Benjamin S. Bell
Highest Military RankSGT
Tomb DatesJan 2001 - Jul 2004
Military DatesJul 1999 - Jul 2004
Home City / StateWinter Haven, FL
Current City / StateTampa, FL
Tomb ReflectionsThere were so many it really is hard to pick from them all. I think I have forgotten some of the best. Walking became my favorite thing to do. Just being outside with the Unknowns in the dead of winter and nobody else was around. That was always special. However, I took a lot of pride in training the New Men. I had a lot of other Badgeholders setting the best example around me (Welker, Basso, and Griffin) and most of the time I could not hold a candle to their efficiency or successes that they had as trainers. But I did my best to convey to New Men what was the most important thing about being a Sentinel: The Unknowns. I tried to edify a sense of purpose in those I trained, focusing on the sacrifice of the Unknowns and why it was so special that we did the very best that we could to honor their memory. The ones that really wanted to be at the Tomb for all those right reasons understood what I was saying.
So, from that perspective my favorite memory stems from what I considered my crowning achievement as a trainer: Ryan Ball. I was not his primary trainer, that would have been Ryan Kline, but Ball spent over month trying to earn his First Walk. On the day he earned it I spoke to him about what the Unknowns meant to me and I got very emotional and teary-eyed. I looked at him and he was crying too. I knew then that SPC Ball had his heart in the right spot. He got a walk that day, and went to become a Badgeholder.
Units & Campaigns289th MP Co. (-)
Awards & DecorationsArmy Commendation Medal (2nd award)
Army Achievement Medal (3rd award)
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Driver and Mechanic Badge
Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge
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Did you know?
What happened to the soldier that was in the Tomb from the Vietnam War?
The remains of the Vietnam Unknown Soldier were exhumed May 14, 1998. Based on mitochondrial DNA testing, DoD scientists identified the remains as those of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, who was shot down near An Loc, Vietnam, in 1972. It has been decided that the crypt that contained the remains of the Vietnam Unknown will remain vacant. (Further Background) (News Article from the Department of Defense)