News: Father reunites; re-enlists son
Story by Cpl. Ryan Young
AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — As dust began to blow in with the wind during the afternoon, June 1, two service members, father and son, stood facing each other with a CH-47 Chinook in the background. Standing tall and proud, the father addressed the guests of his son's re-enlistment ceremony briefly saying "If you have children, you know how important this is to me and how proud I am."
Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Terry Bell, a pilot with B Company 1/214th General Support Aviation Battalion, an Army heavy lift helicopter battalion attached to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, re-enlisted his son, Army Spc. Donald Bell, a motor transportation operator with 1st Division 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, just outside the aviation battalion's hangars aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.
"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us," said Donald. "It is not often you have a father and son in the same theater and able to come together for something like this."
When Donald began preparing for his re-enlistment, he mentioned to his career planner that his father was also deployed to Iraq, and requested to have his father be the officer to conduct the re-enlistment ceremony. Although the two soldiers are stationed at different bases in Iraq, Donald's career planner was determined to make the reunion happen.
"When he mentioned his dad was here, there was no way this wasn't going to happen," said Army Staff Sgt. William Kelly, the 1st Division 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team career planner. "It seemed like it might be hard to get them together at first, but flying him here to see his father actually took little effort."
The Bells had not seen each other since September, 2008. Although Donald's visit to Al Asad was short, it was enough to reunite and enjoy the company of his father.
"I was surprised and touched that he asked me to do the re-enlistment and also surprised that getting him here happened with next to no problems," said Terry.
Donald, who re-enlisted for three more years of military service, has shared other career paths that mirror his father's 33 years of service. Both originally served in the Marine Corps at some point before transitioning to the Army.
"I have watched him mature greatly through his military service and I think if he continues to make this a career, he will do very well," explained Terry. "I am very proud of him."