LARRY G BELL - HM3
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- April 16, 1947
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- August 28, 1969
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Larry Gene Bell was born on April 16, 1947. His home of record is Salem, NJ. He was 5'8", weighed 145 pounds and had bluish green eyes. He graduated from Woodstown High School in 1965.
Bell enlisted in the US Navy on March 2, 1966, and attained the rank of Hospital Corpsman Third Class (HM3). He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA, for a time and was able to take unofficial leave to visit his family in New Jersey before leaving for Vietnam. Bell was called "Doc" as so many medics and corpsmen were.
Bell was killed in action on August 28, 1969, at age 22, while he was on combat patrol near Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam.
Among the awards Bell received were the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Bronze Star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. In addition, the State of New Jersey presented the family with the 25th Anniversary Commemorative Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal.
His father was the late Eugene Bell. Bell was survived by his mother, Marie Girtain Bell Blacklock, and his stepfather, David Blacklock. Bell also had two sisters, Trisha Harris and Nancy Myers, and two brothers, Dale and Michael. His brother, Dale, was killed in an auto accident in 1973.
Larry was the oldest of four children. We lived on a farm. He really enjoyed just walking around the fields and going into the woods. He loved nature. When Larry was ten years of age, his father died from cancer. This caused Larry to grow up fast, as I needed to get a job. Larry helped with his brother and sisters. We lived in Alloway, NJ, with a mailing address of Woodstown, NJ. Larry attended Woodstown High School and was a member of the F.F.A. (Future Farmers of America). He planted vegetables in his grandfather's garden, and won first prize for lima beans, peppers, and watermelons at the Salem County Fair. Larry loved to drive a '64 Chevrolet to school. After graduation in 1965, he got a job at Mannington Mills.
Larry was called for service, so instead Larry and his friend, Jim, enlisted in the US Navy. Larry chose the Navy because his father had been in the Navy.
When Larry was sent to Vietnam he was very careful not to write anything home that he thought would upset me. Larry's stepfather and I took him to the plane. Larry, as usual, was cheery.
Larry's favorite foods were spaghetti with homemade sauce, chocolate milk, devil dogs and tasty pies.
Larry had big dreams for when he came home. He was going to raise a few animals and have himself a trailer on his stepfather's farm.
Larry was 22 years of age when he was killed in action on August 28, 1969, approximately 7 miles southwest of DaNang in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam as a result of missile wounds from an enemy surprise firing device while on patrol. Shortly after Larry's death, his brother, Dale, was killed in a car accident.
Written by P. Marie Bell Blacklock, Mother
May 4, 1999
Bell's Navy Commendation Medal citation reads:
For meritorious service while serving as a Corpsman with Company L, Third Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam from 24 April to 28 April 1969. Throughout this period, Petty Officer Bell performed his duties in an exemplary and highly professional manner. Participating in numerous patrols and ambushes, he repeatedly distinguished himself by his courage and composure under fire as he continually moved to dangerously exposed positions to treat his companions' wounds. While accompanying a patrol on 19 August, the unit came under heavy volume of hostile fire and, although wounded during the initial moments of contact, he steadfastly refused to be treated until he had tended the injuries of several comrades. On 28 August, he was accompanying another patrol in enemy-controlled territory when he was mortally wounded by the detonations of an enemy explosive device. His heroic and determined actions inspired all who observed him and saved the lives of numerous Marines. By his courage, bold initiative and unwavering devotions to duty at great personal risk, Petty Officer Bell upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.
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