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Bayles, Donald M


DONALD M. BAYLES
ARMY
Middle Island



Donald M. Bayles, son of Thomas and Gertrude Bayles, was born in Middle Island December 10, 1923. In September 1929 he was with the first students attending the new East Middle Island School on Yaphank Road. He graduated in 1937 and in September of that year entered Port Jefferson High School where he graduated in June 1941 as salutatorian of the senior class . A couple of months later his high school principal informed him that a scholarship-loan had become available at New York University's College of Engineering. He went to see the Dean of Engineering, applied for the loan and was accepted.

Three days before Donald's 18th birthday United States forces were attacked at Pearl Harbor and we were at war. On June 30, 1942 the Draft was expanded to include those aged 18 to 20 and he registered. At the middle of his sophomore year Donald volunteered for the draft and on Feb. 17th 1943 was in the U.S. Army at Camp Upton. Within a few days he was shipped to Camp McCain near Grenada, Mississippi and was assigned to the Anti-Tank Company, 346th Regiment, 87th Infantry Division which had just been activated and was beginning basic training. That summer he had the opportunity to apply for the Army Specialized Training Program (A.S.T.P.) and was sent to Alabama Polytechnic Institute in Auburn for advanced civil engineering studies. In March 1944 the training program at Auburn was terminated and Donald was sent to the 86th Infantry Division at Camp Livingston near Alexandria, Louisiana which was beginning basic training. This time he was assigned to a rifle company but he was a corporal and a squad leader. On Aug. 17 a notice was read requesting non-coms to volunteer for duty overseas. He was so disgusted with repeating training and the hot weather in Louisiana that he volunteered and two days later was bound for Fort Ord, California. After a month at Fort Ord he was on a ship bound for a replacement depot at Oro Bay, New Guinea and on December 3rd was on Leyte in the Philippine Islands assigned to Company C, 34th Regiment, 24th Infantry Division.

For the remainder of December "Charlie" Company was engaged in clearing out Japanese forces from the northwest tip of Leyte. Then after a three week rest the 34th was sent to Luzon as a regimental combat team (RCT) and on January 29th 1945 made a surprise landing on the west coast of the island. They moved quickly to Subic Bay and then to Zip-Zag Pass on the road across the Bataan Peninsular where the Japs had been waiting for 3 years. After a fierce fight they pulled back and let the air force neutralize the Jap forces so that another division could take over. The 34th joined the rest of the 24th Division on Mindoro Island for a couple of months rest and in April made another surprise landing on the west coast of Mindanao. In this operation Donald's company traveled up the Mindanao River by landing craft. The regiment then moved quickly across the island to the east coast where the Japanese had expected the invasion of the Philippines to take place. The next 3 months were spent in mopping-up operations and pushing the remainder of Japs back into the hills. On July 2th Donald was injured when a Japanese mortar shell landed a few feet away. He was taken to a field hospital and 2 or 3 days later was evacuated by air to an Army General Hospital on Leyte. There he was confined to a hospital bed for 3 months and on Oct. 6 left Leyte aboard the USS Gen. W.G. Haan for a voyage of 6813 miles to Seattle. He finally managed to obtain a discharge on Dec. 19th from Kennedy General Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee and arrived home by Christmas.
On September 1, 1946 Donald married Virginia Doris Faron of Coram and returned to the College of Engineering at NYU under the GI Bill of Rights. He graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree in June 1948.

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