Saturday, June 04, 2011

Army Sgt. Christopher R. Bell

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Christopher R. Bell, 21, of Golden, Miss.

Sgt Bell was assigned to 793rd Military Police Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; died of wounds suffered June 4, 2011 in Laghman province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed were Sgt. Joshua D. Powell, Spc. Devin A. Snyder and Pfc. Robert L. Voakes Jr.

Spc Bell claimed by both Mississippi and Alabama. He joined the military as soon as he graduated from Tremont High School in Mississippi in 2008. He served at Ft Leonard Wood, MO, before being stationed in Alaska in January 2009. He deployed to Afgahnistan in March this year.

From high school until the time he left for basic training, Bell worked in the kitchen at the Generations of Red Bay nursing home. Spc Bell's mother still works at the nursing home, as did his wife for a time.

"He always interacted with the residents," said Sonya Lucas, Bells' wife's cousin, who added that Bell was always a friendly and courteous person.

She said Bell and his wife, Samantha, were dating when he was stationed in Alaska. "When he got a leave, he came home and they got married, and she went back with him," she said. "What breaks my heart is he'll never get to see his baby grow up," Lucas said. "He adored his little girl."

Mandy Lawler, who worked with Bell at the nursing home, said "His mother has been very worried something would happen to him, and they had a very close relatioinship. I was immediately saddened for her." Lawler said.

Spc Bell’s mother, Barbara, said her middle son had always been interested in the military and in law enforcement and had even talked about making a career out of it.

“It was something he had wanted to do for a long time, as much as I tried to stop him,” she said. “I am honored and proud to know that he died a hero, but I just wish he could’ve come home.”

“He was a great son – a momma’s son,” she said. “He was always thinking about others and worried about other people. He was just a great son, husband, father and brother.”

“Ever since I was younger, Chris was the person I looked up to and he was more like a father figure than an older brother,” younger brother Zack Bell said. “I always wanted to be just like him.”

Zack, said, "The officers told us that Chris was the only one who might could have survived the explosion; the other three dies on impact. They tried to pull him out, but he wouldn't leave his men behind."

Friend Corey Pardue, said that sounded like something his friend would do. "He really believed in the motto that no man should be left behind," Pardue said. "He was always putting others before himself, in every aspect of his life. That's just the kind of person Chris was."

Chris was the most disciplined person,” Pardue added. “He was always trying to better himself. He started college as soon as he got on the base and he worked out all the time to stay in shape. He was very dedicated to things he believed in.”

Pardue, who introduced Chris and Samantha Bell when they were in high school, said he couldn’t imagine what she was going through. “I don’t know what I would do if I was in her shoes,” Pardue said. “But she’s handling it okay. She’s tough and she has to stay strong for Lana.”

Samantha Bell said she will cling to the special memories she made with her husband during the three years they dated and the nearly three years they were married. Tuesday would have been their three-year anniversary.

“Just spoiling her was what Chris did best because she was daddy’s girl,” Samantha Bell said. “He will not only live in our heart and memories but through her – she is a spitting image of her daddy.

“Chris taught me so much about things and made me a strong person where I could raise our daughter. I’m so proud of him.”

“Law enforcement was something he wanted to do even before we got together,” she said. “When he became an MP (military police), he would come in the door singing ‘I’m an MP, baby, and I’m rolling on down the line’, which was a cadence he learned in basic training. He was proud of being able to help and to try to make a difference.

“The best quality about him was the fact he was always willing to help others, whether it was studying for promotion boards, getting the right equipment, or just being there to listen. He was known as the ‘go to guy’ because everybody knew he would get it done.”

Samantha and Lana Bell would be moving back to the area to be closer to family.

“You couldn’t have found a better match than Chris and Samantha,” Zack said. “She will always be a special part of our family no matter what. Once a Bell, always a Bell.”

Sgt Bell is survived by his parents, Barbara and Timothy; wife, Samantha, and daughter.

Army Sgt. Christopher R. Bell was killed in action on 6/4/11.

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