RED BAY, Ala. – When Barbara and Timothy Bell return to their home on Second Street in Red Bay, they’ll have carried out one of the duties most feared by a parent – accompanying the body of a child coming home for the last time.
Sgt. Christopher R. Bell, 21, their son, was reported killed in Afghanistan on Saturday. He was one of four soldiers killed during an attack on their mounted patrol by insurgents using an improvised explosive device.
The four were military police who were assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Bill Coppernoll of the Alaska base.
The three other soldiers killed were Sgt. Joshua D. Powell of Quitman, Texas; Specialist Devin A. Snyder of Cohocton, N.Y.; and PFC Robert L. Voakes of L’Anse, Mich.
Bell joined the Army after graduating high school in 2008, and served at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., before going to Alaska in February 2009. He was posthumously promoted from corporal to sergeant.
Bell’s parents, who also lived in Golden during Christopher Bell’s high school years, left Sunday afternoon for Dover, Del., where they were to meet his body being brought back from Afghanistan, according to reports in the Times Daily of Florence, Ala.
The Army lists Bell’s hometown as Golden, though he attended high school about seven miles away across the Mississippi-Alabama state line in Red Bay through 10th grade. He later transferred and went on to graduate from Tremont High School.
“I remember that his family lived in several places around Red Bay, but even when he lived in Golden he came to high school here,” said Judy Moses, secretary at Red Bay High School and owner of property across the street from Barbara and Timothy Bell.
Final arrangements have not been announced, but Barbara Bell told the Alabama newspaper that his funeral service and burial would be in Columbus.
As well as his parents, Bell is survived by his wife, Samantha, and their daughter, Lana, who will be 2 years old in August.
A memorial service for the soldiers will be scheduled at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal