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Robert K Bell

War: World War II
Parent/Wife: Clifton/Joyce
City: Port Edwards
Birth Date: 19 Aug 1915
Death Date: 18 Jul 1944
How Died: Plane crash
Where Died: Germany
Where Buried: Wisc. Rapids
Rank: Tech-Sgt
Branch: Air Force

Kia=Killed in Action
Dow=Died of Wounds
Dod=Died of Disease
Mia=Missing in Action


A Liberty Bell: Still Ringing For All to Hear

Maam, I am sorry to inform you that your husband, Robert Bell, has been mortally wounded over Kempton, Germany during an air raid. His plane exploded before he could bail out.� These were not the words Robert Bell�s wife was hoping to hear. Unsure if she would ever see her husband again, she broke down. She had only pictures of him since he left to be in the Air Force during World War II. Unfortunately, he would never return.

Robert K. Bell was brought into the world on August 19, 1915, by his parents, Joyce and Clifton Bell. He lived in Port Edwards until he was ten and then moved to Wisconsin Rapids. He graduated from Lincoln High School, class of 1934. Bell worked at the Consolidated Water Power and Paper Company for approximately eight years, until June l9th, 1941, when he left behind his life and volunteer position in a selective service group. On that day, Bell entered the military service in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a choice that brought out the best in him.

After entering the service, Bell trained at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri and Scott Field, Illinois. During his training in Illinois, Bell returned home for the last time on a five-day furlough to visit his family. After basic training, Bell served as an instructor at the Chicago Technical School until it closed. Bell then transferred to Harlingen, Texas, where he received his gunner�s wings in the October of 1943. Gunner�s wings are certification that one has the abilities to fly and shoot during combat. After that, Bell�s advanced training occurred in Rapid City, South Dakota and McDill Field of Tampa, Florida.

In March 1944, Bell flew overseas from Savannah, Georgia to North Africa to begin fighting for his country. He was promoted quickly to the position of Technical Sergeant and then was sent to an advanced air base in Foggia, Italy. His wife received Robert�s air medal after he completed twenty-eight missions working with the Flying Fortress unit in Italy. Sadly, only ten missions later, Bell would breathe his last. On July 18th 1944, when Bell was only twenty-five years young, a war telegram announced that he was Missing in Action. Bell had been participating in a raid on Menningham, Germany as a radio operator and gunner with the 483rd bomb squadron in the 15th air force when his plane was hit by enemy ammunition and exploded in mid-air. It was not until over a year later that he was formally pronounced Killed in Action, valiantly killed for his country.

During his three years in the Air Force, Bell had received four awards, excluding his air medal: the first being a Presidential unit citation, honoring his extreme bravery while serving. Eventually, he earned the award again. The oak leaf placed on the award symbolizes receiving the citation a second time. He was also awarded a Good Conduct Medal and a Mediterranean Theater Ribbon as well. The Mediterranean Theater Ribbon recognized his participation in the air campaigns of World War II. Lastly, he was given a Purple Heart, which is a decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who were wounded or killed while serving America.

Bell�s memorial service was held in Wisconsin Rapids at St. John the Evangelist. It was small and simple, yet a beautiful and honoring funeral attended by the congregation, his relatives, and friends. Many tears and loving memories were exchanged. Nobody would forget the compassionate man who was never hesitant to serve his community, his country, and his world.

Mary Finta, Student
Marshfield Senior High


Robert K. Bell
On July 18th, 1944, the airplanes in the fifth wing of the United States Air Force were sent to attack a vital German airdrome in Memminger, Germany. Among those pilots was Sgt. Robert Bell. Their mission, to destroy key gas generators, would stop enemy productions for at leat six months or more. The odds were unbelievably diverse against these men, 17 to 1. Although the facts added up against them, the pilots had the determination of their families and friends behind them. Sgt. Bell was one of these men fighting for America at the age of twenty nine.

Robert Bell was born in the city of Milwaukee on Augut 19, 1915. He probably lived a normal life, just like the rest of us. But there was one event that possibly changed his life. Robert joined the Air Force. As a Sergeant, Robert Bell was a gunner/technical support in the United States Air Force during World War II. He fought for his country, allowing his life to be in jeopardy for the freedom of the United States.

On the night of July 18th, 1944, the fifth wing began the attack on Memminger, Germany. Prior to the mission there had been bad weather and the backup needed was not now coming. Due to the terrible clouds, part of the wing returned to base leaving twenty-seven of the bombers to attack their target. As the battle began, enemy planes were now attacking the planes of the fifth wing. Gunners upon the planes fought with great heroism. As their planes were shot down, the gunners continued to shoot, even though they were to face their deaths. Robert Bell had this determination, to die for his country, no matter the stakes.

Tanner Hansen, Student
Marshfield Junior High


News Articles

Bell Furlough
Bell Declaration
Bell Furlough Home
Bell Joins Air Corps
Bell Memorial Service
Bell Memorial Service 2
Bell Missing
Bell Missing, Remembered
Mrs Bell
Mrs. Bell Receives Air Medal
Mrs. Bell Visits


  Honoring Our Wood County War Dead