About Major General George Bell, Jr.
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
Born at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland and the son of Brigadier General George Bell (1828 – 1907), he attended the United States Military Academy. 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.
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.
In 1913 Bell assumed command of the 16th Infantry Regiment at The Presidio in San Francisco. In 1916 he was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to head the El Paso District during the Pancho Villa Expedition.
World War I
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.
Post World War I
After the war he commanded VI Corps with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois until reaching mandatory retirement in 1923 at age 64.
Awards and decorations
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.
Post military career
After leaving the Army Bell was elected President of Chicago's Hill State Bank.
Death and burial
Bell died in Chicago on October 29, 1926. He was buried in Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum.
Illinois' Bell Bowl Prairie amphitheater and Chicago's Bell Park and George Bell American Legion Post are named for him. Fort Bell in Bermuda was also named for him.