Naomi Bernice Bell was born September 27, 1921 in Sandersville, Georgia. She was the daughter of Arthur and Mamie Hayles Bell. She was in the class of 1939 of Sanderville’s Thomas Jefferson Elder High and Industrial School. She graduated on October 6, 1942 from the University of Georgia Nursing School. Second Lieutenant Naomi Bell entered the military on December 28 1942. By 1946, she had been promoted to First Lieutenant. Bell served as a surgical nurse and ward three-night nurse. She has been called the “Sweetheart of Tuskegee Air Force Base.” She has also been mentioned as a member of the Tuskegee Army Air Force Player’s Guild. Dozier’s LAAB newsletter of March 15, 1947 mentions that Lieutenant Bell was one of the five who initially reported from TAAF to Lockbourne on May 3, 1946. She was later promoted to captain and also served at Brooke Army Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas and Percy Jones Hospital at Battle Creek, Michigan. Ending her military career on September 13, 1952, the former military nurse worked in nursing in the Detroit area. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English in 1961. Bell had breast cancer and died in October of 1975. The Detroit Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen sponsored a scholarship in her memory. (1942 yearbook, Women in Military Service for America Memorial.)
Bottom row from left: Louise Lomax, Della Raney, Kathryn Bough, Dietitian, Elsie Wallace 2nd row from left: Mencie Trotter, Beatrice Hill, Octavia Bridgewater, Frances McCloud Third row from left: Ruth Carter, Ruth Speight, Elizabeth Dozier, Alice Binford Fourth from left: Della Bassett, Mary Rickards, Alice Dunkley, Ruth Faulkner, Naomi Bel
Thank you to Pia Winters Jordan, Project Director of the Tuskegee Airmen Nurses Project, for sharing with us the incredible legacy of nurses who served alongside the Airmen. We are honored to feature their history and stories.