August 6, 2012

Russell Bell

1st Sgt. Russell R. Bell, age 37, of Tyler, Texas, died on August 2, 2012, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered an enemy improvised explosive device.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Russell graduated from Chapel Hill High School in 1993. He joined the Army on January 24, 1996 as an Infantryman, attending One Station Unit Training and U.S. Army Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Georgia.  

He spent a year at Camp Casey in Korea. He then reported to Fort Bragg where he served at various levels in 1st Bn., 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment for more than five years and then transitioned to his drill sergeant duties at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  Following his tour at Fort Jackson, he returned to the airborne community with the 508th PIR in Italy and subsequently returned to Fort Bragg where he served as a 1st Sgt. for more than three years in two different units, most recently with HHC, 1st Bn., 508th PIR. This was his fourth combat deployment to Afghanistan over the course of seven years.

Angels of God, pray for Russell
Military officials describe Russell as one of their best all around leaders, with a well rounded personality and a great sense of humour.  He was a man who liked to make others laugh even in difficult situations. 

Family members stated that he was firmly committed to the military and to his country.  In his emails home, Russell would often say with respect to his soldiers - "pray for my boys".  

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal with five bronze knots, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon with the numeral three, the NATO medal, the Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.

Russell is survived by many loving friends and relatives, including his father, Jim Bell; and his wife, Latoya and their 1 year old son, Gage.

Let us pray that Russell Bell is in heaven. Let us pray that he is at peace and is with God. Amen

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