four months of active duty in Iraq, James Bailey IV
Unlike most military personnel who were stationed at
military bases, Bailey, a self-proclaimed "behind
the scenes guy," lived in a small, guarded compound
in Kurdistan, a city in the northern territory of
"We didn't wear uniforms, we just stayed low-key,"
he said. "People didn't really know who we were, or
what we did."
"I was mostly responsible for maintaining
communications," said Bailey. I provided
communications support for an intelligence group to
further help support the war. I can't go into
details, but I primarily made sure the communication
lines stayed up and operating, did small computer
maintenance, troubleshooting, and computer support -
like a technical support guy."
The son of James and Teresa Bailey, Bailey is a 1995
graduate of Selma High School. He is classified as
an E-5 Staff Sergeant in the United States Air
Force, where he is a member of the Air Force Office
of Special Investigations.
During Bailey's nine-year military career, he has
received several awards, including the Air Force
Commendation Medal (1999), the Air Force Achievement
Medal (2000), and during this tour, the Air Force
Joint Service Achievement Medal.
"This Joint Service Medal was different," said
Bailey. "While deployed there (in Iraq), I worked
with Army, Navy, and civil service personnel."
Despite the sometimes chaotic environment, Bailey
had both humbling and humorous experiences while
serving in Iraq.
"The proudest moment I had there was on election
day," he said.
Bailey people had to dip their fingers in ink to
signify that they had voted. On election day, the
Kurdish staff of his compound got up, cooked
breakfast, cleaned up as usual, and then when to
town to vote. When they came back, Bailey took a
picture of them proudly displaying the evidence that
they had voted: their ink stained fingers.
"Our cook was around 67 years old, and this was the
first time that she had voted in her life," he said.
Bailey also recalled one of his most humorous
"It's funny," he said with a laugh. "They are crazy
about President Bush. Bush is like their savior."
He said that the Kurdish guards for his compound,
who spoke a little English, asked if he was "USA".
When he said yes, they smiled, said "Bush" and gave
the thumbs up sign.
When Bailey said "Clinton" their reaction was
neutral, but the guards then said "Monica Lewinsky",
and began smiling and giving the thumbs up sign
"I was very proud of him. I knew he would be the
best he could be," said his father. "Although he
might not have been involved in hand-to-hand combat,
he was in a dangerous environment and anything could
have happened. But, I prayed the prayer of Faith,
and God answered my prayers."
Bailey will leave Selma on Sunday, April 17, headed
for Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, were he is
stationed. He is not sure if and/or when he will be
"They try to rotate us out at least every fifteen
months," said Bailey. "It will be at least a year
and a half until I am sent out again, if I'm sent
When asked how long he intends to remain in the
military, Bailey said, "that depends on how fast I
advance. I can retire at 39, so I am going to take
advantage of that."