Americans in Wartime Experience

Thomas Bell

Vietnam War

As a member of the United States Army during the Vietnam War, Thomas Bell flew choppers, specifically the Bell OH-58A. With a crew of 3,  it's primary missions were observation, utility and direct fire support.

Tom joined the ROTC in college and at graduation was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant.  Tom had no desire to go off to war and had hoped that by the time he was commissioned, the Vietnam War would be over.  It wasn't.  After graduating flight school in 1970, he was off to Vietnam assigned to D Troop, 3rd Squadron, 5th Calvary.  Once in country, he was asked by an Army Captain where he was assigned.  When he told him, the Captain said he hoped he had his will in order.

Assigned to the scout platoon of D Troop, 3/5 Cav, Tom's job was to go out and find the bad guys.  During one of those missions, Tom was involved in an incident that resulted in him be awarded the Silver Star.  (story begins at 16:50)

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The Americans in Wartime Experience explores the impact of war and conflict on America since WWI. It honors those who served in the military and on the home front and highlights the values they demonstrated in serving – duty, honor, and courage. It examines how periods of conflict have profoundly shaped American society. It educates visitors about the costs of war, both on a personal and social level. It challenges visitors to remember the service and sacrifices made by their fellow citizens to preserve and defend our freedoms. LEARN MORE

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