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Marine Sgt. Jerome C. Bell Jr.

Died September 19, 2008 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

29, of Auburn, N.Y.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; died Sept. 19 while supporting combat operations in Bawka, Afghanistan.

Fallen Marine from upstate New York remembered

The Associated Press

AUBURN, N.Y. — Hundreds of people are mourning an upstate New York Marine killed in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Jerome Bell, formerly of Throop, was killed Sept. 19 in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device as he was riding in a Humvee outside Bawka in Farah province.

The 29-year-old Marine was remembered Saturday as a hero at his funeral in the central New York city of Auburn.

Bell joined the Marines in November 1998 and was sent to Iraq twice before his most recent deployment to Afghanistan. He served as a motor transport operator.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

Marine Sgt. Jerome C. Bell Jr. remembered

The Associated Press

Jerome C. Bell Jr. enlisted in the Marines in 1996 and served one tour of duty in Iraq. He left in 2004. When his daughters were old enough for school, he asked his mother for permission to re-enlist.

“He missed it so much,” Tammy Bell said. “He asked me if I minded if he went back in. He had enough respect to ask me if I minded. I knew he never wanted to get out. How do you tell a 27-year-old Marine, a married man, he didn’t need his mother’s permission?”

Bell Jr., 29, of Auburn, N.Y., died Sept. 19 during combat operations in Farah province. He was assigned to Twentynine Palms.

“He was my hero long before this — long, long before this,” said lifelong friend, Donald Wilson.

He played football in high school and loved to hunt.

Superintendent William Speck said he remembered Bell as a good student who was in the construction trades program, particularly heavy equipment repair and operations.

“He was a really good kid. He did very well academically,” Speck said. “He was a very good citizen for us.”

He is survived by his wife Melissa, daughters Katrazyna, 9, and Taylor, 8, and a son, Jerry III, 3.

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