Bell, Vernon Leigh, T/5

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
49 kb
View Shadow Box View Time Line View Family Time Line
Last Rank
Technician Fifth Grade
Last Primary MOS
434-Bandsman Bass Drum
Last MOS Group
Army Band (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1945-1946, 8th Service Command, Army Service Forces
Service Years
1944 - 1947
Technician Fifth Grade

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

49 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Michael S. Bell (Bluehawk)-Family to remember Bell, Vernon Leigh, T/5.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Died: Cincinnati, OH

Date of Passing
Mar 15, 1995
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Ribbon Bar



 Official Badges 

Honorably Discharged WW II Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961

 Unofficial Badges 

Army Band

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
WWII Memorial National Registry
  2008, WWII Memorial National Registry2

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Author: Michael S. Bell (his eldest son) USAF Shadow box profile:

His brother, Keith Willard Bell's Remembrance:

------- My father was reportedly a Conscientious Objector who enlisted in the US Army to perform non-combatant service during WWII from 1944-46 (precise dates unknown). (See OTHER COMMENTS below for complete history). I am attempting to reconstruct his military service record because circumstances have prevented me from seeing documents or his memorabilia for the past 40+ years.

His duty assignments in sequence, as I understand it, were: Fort Leonard Wood, MO- Boot camp (unknown unit) Camp Crowder, Neosho, MO- Signal Corps (unknown unit) Los Alamos, NM - Manhattan District (unknown unit) West Point Military Academy, NY - US Army Band While at Camp Crowder, and during a Joplin USO social event, he met my mother, Alpha Marie Russell (age 16), a 4th generation Ozarks native born in Joplin. I was born at Derfelt Osteopathic Hospital in Joplin on July 1946. Vernon and Alpha (aka "Marie") divorced at Carthage, MO in ca. 1949-50. I have one brother from that union, George Russell Bell (age 58) formerly of Louisville, KY (a professional arborist and former Arabian stud trainer). Vernon married Enid Ruth Morrison (whose father, "Gus", was also a Methodist minister) of New Ulm, MN in ca. 1953. They met while she was a student at Northwestern University and he was studying for his Master's at Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston, ILL. He was ordained in Minnesota. Their union yielded two children; David Maxwell Bell (of Cincinnati, OH) a public schools choral director, and Janie Ruth Bell-Farnsworth (of southern Indiana) a veterinarian. His wife, Enid (a retired grade school teacher), survived him and is still living in Cincinnati as of Jun 09. Upon death he was cremated, and his ashes strewn in the river at Cincinnati.

------- Some history of Signal Corps training at Camp Crowder: To handle the wartime flood of personnel, the Signal Corps opened a second replacement training center in February 1942 at Camp Crowder, Missouri, near the town of Neosho in the southwestern corner of the state. Camp Crowder now received most of the Army's signal recruits, including those entering through the Affiliated Plan, who traveled there to receive basic training. Recruits spent three weeks learning the basics of soldiering: drill; equipment, clothing, and tent pitching; first aid; defense against chemical attack; articles of war; basic signal communication; interior guard duty; military discipline; and rifle marksmanship. In July 1942 the Midwestern Signal Corps School opened its doors at Camp Crowder, with a capacity of 6,000 students, and the following month the Corps' first unit training center also opened there. The headquarters established in October 1942 to administer this group of schools was designated the Central Signal Corps Training Center. But the Army's requirements for technically trained manpower were endless. Camp Crowder soon exceeded its capacity, and a third training facility opened in September 1942 at Camp Kohler, California, near Sacramento...

------- Description of Manhattan District ASF patch symbolism: This special shoulder patch was awarded to 3,500 Army officers and enlisted men who worked for the Manhattan Engineering District. The blue field represents the universe, a small Army Service Force Star signifies the command, and a question mark signifies the secrecy of the project. The tail of the question mark becomes a lightning stroke, hitting and splitting an atom. ------

Other Comments:

Thanks to Joe Armstrong, Rich Hopka and Wailuna for helping me walk through some of this.

-------- I would truly be grateful to the members here for any advice or help with being specific about my father's units and activities, and especially on the odd chance that anyone here might actually have known him. From FLW he was sent for what I take to have been a Speciality Training or Tech School at Camp Crowder in some unit of the Signal Corps operations there, which were gearing up very quickly at the time. I'd love to be able to figure out which was his training unit. I've been to the Camp and seen their museum display. His primary duty while at Los Alamos was (I was told) being the driver of a 9-passenger Checker vehicle, ferrying personnel and mail to and from the APO (which still stands) on the square in Santa Fe (in the storefront directly across the alley from the front entrance to the Santa Fe Fine Art Museum). Someone in the family also once said that he had been a Clerk/Typist. I have no proof. Family tradition is that he was present 16 Jul 45 for the first atomic bomb Trinity Test at White Sands, Alamagordo NM. He was classified officially as an "Atomic Vet", so he once told me. I would have been conceived in October 1945. My parents were married at the Church of Christ (her lifelong denomination) in Santa Fe with her mother's written permission (I've seen a copy of the original letter still extant in the marriage records at the County Clerk there). He (and his only sibling, Keith, a USAF/Korea-era vet based in Japan on C-119s) spent a lifetime being anti-military and was a genuine Pacifist. It didn't rub off on me. His brother (a retired social worker) survives and resides in Milpitas, CA. Vernon Bell was an ordained Methodist minister most of his life in Missouri (Millville/Norborne), Illinois (west and south side Chicago, Rockford and Frankfort), Michigan (visiting circuit), Wisconsin (East Troy); and also taught Natural Science in Junior High School in Rockford, ILL. He was a second-generation Methodist minister, son of George Roswell Bell and Amelia Ruth Barnes (of Pennsylvania). In retirement, I spend the greater part of every week researching and writing Remembrance profiles for Fallen airmen, at the USAF TWS sister site.

