Bell_G

 

Pfc. Gerald J. Bell


Born: 14 July 1922 - Township 134, Crow Wing County, Minnesota

Parents: James W. Bell & Vietta B. Barker-Bell

Siblings: 5 sisters, 2 brothers

    - twin sister: Geraldine

    - sixth of eight children

Hometown: Township 134, Range 29, Minnesota

Enlisted: Minnesota National Guard

Inducted: 

    - U. S. Army

        - 10 February 1941 - Brainerd, Minnesota

            - 82 men passed Army physicals
        - company remained at armory until  19 February 41
            - left by train at 12:19 A.M. - 20 February 1941
       
- arrived at Fort Lewis with two tanks, one reconnaissance car, and six trucks

Training: 

    - Fort Lewis, Washington
        - A Company, 194th Tank Battalion

    - Fort Knox. Kentucky

        - trained as radioman/assistant tank driver

        - tank crew with James McComas, August Bender, and Joseph Bernardo

Note: On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water.  He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island, with a large radio transmitter, hundred of miles away.  The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.  The next morning, by the time another squadron was sent to the area the next day, the buoys had been picked up by a fiching boat which was seen making its way toward shore.  Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
Overseas Duty: 

    - rode train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
        - Arrived: 7:30 A.M. - 6 September 1941
    - ferried on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island
        - given physicals and inoculated by battalion's medical detachment
        - men with medical conditions replaced
    - Ship: U.S.S. President Coolidge
        - Boarded: Monday - 8 September 1941 - 3:00 P.M.
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M. - same day
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 5:00 P.M. - same day

            - escorted by heavy cruiser - U.S.S. Astoria
                - heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
                - ships belonged to friendly countries
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
Stationed:
    - Ft. Stotsenburg
        - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941 
        - 1 December 1941
            - tanks ordered to perimeter of Clark Field
            - 194th guarded north end of airfield with 192nd guarding south portion
            - two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with vehicle at all
              times
                - meals served by food trucks
            - those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at command post Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon
        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
            - 8 December 1941
                - lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
                - planes did not go after tanks
                - after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
                    - from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolus Road
            - 12 December 1941
                - moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
                    - arrived 6:00 A.M.
            - 15 December 1941
                - received 15 Bren gun carriers
                - turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
            - 22 December 1941
                - sent to Rosario
                    - west and north of the of barrio
                    - ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
                        - said they would hinder the cavalry's operation
            - 22/23 December 1941
                - operating north of Agno River
                - main bridge at Carmen bombed
            - 24/25 December 1941
                - tank battalions make end run to get south of Agno River
                    - ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed river
            - 25/26 December 1941
                - held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-
                  Bautista Road
                - 192nd held from Carmen to (Route 3) to Tayug (northeast of San Quintin)

            - 26 December 1941 - west of Carmen along Agno River

                - tanks were under heavy artillery and mortar fire

                - his company with A & D Companies, 192nd Tank Battalion,

                  held 25 miles of the frontline with 30 tanks and 5 halftracks

Killed in Action:

    -Friday - 26 December 1941

         - Agno bridge area - held bridge so withdrawing

           forces could cross bridge

        - Surrounded by Japanese troops, with August Bender of his tank

           crew.  The two soldiers were in a foxhole guarding bridge with a machine gun.

        - The Japanese machined gunned them to death

Memorial:

    - Tablets of the Missing

        - American Military Cemetery - Manila, Philippine Islands


 

 

 

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