Aviation pioneer, John M. Bailey, Jr. was born in Coalwood, West Virginia on March 31, 1945. When he was a young boy his family moved to Buffalo, NY where he completed his education, graduating from the University of Buffalo. Captain Bailey entered the USAF in 1968 completing pilot training in 1970. During his active duty tour he flew the C7, EC47 and C141 aircraft. He flew worldwide and combat missions in the Lockheed C141, and exceeded over 809 combat hours and amassed over 120 combat missions in the EC47 aircraft. These missions involved reconnaissance flights over South Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. In addition, Captain Bailey also provided support for the U.S. President’s flight schedule from Andrews AFB. Among his numerous decorations and honors, include the USAF Air Medal for Meritorious Service and The Distinguished Flying Cross for heroic actions during the Vietnam War. Upon completing his military service, Captain Bailey flew for Delta Air Lines for 30+ years and left an indelible mark. He was the First African American to fly Captain on the MD-88 and the Boeing 767-400ER aircraft. Other aircraft that he flew during his tenure with Delta include the B727-100, B727-200, DC-9-30, B767-200, B767-300, B767-300ER and B757. He also worked as a Delta Project Pilot for Diversity Recruitment of Women and Minority Pilots. Captain Bailey retired from Delta in November 2003 and turned his attention to aiding, aviation career-oriented young adults, through Delta Air Lines and Tuskegee Airmen supported programs. These programs include:
ACE Camps, Dream Flight, Flight Line, Atlanta Dream Jamboree. He assures the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen is passed on to the newest generation, via both history and hands-on-activities and helped to create and develop the Tuskegee Airmen Aviation Career Training Summer Camp sponsored by Delta Air Lines and the Lockheed Martin Corp. Capt. Bailey has mentored and impacted many young men and women’s life and has been featured in various publications.
In recognition of his distinguished service to his country and dedication to mentoring young aviators, Captain John M. Bailey, Jr. was enshrined in to the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 18, 2015.