Marine Lance Cpl. Michael C. Bailey
Died June 16, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
29, of Park Hills, Mo.; assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died June 16 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
(The following was taken from www.dailyjournalonline.com of June 25, 2010) FRANKCLAY — White gloves raised in a military salute to a fallen brother, while tears fell among the crowd Friday at the West County High School gymnasium.
Friends and family gathered inside the school to say good-bye to U.S. Marine Cpl. Michael C. Bailey while hundreds of supporters lined the streets outside.
Reverend Jessie Barton officiated over the memorial service. Barton talked about the hero that Bailey was and the selfless way he lived his life.
“I tried to find a way to describe a hero,” Barton said. “Then I realized I didn’t need to. Michael Bailey is a true example of a hero. He was a wonderful, loving man. He was always interested in what was going on in our lives.
“His decisions were always based on how they affected someone else. He loved us for who we are.”
Bailey served eight years in the U.S. Navy and then enlisted in the Marine Corp. Barton said he once asked Bailey why he enlisted in the Marines instead of staying in the Navy.
“He told me, ‘My Dad was a Marine, I want to serve as he did,’” Barton said. “Michael had a real good biblical theology. I can remember when we talked and he said he was saved and believed in Jesus. Thank you, Jesus, for Cpl. Michael Bailey.”
Erin Burns talked about what a good friend Bailey was.
“I am one of many who are here who called Michael a brother,” Burns said as he fought back tears. “Many of you here today know him as a kid with an occasional glimpse of him as an adult. He was a hero in his duty and a hero in every aspect of his life.”
Burns recalled a time when he couldn’t afford to buy an engagement ring. He said Bailey went ring shopping with him and paid for it.
“He said to pay him back, when I could afford to pay him back,” Burns said. “He gave selflessly to everyone. I was blessed to talk with him almost every day while he was in Afghanistan. He was never concerned about himself. He always wanted to know how we were doing.
“There will always be a hole in a huge piece of my heart. I will always have that loss of not having him.”
Marine Lt. Col. T. Shane Tomko read the Marine’s Poem. A solemn acoustic live version of “Amazing Grace” concluded the service.
Bailey, 29, was killed on June 16 by small arms fire in an ambush while on a security patrol conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. On Monday, the Marines promoted him posthumously from lance corporal to full corporal.
Bailey had enlisted in the Navy right after graduating high school in 1999. After serving eight years, he left the service, but enlisted in the Marines in part to help pay for a life-saving liver transplant for his father. Family members said Bailey also looked forward to succeeding at the new challenges he would encounter in the Marines.
Bailey, who grew up near Frankclay, was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twenty-nine Palms, Calif.
During his years in the service, Bailey earned several awards including the Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy "E" Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Preparing for protest
By 9:30 a.m., cars were lined up on each side of Marler Street at Highway 8 in Leadwood. Some people draped the U.S. flag over their car windows, while others waved flags at passersby.
One woman held up a sign telling drivers to honk their horns if they support the troops. Many responded by tooting, or, in the case of some semi-trucks, loud blasts from their horns.
Randi Smith of Farmington carried balloons and wore a shirt that bore the image of a U.S. flag.
“My cousin Michael Deason was killed in Iraq,” she said. “We are showing our support.”
Many people said they showed up because a federal judged ruled on Thursday that a hate group would be allowed to protest. Although police saw no sign that the group showed up, Smith and about 50 other people went to a Bonne Terre car wash to “protest the protesters” after hearing rumors the group was staying in town.
“We stayed until 2 a.m., but some people stayed until 7 a.m.,” Smith said.
St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock said there was no verification that members of the hate group even came to the Parkland. A reporter’s call to the group’s headquarters in Kansas was not returned.
Sarah and Matthew Phillips heard the rumors and decided to show their support, even though they had to be somewhere else when the funeral started.
“We’re here to support Michael Bailey and what he did for our country,” Sarah said.
Veterans Lewis Helton and Dave Moss held a large flag along the side of Highway 8.
“We’re here to support our heroes and the sacrifices they make,” Moss said.
“It’s the least we can do,” Helton added.
Donna Rangel came from Potosi and carried a large flag.
“I’m an Army mom and an Army grandma,” Rangel said. “So I’m here to support the family.”
Supporters brought children, babies, dogs and even a horse to the intersection before the funeral.
Pete Conway rode his horse, Jack, to the intersection in case the hate group showed up.
“He fought for us so that the people who were going to be here to protest have that right,” Conway said of Bailey. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t be here to protest them. All evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing.
“This family deserves peace.”
Kyle Hathman called his mother, Lonna Jenson, from Iraq to be part of the support for Bailey’s family. Hathman is in the Army. As a military mother, the Bonne Terre woman was there to support Bailey’s family.
Brandy Dee said she last spoke to Bailey before he got on the plane to be deployed.
“I didn’t want him to go,” she said sadly. “He said he’d be back and we’d get together.”
As the funeral began, hundreds of people from all over lined the streets of Leadwood to say good-bye to a fallen hero. One thing the threat of protesters did was to bring people together to honor Bailey, said Jeff Pierce, who joined the crowd Friday morning.
Army Veteran Elijah Boyd, his wife Tiffany and their children waved a flag along Warner Road in Bailey’s honor. Boyd is in the Reserves and said he wanted to show patriotism and support.
One childhood friend said Bailey would be laughing at all the fuss over him. Friends have repeatedly said Bailey always put others before himself.
Andy Russell’s son is enlisted in the Army and serving in Iraq currently. Russell said he wanted to support Bailey and the troops because he believes in supporting the troops.
When Laura Laird’s husband returned from the Vietnam War, bottles were thrown at him, she said. On Friday, she wanted to show support for Bailey and his family.
Shanna Moore served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. She joined others on the streets Friday to pay respect to the family and support those who are still fighting for freedom.
“It’s an honor to be here today and stand next to so many fine Americans who chose to do the same thing today,” Moore said.
More than 135 Patriot Guard riders led the procession that escorted Bailey to Adams Cemetery. Missouri State Captain Mike Gibbs said approximately 10 percent of riders make it to every funeral. He added there are 380 patriot riders in the state.
“When we did the funeral mission for Sergeant Brandon Wallace in Festus, among all the community and kids an elderly lady (was) standing on the side of the road holding a piece of white posterboard. The sign read ‘I will never forget,’” said Gibbs.
Roger Dollinger has been a member of the Patriot Guard for many years.
“I’m a veteran of the Vietnam era and I know how we were treated and along with the Patriot Guard these young men and women in this era will not be treated this way,” Dollinger said.
Bob and Susie Glassic rode with the Patriot Guard because Bob, who was the police chief in Leadwood about 20 years ago, is a Marine Corps veteran and has lost a lot of friends in the service. They said showing up in support is a small thing to do for someone who has given their life for our country.
“We definitely have a lot of respect for them,” Susie said.
The Patriot Guard held flags and lined both sides of the driveway at Adams Cemetery where Bailey’s family arrived at the burial site. They watched as Leadwood firefighters carefully passed to Marines Bailey’s flag-draped coffin from the bed of the fire truck that had carried him to the cemetery.
Six Marines slowly carried the casket to the burial site under a maroon awning. After a rifle salute and the playing of Taps, two Marines carefully removed the flag from the casket and folded it properly.
One Marine then kneeled in front of Bailey’s father, Michael, and presented him with the flag. After a few private words with the family, the Marine stood and saluted them.
Before the burial service ended, Rev. Barton reminded those present that Bailey would live on and they would some day see him again.
“This is not really good-bye,” he said.