BELL, JAMES FRANKLIN RIP 10/01/2014 Name: James Franklin Bell Rank/Branch: United States Navy/O4 Unit: RVAH 1 Date of Birth: 29 April 1931 Home City of Record: Cumberland MD Date of Loss: 16 October 1965 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 211700 North 1074200 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RA5C Missions: 35 Other Personnel in Incident: Capt. James Hutton, returnee Refno: 0166 Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. REMARKS: 730212 RELEASED BY DRV
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). JAMES F. BELL JR . Commander - United States Navy, pilot Shot Down: October 16, 1965 Released: February 12, 1973 I was born in Akron, Ohio in 1931 where my father was employed by Goodyear. During subsequent years we lived in several towns in New York State back to Akron for a spell and then to Cumberland Maryland where I graduated from high school in 1948. My parents still reside in Cumberland. My father retired from Goodyear in 1966 with over 10 years of service in that fine company. After two years of "prepping" at the University of Utah I entered the United States Naval Academy from where I graduated in 1954. I went immediately to flight training and won my wings of gold in November 1955. My next four years were spent in two F-4D Skyray squadrons in San Diego California and in 1959 it was back to school again at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey California. Three years later I emerged with an MS in Aeronautical Engineering and proceeded to Sanford Florida with orders to VAH-1 flying the A3J-1 Vigilante. I found myself still in the same squadron three years later. The squadron was now designated RVAH-1 flying a reconnaissance version of the Vigilante designated the RA5C aboard the USS Independence in the Gulf of Tonkin. On 16 October 1965 my luck ran out and I fell victim to AAA fire on a low level reconnaissance mission north of Haiphong. I made it to the sea before ejecting but after 30 minutes in the water my crewman Lt. Cmdr. Duffy Hutton and I were picked up by local fishermen in sampans. I was tied to the mast of the sampan and as I recalled the movie I had watched in the wardroom the night before was "Two Years Before the Mast" with Dana Andrews I broke into a laugh. It was my last laugh for a long, long time. During the subsequent 89 months of detention in North Vietnam I never doubted for a minute that the day would come when I would return to the land of the free. Nor did I ever lose faith in myself and my abilities to withstand the physical and mental rigors of prison life. Now that the ordeal is over and I am reunited with my family and my three fine children and I look back at the long association with so many outstanding fighting men and the wonderful homecoming afforded me by me countrymen I can only say "Thank God I am an American." ================================== James Bell retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He and his wife Dora resided in Virginia until his passing.
CAPT James F. Bell, USN Ret (RIP)
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Retired Navy Capt. James Bell is being remembered as a hero for enduring 7 1/2 years as a prisoner of war after the plane he was flying was shot down over Vietnam in 1965.
The Washington Post reports that Bell died Sept. 30 in Alexandria at age 83. His widow, Dora, says he died of complications from Parkinson's disease.
Bell was born in Akron, Ohio, and attended high school in Cumberland, Maryland. He graduated in 1954 from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Bell described his treatment as a POW in a number of books, including one written by his wife. He said he spent about two months in leg chains for refusing to fill out a questionnaire that he thought might be used for propaganda.
Jim will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery....March 20, 2015. The service
will be at the Old Chapel on Fort Myer at 11 a.m.
and a reception will be held at Fort Myer Officers Club after the internment.