PROVINCE, Afghanistan (6/22/2011) – By the book.|
That's the way his friends in the 164th Military Police
Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, 3rd Maneuver
Enhancement Brigade. described U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher
Bell of Saint Joseph, Mich., when they described the fallen
MP June 10 on Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam,
Bell was one of four military police
officers from the 164th MP Company killed when an improvised
explosive device detonated June 4 outside Khanda Village,
Laghman province, Afghanistan. Also killed were
Sgt. Devin A. Snyder, of
Cohockton, N.Y., Sgt. Joshua
D. Powell, of Tyler, Texas, and Spc.
Spc. Robert L. Voakes, Jr.,
of Hancock, Mich.
“He was a walking Army regulation,” said Spc.
Victor Franco, from Tampa, Fla.
“His thing was that
as long as something was done by the book, it was done
right,” said Staff Sgt. Vincent Vetterkind, a squad leader
with the 164th MP Company from Wausau, Wis. “He looked at it
as, if the Army actually worked the way the regulations
state, it can be the greatest organization in history, and
if people don't do that, they're screwing it up. Do it the
way it says, do it the way it says.”
commander, Capt. Christopher Gehri, of Anchorage, Alaska,
said Bell was extremely tactically and technically
proficient and could recite information from field manuals
as well as Army regulations.
“From the very
beginning, Sgt. Bell demonstrated a maturity well beyond his
years,” Gehri said. “He demanded hard work, opportunities to
grow and professionally develop, and held his peers
accountable 100 percent of the time. Sgt. Bell thrived on
all things Army. Disciplined, determined problem solver and
critical thinker – these are the words and traits that will
always resound in my mind when I think of Sgt. Bell. He
never deviated from a standard.”
The soldiers in his
platoon all said his dedication was unparalleled.
“He was one of the most passionate people I ever met in my
life,” Vetterkind said. “His short-term goal was to be
promoted to sergeant, which happened posthumously and his
long-term goal was to be sergeant major of the Army, and I
have no doubt he would have done it, absolutely none. He was
a natural leader.”
He competed in 22 boards, and won
Still, with all his professionalism and his
disciplined nature, Bell did have a softer side.
liked ‘chick flicks',” Pfc. Stacey Jordan, from Belmont,
N.Y., remembered with a smile. “He used to watch them with
me and Sgt. Snyder. He loved the movie The Notebook. He
wouldn't care if someone would tease him about them either.
He would say, ‘I don't care, they're fun, they're good
The soldiers also said he was always there
to listen to them and assist with their problems. Still,
they said, if they were wrong, he would hear them out and
tell them why they were wrong, often reciting a regulation.
Bell was born Jan. 5, 1990, in Saint Joseph, Mich., and
joined the Army in 2008. He served as a team leader, gunner,
driver and military police patrolman with the 164th. His
military awards include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal,
National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal,
Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas
Service Ribbon, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal,
and the Combat Action Badge.
He is survived by his
wife and Lana Bell.
“Sgt. Bell spoke often of his
wife and their 1-year-old daughter, ” Gehri said. “If you
asked him about his family, he would tell you that there
could be no more perfect of a family than that he and his
wife had created.”
One thing that showed through was
the respect Bell's soldiers had for him.
was the best leader I had in my military career,” an
emotional Spc. Justin Tobener from Tracy, Calif., said in
his remarks recalling his fallen sergeant.
remember talking to Sgt. Bell for three or four hours just a
couple days before this happened,” Vetterkind recalled. “And
I remember him saying all that he wanted to do was just make
a difference. That's what he wanted to do, in ever way and
every day. This was the only thing that could stop him.”