WAR RECORD U.S.S. BAILEY(DD-492)
The U.S.S. Bailey (DD492) was commissioned 11 May 1942, in the Brooklyn Navy
Yard, New York, with Lieutenant Commander Franklin D. Karns, Junior, U.S.N.
Commanding, and Lieutenant C. W. Aldrich, Executive Officer. From 21 May to
24 May engineering trials were conducted in Long Island Sound, after which
the ship sailed to New Port, Rhode Island, for torpedoes. Returning to the
Brooklyn Navy Yard on 28 May, she remained there until 2 June, when she proceeded
via Long Island Sound, Newport, Rhode Island and Cape Cod Canal to Casco Bay,
Maine, for shakedown training, arriving 3 June.
On 6 June, while returning to anchorage after exorcises, the Bailey was grounded
on Cow Island Ledge. The ledge was immediately cleared and the ship anchored.
Preliminary inspection indicated substantial damage with the starboard shaft
and screw inoperative. On 9 June the ship was drydocked at the Charleston Navy
Yard, Boston, Massachusetts, and it was found that the starboard shaft was
bent, the starboard screw twisted and chipped and the starboard after strut
torn from the hull. On 4 July, Lieutenant Commander John C. Atkeson, U.S.N.,
relieved Lieutenant Commander Franklin D. Karns, Junior, U.S. N. as Commanding
All damage from grounding having been repaired, the ship returned to Casco
Bay, Maine, on 19 July and continued training exercises until 10 August* During
that time, on the nights of 3 and 4 August the Bailey in company with other
destroyers, searched unsuccessfully for an enemy submarine reported in the
vicinity of Matinicus Rock, Maine From 11 to 14 August exercises were conducted
with friendly submarines at New London, Connecticut. Post shakedown availability
was granted at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York from 15 August to 3 September.
On 18 August Commander Ralph S. Riggs, U.S.N., reported aboard with his staff
and hoisted his pennant as Commander Destroyer Squadron Fourteen.
On 3 September the Bailey departed for Canal Zone and on 7 September arrived
at Cristobal. The following day the ship passed through the canal and became
a unit of the Pacific Fleet.
Departure for San Diego, California was made on 9 September. Following arrival
at that port on 16 September orders were received to proceed to San Francisco,
California, for further routing to Alaskan waters. Task Group 94.7 (Commander
Destroyer Squadron Fourteen, OTC) composed of the U.S.S. Bailey and U.S.S.
Bridge (AF1), departed San Francisco, California on 22 September and arrived
at Kodiak, Alaska, 28 September.
Departed Kodiak 28 September, with Captain Spanagel, U.S. on board for passage
through Unimak Pass, .Aleutian Islands to the Bering Sea to rendezvous with
the U.S.S. Nashville (CL43). Captain Spanagel was transferred to the U.S.S.
Nashville to relieve as Commanding Officer. After escorting a convoy to Adak,
the ship joined up with Task Group 18.6, Rear Admiral Smith in the U.S.S Indianapolis
This was the Bailey’s first permanent assignment: and she operated with
this group, patrolling in the Aleutian Island area until April of the next
year. The composition of the group changed from tine to time, but in general
its mission remained the same: "protect friendly forces in occupied inlands,
intercept and destroy enemy shipping attempting to reinforce the Japanese bases
in the islands. For example: the U.S.S. St. Louis, U.S.S Nashville, U.S.S.
Bailey, U.S.S. Bancroft and U.S.S. Long were formed into a raiding group to
operate in the area northwest of Kiska for this purpose. For 16 days this formation,
joined soon by the U.S.S. Indianapolis and 2 destroyers, steamed around in
the vicinity of 54° 30 `N 170° E., momentarily expecting to meet
Japanese ships. The destroyers were kept topped off with fuel, once fueling
on 3 successive
days. No enemy was -sighted, the only contact being a lone Russian merchantman,
which one of many Russian cargo ships using those waters.
The Task Group based in Dutch Harbor, but often fueled at sea or in Kuluk Bay,
Adak, usually in the latter, at night. Weather and sea conditions in this area
were usually very poor, and routine steaming was made difficult by poor visibility,
heavy seas arid high winds. On one occasion at least the weather was so bad
that the Bailey almost met disaster while in port.
