CHATTANOOGA, Tn. — We have told you about World War 2 veteran Cletis Bailey a few times over the years.
Last week I went to talk to him again.
This time about a recent trip to Belgium and Germany where he fought almost 80 years ago in World War II.
"A lot of the WWII veterans are disappearing at a pretty rapidly rate," Cletis Bailey said.
He got into the war just after the Battle of the Bulge and the fighting was hard right away.
Mr. Bailey told me this story.
"A fella that I'd taken a break with the night before, I was getting acquainted with him. Kinda batting the breeze. He got killed the next day."
Mr. Bailey made it home from the war.
He got out of the Army.
Then joined the Air Force.
He worked in accounting. It was a much different job than fighting in the infatnry in WWII, but in war no matter if you are on the front lines or on an office visit in what was then Saigon danger is never far away.
"As I left the sergeant that I was talking to, a rocket came in. Killed him. Wiped out the whole corner of the building and it was very close to me."
There hasn't been too much time since I met Mr Bailey for the first time.
When you find someone like Mr. Bailey you want to talk to him as much as you can while you can
"I'm glad to still be around," Cletis Bailey said.
We first met him a little more than a year ago when he was on his way to France to visit the places he fought in World War II.
Since then we told his story of fighting in the war.
He was honored by a local congressman.
Then went back to Europe in December. This time to the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium.
"We were well received and people showed how grateful they are and how appreciative. It's obvious, and that gives you a good feeling."
His family told me the line was out the door. People waiting to meet these heroes while they still have the chance to say thank you one more time.
Cletis Bailey will go back to Europe in June.
He will be in France or the 79th anniversary of D-Day.