Jack Earl Gell

Army of the United States
30 November 1940 - 14 November 1965
Montmorenci, South Carolina
Panel 03E Line 049

Combat Infantry

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Jack Earl Gell

15 Mar 2002

To all the men, living and passed to the other side,
who fought during the three days at Landing Zones X-Ray and Albany -
your families will never forget.

God bless Joe Galloway and General Hal Moore -
now the whole world knows the truth about the
Ia Drang Valley
November 14, 15, and 16, 1965.


From his sister,
Kathleen Gell Lee

15 Mar 2002

Sergeant Jack Gell was a loving husband, devoted father, and career soldier. His wife Rebecca, his daughters Bonnie and Carol, and his son, Jay, were forced to continue life without him. He gave his life for his country on Nov 14, 1965 in the Ia Drang Battle of Vietnam. According to his Captain and his dear friend, Tony Nadal, his dying words ... "Tell my wife I love her..." These words will honor and haunt at the same time. But Sergeant Gell was willing to make that sacrifice.

His body was the first to arrive to Fort Benning, on Thanksgiving Day - his wife notified by a telegram, left alone with three small kids. "Jay" was buried the day before his 25th birthday. His oldest daughter Bonnie turned 6 during all this. The pain was unbearable to his wife and family.

Time heals wounds, but even though the war is over the battle continues to affect veterans, friends, and families of those scarred by the pain. The loss of what should have been is a true tragedy.

Sergeant Gell's love and memories live vibrantly on through his children, his wife, and his comrades who will never forget him. Lt Gen Hal Moore (Author of We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young) wrote in Carol's book... "Your father was a true American Hero ... you will see him again one day".

All of Sergeant Gell's children live in Charlotte, NC, close to their mother Rebecca, stepfather John, and younger brother Ricky. Sergeant Gell is buried in the Fort Benning (Georgia) Cemetery.

From his daughter,
Carol Crowley

Added 22 Jan 2002

Let the Story Be Told

The time we dreaded had come at last,
It was time to let him go....
I wished I could have stopped that day,
But it came as my heart sank low.

The family picture,
We took was etched on our souls...
His eyes showed his hurt, in spite of his strength,
It was time to achieve set goals.

He was heading to war, to fight for us all,
He said he would come back home...
He had too much to live for, too strong to give in,
And did not want to leave us alone.

A kiss good bye and held us all tight,
Then off to Ia Drang he went...
To the Valley of Death, in a war beaten place,
His last moments of life would be spent.

The letters explained his willing devotion,
To fight and to love 'til the end.
With courageous brothers, he did just that,
Then the horrible news did they send.

A telegram was delivered, then left all alone,
"The agony changed my life..."
Mom would miss him forever,
The fate of a soldier's wife.

"The angels are crying with me here today",
She wept as it rained outside......
Let the story be told, let the healing be bold,
With each name on the Wall meaning Pride.

The years of that time that seems so far away now,
At the same time, just like yesterday,
In a war that has ended with tears and with honor,
Thanks to Hal Moore and Joe Galloway.

And many more Veterans and families who feel,
This battle continues inside....
Let the story be told, let the healing be bold,
With each name on the Wall meaning Pride.

Thank God for our memories and gatherings too,
As we reflect on the pain and the love,
Our soldiers who died, and for all those who've cried,
Know we are watched from above.

Let the story be told, let the mystery unfold,
With each name on the Wall meaning Pride.

Let the story be told, let the healing be bold,
With each name on the Wall meaning Pride.

Copyright 12/2002 Carol Crowley 7/16/02
Written in Honor of my Mother, Rebecca Gell Workentine,
and the memory of my Father,
Sgt. Jack E. Gell,
Husband, father, Christian, son, and brother
Inspired by the true story
"We Were Soldiers Once...and Young."
Lt. Gen. Hal Moore (Ret) and Joe Galloway.

In addition to the courage and passion for life that my
Mother has passed on to me, inspiration for this song was from her,
and the movie, and written from her position as the wife and family
left behind. Much of it is her own words, and parts from her poems.
We must never forget ... Freedom is not free. We must remember
that, and not tolerate those who disrespect it. God Bless America.

18 March 2002

Sgt. Jack Gell, (Jay), was born in Syracuse, NY. He joined the United States Army in Albany, NY.

He served a 13 month tour of duty in Korea, 1960-'61 in the 1st Cavalry Division. He was killed in action in the Ia Drang Valley battle, November 14, 1965, in the 1/7, 1st Cav. Div. He is mentioned a number of times in the book, 'We Were Soldiers Once -- And Young'.