On November 20, 1942, while in Dutch Harbor, moored alongside the
U.S.S. Sicard (DM2), which was moored to a buoy, the weather
became increasingly bud, with
a steadily falling barometer. The ship was alerted and the main engines made
ready to get underway, should it become necessary. After midnight it became
apparent that a typical Aleutian Williwaw had set in. The wind came in gusts
of high intensity, sometimes to force 9, from the north, with periods of
comparative calm between gusts. The Bailey and the Sicard yawed violently.
At 0250 the
Sicard’s chain to the buoy parted because of the heavy strain and the
Bailey got underway to clear the side and proceeded to anchor.
However, in the heavy winds, the anchor would not hold and the anchor was dropped
and hoved in at least five times. The ship maneuvered within the confines of
the small harbor, constantly in danger of either going aground or colliding
with other vessels. Finally at 0500 after learning by blinker from the net
vessel that the harbor entrance net had been washed away by the heavy seas,
the ship stood out to sea. Outside the harbor the seas ware from the north
and mountainous in size. The gyro compass tumbled almost immediately and steering
was done by magnetic compass.
In the late afternoon the storm abated and a course was set for a rendezvous
with the U.S.S. Raleigh (CL7) coming from Harbor, 1 day behind schedule due
to the storm
In addition to the Raleigh, the U.S.S. Detroit (CL8) joined the Task Group
and those ships formed the heavy units, the other cruisers having been detached.
The ships proceeded to Sand Bay, Great Sitkin Island where they wore refueled.
The U.S.S. Indianapolis joined the group on December 28th and on the following
day the group proceeded to operate as a covering force for the occupation of
Amchitka by the U.S. Army and to intercept and destroy enemy shipping to and
from Kiska. The occupation, which was twice previously postponed due to adverse
weather, was made on 12 January 1943, unopposed. During this time in order
to permit the group to operate continuously at sea, one cruiser at a time,
escorted by a destroyer, would be temporarily detached to fuel at Adak.
On 10 February, a single enemy float plane dived out of the clouds astern of
the group, dropped n bomb near the Raleigh and then ducked back into the clouds
as the cruisers opened fire. This was the ship's only contract with the enemy
during this invasion.
Early in March the Indianapolis was detached and Rear Admiral McMorris, CTG
16.6, shifted his flag to the U.S.S. Richmond (CL9). On 16 March the Richmond,
screened by the Bailey and Coughlin, left Dutch Harbor to patrol southwest
of Kiska. On 21 March an enemy float plane was seen snooping the formation
and was fired on by all ships without result. This was the first time the Bailey
had fired on the enemy.
On 22 March the U.S.S. Salt Lake City(CA25), U.S.S. Dale (DD353)
and U.S.S. Monaghan (DD354) joined up. On 25 March the heavy
cruiser fueled the Bailey
and Coghlan, after which all ships formed a scouting line, interval 6 miles,
350°T line of bearing. At 0730 the morning of 26 March the Bailey had just
sounded drill general quarters for the morning alert when the Coghlan, on the
extreme north end of the scouting line, reported at least 2 ships on her radar
screen, bearing 010°T, range 7 miles. The Task Group Commander immediately
ordered all ships to concentrate on his flagship and to set boiler condition
one. All ships formed for battle at 25 knots. As the formation steered on
a northerly course to cut off the enemy, which was believed to be a supply
headed for Attu, the Jap ships appeared one by one on the horizon until it
was evident that the American force was heavily outnumbered._ The Japanese
formation was seen to consist of 2 heavy cruisers of the Atago Class, 2 light
cruisers of the Kuma Class, 5 destroyers (4 of the Fubuki Class and 1 larger)
plus 2 transports or cargo ships.
At 0843, the leading enemy heavy cruiser opened fire and thus began the battle
of the Komandorski Islands, which lasted until 1230, possibly the longest surface
engagement of the war. The battle, fought under the unusual Weather conditions
of a calm sea and perfect visibility, may be divided into three phases.
In the first phase the enemy heavy cruisers were engaged ship for ship by the
Richmond and the Salt Lake City. The Bailey opened fire at 0845 on a heavy
cruiser at a range of 15,000 yards but soon shifted to the leading light cruiser.
For some unaccountable reason the enemy destroyers did not open fire or take
any action in this or any other phase of the battle. At 0857 one enemy heavy
cruiser launched a piano which thereafter appeared to spot its gunfire from
a position outside the range of our AA fire.
