Bell, Lewis Douglas, MAJ

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Last Rank
Major
Last Service Branch
Field Artillery (1957-1968)
Last Primary MOS
1981-Rotary Wing Aviation Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Officer)
Primary Unit
1966-1966, 100E, 1st Infantry Division
Service Years
1954 - 1966

Field Artillery (1957-1968)

Major


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Texas
Texas
Year of Birth
1932
 
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Ft Worth, TX
Last Address
Ft Worth, TX

Casualty Date
Mar 05, 1966
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Vietnam, South (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Greenwood Cemetery - Ft. Worth, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
05E 113 / 1071,Space 4

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Artillery Shoulder Cord


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Aviator Badge (Basic)

 
 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1954, Field Artillery Officer Candidate School (Fort Sill, OK), A
 Unit Assignments
1st Aviation Battalion1st Infantry Division
  1966-1966, 100E, 1st Aviation Battalion
  1966-1966, 100E, 1st Infantry Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1966-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)
 Colleges Attended 
Texas Christian University
  1950-1953, Texas Christian University
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

This is to Certify that
The President of the United States of America
Takes Pride in Presenting


THE 
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
to

BELL, LEWIS DOUGLAS

Citation:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Lewis Douglas Bell, Major (Artillery), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company B, 1st Aviation Battalion, 1st Infantry Division. Major Bell distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry against an armed hostile enemy force at the cost of his life on 5 March 1966 in the Republic of Vietnam. Major Bell was serving as Pilot of a UH-1D helicopter when he learned that the perimeter of the 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry was surrounded and under heavy attack by a regimental-sized Viet Cong force in the vicinity of Lai Khe, Binh Duong Province. The insurgents had pressed so close to the perimeter of the American units that mortar and supporting artillery fire were relatively ineffective and the defenders had begun to run critically short of small arms ammunition. Though they realized that delivery of ammunition into the middle of a raging jungle battle was extremely hazardous and called for exposure to withering Viet Cong machine gun fire, Major Bell and his crew voluntarily undertook to deliver fifteen hundred pounds of explosive cargo into the battle area. On the approach to the landing zone the helicopter and crew were hit time and time again by heavy machine gun and small arms fire. Knowing the ammunition was desperately needed to save the besieged infantrymen, Major Bell and his crew ignored their own wounds and personal safety and continued through the heavy fire to the landing zone. The crew members began to unload the ammunition even though they were being repeatedly wounded by the ever increasing Viet Cong fire. Though the entire crew had been seriously wounded in their efforts, all the ammunition was successfully unloaded and Major Bell managed to fly the helicopter out of its untenable position, moments later the helicopter was shot down by a deadly cross fire of .50 caliber machine guns, killing all aboard. The heroic actions of Major Bell and his crew supplied the needed ammunition to turn the tide of battle and save numerous American lives. Because of this ammunition re-supply the heavily outnumbered infantry units completely routed the insurgents, killing over 200 Viet Cong and capturing supplies and equipment which included four .50 caliber machine guns. Major Bell's conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the cost of his life, above and beyond the call of duty was the mainstay of the successful camp defense. His actions were an inspiration to the American defenders, displaying magnificent leadership and conspicuous bravery. Although wounded, he never relented from his determined effort to re-supply the heavily beleaguered infantry units. Major Bell's courage and determination, in the face of overwhelming firepower, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Department of the Army, General Orders No. 16 (April 4, 1967)
Home Town: Fort Worth, Texas



Name: MAJ Lewis Douglas Bell
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 03/05/1966 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 33.8
Date of Birth: 05/01/1932
Home City: Ft Worth, TX
Service: AT branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: B/1 AVN 1 INF
Major organization: 1st Infantry Division
Service: AT branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 05E-113
Short Summary: Shot down by 12.7 mm Chinese AAA weapon north of Lai Khe with CPT R. M. Caloboso.
Aircraft: UH-1D tail number 63-12995
Service number: O4009726
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 1981 = 19 Rotary Wing Aviator (Unit Commander)
Primary cause: Hostile Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: weapons
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Started Tour: 02/17/1966
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
Length of service: 12
Location: Unknown Province
Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - killed
married male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Methodist (Evangelical United Brethren)
The following information secondary, but may help in explaining this incident.
Category of casualty as defined by the Army: battle dead Category of personnel: active duty Army Military class: officer
This record was last updated on 07/02/1997
   
Comments/Citation


Field Artillery OCS Class 50-54 Fort Sill Oklahoma
Major Bell was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism on 5 March 1966, while serving as pilot of a helicopter delivering ammunition to an Infantry unit surrounded and under heavy attack by a regimental-sized Viet Cong force. On approach to the landing zone the helicopter and crew were hit time and again by heavy machine gun and small arms fire. Knowing the ammunition was desperately needed to save the besieged infantrymen; Major Bell and his crew ignored their own wounds and personal safety and continued through the heavy fire to the landing zone. Though the entire crew had been seriously wounded in their efforts, all the ammunition was successfully unloaded and Major Bell managed to fly the helicopter out of its untenable position. Moments later the helicopter was shot down by a deadly cross fire of .50 caliber machine guns, killing all aboard. Major Bell's courage and determination, in the face of overwhelming firepower, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Posted by: Randy Dunham
Email: faocsalumni@lcisp.com
Relationship: Field Artillery OCS Alumni
Friday, December 22, 2006

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 63-12995
Date: 03/05/1966
Incident number: 0E005ACD Accident case number: 0E005
Unit: B/1 AVN 1 INF
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Logistics Support mission for Resupply , to Forward Area.
Unknown this helicopter was on Take-Off at UNK feet and UNK knots.
South Vietnam
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size. (7.62MM)
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 06 DOI . . Number killed in accident = 6 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 2
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Exploded
costing 11450
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Army Aviation Safety Center database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: OPERA, UH1P1, 01253, CRAFX, CASRP (Operations Report. Crash Facts Message. Casualty Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
CP CPT CALIBOSO ROBERT MALUENDA KIA
P MAJ BELL LEWIS DOUGLAS KIA
CE SP5 NETH DANNY A KIA
G SP5 BARNWELL RAY MAX KIA

Passengers and/or other participants:
CPT GEREAU RICHARD NORMAN, AR, PX, KIA
SFC EMMETT GARY WILLIAM, AR, PX, KIA

   
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