3:48 | After World War II, Kenny Bell wound up an Army lifer. He became known as a fixer, a sergeant who could come into a dysfunctional unit and straighten it out. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
Keywords : artillery tank Kenny Bell
He was a young country kid trying to make his way in an Army full of more sophisticated people. Kenny Bell got the manual for the artillery pieces and read it at night until he knew the guns inside and out. He volunteered to go overseas when he was sent to a stateside post. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
His division was devastated by the sinking of the SS Leopoldville, so Kenny Bell was not sent to Battle of the Bulge. The 66th Infantry Division was instead given the assignment of containing German troops around submarine bases on the French coast. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
Kenny Bell relates the story of a man on his gun crew who went into the nearby French town and came back with five gallons of wine. That night, while he was having a little party, a fire mission came in. Not good for accuracy. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
The end of the war was a big moment for Kenny Bell. For the first time in a long time, he went into town and celebrated. That was in Brittany, but before he went home, he had occupation duty in several places. In Austria, he had a big German command car for his personal transportation. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
The war was over and the guy wanted a souvenir. Kenny Bell told him that that his idea was a bad one, burning out the load from an artillery projectile so he could keep the shell. In Bell's pocket was what everyone thought was a pack of cigarettes, but was actually the secret to his success. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
When a vehicle loaded with explosives blew up at the gate, dental officer Mike Barno hurried to his emergency assignment, triage at the aid station. A truck with wounded men from the Afghan Army pulled up and he jumped into the back, ready to help.
Following the tragic deaths of ten Afghan children, it fell on General David Barno to tell President Karzai about the incident. He describes the effect this had on the rules of engagement going forward and he discusses a document he drew up to give guidelines to the troops that would keep them in the good graces of their hosts.
Justice details a too-close-for-comfort interaction with a vehicle-borne IED. The IED came as a complete surprise and the entire F.O.B. fell into what Justice could only describe as “chaos” immediately following the explosion. She suffered several injuries and had to work with the nurses back in Bagram and depend on the friendship of comrade Colonel Ellison to come back from the injuries.
Fort Bragg was one of her favorite posts. What did Regena Herndon learn there? Endurance and taking initiative and how to deal with high ranking people. After her retirement, she worked with juvenile offenders and got a lot of satisfaction when lives were turned around.
Regena Herndon wanted to join the military after talking to a recruiter at a high school career night. The fact that her brother would not talk about his experiences in Vietnam did not deter her. Basic training was tough, but she prevailed and became a soldier. Her first post at Fort Dix was a bad experience, but the next one, in Frankfurt made up for it.
Being stationed in Germany was a great assignment for Dionne Archibald because she always had a love of travel and that gave her a chance to see Europe. After she returned to the States, she was promoted to master chief and returned to recruiting as an equal opportunity specialist.
When Dionne Archibald went to the Military Sea Lift Command, she was lucky to get a brand new ship. The job was fueling and supplying ships at sea and it was during this time that she got to make a contribution to the Desert Storm operation.
After technical school in blazing hot Texas, Tyrell Felder headed to her first job as a medical technician at Langley Air Force Base. Her father was career Army, and he told her not to expect to see many minorities in positions of power in the military. She was happy to discover that was no longer the case.
After thirty years of service, Dionne Archibald left the Navy, but her passion to help people continued. Her non-profit organization Active Veterans With Answers acts as a bridge between veterans and the VA, to make sure they have access to all their benefits.
Her mother passed away an September 10, 2001. Nothing could have prepared Dianne Butts for the shock of the following morning's events, a national tragedy added on to her personal tragedy. As a logistics officer, she did her part when called to Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she did her job, despite the psychological toll any war zone can bring.
Dianne Butts talks about the strained relationship with her daughter while she was deployed, an example of the stress on military families. She keeps the PTSD at bay by getting involved with women veteran groups and lobbying congress on veteran issues.
She was young and alone, but the Navy made sure there was someone to meet Dionne Archibald at the airport in Japan as she began her first assignment. She had no problem re-enlisting after her initial four year hitch and went to an advanced communications course before her next post. She lucked out on that one.
Dionne Archibald had many assignments and ships during her Navy career, including the USS Wasp. It was transporting Marines during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. As the information security manager, it was part of her job to deny internet access to those who strayed online.
Emmanuel Melendez-Diaz wanted to deploy to Iraq and he got his wish. The spartan conditions were bearable, but he had a sergeant who badgered him about his English and relegated him to KP duty. Fortunately, he was able to move to another company, where he was wanted, with the help of some breakfast cereal.
After being thrown into combat right away, Marine air traffic control technician Nate Winkler's time in Iraq got a little more settled down. He was in country for eight weeks doing his part to set up and operate forward air fields. Then, relief was sent and he came home, which was fine. He'd got his taste of the war. Part 3 of 3.