In the second phase our forces engaged the enemy in a retiring action, in which
the Bailey fired at surface targets at near maximum, range, and made smoke
to cover our forces. Twice, fire was shifted to the float piano when it appeared
to close within our range but it was not hit. The plane was apparently successful
in spotting the fire on to the Salt Lake City which acknowledged two hits.
The third phase started when the Salt Lake City reported her speed
as zero and ComDesRon 14 ordered the Bailey, Coghlan and Monaghan
to make a torpedo
attack on the two CAs. The Bailey opened fire with the 5" battery at
near maximum range and continued fire till the range closed to 9,500 yards,
point a full salvo of 5 torpedoes were fired. The attacking destroyers wore
under constant fire while making the run and just before launching her torpedoes
the Bailey was hit 4 times. Considerable damage was done which resulted in
the flooding of the forward engingroom and the loss of electric power throughout
the ship. One officer and 3 men wore killed outright, one seriously injured
man died later.
The torpedo attack was a success inasmuch as the enemy broke off the engagement
and retired. The exact amount of damage to the enemy could not be determined
but at least one torpedo hit was observed and numerous straddles and direct
hits were made by the ship's gunfire.
Due to damage received, the Bailey was able to maneuver only with difficulty
and followed the formation to Adak. On 28 March ComDesRon 14 shifted his pennant
to the U.S.S. Caldwell. The following day, the Bialy left Adak for Dutch Harbor
where some of the battle damage was temporarily repaired in perpetration for
the trip to Mare Island, California. Six days were required for the passage
made in company with the Salt Lake City and the U.S.S. Elliott, which acted
as screening vessel. On April8 the Bailey tied up to the Navy Yard Pier, Mare
Island, and repairs of the battle damage were begun.
From this time on until the first port of October, the ship underwent repairs
and conducted training exorcises. The excessive length of time was duo to the
attempt to effect repairs to the starboard reduction gear, which finally had
to be replaced by a complete new unit.
On 3 June 1943 Lieut. Comdr. M.T. Mungor, USN, relieved Lieut. Comdr. J.C.
Atkeson, USN, as Commanding Officer.
While waiting for the new reduction gear unit the Bailey served as a training
ship for new construction destroyer crews. Firing the main battery at towed
surface and air targets, machine gun practice, torpedo practice runs and anti-submarine
warfare tactics using a tame submarine were included in the exercises. The
training cruises were made out of San Francisco and San Diego or between the
All repairs having been finally accepted as satisfactory, the ship reported
to CinCPac for duty on 6 October 1943, and was assigned to escort the U.S.S.
Tennessee from Son Pedro, California to Pearl Harbor, T.II. Upon the Bailey's
arrival at Pearl Harbor, 15 October, Captain Wyatt Craig, USN, ComDesRon
14, reported aboard with his staff and designated the ship as flagship of
Having been designated Task Unit 55.1.2, the U.S.S. Bailey, U.S.S. Frazier
and U.S.S. Meade got underway on 16 October for Wellington, N.Z., stopping
at Suva, Fiji, enroute, for fueling. On the way to Suva, the U.S.S. Gansevoort
joined the unit. At Wellington, N.Z., the Bailey with DesDiv 27 plus the U.S.S.
Russell and U.S.S. Anderson were attached to Task Unit 53. 1.4 and as such
escorted the Task Unit from Wellington to Efate, New Hebrides, where landing
practices were carried out in preparation for the amphibious movement of the
Central Pacific Forces against the Japanese held islands of the Gilbert group
(Nakin, Tarawa, Apamama). The Southern Attack Force was to attack and occupy
During the practice the Bailey rescued the pilot and radioman from a U.S.S.
Colorado plane which had crashed into the sea. On 13 November the destroyer
screen joined with the transport, fire support and carrier groups of Task Force
53, headed for Tarawa.
Enroute to the Gilbert Islands the screening ships made several sonar contacts
with subsequent attacks. As the force neared the objective more and more enemy
aircraft were picked up on the radar screens. The closest of these was a single
Mavis which was shot down by pianos of the Task Force while it was still 40
miles away. The evening before the invasion a surface contact wan picked up
by the Ringgold on picket station ahead of the screen. A torpedo from the Ringgold
was hoard to explode and gunfire from the picket ship plus that of the Santa
Fe was directed on the target. After a few minutes the target disappeared from
the radar screen. It was never identified.
