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Retired Alabama soldier-turned-police officer whose unit helped capture Saddam Hussein dies suddenly

A folded flag sits on a casket during ceremonial funeral training at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 22, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)

Desmond Bailey, a retired Army colonel from Alabama whose unit helped capture Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and later served with the Prattville and Eclectic police departments, died suddenly on Wednesday, Eclectic police said.

“His colleagues described him as courageous, selfless, and fearless,” the Eclectic Police Department said of Bailey, who was a corporal with the department at the time of his death.

“Cpl. Bailey, you will be greatly missed,” the department said. “Rest in peace, and may God welcome you home. We love you brother. We will take it from here. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. We will release funeral arrangements at a later date.”

No cause of death was released for Bailey, who was in his early 50s, according to WSFA, which first reported on his passing.

Bailey, who was in the Marines before joining the Army, according to the department, served in Iraq Operations Iraqi Freedom and Spartan Shield.

His Army unit helped capture Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in December 2003, and Bailey detailed the operation and his other military experiences in the 2022 book “Recon 701: A story of Resiliency, Brotherhood, and Triumph, as told by the troopers of G/10 CAV”

The book “is not a memoir of Des Bailey,” he told a meeting of the Elmore County Historical Society earlier this year, according to the Wetumpka Herald.

“I wanted the book to be real comments and experiences from the soldiers from when we were training up to when we first learned we were going to deploy, the good times and the hard times. The capture of Saddam and what happened afterwards, to when we redeployed home dealing with PTSD,” Bailey said.

After retiring from the Army, Bailey served in local law enforcement — first with the Prattville Police Department and then with the Eclectic Police Department.


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