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George Bell, Jr.
General Bell as commander of the 33rd Division
Nickname Do It Now[1][2]
Born January 22, 1859 (1859-01-22)
Died October 29, 1926 (1926-10-30) (aged 67)
Place of birth Baltimore, Maryland
Place of death Chicago, Illinois
Place of burial Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Years of service 1880-1923
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held 16th Infantry Regiment
El Paso District
33rd Infantry Division
VI Corps
Battles/wars American Indian Wars
Spanish-American War
Philippine Insurrection
Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
Awards Distinguished Service Medal (Army)
Legion of Honor
Croix de Guerre
Relations Brigadier General George Bell (1828 – 1907) (Father)[3]
Robert Ransom, Jr. (Father in law)[4]
Other work President, Hill State Bank, Chicago

George Bell, Jr. (January 22, 1859 – October 29, 1926) was a United States Army Major General. He commanded the 33rd Infantry Division during World War I and was also commanded the United States VI Corps.

Early life and start of military career[edit | edit source]

Born at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland and the son of Brigadier General George Bell (1828 – 1907), he attended the United States Military Academy.[5] After graduating in 1880 he was posted to assignments throughout the country, including Fort Maginnis, Fort Shaw, Fort Ellis, Fort Snelling, and Fort Missoula. In the 1890s he served as Professor of Military Science at Cornell University. In 1894 he received a law degree from Cornell and passed the New York bar exam.[6][7]

Later career[edit | edit source]

He served in the Spanish-American War's Santiago Campaign and the Samar Campaign of the Philippine Insurrection. In 1907 Bell was appointed to the Infantry Equipment Board, taking part in the design of many items that were later used in World War I.[8]

In 1913 Bell assumed command of the 16th Infantry Regiment at The Presidio in San Francisco.[9] In 1916 he was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to head the El Paso District during the Pancho Villa Expedition.[10][11]

World War I[edit | edit source]

At the start of the war Bell was promoted to Major General and assigned to command the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Division. He commanded throughout the war, with the 33rd attaining distinction as the only American division to fight while organized with both French and British forces as well as fighting under its own flag.[12]

Post World War I[edit | edit source]

After the war he commanded VI Corps with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois until reaching mandatory retirement in 1923 at age 64.[13]

Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]

Bell's awards included the Distinguished Service Medal, and his foreign honors included the French Croix de Guerre with Palm and the Legion of Honor, as well as appointment as a Knight Commander of England's Order of St. Michael and St. George.[14]

Post military career[edit | edit source]

After leaving the Army Bell was elected President of Chicago's Hill State Bank.[15][16]

Death and burial[edit | edit source]

Bell died in Chicago on October 29, 1926. He was buried in Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum.[17][18]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Illinois' Bell Bowl Prairie amphitheater[19] and Chicago's Bell Park[20] and George Bell American Legion Post[21] are named for him. Fort Bell in Bermuda was also named for him.[22]

External resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Delta Chi Fraternity, Delta Chi Quarterly, Volume 24, Issue 1, 1927, 6
  2. Chicago Tribune, 'Yellow Cross' Again Division From Praries, May 18, 1919
  3. Sons of the American Revolution, [Sons of the American Revolution, A National Register of the Society, Sons of the American Revolution, Volume 1, 1902, page 748
  4. M.J. Ransom, Ransom Researcher, Issues 17-36, 1997, page 516
  5. Marquis Who's Who, Who Was Who in America with World Notables, Volume 1, 1943, page 80
  6. Empire State Society, Sons of the American Revolution, Register of the Empire State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, 1899, page 87
  7. George Washington Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, Volume 3, 1891, page 339
  8. George Washington Cullum, Edward Singleton Holden, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, Volume VI-A, 1920, pages 302 to 304
  9. Los Angeles Times, Bell Succeeds Potts: Commander of Sixteenth Infantry Now on the Texas Border to Become Brigadier-General, May 4, 1914
  10. Anne Venzon, The United States in the First World War, 1999, page 72
  11. New York Times, 1,000 Men Reported in New Villa Band, September 3, 1916
  12. Frederic Louis Huidekoper, The history of the 33rd division, A.E.F., Volume 1, 1921, page 1
  13. Chicago Tribune, Gen. Bell, Head of Sixth Corps, to Leave Army, September 3, 1922
  14. Henry Blaine Davis, Generals in Khaki, 1998, page 30
  15. Commercial West, Co., Commercial West Magazine, Volume 44, 1923, page 29
  16. Chicago Daily News Co., The Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year Book for 1925, 1924, page 894
  17. Hartford Courtant, General Bell Dies--In Army Forty Years, October 29, 1926
  18. Baltimore Sun, Gen. George Bell, Jr. is Dead in Chicago, October 29, 1926
  19. State of Illinois, Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide, 1939, page 440
  20. John Graf, Chicago's Parks: A Photographic History, 2000
  21. American Legion, American Legion magazine, Volume 106, 1979, page 90
  22. Beautiful Bermuda Publishing Company, Beautiful Bermuda: The Bermuda Blue Book, 1947, page 207

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