Last Update: November 10, 2020 November 10, 2020

A Tribute Honoring

Arizona World War II Submarine Veteran

John Billy Bailey, TM2(SS)


Wellington, Collingsworth County, Texas and Bisbee, Arizona

     John Billy Bailey was born on 9 July 1923 in Wellington, Texas to Arthur J. and Clementine Moseley Bailey.  John was the couple's second child and a younger brother to Anna Jane who was born in 1917.  The 1930 Census did not list an occupation for Arthur nor "Clem" as she was referred to, but, in 1940 when John Billy Bailey was 16 years of age, his father's occupation was identified in the Census as a retail dry goods store manager.  His sister, Anna Jane who had married Henry Pearson was listed as a cashier/bookeeper and had a 3 year old son named Billy Don. The 1940 Census reflected the Bailey family was living that year in Ennis, Ellis County, Texas.  John's father's obituary of 6 October 1960 indicated the family moved to Arizona in 1942, lived for two years in Bisbee and then moved later to Phoenix where he was involved in real estate.


    U.S. Navy Muster Reports indicate John Billy Bailey enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Dallas, Texas on 28 May 1941.  On 31 August 1941, he was stationed at the Naval Air Training Center, San Diego, California.  On 28 September 1943, John Billy Bailey was listed as part of the commissioning crew of the newly constructed Gato class diesel electric USS Robalo (SS-273), which was built, launched and commissioned at the Manitowac Shipyard in Michigan.  At the time, John now a Plankowner, was a torpedoman third class petty officer.  The Robalo commanded by Lieutenant Commander Stephen Armbruster, USN, Naval Academy 1938, left Manitowac and headed down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.  Robalo and its crew transited the Panama Canal and arrived at Pearl Harbor where it took on stores and torpedoes and headed for the South Pacific on its first patrol. The Robalo left Pearl on 8 January 1944 and after 57 days at-sea, called at the port of Fremantle, Australia on 6 March.  It departed on its second patrol on 10 April 1944 and returned on 30 May 1944.  John Billy was promoted to torpedoman second class and on 22 June 1944, Robalo now under the command of Lieutenant Commander M.M. Kimmel, USN departed Fremantle for its third and last patrol. According to reports, Robalo was sunk by a mine on or about 26 July 1944 off the east coast of Balabac Island, the Philippines. Seventy-seven men were lost that day, 4 men survived the submarine's sinking but they died in captivity. 

Robalo's Insignia USS Robalo (SS-273) USS Robalo (SS-273) Loss Location

   More information about Robalo and the names of its crewmembers, go to the following links:

The source for the above plaque is  The link to Basil Martinez Abad's profile can be accessed by clicking here.
     John's mother,Clementine, who was born in 1897 passed away in April 1983.  John's sister, Anna Jane, died in 2003. 


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Copyright © 2015 through 2020

Website developed and maintained by Ray Olszewski USS TUNNY (SSG-282) 1958-1962 Boat Yeoman YN1(SS) and IS1(SS) USSVI Life Member and Author of USS TUNNY: A History, Tribute and Memoir.