Untitled Document
LESTER BELL




1921 - 2009


Lester Bell was born on September 13, 1921 in Toledo Ohio. On June 8, 1938, he joined the US Army National Guard to serve with the 37th Div. 135th 3 Field Artillery Battery F. The 37 Division was mobilized in September 1940 and Bell was discharged in 1941. A year later, Bell was drafted in September 1942 and had to take basic training all over again, this time with the Horse Calvary at fort Riley, Kansas. After completing basic training, he was shipped out to Fort Lewis, Washington. Then, he went to the North West coast where he was assigned to company H 115 Cav to patrol the Washington Coast and look for enemy submarines. While patrolling the coast, he was awarded with the Soldier's Medal for saving a person from drowning.


In September 1943, Bell volunteered for the Paratroopers to see action in combat and immediately, he was assigned to the 542nd Parachute Infantry Regiment. Once with the Paratroopers, Bell told a few fellow soldiers that he was going on a sit down strike until he got shipped out, but the Army said that he was going to get shot or to be sent to the Guard House. Bell did not let the Army stop him from going to combat, and he kept his word staying on a sit down strike. Few days later, after he told some officers his desire to experience combat, Bell was sent to POE Camp Shanks, NY and then overseas to South Hapton, England.

Back in England, Bell was assigned to Company H, 17th Airborne Parachute Infantry, where he finally experienced combat in the Battle of Buldge. Bell was wounded on January 8, 1945 with a shrapnel in the chest, during a German attack. Then, he was loaded on the back of a tank from his support armored outfit, taken to a first aid station and to a field hospital in Belgium, France, England and finally home in the United States.

Six months after Bell was wounded in the Battle of Buldge, he was medically discharged in 1945. Bell prestigious awards include the Soldier's Medal, Purple Heart, American Defense Service, African Middle Eastern Theatre, Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, Unit Citation, Battle of Buldge, before Pearl Harbor Combat Infantry Badge, Jump Wings, World War II Victory Medal and WWII Lapel Button. In the civilian life, Bell held offices seats with the DAV, VFW, Purple Heart Association in Ohio and the 17th Airborne. He also was part of the American Legion in Sebastian and the mighty Space Coast All Airborne Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, where he was a former president.

Less Bell was married to Peggy in November 1945. They were married for 47 years. Peggy and Less had three children: Bill, Terry, Janice and one granddaughter. Peggy was a registered nurse and an auxiliary member of the Space Coast All Airborne Chapter. She did an excellent job helping out at the Florida All Airborne Days in 1989.

After Bell was medically discharged from the Army, he was employed at Toledo Edison Co. in Ohio. He work in administration services purchasing material for the power plants. He worked there for 40 years and retired in 1985 to Florida. In 1996, Less joined the swimming team and began winning ribbons and medals. He was called a "Devil in Baggy Pants". Before a triple bypass surgery, Bell received a high point award in St. Petersburg in his age group. That was April 6-7 at the 25th One Hour Postal National Championship 2002, United States Masters Swimming. Amazingly he came in the seventh position. Less Bell passed away last year in 2009, in his condo at Melbourne Beach. The Space Coast Chapter will always honor the life of Less, as a roll model for generations to come.



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