The landings on Tarawa wore made on 20 November after units of Task Force 53
had covered the beaches with gunfire and the planes of the fleet had bombed
and strafed targets. The Bailey took part in the bombardment, knocking out
2 AA guns and a pillbox, exploding a building, evidently an ammunition dump,
and scoring hits on a building believed to be a command post. During and after
the landings and continuing through the next day, the Bailey screened the fire
support ships and those in the transport area. The following days were spent
in screening the fire support ships and carrier groups, as well as patrolling
picket station in the vicinity of Tarawa Atoll. There were several air raids
on nearby islands but no attacks were directed toward the ship during its stay
in the area.
Departure was taken from the Gilbert Islands in company with the U.S.S. Maryland
on 7 December. On the following day, the ships joined a formation which included
three escort carriers and three destroyers. The passage to Pearl Harbor was
made without event, arriving on 14 December.
On 30 December Captain B.L. Austin, USN, relieved Captain Wyatt Craig, USN,
as Commander Destroyer Squadron 14.
The period from 14 December 1943 to 22 January 1944, was spent in Pearl Harbor
and surrounding waters. The ship underwent routine repairs and alterations,
and participated in firing exorcises.
The Bailey was assigned to Task Unit 52.8.3., and participated in the bombardment
of Maloelap Atoll, Marshall Islands, in support or the Kwajalein occupation.
The plan called for rapid bombardment of Maloelap at dawn on 30 January 1944,
by the Task Group of Cruisers and Destroyers, to be followed later in the morning
by a deliberate bombardment by units consisting of one cruiser and one destroyer.
The Bailey and the San Francisco were to work together. The schedule was carried
out with the added incident of the Bailey's wake being straddled by shells
from shore. The Bailey silenced the battery with only 25 rounds. The Task Unit
left Maloelap for Kwajalein Atoll on completion of the bombardment.
The day preceding the landings on Kwajalein was spent screening the bombardment
group as they prepared the benches for the assault. When the landings were
made on 1 Feb, the Bailey took part in the fire support until evening, then
resumed her duties as an anti-submarine screening; vessel. The next three and
a half weeks were spent in patrolling and screening duties except for one trip
to Majuro for fuel and ammunition. Most of the time was spent as a unit of
the screen for the carrier force which was providing CAP and ASP for Kwajalein.
A trip to Roi Inland on 25 February was made in order to Join Tank Unit 56.2.9,
which departed from the area on 29 February to return to Pearl Harbor. On
arrival 8 March, the ship reported to ComDesPac.
Training exorcises were conducted under ComDesPac in preparation for corning
amphibious operations. Shore bombard, radar tracking, ASW training with a tame
sub, AA firing practice, fighter direction and Maneuvers with LST groups were
included in the exorcises.
An interruption was made from Apr-11 to 11 by a by a trip to Majuro as a screening
unit for the U.S.S. Kalinin Bay. During this time the Bailey rescued three
crew numbers of a ditched TBF from the sea and returned them to the carrier.
On 3 May, Captain R.H. Smoot, USN, who, a short time before, had relieved Captain
B.L. Austin, USN, as ConDesRon 14, transferred his flag to the U.S.S. Evans
and the Bailey departed singly for Pearl Harbor.
All training having been completed the Bailey departed Pearl Harbor
on 20 May as flagship of task group 52.18. This group, know as
Tractor Group One, was
composed of 25 LST’s and 6 LCI’s participating in the attack
and occupation of the island of Saipan. A course was set for Eniwetok, the
area. All ships fueled and provisioned in the staging area before departing
on 9 June for Saipan.
On arrival on 15 June, Tractor Group One was left in the staging area while
the Bailey proceeded to carry out duty as close fire support ship in conjunction
with the landing on the beaches. Target areas were covered and counter-battery
fire was also carried out. The only observed hits were on a three inch AA battery
and on an observation post, both of which were destroyed. The night was spent
lying to in the LST area.
The next day and a half were spent in attempting unsuccessfully
to contact shore fire control parties, and carry out call fire
missions. On 17 June the
Bailey was attached to Task Group 52.5, composed of LST’s and LCI’s
and designated retirement Group 3.
During the next few days the group steamed in an area to the north of Saipan,
while the battle of the eastern Philippino Sea was taking place. As they were
needed, units were detached to return to Saipan. Enemy aircraft were sighted
on several occasions but no attack was made on the group.
