On a breezy, warm, sun splashed spring afternoon Barksdale Air Force Base honored Senior Airman, Bryan R. Bell, who was killed in Afghanistan in January 5, 2012, by renaming its fitness center in his honor.
The fitness center will now officially be called the 'Bell Fitness Center' and display his full name on the the building. In addition a plaque will commemorate Bell in front of the entry doors and a display case just inside the front doors displays his picture, bomb suit and operating tools.
The Erie, Pennsylvania native was stationed at Barksdale
beginning in 2008 and was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician in the 2d
Civil Engineer Squadron, 2d Mission Support Group, 2d Bomb Wing. Bell was killed along with two others when a roadside bomb detonated during a patrol.
Bell's younger sister Candice T. Bell, also serving in the Air Force stationed in Ohio, says he would be touched by the honor. "We couldn't think of anything more appropriate than a fitness center for Bryan, even though we weren't the best runners, I know he tried and he would love this."
Barksdale says the fitness center was chosen for the designation because EOD team members spend many hours training there due to the physical demands of the missions.
2d Bomb Wing Commander, Col. Andrew J. Gebara, hopes future airmen and women entering the facility will be inspired by Bell's legacy saying, "perhaps somebody someday will be inspired to run a little faster, lift a little more, bike a little harder, be a little better because they will know Bryan didn't stop."
SrA. Bell was the first member of Barksdale's 2d Bomb Wing to be killed in combat since World War II.