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IED Claims the Lives of Two 4th Brigade Soldiers in Afghanistan

Paratroopers killed by an improvised explosive device during dismounted operations in Zharay District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

Two 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers were killed in action Thursday by an improvised explosive device during dismounted operations in Zharay District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

1st Sgt. Russell R. Bell, 37, of Tyler, Texas, and Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton, 26, of Largo, Fla., were Paratroopers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

1st Sgt. Bell joined the Army on January 24, 1996 as an Infantryman, attending One Station Unit Training and U.S. Army Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Ga. before reporting to Camp Casey, Korea for his first assignment.

After spending a year in Korea, 1st Sgt. Bell reported to Fort Bragg where he served at various levels in 1st Bn., 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment for more than five years and then transitioned to his drill sergeant duties at Fort Jackson, S.C.  Following his tour at Fort Jackson, 1st Sgt. Bell returned to the airborne community with the 508th PIR in Italy and subsequently returned to Fort Bragg where he served as a 1st Sgt. for more than three years in two different units, most recently with HHC, 1st Bn., 508th PIR.  This was his fourth combat deployment to Afghanistan over the course of seven years.

"1st Sgt. Russell Bell was one of the best all around leaders I have had the privilege of serving alongside in over 18 years of military service." said Lt. Col. Ced Carrington, 1-508th Battalion Commander. "His presence alone made each day brighter. He constantly shared stories that put smiles on Troopers' faces.  He always looked for opportunities to make those around him laugh - particularly during tough situations. 1st Sgt. Bell made a difference every day and all who worked anywhere near him were immediately drawn to his personality."

1st Sgt. Bell's training and accomplishments include Airborne School, Air Assault School, Warrior's Leader Course, Advanced Leader's Course, Drill Sergeant School, Jumpmaster School, U.S. Army Ranger Course and the Senior Leader's Course.

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal with five bronze knots, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon with the numeral three, the NATO medal, the Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, and the Air Assault Badge

Staff Sgt. Sitton joined the Army on March 2, 2006 as an Infantryman, attending Basic Training and Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Ga. and joined 4th Brigade in August 2007.  This was his second combat deployment to Afghanistan.

His battalion commander, Lt. Col. Ced Carrington regarded him as "One of the battalion's most proficient and well-trained Leaders. The bond he developed with his team serves as a testament to how much he was loved and respected by the Troopers who served beside him. His no-nonsense approach towards accomplishing tough tasks was commendable. There was no task that he could not accomplish."

Staff Sgt. Sitton's accomplishments and training include Airborne School, Long Range Reconnaissance Course, U.S. Army Ranger Course, U.S. Army Sniper School, Warrior's Leader Course and Advanced Leader's Course.

 

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal with one knot, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a campaign star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Ribbon with the numeral two, the NATO medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge and the Parachutist Badge.

The 4th Brigade Command Team, Col. Brian Mennes and Command Sgt. Maj. William Forro shared this statement "1st Sgt. Bell and Staff Sgt. Sitton are American Patriots who were part of an initiative to remove the Taliban influence on a key sub-district in Zharay, the Nation's main effort. They significantly contributed to the accomplishments of this righteous endeavor and we are indebted to them and their families for their sacrifices."

Donna Clayton Lloyd August 05, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I am so grateful that his hurts my heart so deeply. I don't ever want to get so used to it that I don't feel it. I pray for the families of these soldiers and I pray for peace to come in all the world. I want no mother, of any race nor creed, to ever have to lose another son or daughter to war. There must be a way for love and peace to one day win our ultimte freedom.
William A. McCoy August 05, 2012 at 11:46 PM
How many more have to die before we pull out?? Just like we did in Vietnam. It has already be set a date for us to pull out, why not do it now??
milipili August 06, 2012 at 03:30 AM
How many more ???? Our prayers are with the families of those two heroes we will honor them. Mr. President How many more?????
Jim Stanton August 06, 2012 at 11:46 AM
God bless our fallen and their families.
amanda August 06, 2012 at 12:07 PM
RIP.. Russell Bell. Brother you were loved by so many and how we will miss you deelpy.. Love you
Regan Latta August 06, 2012 at 03:36 PM
The families of these men are grieving with unexpressable sadness. My son is in the same 508th PIR, 4th Battalion in Zharay. I saw we had lost two, but their names were not yet released. My doorbell rang unexpectedly 3 times on Friday, and I feared it would be my son. He called me that same evening. I was relieved, but saddened at the same time, because I knew someone else was getting the knock at their door. God Bless the families and God bless these vallient men!
Mike August 07, 2012 at 12:03 PM
These men voluteered and raised their right hands to protect this Nation. They died protecting this Nation. This is not like Vietnam. RIP Brothers.
Mike August 07, 2012 at 12:05 PM
These men served our country proudly. Don't get political on here. They joined to serve and to protect this Nation. They knew the risks and like many of us, did not care because we bleed Red, White and Blue. They did there jobs and they kept the Nation safe. Airborne!
SSG Thomas Englebert August 15, 2012 at 04:18 PM
I personally knew SSG Sitton, I watched this young man grow up. I'm 53, and still in (Maryland Guard). SSG Sitton, and 1SG Bell, and all our men and women that have given there life's for our great nation, are true American Hero's. When we lost SSG Sitton and 1SG Bell it was a sad day for America, they don't come any better. SSG Thomas Englebert
toni gross September 01, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Mike is correct, these BRAVE men volunteered to fight for our freedom and liberty in a far away wretched hostile land..... so we don't have to live our lives here in fear. Then people like you, William McCoy, post thoughtless remarks such as yours. My son did not die in vain....and yes, he was kia kazeh kalay, afghanistan...my son was a close friend of Matt's ...I am proud of my son's valor..I am proud of every Vietnam Vet too. My suggestion to you Bill, move to Afghanistan, I'll gladly pay for a one way tix for you.
Harold Williams December 05, 2012 at 06:29 PM
May God bless the families of these brave men and all the brave men and women who stand at the gates and protect the privileges we enjoy "Freedom". 1SG Bell and SSG Englebert rest in peace. respectfully, Harold

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