Name: Marvin Earl Bell
Rank/Branch: E5/US Air Force
Unit: 40th Aerospace Rescue/Recovery Squadron, Udorn Airfield, Thailand
Date of Birth: 27 July 1943
Home City of Record: Blytheville AR
Date of Loss: 30 June 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 165004N 1063104E (XD617617)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: HH53C
Refno: 1643

Other Personnel In Incident: Michael F. Dean; Paul L. Jenkins; John W.
Goeglein; Leroy C. Schaneberg (missing); on nearby OV10A: Williams S.
Sanders (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.


SYNOPSIS: On June 30, 1970, a crew from the 40th Aerospace Rescue and
Recovery Squadron at Udorn Airfield, Thailand was dispatched to rescue a
downed flight crew. Crew aboard the Sikorsky HH53C "Super Jolly" helicopter
included the pilot, Capt. Leroy C. Schaneberg, crewmembers Major John W.
Goeglein, MSgt. Paul L. Jenkins, SSgt. Marvin E. Bell, and SSgt. Michael F.

The members of the 40th Air R & R were trained for both air and sea
recovery, and the big "Super Jolly" was equipped to airlift both the crew
and aircraft out of sticky situations.

The downed and injured pilot was located in Savannakhet Province, Laos,
about two kilometers south of Bang Tang. The HH53C penetrated the area,
known to be hostile, in an attempt to rescue the pilot, but was forced away
by hostile ground fire. A second attempt was made, but the helicopter was
hit by hostile fire, caught on fire, went out of control and crashed. The
Air Force states it received evidence on July 4, 1970, that the crew was
dead, but that evidence is not specifically described, and no remains
identifiable as Bell, Dean, Goeglein, Schaneberg, or Jenkins have been
recovered. Schaneberg received the Air Force Cross for extraordinary heroism
as the aircraft commander on this rescue mission.

On the same day, Capt. Williams S. Sanders was flying an OV10A Bronco
southeast of Khe Sanh at a point where Laos veers north to intrude on South
Vietnam. His aircraft was shot down just inside Laos, not far from the
location of the downed helicopter. The Bronco was generally used for marking
targets, armed reconnaissance and forward air control, so the nature of
Capt. Sanders' mission and its precise relation to the mission of the Super
Jolly from Udorn is unknown. The crew of the helicopter was numerically
listed missing before the OV10, so it is does not seem likely that the
helicopter was assisting the observation aircraft, but as no other aircraft
is missing on that day in that area, either the downed pilot was Sanders or
the pilot was rescued by other means.

Unfortunately, for families of men missing in Laos, information is difficult
to obtain. Twenty and twenty-five year old records remain classified and
details obscured. Much of this information was classified to distort
American involvement in a now well known "secret" war in Laos.

Since the war's end in 1973, thousands of reports have been received by the
U.S. Government regarding Americans still in captivity in Southeast Asia.
Many of the reports involve Americans in Laos, where nearly 600 Americans
went missing, and none released despite public statements by the Pathet Lao
that "tens of tens" of Americans were being held there.

Henry Kissinger predicted, in the 50's, that future "limited political
engagements" would result, unfortunately, in non-recoverable prisoners of
war. We have seen this prediction fulfilled in Korea and Vietnam, where
thousands of men and women remain missing, and where ample evidence exists
that many of them (from BOTH wars) are still alive today.

For Americans, the "unfortunate" abandonment of military personnel is not
acceptable, and the policy that allows it must be changed before another
generation is left behind in some faraway war.


Remains were returned 03/95 as "120 bone fragments which cannot be
derogated, fragments too small for DNA testing as it would "destroy the
chips", a dental prostheses, a St. Christopher's medal, coins, buttons, etc.
They say the fragments represent a minimum of one person, a maximum of two
people, yet they feel this is a full accounting of five men who served
our government..."           

FROM a letter to the Editor, Rochelle News Leader, March 30, 1995,

by Dawn Wyatt, niece of Leroy C. Schaneberg.


Thank you Daniel Braswell -


Subject: Ssgt Marvin E Bell
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2023 18:30:57 -0500
From: Heather Russom <>

I just wanted to reach out to whoever has this bracelet. My grandfather is James G Bell Marvin Bell's brother. We live in west Memphis.  Please whoever has the bracelet contact me .




Return to Service Member Profiles

On March 7, 1995, Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA, now DPAA) identified the remains of Staff Sergeant Marvin Earl Bell, missing from the Vietnam War.

Staff Sergeant Bell joined the U.S. Air Force from Arizona and was a member of the 40th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron. On June 30, 1970, he was the flight engineer aboard an HH-53C Super Jolly Green Giant (serial number 68-8283) on a search and rescue mission over Laos. The Super Jolly Green Giant was downed by enemy ground fire during the mission, and SSgt Bell was killed in the crash. Search and rescue teams were unable to recover his remains at the time due to hostile presence in the area. In March 1994, a joint U.S. and Laotian search team recovered remains from the HH-53C's crash site. In 1995, forensic analysis identified some of the recovered remains as those of SSgt Bell.

Staff Sergeant Bell is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

If you are a family member of this serviceman, you may contact your casualty office representative to learn more about your service member.