Bernard Pius Bell (December 29, 1911-January 8, 1971) was awarded the Medal of Honor for his part in a World War II battle in which he took more than 30 German soldiers prisoner.
Bell was born at Grantsville, Calhoun County, but his family moved to Point Pleasant a year later. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and earned the rank of technical sergeant, serving with Company I, 142nd Infantry, 36th Infantry Division. In early December 1944, the division’s task was to assist the French army in liberating the city of Colmar from German forces. On December 18, 1944, Bell and his eight-man squad set out to capture an enemy-occupied schoolhouse near Mittelwihr. After securing the schoolhouse, Bell and his squad held their position against persistent enemy attack. During the fight, Bell exposed himself to enemy fire to maintain possession of the schoolhouse and killed more than 20 German troops and took 33 captive. President Harry Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor in August 1945.
Bell worked for the Veteran’s Administration after the war. He died in Deland, Florida, on January 8, 1971, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Bell’s siblings donated his medals to the Mason County Library in Point Pleasant where they are on display. A Calhoun County bridge was named in his honor in 2001.
This Article was written by William Plants
Last Revised on December 18, 2013
Mason County History Book Committee. History of Mason County. Mason County History Book Committee & Don Mills Inc., 1987.
Galen Duskey. A Bridge for a True Calhoun Hero. The Parkersburg News, November 14, 2001.
Anita Bowie. Services for Congressional Medal of Honor Winner Set. Point Pleasant Register, January 12, 1971.
Cite This Article
Plants, William "Bernard Bell." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 18 December 2013. Web. 23 March 2017.