Returning to the transport area on 23 June, the Bailey was assigned a picket
station during the day and illumination duty during the night. Early next morning,
enemy aircraft dropped several sticks of bombs in the transport area resulting
in 10 killed and 22 wounded. Material damage was minor. Illumination was halted
during the raid, but was resumed on the all clear signal. Just before dawn
harassing fire was delivered on the north Tinian airfield with unobserved results.
Later in the day a call fire mission was fired at Saipan targets for an hour.
The last six days of June were spent as flagship of LST Flotilla
13, escorting Task Group 51.18.14 to Eniwetok. After arrival,
upkeep and repair work for
the ships as well as for PCS’s, PC’s and SC’s which had been
screening ships of the Task Group occupied the next week and a half. On completion
of upkeep, a return trip was made with another group of LCW’s and LCI’s
arriving at Tinian (?) July.
From that time till departure on 28 July, various assignments were received
for screening, patrolling or fire support missions. The general practice was
to rotate destroyer between patrol and fire support stations with tine out
to fuel end take on ammunition. On fire support missions the ship worked with
a spotting plane and shore fire control party and also used direct fire.
On 23 July the Bailey once again became flagship of LST Flotilla 13 and departed
the area for Eniwetok with the Task Group, arriving 6 days later.
From Eniwetok Atoll another screening assignment took the ship to Purvis Bay,
Florida Island, in the Solomons. Upon arrival on 11 August, the Bailey became
attached to the South Pacific Force and the following day was made a unit of
Task Force 32. On 28 August Com LST Flotilla 14 reported aboard and hoisted
his pennant. The next 6 days wore spent in rehearsals for the coming assault
and occupation of Peleliu and Angaur, in the Palau Group.
The Army and Marino Units landed on Peleliu on 15 September with the Bailey
a unit of Task Group 32.6, which was standing by in reserve. Proceeding according
to plan, 1ST Flotilla 14 landed troops on Angaur two days later. For the next
few days the Flotilla Commander moved his flag on and off the Bailey depending
on whether the ship was with the group or off by itself on picket duty.
One night while on radar picket station, the ship was straddled by shells from
the Indianapolis, fired at an enemy plane. A voice radio transmission put a
stop to the splashes, which had almost surrounded the ship.
The last part of September was spent in screening during daylight and patrolling
a radar picket station at night. By Oct. first all organized resistance ashore
had ceased. Air alerts were frequent but actual raids were few. Night fighter
planes were being used with fighter directors controlling them from ships of
the attack group. The Bailey had a special fighter director team embarked for
The night of October first an air raid developed in which at least 2 enemy
planes eluded the night fighters and strafed the Bailey, which was alone on
a radar picket station. In three runs over the ship, the planes succeeded in
killing three officers and 6 men, and wounding 16 others. Material damage was
widespread, mostly in the electrical circuits. The ship was badly crippled
when the main board in the forward engineroom was shorted out on the first
run. Good fortune and skillful maneuvering by the Commanding Officer prevented
more serious damage, as the ship was unable to direct accurate gunfire at the
planes in local control. There was just enough moonlight to give the strafing
planes a complete advantage. The friendly fighter is believed to have joined
in the strafing.
The next day emergency repairs were made and the ship proceeded singly to Manus
for further routing to Pearl Harbor and San Francesco. On 25 October the Bailey
moored to the dock at Mare Island Navy Yard.
The navy yard availability ended 5 December and on the following day Lieut.
Comdr. A. F. Johnson, USN, relieved Commander M. T. Munger, USN, as Commanding
A short training cruise to San Diego preceded the return to Pearl Harbor on
which the U.S.S. Terry and Bailey escorted the U.S.S. Missouri. From 25 December
to 2 January 1945, training exorcises were held in the Hawaiian Area and on
the latter data the Missouri and Tuncaloosa left Pearl Harbor for Ulithi with
the Bailey Bancroft and Wadsworth.
At Ulithi the Bailey and the Bancroft detached from their duty and returned
to Eniwetok for further assignment by CTG 96.3. Enroute, on 17 January an Army
pilot from Saipan was rescued from the sea about 8 hours after bailing out
of his P-38.
After a day in Eniwetok, the Bailey was sent to rendezvous with a convoy at
sea and escort them to Guam. On 27 January the ship stood into Apra Harbor.
