Heartland Marine killed in combat - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Southeast Missouri Marine killed in combat

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By Arnold Wyrick

LEADWOOD, MO (KFVS)- The war against terror claims the life of another Heartland Soldier.

On June 16th a U.S. Marine who grew up in Leadwood, Missouri was killed while on combat operations by small arms fire.

29-year-old Lance Corporal Michael Bailey was on his second tour of fighting in the region when he was fatally injured.

Bailey grew up in the small Missouri town of Leadwood. And his former high school principal says you could see something different in the young man, compared to other students.

"All the way through the school years you could always tell his character," Eric Moyers said.

"He was always there for everybody else. He was always willing to help. And one of the things I will never forget about Mike was that he always had a smile on his face."

Bailey's service to the people began at an early age, when he started hanging around the Leadwood Fire Department. For Bailey is was a home away from home.

"Michael came to us as a young man in high school looking for a place to get involved," Chief Charles Lewis said.

"He wanted to help the community. And he got involved with the fire department training and fighting fires. And he just kind of grew into one of the guys here at the fire house."

Bailey began his service to the country shortly after graduation from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served eight years. Then after being out of the service for a year, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps.

"I was blessed enough to be able to know Mike," Pastor Jessie Barton said.

"And I was able to teach him some things here at the fire house, because I was practically living here at the time he showed up. And there are several of us here that grew to love Mike and become good friends with him."

Lance Corporal Bailey had just visited his hometown in February of this year. And he kept up with his tradition of stopping by friends and former teachers homes to say hello.

"He never forgot although he left the community for his time in the service, he always came home. And he always made a point of going around and visiting everybody," Principal Moyers said.

Now Lance Corporal Michael Bailey will be coming home to a hero's welcome. The Leadwood Fire Department and police department will escort his coffin through town for a final farewell. And then to the West County High School for his visitation and funeral services.

The exact date of those services are still pending.

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