Timothy M. Bell, Jr.
Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps
RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
August 4, 2005
Media Contact: Marine Corps Public Affairs - (703) 614-4309 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Marine Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of seven Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Lance Corporal Timothy M. Bell Jr., 22, of
West Chesterfield, Ohio
All died August 3, 2005, when their Amphibious Assault Vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations south of Haditha, Iraq. Bloem was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve's 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Billings, Montana Harper was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve's 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Norfolk, Virginia. Stewart was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve's 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Gulfport, Mississippi. The other four Marines were assigned to Marine Forces Reserve's 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Columbus, Ohio. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, they all were attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).
Media with questions about these Marines can
call the Marine Forces Reserve Public Affairs Office at (504) 678-4178.
All soldiers killed in the line of duty are eligible to be buried or have their cremated remains interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
When their family elects that option, the government pays all burial costs, including the service and appropriate military honors, gravesite preparation, headstone, grave liner, ongoing maintenance and, in the case of active duty deaths, the preparation of the remains, casket or urn, and storage and shipping of the remains to Washington.
However, not every family chooses to have their loved ones buried at Arlington.
"Some families prefer to have them close by" in hometown cemeteries or a family plot, said Arlington spokeswoman Lori Calvillo.
Lance Corporal Timothy Michael Bell was the 165th soldier killed in Iraq to be buried there, among the nearly 1,850 who have been died since the war started. Of the 17 Ohioans killed in Iraq, Bell was the third Greater Cincinnati soldier to be buried there.
Lance Corporal Taylor Prazynski, of Fairfield, was buried there in May; Army Specialist Chad Keith, of Batesville, Indiana, was buried at Arlington two years ago.
Lance Corporal Christopher Jenkins Dyer, 19, of Evendale, who is to be buried at Arlington next week, would be the fourth Cincinnati-area soldier laid to rest there.
In addition to soldiers killed in wartime, other people eligible for burial at Arlington include veterans who retire from active duty. Spouses and minor dependents of those buried at Arlington also are eligible.
More than 290,000 people are interred at the cemetery, including veterans from all of the nation's wars, from the American Revolution through the Iraq war.
An average of 27 funeral services are performed
at the cemetery each day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the flags lowered
to half-staff a half-hour before the first funeral until a half hour after
the last funeral.
Bell, 22, of West Chester Township, Ohio, was one of five Greater Cincinnati Marine reservists killed in Iraq August 3, 2005, in a roadside attack. He is the 165th soldier killed in Iraq to be buried at Arlington and the third from the Cincinnati area.
Bell comes from a family that includes his uncle, Kansas City Royals manager Buddy Bell; his cousin David, Buddy Bell's son, who plays for the Philadelphia Phillies; and his grandfather, Gus Bell, a Reds outfielder from 1953 to 1961.
But Bell, whose bedroom as a teenager was filled with Marine posters and memorabilia, had wanted to be a Marine since he was 6 years old.
In Iraq, he was a sniper who often was the first man to rush into buildings. On Tuesday, he was laid to rest among his heroes in the nation's premier military cemetery.
As Bell's family watched with their hands covering their hearts, six uniformed Marines carried Bell's flag-draped steel casket from a silver hearse to the gravesite in Section 60, among the stone markers of other soldiers killed in Iraq.
Bell was saluted by a seven-man firing party shooting three rifle volleys into the air. A lone military bugler then played Taps.
The Marines folded the flag, which was presented to Bell's father, Timothy Bell Sr., as Bell's stepmother, Vivian, and mother, Jacqueline Ball, and her husband, quietly wept.
John Prazynski, the father of Lance Corporal Taylor Prazynski, a Fairfield Marine killed in Iraq who was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in May, stood on the fringes of the group.
"I feel great pride for Timothy Bell, knowing that he wanted to be a Marine so bad," Prazynski said. "My heart hurts for his family."
Prazynski was at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on Sunday to meet members of his son's unit as they returned from duty.
When he heard Bell was to be buried at Arlington, he said he wanted to be there to honor Bell and make his first visit to his son's headstone.
However, he did not speak with the Bell family.
"I can't tell that family I know how they feel," Prazynski said. "I don't even know how I feel. It hurts."
Bell's service at Arlington followed a public
visitation on Sunday at Lakota East High School in Liberty Township that
drew more than 1,000 mourners, and a memorial procession and service on
Sunday, which ended at the high school.
They buried a son of the heartland — a Marine with baseball in his blood — on a gray Tuesday morning in this solemn resting place of heroes.
