December 18, 1944: Bernard Bell Earns the Medal of Honor

Dec 18, 2017

Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / United States Army

On December 18, 1944, during World War II, Bernard Bell captured more than 30 German prisoners, earning the Medal of Honor. 

Bell was born at Grantsville in Calhoun County in 1911, but his family moved to Point Pleasant when he was only one. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and attained the rank of technical sergeant. In early December 1944, his division was working with the French army to liberate the city of Colmar from German forces. On December 18, Bell and his eight-man squad captured an enemy-occupied schoolhouse near Mittelwihr and held it in the face of relentless enemy attacks. During the fight, Bell exposed himself to enemy fire, killed more than 20 German troops, and took 33 captive. President Harry Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor in August 1945.

After the war, Bernard Bell worked for the Veteran’s Administration. He died in Florida in 1971 at age 59 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His siblings donated his military medals to the Mason County Public Library in Point Pleasant. And a bridge in Calhoun County was named in his honor in 2001.