------ From Political Graveyard: Bell, Vernon L., of Rockford, Winnebago County, Ill. Democrat. Alternate delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1972. Still living as of 1972.

------ Los Alamos and Trinity: The Manhattan Project had four main facilities. In the basement of the unused football stadium of the University of Chicago, scientists Enrico Fermi and Arthur Compton built an atomic pile and in December 1942 produced the first chain reaction in uranium. At Hanford, Washington, a plant produced plutonium 239 from uranium 238. The Clinton Engineer Works at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, separated uranium 235 from uranium 238 through gaseous diffusion. A secret new laboratory, headed by physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, was built in 1943 on a secluded mesa at Los Alamos, New Mexico, to design and build atomic bombs... On 16 July 1945, the first atomic weapon test, code named "Trinity," was held on a desert bombing range at Alamogordo, New Mexico, 200 miles south of Los Alamos. Mounted on a metal tower, the test device?13.5 pounds of plutonium inside 2.5 tons of explosives?was exploded at 5:29 A.M. as Groves, Oppenheimer, Bush, and others watched in awe. The blast equaled 15,000?20,000 tons of TNT and generated a fireball visible for 60 miles.

------- The Los Alamos National Laboratory was built on a mesa that previously hosted the Los Alamos Ranch School, a private school for teenage boys. The site was chosen primarily for its remoteness. Oppenheimer had known of it from his horse-riding near his ranch in New Mexico, and he showed it as a possible site to the government representatives, who promptly bought it for $440,000. In addition to being the main "think-tank", Los Alamos was responsible for final assembly of the bombs, mainly from materials and components produced by other sites. Manufacturing at Los Alamos included casings, explosive lenses, and fabrication of fissile materials into bomb cores.

------- SSN 398-16-2557 (Found on Rootsweb 4 Jul 09)

------- Update 21 Nov 09: "After several months of work and waiting, today I got word from the National Archives that they have located some of our father's military records and will be sending them to me - which will cost $60. In 1973 some anti-war Draft protesters decided to set fire to the St Louis archival storage facility as a gesture of their dissatisfaction with national policy. The result of it was that the records of several thousand GIs were destroyed, though partial documents were kept elsewhere (which is what I will be getting). Unless David has something different in the box in his garage, then the family will now have as full a record as can be gotten. If anybody wants a copy, I'll be glad to send (no charge) It will become part of my personal collection, which is already a bequest to my little oona granddaughter. By way, the Army (for free) is also sending me the medals Dad earned: - Meritorious Unit Commendation - American Campaign Medal - WWII Victory Medal - Good Conduct Medal - Honorable Discharge lapel pin.

His service number was 36 930 064 (if I could have had that number available when this started, it would have shaved almost 9 months off the waiting time)." /signed/ MSB

-------- NARA records rec'd on 3 Dec 09. Based on those (incomplete due to 1973 fire) the following points were noted: Term of service: 27 Dec 44 - 22 Jan 47 Re-enlisted: 6 Feb 46 at Fort Bliss, TX Honorably discharged "at the convenience of the Army" following repeated medical difficulties, while at West Point. Assignments: Fort Sheridan 1944 Camp Hood 1945 Camp Crowder 1945 Camp Barkeley 1945 Fort Bliss 1946 West Point 1946-47 Units: Co C 53rd, ASFTC Co C 170th Trng Bn, IRTC Sig C Co Sig Trng Bn B Co 61st, MTB 8th Service Command Sig C Co D Sig Trng Bn, BITC ASFTC 1802nd Spec Regmt Spec Eng Dist 9812th Tech Serv Unit, Corps of Engineers MOS: Clerk-Typist Clerical NCO Bandsman > No record of Conscientious Objector > No record of service at Fort Leonard Wood

------- Ft. Sheridan was his Induction and Reception Center -- only there a few weeks at most. The three camps were Replacement Training Centers (Infanty, Signal Corps, and Medical Administrative Corps, respectively) where he would have received basic training, probably at Hood (Co C 170th Trng Bn, IRTC), signal training at Crowder (Co C 53rd, ASFTC and Sig C Co Sig Trng Bn), and medical admin training at Barkeley (B Co 61st, MTB). This is an odd combination of training... -------

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Army GarrisonsManhattan District Army Service Force8th Service Command, Army Service Forces
  1944-1945, HQ Troops, Camp Crowder, MO
  1945-1946, 55, Manhattan District Army Service Force
  1945-1946, 8th Service Command, Army Service Forces
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1945 World War II
 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
WWII Memorial National Registry
  2008, WWII Memorial National Registry2

 Photo Album   (More...

Reflections on T/5 Bell's US Army Service
 Reflections On My Service

Reflections on Service Pending

Copyright Inc 2003-2011