Birthday: June 05, 1922
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Family: Loren James and Anna Bailey
Branch: U.S. Navy
Rank: 1st Petty Officer Shipfitter
Close-up of U.S.S. Cassin and U.S.S. Dowaes.
December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Salvage operations on the U.S.S. Oslala.
U.S.S. Oglala is raised and repaired.
USS Ogolala damaged during the Pearl Harbor raid.
Loren Bailey joined the Navy July 17th, 1940 and he was stationed in Hawaii, and survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was on two ships that where sunk. His first ship was used to lay mines. His second ship was used as a convoy vessel to Europe. After the war his ship was used for picking up mines.
"I joined the Navy in 1940,on the 17th of July, and was stationed in Hawaii from October 1940 to December 7 1941, when the Japs bombed it. I was assigned to a minelayer called the USS Olgala. This was the ship that laid mines. This ship wasn't a man of war ship it dropped mine in the harbor, and would sneak out of there The mines where devices they drop in the water and they contain 600lbs of TNT and the idea was that an enemy ship bumped into one and sunk when your not even there."
"That morning (December 7, 1941) I had just finished eating breakfast and was heading down to my bunk to listen to some records when the fire alarm went of, so I ran to go get my ax, you see every person in the Navy has job to due if there is a fire on shore, mine was to get the fire ax. The ax was on the top deck. As I was getting the ax the announcement changed from fire to `Man your battle stations, this is not a drill' right before I went below deck to my battle station, which was on the mine tracks. I saw three Japanese planes. One of the planes broke off and dropped a torpedo and sunk the USS Oklahoma, at that point I knew we where going to war. Another one of them turned and flew right at us, it dropped a torpedo, which went under our ship and hit the one next to us, the USS Helena, but the concussion from the explosion was so powerful it broke the rivets and our ship began to sink. The Helena being a man of war ship had watertight compartments so it didn't sink. Watertight compartments are used so incase a ship did get hit, it could close one of the compartments and the water couldn't flood the ship and sink it. When we got the order to abandon ship I jumped onto the Helena and helped pass ammo to the 1.1 machine gunners.
Three days after the bombing I was transferred to a destroyer that went to the South Pacific and we where operating near the Solomon Islands and unfortunately I got sunk a second time the second ship was the USS Tucker and we were embarrassed in a way. We thought we had cornered a Japanese Submarine and we probably had one cornered. We were very close to land and we were escorting a troop ship loaded with troops and we picked this sub up on our sonar device, unfortunately that area had been mined that morning by one of our ships and we ran into one of our own mines and we got sunk."
A sinking ship is a bad situation, but it could be worse. "The bad thing about that was the word "abandon ship", and I saw a few shark fins. Now you got a sinking ship that you can't stay on, and you got sharks waiting for you we where in the Segund channel, and the current took the blood and that caused the sharks to go out to sea Anyway we got back to the states and there were three brand new destroyers being put into commission. One was the USS Bailey, my namesake, but they wouldn't give it to me because I didn't have the right rating. So I got on the USS Carmick, a brand new destroyer, number 493 and we did convoy duty to Europe and North Africa against German submarines because they were sinking our troopships and our oil tankers and everything else."
"On the Carmick we had equipment called sonar equipment, sonar equipment is used to detect submarines we would make what they called a depth charge run. Each charge contained 600 lbs of TNT, highly explosive and we could set these any depth we wanted to. We didn't always destroy the submarine, sometimes they got away."
Since Loren was in the regular Navy he had to stay in the service for a while after the war ended. "When the war in Europe was over, we came back to the United States went through the Panama Canal and went to San Diego and were converted to a destroyer mine sweeper. And we got to Japan, Japanese claimed they didn't mine their harbors; one day we swept 600 mines, so apparently the Japanese where lying. The way you sweep theses mines is you have huge booms and huge cables with iron jaws that cut through the water and snip the cable because the mine is anchored to the bottom of the ocean or the bottom oh a harbor, when the cable is cut and the mine floats to the top, we destroyed it with machine gun fire, rifle fire, or 5" gun fire. We swept a lot of mines in Japan, and it was not all-bad duty because I got to see a lot of Japan that I would not have seen normally. So we stayed in Japan for eight to nine months. I got back to the U.S. Easter Sunday of 1946 and I got discharged August 31st. of 1946."
under Learn and Serve American Grant #00LSFWI104