Eastern Kentucky Hero Passes Away

By: Julie Maloney Email
By: Julie Maloney Email

An Eastern Kentucky man is being remembered as a hero. Woodrow Wilson Bailey served in World War Two and was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Not a day went by that Woodrow Wilson Bailey didn't mention his service in World War Two.

"From me just being a little girl, he would point out the ship, the U.S.S. Tennessee and he'd say that is what I was on. He was very proud," said Karen Day, Bailey's God-daughter.

But those stories have come to an end. Bailey passed away last week at 84 years old.

"Very good hearted, very kind, good hearted person," said Bailey's niece Kimberly Brashear.

But bailey's memories and stories live on. Friends say he was in his early 20's when he, along with five of his brothers, enlisted in the military.

"The Bailey boys didn't wait to be drafted, they volunteered," Brashear said.

From 1941 to 1944, Bailey served in the Navy. He was on the U.S.S. Tennessee in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 when Japan bombed the United States.

"The captain of the ship was looking over at him and speaking with him and at that time he said the Japanese planes flew over, dropped the bombs. He saw the captain blew to pieces," Brashear said.

"It was painful and terrifying for him," Day said.

The U.S.S. Tennessee was connected to the U.S.S. West Virginia when the West Virginia was hit by Japanese bombs.

"It's my understanding there was a ten inch houser connecting the two ships and he took a knife and with one stroke he cut the houser in two," Day said.

The left side of Bailey's body was injured in the attack. He was awarded the Purple Heart and his niece says he was mentioned in several books for his heroic act.

"Due to his act of courage and valor when almost super human strength, he took a knife and cut that ten inch house in two," Brashear said.

An American flag now drapes his casket, one last honor for this hero who will never leave their hearts.


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