Americans in Wartime Experience

Wade Bailey

World War II

Wade Joseph Bailey served in the United States Army in World War II. Wade was born in 1923 in Nokesville, Virginia. Wade’s brother, who was a Radio Operator on a C-47 aircraft was killed during WWII.

Drafted into the U.S. Army, Wade was inducted at Fort Meyers, Maryland. Wade wanted to be a ground crew for the Army Air Corps because he worked on cars and wanted to work on airplanes. Wade was not assigned to the Army Air Corps.

Wade attended Army basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia where he trained as an Infantry Rifleman. He then went to Camp Patrick Henry as a staging area for selections to troop ships, . Wade was assigned to the USS Mariposa and sailed to North Africa.

He left North Africa for Sicily, Italy; there Wade joined the 45th Infantry Division. The Division landed at Salerno, Italy. Wade would become a platoon Scout. The Scouts went a head of the platoon to check for the enemy. Wade took direct fire from two Germans but avoided it by laying behind a rock.

During the Anzio battle, Germans shot propaganda pamphlets at the Americas in artillery shells and dropped them from aircraft. The pamphlets stated that the Germans were going to drive the Americans into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Wade was wounded at Anzio when a shell landed a foot away from his foxhole.  He suffered a concussion from the shock wave of the blast. The Division went into Rome but didn’t have to fight for it.  The Italians treated the Americans well.

Wade’s Division was sent back to Salerno for amphibious training. Wade would be in the 2nd wave to land in Southern France during Operation Dragoon. The Division fought their way through France. After such a long time on the front line, Wade was sent back to Italy where he would spend several months in a hospital.

Several hundred troops that were taken out of combat took a troop train and stopped in Waregem, Belgium. That was the first time Wade had heard the buzz bombs. He and his platoon stayed in a school house and were warned to stay alert because the Germans were dropping in Paratroopers that spoke English and wore U.S. uniforms.

Wade was reassigned to a Chemical Battalion in Liege, Belgium, where he handled smoke grenades and other chemicals.

Wade was in France when he heard the news the war was over. The war taught Wade a lot.

Wade did what he had to do and it worked out for him.

Thank you Wade for your service to the United States of America.

Bio prepared by Rebeccah Christovich.

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The Americans in Wartime Experience explores the impact of war and conflict on America since WWI. It honors those who served in the military and on the home front and highlights the values they demonstrated in serving – duty, honor, and courage. It examines how periods of conflict have profoundly shaped American society. It educates visitors about the costs of war, both on a personal and social level. It challenges visitors to remember the service and sacrifices made by their fellow citizens to preserve and defend our freedoms. LEARN MORE

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