East Texan killed serving in Afghanistan - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texan killed serving in Afghanistan

Sgt. Russell R. Bell Sgt. Russell R. Bell
A U.S. Army team transfers the remains of Army 1st Sgt. Russell R. Bell of Tyler, TX. (Source: Department of Defense) A U.S. Army team transfers the remains of Army 1st Sgt. Russell R. Bell of Tyler, TX. (Source: Department of Defense)

An East Texas soldier is killed in an explosion in Afghanistan.

First Sergeant Russell Bell of Tyler was with the 82nd Airborne Division in the Kandahar Province, Afghanistan when he and another soldier encountered an enemy improvised explosive device or I.E.D. on August 2.

We spoke with family members in Tyler.  

"This picture here is a picture of Russell on his wedding day, He married Latoya Welch on nine-one-one," Jim Bell said.

Russell's father said Russell wanted his anniversary to correspond with the fall of the towers.

"This is a picture of me and Russell with Gage," said Jim.

Three generations of Bells. Russell wasn't there when his son turned one, but he did manage to Skype with Gage on his first birthday just weeks ago. 

"This was Russ when he graduated from Ranger School. He was very proud of his pickup truck. And here's a picture of me actually getting to pin him with his Ranger accomplishment. Russell lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was stationed at Fort Bragg. He always said I wouldn't ask my boys to do anything I wouldn't do myself. And he said continuously to pray for my boys, and so we did. He was scheduled to be out of active duty in two weeks and would have come home shortly thereafter. He did come home, but not the way we imagined. He was an honorable soldier, and just remember all our guys that are overseas, and the great service that they give so we can have our freedom in this country," Russell's father concluded.

Here in Tyler, his parents would fly the flag of the 82nd Airborne when Russell was deployed, and there would always be a letter that was his last will and testament that Jim never wanted to open.

Russell's wife Latoya has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the U.S.O., and to the Tyler Children's Park where his sister, who died thirty years ago, has a stone in her memory.

Russell Bell will be buried in Arlington, or the National Cemetery in Fort Bragg where he was based.

The Department of Defense sent KLTV this photo of a U.S. Army carry team transferring the remains of Army 1st Sgt. Russell R. Bell of Tyler, Texas, at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Aug. 4, 2012. Bell was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

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