On 30 January while on patrol duty off Guam, the Bailey was ordered out to
search for survivors of a TBM which had run out of gas about 20 miles west
of Orote Point. With the aid of search planes, the pilot and passenger were
located and picked up the next day. This made the total of eleven aviators
that the ship had rescued from the sea.
Several days later an 8 hour run at 32 knots was made to rendezvous with two
tanker enroute to Ulithi whose escorts were working on a submarine contact.
The tankers were located without difficulty and the trip to Ulithi was made
without further incident. A start was made for Eniwetok, but orders were received
while onroute to proceed to Leyte, to arrive by 18 February. Returned to Ulithi
for routing and finally proceeded to Leyte Gulf in company with the U.S.S Bancroft,
screening four tenders and repair ships. On arrival at San Pedro Bay 19 February,
reported to CTG 76.6 for duty with Seventh Amphibious Force.
On 27 February the Bailey left Leyte with Task Unit 76.6.10 a convoy
onroute to San Jose, Mindoro, Philippine Islands in preparation for the Zamboanga
On March l the Bailey was attached tn Tank Unit 73.2*22 then enroute from Leyte
Gulf P.I. to San Jose, Mindoro, P.I., the staging area for the Zamboanga operation.
However, a dispatch came through in the morning from CTF 78 which sent the
ship independently via Mindoro straits to Nasugbu, Luzon P.I. On arriving and
reporting to CTU 76.3.8, the Bailey was assigned to escort duty with the Task
Unit, which left Tor Mangarin Bay, Mindoro, P.I. that evening. The passage
was completed by the afternoon of the following day and the Bailey reported
to ComPhibsGrp 6 (CTG 78.1).
The main body of Task Group 78.1 was made up of LSMs, ISTs, LCIs and various
other craft. On March 8, it left Mindoro for Zatmboanga, Mindanao, P.I. to
land the 41st Infantry Division, reinforced, 8th U.S. Army. The landings were
made on March 10 as planned, while the units of the screen patrolled to seaward
of the assault group. That night a retirement was made but the ships returned
in the morning and the Bailey resumed patrolling station.
In the late afternoon of March 11, on orders from CTG 78.1, the
ship deported the Zaraboanga area with Task Unit 78.1.16, a resupply
echelon returning to
Mandarin Bay. Two days were required for the trip and on March 15 Task Unit
78.1.16 loft the anchorage for Zamboanga with the Bailey again a unit in
the screen. The morning of the I7th was the arrival time at the destination.
closing the Task Group Flagship and hoisting aboard a Japanese suicide motor
boat to be transported to the Commander Seventh Fleet, the Bailey was detached
from the current operation and proceeded to Leyte Gulf, P.I. for five days’ tender
availability. In the Zamboanga operation the ship made no contact with the
enemy and did no firing.
Uh.1 Le alongside the U.S.S. Whitney at Leyte Gulf necessary communication
equipment was installed for service as a Group Headquarters ship. On March
25, proceeded out of Leyte Gulf enroute to Subic Bay, Luzon, P.I. The day following
the arrival on March 27, the Bailey WAS designated as the flagship of the Attack
Group Commander for the amphibious assault and landing at; Legaspi, Albay Gulf,
Luzon, P.I., in accordance with Commander Seventh Amphibious Force Operation
Plan No. 8.45. The same morning, Commander Task Group 78.4 (Captain H. F. McGee,
U.S,N., ComLCIFlot 7) reported aboard with his staff. With him came the Support
Aircraft Controller Afloat (LI.. Col. F. A. Nichols, U.S.A.A.F.) and his team.
In the afternoon the task group departed Subic Bay for Lemery, Balayan Bay,
Luzon, P.I. The Commanding Officer of the Bailey acted as Screen Commander.
The morning of March 29 the Flagship was anchored off Lemery while the landing
craft beached and loaded assault troops, supplies and equipment. In the afternoon,
Brig. Gen. H. MacNider, Commanding General 158th Regimental Combat Team, 6th
U.S. Army, reported aboard with his staff. Two war correspondents also came
aboard for transportation. The group loft Balayan Bay March 30 with the flagship
taking the fighter direction duties and proceeded to Albay Gulf via Verde Island
Passage and San Bernadino Straits.
