Caleb Bailey

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Caleb Thayer Bailey
Nickname(s) "Zeke"
Born August 28, 1898
Bladensburg, Maryland
Died January 13, 1957 (aged 58)
San Diego, California
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Commands held Marine Corps Air Depot Miramar
Marine Aircraft Group 11
Wars World War II
Korean War

Brigadier General Caleb Thayer "Zeke" Bailey (August 28, 1898 – January 13, 1957) was an American Marine Corps officer, pilot, and athlete. Bailey was the first commander of Marine Corps Air Depot Miramar, and served as a commander of Marine Aircraft Group 11 during the War in the Pacific. Bailey was inducted into the University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984.

Early life[edit]

A native of Bladensburg, Maryland,[1] Bailey attended the University of Maryland, where he became a member of the Beta Kappa chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order.[2] He was a regular on the UM Terrapins football team from 1918 to 1922.[3] A dedicated sportsman, he played in the 1921 season while recovering from a broken jaw.[4] The Baltimore Sun wrote in 1922 that Bailey was among those "men whose work can be attributed much of the Black and Gold's success of the last few years."[5] He also played on the Maryland baseball team as a catcher.[6] In May 1923, he tried out for the Newark Bears, a professional baseball team in the International League.[7]

Military career[edit]

After college, Bailey entered the United States Marine Corps. He played on the Quantico Marines football team as a center from 1923 to 1926.[8] After the Marines defeated Fort Benning in November 1926, Bailey received the President's Cup from First Lady Grace Coolidge on behalf of his team.[9] In 1928 and 1929, he served as an assistant coach for Quantico.[8] In December 1938, he was promoted from captain to major.[10]

As a lieutenant colonel, Bailey served in the Municipal Police Commission of St. Thomas and St. John in the United States Virgin Islands, until he resigned to take another post in December 1942.[11] As a colonel, Bailey oversaw the establishment of Marine Corps Air Depot Miramar on September 2, 1943 and served as its first commander.[12] During World War II, the base provided logistical support to Marine Corps aviation units as they prepared to deploy to combat.[13]

Bailey commanded Marine Aircraft Group 11 in the Palaus, which provided close air support to the 81st Infantry Division and 1st Marine Division during the War in the Pacific.[14][15] While group commander of MAG-11 at Peleliu, his pilots of VMF-122 began what they called "Operation Freeze". In these missions, a single F4U Corsair flew at 30,000 to 33,000 feet to practice high-altitude operations, which also had the side benefits of drawing ineffective Japanese anti-aircraft artillery fire (thereby wasting their ammunition stores), and creating ten gallons of chocolate ice cream. The field-expedient dessert was made from a concoction of canned milk and cocoa powder stored in an underwing tank, which froze during flight at the high altitude. According to the book Corsair: The F4U in World War II and Korea, Bailey called the unit and told them, "You guys aren't fooling me, I've got spies. You tell Hunter I'm coming over there tomorrow and get my ration."[16]

During the Korean War, he served as the Chief of Staff of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.[17] Bailey retired from the Marine Corps with the rank of brigadier general.[18] He died on January 13, 1957 at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, California at the age of 58.[18][19] The University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame inducted him in 1984.[20]


  1. ^ Bombs Stun Japanese, The New York Times, November 24, 1943.
  2. ^ We Serve, Vol. II, p. 15, Kappa Alpha Journal, 2009.
  3. ^ All-Time Lettermen (PDF), 2007 Terrapin Football Record Book, p. 17, University of Maryland, 2007.
  4. ^ "Maryland–Catholic U. Game". The Washington Herald. Washington, DC. November 13, 1921. Retrieved August 12, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ Eight Dependable Players Will Be Lost From The University Of Maryland Football Team; Their Absence Is Keenly Felt Much Of Recent Success Attributed To Outgoing Gridmen TO ELECT A CAPTAIN Fullback Jack McQuade Mentioned As Leader For 1923, The Baltimore Sun, December 6, 1922.
  6. ^ College Parkers Plan For Grind On Diamond, The Baltimore Sun, February 27, 1922.
  7. ^ Parnham Has No One To Blame But Himself For Bird Defeat Big Pitcher Fails To Take Advantage Of Opportunities -- Johnny Honig Responsible For Six Runs -- Dunn Again At The Park, The Baltimore Sun, May 28, 1923.
  8. ^ a b Quantico Football: 1918 thru 1942 (PDF), Quantico Marine Athletes Reunion Group, retrieved September 3, 2010.
  9. ^ MRS. COOLIDGE SEES QUANTICO TRIUMPH; Marines Defeat Fort Benning, 27 to 7, and Win Service Title for Second Year. FIRST LADY PRESENTS CUP She Represents President at Game, Dividing Her Time Between Rooting Sections. MRS. COOLIDGE SEES QUANTICO TRIUMPH, The New York Times, November 21, 1926.
  10. ^ 3 Marylanders Given Promotions In Marines, The Baltimore Sun, December 20, 1938.
  11. ^ Governor Appoints Col. Major To Police Commission, The Virgin Islands Daily News, December 8, 1942.
  12. ^ A Chronology Of The United States Marine Corps 1935-1946, p. 51, History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1965.
  13. ^ Robert Lee Sherrod, History of Marine Corps aviation in World War II, p. 441, Nautical & Aviation Pub. Co. of America, 1987, ISBN 0-933852-58-4.
  14. ^ The Pacific War – 1941-1945: Peleliu, Marine Corps Gazette, November 1985.
  15. ^ Naval War in the Pacific in 1944, Marine Corps Gazette, March 1945.
  16. ^ Barrett Tillman, Corsair: The F4U in World War II and Korea, pp. 85–86, Naval Institute Press, 2002, ISBN 1-55750-994-8.
  17. ^ Ed Dailey, MacArthur's X Corps in Korea: Inchon to the Yalu, 1950, p. 132, Turner Publishing Company, 1999, ISBN, 1563114399.
  18. ^ a b GEN. BAILEY DIES AT 58; Ex-Marine Flyer, U. Of M. Star, Was III In San Diego, The Baltimore Sun, January 15, 1957.
  19. ^ One-Minute Sports Page, Spokane Daily Chronicle, January 14, 1957.
  20. ^ All-Time Inductees Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame, retrieved August 30, 2010.