The next few days, far too few, will be very hard for Paul Bailey and his family, as he concludes his service to God and country. According to wife Nancy, the doctors have recommended no further invasive procedures so as to leave him as comfortable as possible.
Sunday, he was comfortable enough to telephone me and to watch the football games with friends and family, although between his much-needed naps. Al and Gail Harrington, members also of our C-123 group, were there for much of the day and expect to return Monday.
Paul's 37 years of service to the US Army and US Air Force stand as testimony of his valor, patriotism and dedication to friends and family. An Army "brat," he enlisted and earned his Combat Infantry Badge and Paratrooper wings before his teens were out. Leaving active duty to earn his BA and MA degrees, he later joined the Air Force Reserve and altogether served nearly four decades.
Even in retirement, he served as a supporter of New Hampshire's veterans causes and, in particular, of The C-123 Veterans Association of which he was an officer. There was pride, too, in his service both as an NCO and an officer.
Paul was exposed to Agent Orange aboard our C-123 transports which he flew between 1974-1980. Suffering from prostate cancer, he learned in 2011 the aircraft had remained contaminated but the Air Force toxicology reports were suppressed from 1994 on. Paul's struggle to obtain VA medical care and benefits began, but without VA action. His plight was highlighted in an August 3, 2013 full-page story in the Washington Post, authored by reporter Steve Vogel. On August 7, Vogel ran the news of Paul's claim for exposure benefits suddenly being approved by the VA.
Please keep Paul, Nancy, daughter Laura and the grandchildren in your prayers.
God bless Paul Bailey, my best friend.