Thomas A Bell

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain Thomas A. Bell for heroism while participating in aerial flight as a B-1 Instructor Weapon Systems Officer, 77th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, 2d Air Expeditionary Group, Royal Air Force Fairford, United Kingdom, on 1 April 1999. On that date, while serving as an Offensive Systems Officer on the first B-1 combat mission of Operation Allied Force, Captain Bill experienced numerous in-flight dangers, beginning with a weapons malfunction following his first bomb run. He corrected the malfunction which allowed the mission to continue. Following his corrective action, he completed a second bomb run, achieving multiple kills on tanks, armored personnel carriers, and fielded forces; helped defend the aircraft on two separate occasions against tactical surface-to-air missile launches; and completed an unscheduled aerial refueling. Despite these risks, Captain Bell helped safely recover the aircraft to Royal Air Force Fairford. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Captain Bell reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.