graduation Year: 1935

Service Branch: Marines

Rank: Major-1st Marine Raiders

Date of Birth: 10/21/1910

Date of Death: 09/27/1942

Major Bailey landed on Tulagi on August 7, 1942. He was wounded there and awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star. He died due to a sniper bullet while on reconnaissance on September 27, 1942. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for action of September 12-13, 1942, in the securing of Henderson Air Field from the enemy Japanese on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, South Pacific.

This is the Congressional Medal of Honor Citation for Major Bailey:

BAILEY, KENNETH D. Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 21 October 1910, Pawnee, Okla. Appointed from: Illinois. Other Navy awards: Silver Star Medal.

CITATION: For extraordinary courage and heroic conduct above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of Company C, 1st Marine Raider Battalion, during the enemy Japanese attack on Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 12-13 September 1942. Completely reorganized following the severe engagement of the night before, Maj. Bailey’s company, within an hour after taking its assigned position as reserve battalion between the main line and the coveted airport, was threatened on the right flank by the penetration of the enemy into a gap in the main line. In addition to repulsing this threat, while steadily improving his own desperately held position, he used every weapon at his command to cover the forced withdrawal of the main line before a hammering assault by superior enemy forces. After rendering invaluable service to the battalion commander in stemming the retreat, reorganizing the troops and extending the reverse position to the left, Maj. Bailey, despite a severe head wound, repeatedly led his troops in fierce hand-to-hand combat for a period of 10 hours. His great personal valor while exposed to constant and merciless enemy fire, and his indomitable fighting spirit inspired his troops to heights of heroic endeavor which enabled them to repulse the enemy and hold Henderson Field. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
On June 17, 1945, the Gearing Class destroyer, USS Kenneth D. Bailey (DD713) was launched at Kearny, New Jersey. She was always known as a “happy” ship, and sailors considered her a “good berth.” She was always a part of the Atlantic Fleet. On August 29, 1953, she was recommissioned as DDR-713. She had been refitted for radar picket duty in the Atlantic. For some time she served as the flag ship of the fleet. Her sponsor at the launching in 1945 was Mrs. Kenneth D. Bailey, the former Elizabeth Speissegger.

– submitted by Ruth Bailey Clodfelder, sister

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