He was a professional soldier. He was a loving, kind, loyal and compassionate husband, son, father, brother, and friend! His little children, Bonnie, Jay, and Carol, were the light of his life! The song; "To Know Him Is To Love Him", was my favorite thing to tell him, because it was true! We will never forget him. He is, and always will be, in our hearts and memories!

Alfred Tennyson wrote
"God's finger touched him, and he slept."

From his wife,
Rebecca Seigler Gell Workentine

29 Dec 2002

For the many who died at LZ X-Ray I wish to extend my deepest gratitude. Without those boys our country would not be what it is today. The soldiers of Vietnam were not thanked nearly enough for what they did. I may be only seventeen years old but I have so much respect and honor for Jack and the many others lost in the Ia Drang Valley.

From one who remembers,
Layla McMillon
1123 Essex Dr, West Columbia, SC 29170

14 Oct 2003

I was very young when I last saw Jack and only remember him from family stories and photos, but I will never forget the day we learned of his passing.

My mother, his aunt, woke up crying in the night. She kept sobbing that she couldn't get Jack's face clean. "He fell in the mud," she told me "and I kept washing but the dirt wouldn't come off."

"It's just a dream, Mom" I said, but she couldn't be comforted. She insisted that it was something more. She told me that she kept scrubbing and scrubbing and telling Jack how sorry she was, but the dirt just wouldn't come off. And he kept reassuring her that it was OK. She told me he said "It's OK, Aunt Elaine. Thank you for trying. Thank you for caring" She just couldn't figure why this dream of Jack seemed so very real.

We found out the next morning. The radio station in Rochester, N.Y. would announce the local boys listed as Viet Nam casualties as they were made public. I guess we weren't all that surprised to hear Jack's name among the others. We knew because he had come to say good-bye in the night.

I guess that's what heroes do; remember family and friends even when they, themselves, are suffering. I am so proud of my cousin for how he loved his wife and children and believed in family and values. I am proud of him for serving his country when so many were protesting and ridiculing their bravery. May God bless him on his eternal journey. May he enjoy the glorious rewards due a hero.

Thank you, Jack. I remember and always will.

From his cousin
Donna Thomas

23 Jul 2004

We REMEMBER your sacrifices for the freedom that we and all Americans enjoy and we thank you ...

To the Gell family members..

Items left at the Moving Wall were given to our National War Museum at The Vietnam Veterans of Central Florida.

The Virtual Wall print-out for Sergeant Jack Earl Gell left at The Wall on 29 Sep 2002 at 10:01 AM is now a part of our Museum collection...

We were given ten full Rubber Maid tubs and four boxes of items left at the Moving Wall. It is a high honor to receive these items...

Many times opening and getting these things on paper and listing everything was very hard and yes, many tears for me... This left me with a heavy heart but I am very glad I had this honor for all on that Wall... God Bless all on The Wall...

Vietnam Veterans of Central Florida
3400 N.Tanner Rd. Orlando, Fl 32826
Phone 407-273-0201
Chairlady: Nancy L. Brooks - War Museum

From a new friend on The Wall,
Mrs. Nancy L. Brooks
1409 Murdock Blvd, Orlando, Fl 32825

13 Nov 2004

With the kind and able assistance of Jack Gell's family members I am in the process of creating my own humble Jack Gell memorial on my web site. So far I have been honored with correspondence from Sgt Gell's daughter Carol Gell Crowley, his wife Rebecca Seigler Gell Workentine, and his sister Kathleen Gell Lee. I have spoken on the phone with Carol Crowley and with Jack Gell's nephew, SGT Frank Gell III, U.S. Army, who is very interested in learning more about his uncle. I would be honored to receive information from anyone with memories of Sgt Jack Gell and will pass anything I receive on to his family.

From a friend of the family and Vietnam vet,
Bill Faith
Lawrenceville, IL

22 Jan 2005

When I watched "We Were Soldiers", I learned for the first time that the historic battle was launched on the day of my birth. I am eternally grateful to Jack Gell and his family for giving all they could for me. I am making sure my nine children grow up knowing the story of Jack and his fellow Patriots.

John Bullock
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

30 May 2006

No farewell words were spoken.
No time to say goodbye.
You were gone before we knew it.
And, only God knows why?

Although there is no way to pay him for his ultimate sacrifice for his country and us all...
He walked among us. He touched our lives.
He lives on in our memories forever!

From a cousin,
Dr. Larry T. Gell

Visit the
Landing Zone X-Ray site

and The Virtual Wall's
Ia Drang Memorial

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his sister,
Kathleen Gell Lee

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index G
SC State Index . Panel 03E


With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 15 Mar 2002
Last updated 06/19/2006