Ohio National Guard News

Former ONG Soldier inducted into Ohio Military Hall of Fame

Story by Bill Pierce, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

Lt. Col. John Vagnier (left), commander of the 112th Engineer Battalion, and Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman (right), Ohio adjutant general, congratulate Master Sgt. Danny Bell following his induction into Ohio Military Hall of Fame May 4, 2018, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. Bell received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor for actions that took place near Samarra, Iraq in July 2004, when he was deployed with Vaginer and other Soldiers of the Ohio Army National Guard’s 216th Engineer Battalion. (Bill Pierce, ONG)

medalCOLUMBUS, Ohio (05/04/18) — A standing-room only crowd packed the Ohio Statehouse Atrium to see the largest-ever induction class into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame. Among the record 30 who were inducted on May 4 was former Ohio Army National Guard Master Sgt. Danny Bell.

Bell, now serving in the Indiana National Guard and a father of two children, has been deployed four times during his career. His father served as a Marine in Vietnam, so it was not a stretch that he would join the service and make it a career.

While deployed to Iraq in 2004, as an engineer assigned to the 216th Engineer Battalion, then-Sgt. Bell was part of a detail that was providing security for a downed piece of equipment in a hostile area near Samarra, Iraq.

“I was beginning to render first aid to a member of my squad who was becoming a heat casualty,” Bell recalled. “During that process we encountered small-arms fire and then a RPG (rocket propelled grenade) hit the vehicle I was giving aid in and blew me 15-20 feet away, where I lost consciousness for a second. I regained my composure and rushed to my weapon to return fire. While doing so I noticed my driver was bleeding profusely from his wounds. I managed to get him to cover and render first aid to him with the help of others. Due to loss of blood, I began CPR on him but his significant wounds were too much and he did not recover. We managed to secure the area and myself and the other injured were medically evacuated.”

For his selfless actions that day, Master Sgt. Bell received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with Valor.

Lt. Col. John Vagnier, now the commander of the 112th Engineer Battalion, was a lieutenant who was deployed with Bell. Of Bell’s actions that day, Vagnier said, “Danny Bell’s actions in Iraq, that tragic day, are the embodiment of selfless service and personal courage. He deliberately put himself in harm’s way to protect his comrades. He truly is an American hero.”

The Ohio Military Hall of Fame recognizes combat veterans who have been awarded medals of valor for their selfless actions during battle. The first OHMOF induction ceremony was held in 2000, after an idea developed by a group of Vietnam combat veterans who wanted a way to honor Ohio’s heroic veterans. Inductees must be Ohio-born or have entered service while living in Ohio. In addition to Bell, this year’s class also included a veteran from World War II who was a paratrooper and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France on D-Day.

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