The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom

United States Marine Corps
Kenneth Bailey
Major Kenneth D. Bailey
United States Marine Corps

For  extraordinary courage and heroic conduct above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of Company C, First Marine Raider Battalion, during the enemy Japanese attack on Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on September 12-13, 1942. Completely reorganized following the severe engagement of the night before, Major Bailey's company, within an hour after taking its assigned position as battalion reserve 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 forces. After rendering invaluable service to the Battalion Commander in stemming the retreat, reorganizing the troops and extending the reserve position to the left, Major Bailey, dispite a severe head wound, repeatedly led his troops in fierce hand to hand combat for a period of ten 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 endeaver which enabled them to repulse the enemy and hold Henderson Field. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States

Major Kenneth D. Bailey was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on 24 March 1943, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during a special ceremony at the White House, for heroic conduct during action in the Solomon Islands. The medal was presented to Maj Bailey's wife. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during an intense battle to repulse the enemy at Henerson Field on Guadalcanal.

Kenneth Dillon Bailey, who also earned the Silver Star Medal during the initial landing on Tulagi in the Solomon Islands, was born in Pawnee, Oklahoma, on 21 October 1910. He later moved to Danville, Illinois, with his parents.

He spent three years with the 130th Infantry, Illinois National Guard, prior to receiving his second lieutenant's commission in the Marine Corps on 1 July 1935. He was ordered to the Marine Barracks, Philadelphia, where he completed a course of instruction in the Basic School.

Joining the 5th Marines in Quantico, Virginia, he participated in maneuvers in San Diego and in the Caribbean. In June 1938, he joined the Marine Detachment, USS Pennsylvania as Detachment and Battery Officer. He was advanced to first lieutenant on 19 January 1939 while serving on board that vessel.

A short tour of duty at Quantico as Range Officer with the Rifle Range Detachment preceded his assignment as Assistant to the Training Officer, Recruit Depot, at Parris Island, South Carolina. 1stLt Bailey was ordered to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in December 1940 where he joined the 1st Marine Brigade. He later joined the 7th Marines, then the 1st Marines, which returned to Parris Island not long after he reported for duty. He was promoted to captain in March 1941.

At Quantico in June 1941, he joined the 5th Marines as a company commander. In February 1942, his unit was redesignated the 1st Marine Raider Battalion. The unit was ordered to San Diego, California, in April 1942, and on the last day of that month reached Tutuila, Samoa. He was promoted to major on 8 May 1942.

Landing on Tulagi on 7 August 1942, he later moved with his unit to Guadalcanal, where he earned the Medal of Honor. He was buried on Guadalcanal but his remains were reinterred in Spring Hill Cemetery, Danville, Illinois, in June 1948.

In addition to the Medal of Honor and Silver Star Medal, Maj Bailey was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart; Presidential Unit Citation; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp; and the World War II Victory Medal.

Return to Main Page