Vince Bailey grew up on Long Island in Ozone Park. His father, a World War I Navy Veteran, worked in the textile industry, and his mother was a homemaker. After graduating from high school in 1946, he attended St. Bonaventure and played on their freshman basketball team. In 1948, he joined the Class of ’52 at the United States Military Academy, and continued his basketball career. He branched Infantry, but eventually became an Aviator. Initially, he volunteered for service in Korea, and was assigned to the 30th Infantry Regiment in early 1954. Departing Korea, he was stationed in Hawaii with the 27th Infantry “Wolfhounds” in the 25th Infantry Division, and he met his wife. Later in his career, he was assigned to the Army Materiel Command in the Air Mobility Office, and worked on helicopter development for both transportation and fire support. After another assignment in Korea, he returned to Army Materiel Command as an aeronautical engineer and, as a Lieutenant Colonel, was sent to flight school. In 1967, he deployed to Vietnam, eventually commanding five airfield detachments. He flew both Air Cav and MEDEVAC missions, leading from the front. Returning from Vietnam, he was assigned to the Pentagon in the Advanced Attack Helicopter Program Office. Upon retirement, he worked for Sikorsky in what became the Blackhawk development program.
In this interview, he talks about his road to West Point, playing basketball at the Academy, and several individuals he knew and interacted with, such as Red Reeder, Dick Shea, Ed White, and Mike Collins. He comments on the football cheating scandal of 1951, and on academics. He describes his service in Korea and Hawaii, and as an ROTC instructor. He discusses his service in Vietnam, integrating helicopters into a variety of roles during that war. Finally, he explains what West Point means to him.