Sunday Morning, April 1, the group arrived in the transport area
off Lagaspi Port. While lying to in her firing station about
0850 I, the Bailey was selected
as the target of enemy coast defense guns which were well hidden in a densely
wooded hillside overlooking the gulf. The Bailey immediately commenced counter
battery fire, estimating the target location by observed gun flashes. Having
been straddled by enemy fire, the ship was maneuvered evasively by backing
down. At about the same time the main battery salvos found their mark end
the enemy’s guns were permanently silenced. Fortunately none
of our ships had been damaged.
The landings were made as scheduled with almost no opposition,
while neutralizing and call fire was delivered throughout the
day. The Bailey’s call fire
was successful in knocking out several enemy gun batteries during the late
afternoon. A total of 370 rounds of 5”/38 AA Common ammunition was
expended. Before dark the unloaded landing craft formed up and Tank Group
for Subic Day.
On April 4, the day after arriving at Subic, the Bailey retraced
her original track to Legaspi, by way of Lomery, with a resupply
echelon. The group arrived
just one week after the initial landings and at the request of the Commanding
General, 158th R.C.T., the Bailey furnished call fire throughout the afternoon.
The Shore Fire Control Party reported successful results on all firing missions.
Total ammunition expended was 532 rounds of 5”/38 AA Common.
Once again all landing craft were unloaded and formed up before dark. With
the Bailey as flagship the group departed Albay Gulf for Mangarin Bay, Mindoro,
P.I. Upon arrival April 10, the duties of the Bailey as flagship for CTG 78.4
were completed and Captain H. F. McGee, U.S.N., with his staff, left the ship.
As an escort for a single ship, the U.S.S. Culebra Island (ARG 7), a five day
trip took the Bailey to Morotai, Netherlands East Indies. Upon arrival April
19, the ship reported to ComPhibsGrp 6, CTG 78.1. The anchorage on the Southwest
const of Morotai was the staging area from which U.S. and Australian naval
craft transported troops, equipment and supplies of the 7th and 9th Australian
Divisions of the 1st Australian Corps in the subsequent attacks on the island
of Borneo. The Bailey was employed as a screening and fighter director ship
with all convoys to which she was assigned in these operations.
The first assault on Borneo was at Turakan Island. On April 27
as a screening unit of Task Troup 78.1 the Bailey departed Morotai
for Tarakan Roads. Upon
arrival at the destination early in the morning of May 1, the ship was assigned
a radar picket station to patrol off the entrance of the channel. The next
day, having been relieved on station by the U.S.S. Drayton, the Bailey went
into the anchorage area, refueled, and took another screening station inside
the harbor. This harbor screen was primarily a protection against suicide
boats and any other such attack's, but no contacts developed. For
the next week the
Bailey was either outside the anchorage area on radar picket station or inside
at anchor. Until May 6 when the R.A.A.F. Primary Fighter Director Control
Unit Ashore assumed the duty, all fighter direction of air cover
for the area was
controlled by the ship. Many "bogey" contacts were intercepted
and investigated, but all proved to be friendly aircraft.
As ComScreen of Task Unit 78.1.97, the Bailey departed Tarakan for the return
to Morotai. The only deviation from routine screening came May 11 when a beached
PBY was investigated on Makalchi Island Sangi Islands. No American personnel
were found and the plane appeared to have been an old wreck.
Upon returning to the staging area and refueling May 12, the Bailey departed
for Tarakan the same day with Task Unit 78.1.96. The Commanding Officer of
the Bailey was again Screen Commander. On May 16 the convoy arrived at Tarakan.
The next two days, in cooperation with the 1st Australian Bombardment Group,
9th Division A.I.F., shore bombardment was delivered on targets designated
and spotted by a spotter plane. The spotters reported good coverage of target
areas with ammunition and supply dumps being destroyed. One ammunition dump
explosion was observed from the ship. Total ammunition expended was 782 rounds.
On May 19, Task Unit 78.1.96 departed for Morotai and arrived there May 22.
The next few days were spent in fueling, loading ammunition, gunnery practice
and other necessary jobs in preparation for the departure June 5 with Task
Unit 78.1.19 for Brunei Bay, Borneo. This unit was a supply echelon for the
assault force in Brunei Bay. Arrival was made at Brunei Bay June 11, whereupon
the Bailey was assigned to Task Unit 78.1.91 for the return to Morotai the
same day. In this operation no contact with the enemy was made and no shots
were fired. The task unit arrived in the staging area June 14.
