Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Marine Corps

Kenneth Dillon Bailey

  • Rank: Major
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company C,
    1st Marine Raider Battalion
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: September 12 - 13, 1942
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands

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, 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.

Medal of Honor Recipient Kenneth D. Bailey
Medal of Honor Recipient Kenneth D. Bailey
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Illinois
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: March 24, 1943

    Presented at the White House to Mrs. Kenneth D. Bailey by President Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • Born: October 21, 1910, Pawnee, Pawnee County, OK, United States
  • Died: September 27, 1942, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
  • Buried: Spring Hill Cemetery (MH) (16-72), Danville, IL, United States
  • Location of Medal: Vermilion County War Museum, Danville, IL

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