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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aviation & Flying Activities  |  Topic: Holder of highest NO CHUTE free fall passes away.
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Author Topic: Holder of highest NO CHUTE free fall passes away.  (Read 754 times)
Flying Pig
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 5,041

« on: May 26, 2008, 09:54:00 PM »

Died on VE Day. RIP, sir.
EDWARD OLIVER BAILEY, JR.,War hero, ex-POW and art icon among advertising artists in Memphis for a half-century, died at home May 8, 2008. He was 85. Mr. Bailey was most famous for surviving being blown out of his B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber over Austria during World War II. As squadron navigator and nose-gunner when the plane was struck by German anti-aircraft fire, then Lieutenant Bailey was blown free of the aircraft and landed in a snow bank where he was discovered by Austrian guards who dragged him on a fir tree to an aid station. He spent 13 months in a German prison hospital and POW camp. Mr. Bailey’s experience was immortalized in Ripley’s “Believe it or not” nationally syndicated newspaper feature as the individual at that time who had survived a fall from the highest altitude without a parachute. A first lieutenant in the 301st Heavy Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force of the Army Air Corps, it was on his 45th combat mission in the European Theatre of Operations that his aircraft was shot down. He received various service ribbons, the Purple Heart, and the U.S. Air Medal with one Silver and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters.

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When the Germans found him, they demanded to know, for intel purposes, where he stashed his chute and gear. He told them he hadn't had time to put the chute on before the plane exploded, but he wasn't believed until they found the wreckage of his bomber with one more chute than bodies inside. He was later given a letter by the Germans attesting to his freefall.

But because he did not descend by parachute, he was not eligible for Caterpillar Club membership.

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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aviation & Flying Activities  |  Topic: Holder of highest NO CHUTE free fall passes away.
 


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