Planning commissioner leaves for Iraq
After 10 years in Blaine and nearly four years on the Blaine planning commission, David Baily, 50, will be joining the U.S. Army – again.
“A couple of years ago, they sent me a letter asking if I would volunteer and I checked the box yes,” he said. “I didn’t actually expect to hear back from them, so it surprised me. For them to pick me, I might has well have been picked in a lottery.”
Last month, Baily received the letter recalling him from retirement for active duty in Iraq. He began his reactivation training last Sunday at a basic training military station in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. From there, he will be sent to Fort Bliss, Texas for a week of training for re-activated members, and finally to Kuwait for another six weeks.
Baily first joined the U.S. military in 1976 in his hometown of San Jose, California. While at his last post in the 82 Airborne division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he served as a battalion executive officer. He also served as a senior logistics officer during Gulf War.
While there, Baily said he worked in material transportation, medical and planning and operations for the Army field services brigade. He will be working on future operations and the planning of current operation executions.
When asked if he was concerned about his safety, Baily said he was in the beginning.
“Initially, I was, because you feel like you may have forgotten everything you used to know, but the more I think about it, the more I am looking forward to it,” he said. “I just hope I can have five days off to spend Christmas at home.”
Baily graduated from Skyline Junior College in south San Francisco, with an associate’s degree in administration of justice in 1976. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from San Jose State University in 1979 and his masters in military studies and logistics from Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1991.
He moved to Blaine in 1996 with his wife Pam so they could be closer to her family here. They have two children – Mary “Elaine”, 21, who is a pre-med student at Whatcom Community College, and David, 24, who also plans on enlisting in the Army next week.
Baily said he became a volunteer with the Blaine planning commission because he wanted to give something back to the community. He also served on the city’s airport commission and the Blaine Tourism and Commerce board (BTAC).
He said he originally planned on serving 12 years on the commission but was further inspired by the work of fellow commissioners Brad O’Neill and Harry Robinson, as well as Blaine community development director Terry Galvin, who shared Baily’s vision for a revitalized downtown and harbor.
“There are some great concepts currently in the works. And they’re not just concepts, they’re actually happening,” he said. “Those guys really have a vision for a great future in Blaine, when I get back, I definitely want to go back on the commission because the future vision of Blaine is tremendous.”
Galvin said he and members of the planning commission will miss Baily’s conservative viewpoint that helped create a “realistic basis” to planning commission discussions.
“I think we all appreciated the fact that Dave provided a balance with his understanding of the value of development,” he said. “The result of that was often a lot of dynamic debate, which improved the final decisions that we made.”
Galvin said one of the things Baily took pride in was showing up at the meetings and doing homework about the various development projects.
“He had the best attendance record of any of the planning commissioners,” Galvin said. “He took it very seriously and he did his homework. He will be missed.”