Benjamin S. Bell
Highest Military RankSGT
Tomb DatesJan 2001 - Jul 2004
Military DatesJul 1999 - Jul 2004
Home City / StateWinter Haven, FL
Current City / StateTampa, FL
Tomb ReflectionsThere were so many it really is hard to pick from them all. I think I have forgotten some of the best. Walking became my favorite thing to do. Just being outside with the Unknowns in the dead of winter and nobody else was around. That was always special. However, I took a lot of pride in training the New Men. I had a lot of other Badgeholders setting the best example around me (Welker, Basso, and Griffin) and most of the time I could not hold a candle to their efficiency or successes that they had as trainers. But I did my best to convey to New Men what was the most important thing about being a Sentinel: The Unknowns. I tried to edify a sense of purpose in those I trained, focusing on the sacrifice of the Unknowns and why it was so special that we did the very best that we could to honor their memory. The ones that really wanted to be at the Tomb for all those right reasons understood what I was saying.
So, from that perspective my favorite memory stems from what I considered my crowning achievement as a trainer: Ryan Ball. I was not his primary trainer, that would have been Ryan Kline, but Ball spent over month trying to earn his First Walk. On the day he earned it I spoke to him about what the Unknowns meant to me and I got very emotional and teary-eyed. I looked at him and he was crying too. I knew then that SPC Ball had his heart in the right spot. He got a walk that day, and went to become a Badgeholder.
Units & Campaigns289th MP Co. (-)
Awards & DecorationsArmy Commendation Medal (2nd award)
Army Achievement Medal (3rd award)
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Driver and Mechanic Badge
Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge
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Did you know?
Do you guard in a blizzard or a bad thunderstorm?
YES, but the accomplishment of the mission and welfare of the Soldier is never put at risk. The Tomb Guards have contingencies that are ready to be executed if the weather conditions ever place the Soldiers at risk of injury or death (i.e. lightning, high winds, etc). This ensures that Sentinels can continue the mission while ensuring safety. It is the responsibility of the Chain of Command from the Sergeant of the Guard to the Regimental Commander to ensure mission accomplishment and soldier welfare at all times.
It was erroneously reported that during Hurricane Isabel, the Sentinels were ordered to abandon their posts for shelter and that they refused. No such order was ever given. All proper precautions were taken to ensure the safety of the Sentinels while accomplishing their mission. Risk assessments are constantly conducted by the Chain of Command during changing conditions to ensure that soldier welfare is maintained during mission accomplishment.