The exploits of Lance Cpl. Timothy Michael Bell Jr.'s kinsmen are chronicled on sports pages and ESPN. His late grandfather, Gus Bell, was a home run-hitting outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds from 1953 to 1961. His uncle Buddy Bell was an infielder for the Reds in the mid-1980s and is now manager of the Kansas City Royals. His cousin David Bell plays third base for the Philadelphia Phillies, and another cousin, Mike Bell, also played professional baseball.
But Tim Bell always wanted to be a Marine.
The network news and newspaper front pages across the country carried the dispatch from Iraq when he and 13 comrades from the Ohio-based 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines were killed in a roadside bombing August 3, 2005.. The attack on a U.S. assault vehicle was one of the deadliest in the war.
"He would not have wanted to die any other way," said Greg McDaniel, the pastor of Impact Baptist Church in Bridgetown, Ohio. McDaniel officiated Sunday at a memorial service at Lakota East High School in Liberty Township, Ohio, where Tim Bell had decided to join the Marine Corps.
"Tim Bell believed in freedom," said the pastor, according to the Associated Press. "He believed there were some things worth fighting for and some things worth dying for."
On Tuesday morning, Bell, 22, was buried under threatening skies in Section 60, Grave 8208. Scores of others who have died in Iraq also lie beneath stark stone markers on the grassy hillside. So far, 165 U.S. military dead from Iraq have been buried in Arlington, nearly a tenth of those who have been killed there.
Although all are eligible for burial here, "some families prefer to have them close by" in hometown cemeteries, explained Lori Calvillo, a spokeswoman for Arlington.
Others feel the earthly remains of their fallen sons and daughters should eternally stay here with their comrades from America's other wars.
"The significance of Arlington National Cemetery speaks for itself.," said John Prazynski of Fairfield, Ohio, whose 20-year-old son, Lance Corporal Taylor Prazynski, is buried not far from the fresh grave of Tim Bell.
"My son loved being in the Marines. He knew what he was signed up for," said Prazynski.
"I feel great pride for Timothy Bell, knowing that he wanted to be a Marine so bad," Prazynski said. "My heart hurts for his family because I know how my family's hearts hurt."
Prazynski was at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Sunday to meet members of his son's unit as they returned from combat duty. When he read that Bell was to be buried at Arlington on Tuesday, he decided to attend and also make his first visit to the grave of his son, who was buried here in May.
He did not speak to the Bell family, however.
"I can't tell that family I know how they feel. I don't even know how I feel," he said. "It hurts."
"A parent doesn't expect to bury his son," he said.
He expressed sympathy for Cindy Sheehan, who is holding a peace vigil outside President Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas. Her son, Casey, was killed in Iraq.
"God bless her. You know what? My son fought for her freedom, so she could camp out down there," he said.
But he does not support her cause.
"Do I think we should quit and pull out? Absolutely not. I support the war on terror," he said. "Is every one of those lives (that are lost) significant? Absolutely. We can't give up. We can't just say there are too many guys dying, so let's go home."
He was asked if the recent deaths of the Ohio reservists bought back his own pain.
"It didn't bring it back to me because it never went away," he said.
Another family from the heartland faces that question now. When Tim Bell left for Iraq, he left his beloved Marine Corps ring with his father. Now his mother has the American flag that draped his coffin.
Their son was saluted by the sound of seven rifles firing three times. A bugler played the haunting notes of "Taps."
Then it was over. A gentle rain fell. The mourners
Royals manager Buddy Bell returned to the dugout Wednesday with a renewed sense of perspective after missing the last two games to attend his nephew’s funeral Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Even after the 11-5 loss to the Mariners, he said, “Believe me, I’m glad to be back.”
Yet Bell said he was profoundly moved by his first trip to Arlington.
“I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been there before,” he said. “The serenity of it is just awesome. To see all of those gravesites. … Oh, man, it’s gut-wrenching.”
Lance Corporal Timothy Bell Jr. was among the Marines killed earlier this month by a car bomb in Iraq.
Buddy Bell had hoped to return in time for Tuesday’s game, but delays in traveling prevented him from reaching the team hotel until about 7:30 p.m.
Bench coach Bob Schaefer ran the club in Bell’s
Lance Cpl. Tim Bell Jr. was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb this month. The Royals manager had never been to Arlington before.
"It was unbelievable," Bell said. "When you drive in there, there are just grave after grave after grave. After being there, I'm kind of ashamed that I was never there before to pay tribute to all the people who have lost their lives."
Bell got back to Seattle from Tuesday's services at Arlington about 30 minutes after his team's game with the Seattle Mariners started, but he didn't go to Safeco Field.
Photo Courtesy of Holly, October 2005