The following two weeks were taken up by practice firing, tracking
drills and an overnight screening assignment for the assault
approach and landing rehearsal in preparation for the operation
at Balikpapan, Borneo. The
track for this rehearsal encompassed the island of Morotai and the practice
landings were made on the Eastern shore of the island.
Task Unit 78.2.35 was a supply echelon for the Balikpapan landings.
As one of the screening vessels, the Bailey departed Morotai
with the task unit June
28. Upon arrival in the Balikpapan area July 3, the ship was assigned radar
picket duty but was soon shifted to screening station due to an SC Radar
casualty. The following day after being reassigned to fire support
station, the anchor
was dropped about three miles off Seppinggan Airstrip. No firing was done
until late that evening when starshells were called for and delivered
town until fire was canceled during a red alert early the next morning. A
total of 24 5”/38 star shells were expended. The BAILEY departed
the area July 5 with Task Unit 78.2.74, onroute to Morotai.
After a three day wait in the harbor, the BA1LEY left Morotai July 13 with
a resupply echelon for the A.I.F. assault forces at Balikpapan. The day after
arriving in the landing area, July 19, the ship was assigned a screening station
to patrol to the seaward of the transport area. The following day the BAILEY
entered the inner harbor of Balikpapan and remained at anchor there until departure
from area with Task Unit 76.16.7 on July 22.
During the time spent in the Balikpapan area no shots were fired at the BAILEY
but the enemy made his presence known in other ways. Numerous Bogeys were picked
up on the radar screen and the C.A.P. shot down several Japanese aircraft.
The waters of the area contained Dutch, Australian and Japanese mines. The
existence of these mines in great numbers was one of the greatest hindrances
to the whole landing operation. Minesweepers had paid a high price in ships
and equipment to clear only the most essential boat lanes and anchorages and
at no time was any vessel free from this danger. A floating mine was sighted
while making final departure from the area and exploded by one of the screening
While steaming with the task unit on its return to Morotai July
26, the BAILEY rescued five survivors of a U.S. Army bomber which
had crashed into the sea.
This raised to 16 the number of airmen the ship has rescued. Later the same
day the survivors were transferred to an LST and the BAILEY was detached
from the task unit to proceed to Subic Day, Luzon, P.I. in company
with U.S.S. FRAZIER.
This terminated the ship’s activities in the Netherlands East Indies.
Arrival was made at Subic July 29.
For a two week period from July 31 to August 14 the BAILEY and
FRAZIER operated with Task Unit 76.8.61 as a fire support unit
to furnish call fire for Shore
Fire Control Elements of the 71st, 592nd and 593rd Joint Assault Signal Companies
undergoing refresher training at Amphibious Training Center, Subic Bay, Luzon,
P.I. All the firing problems ware held in the Port Silanguin area to the
West of Subic Bay. In the whole training period approximately 2000
rounds of 5”/38
ammunition were fired in both day and night firming practices.
After three days of an eight day tender availability, the BAILEY was ordered
with the U.S.S. FRAIZER to escort the U.S.S. TETON (AGC14) to Buckner Bay,
Okinawa. The period August 17th to 20th was required for the passage. The BA1LEY
departed Buckner Bay with the FRAISER bound for Subic Bay, arriving August
27. On September 1st both ships proceeded to Manila. Two days later the ship
was ordered to proceed to Mangarin Bay, Mindoro to when only two hours from
destination a cancellation of the original orders returned the ship to Manila.
The afternoon of the 4th the Bailey departed Manila as Commander Screen for
convoy IOK 112 onrouto to Buckner Bay, Okinawa. Arrival was made September
9, and two days later the Bailey departed the area for Subic Bay. The Commanding
Officer of the Bailey was O.T.C. and Screen Commander of Task Unit 53.6.98,
consisting of the Edwards(DD619) and Vireo(ATO144).
When off the entrance to Subic Bay on September 15, the Bailey was detached
from the task unit und proceeded independently to Manila. After reporting to
ComPhilSeaFron, the ship returned to Subic for at anchor availability and drydocking.
Subsequent to drydocking September 20-22, the Bailey remained at anchor in
Subic Bay the rest of the month.
1945 (Going home)
Charleston S.C. May 8 1946
Record USS Bailey (DD-492) taken from a book researched, compiled
written by crew member and Bailey historian Frank D. Purpura
MM 1/C, and contributed by crew member, and long
time friend, Lieutenant Stan M. Hogshead.