Springfield: Honoring Life of Service

Springfield: Honoring Life of Service

Arnold Sells, WWII Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient, receives Lifetime Achievement Award.

Members of area Disabled American Veterans (DAV) chapters congratulate Arnold Sells for his 65 years of service.

Members of area Disabled American Veterans (DAV) chapters congratulate Arnold Sells for his 65 years of service. Photo courtesy of Arnold Sells

World War II veteran and Greenspring resident Arnold Sells was recently recognized by Chapter 10 (Arlington/Fairfax) of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) with the chapter’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. Sells, who became a member of the DAV in 1950, has been involved at all levels of the chapter, formerly holding the positions of Department Commander, Department Adjutant and Department Chaplain. A resident of the D.C. area for over 70 years, he has lived at Greenspring retirement community in Springfield since 2011.

Arnold Sells, 96, was inducted into U.S. Army in 1941 and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division as an infantry soldier. In the fall of 1943, he was transported to England and spent the next several months training for the D-Day invasion in Normandy. During that training, he injured his back and was unable to make the invasion along with his division. After being released back to the 101st Airborne Division, Sells encountered his first combat operations in Holland in September 1944; his division was assigned to hold open canal and road crossings for British Field Marshal Montgomery’s army. After spending time in France for replenishment, Sells was transported to Bastogne, Belgium, where his unit was responsible for monitoring road crossings.

“I spent the holidays in a foxhole under heavy artillery fire and felt the Earth shake from the bombings of Bastogne,” said Sells.

On Dec. 26, 1944, Bastogne was liberated, and in early January 1945, Sells division was moved to Alsace, France, where he was wounded while under shell fire. He received a shell fragment to his left shoulder, was provided bandages and morphine, and taken to a field hospital. After a 6-8 week recovery in England, Sells was sent to Camp Pickett, Va. In August, Sells was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army and received a Purple Heart as a result of his wounding in France. He was also awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Glider Badge, Distinguished Unit Badge, Distinguished Rifleman Badge, Good Conduct Medal, and European Theater Medal. Additionally, the 101st Airborne Division was the first division to receive a Presidential citation, according to Sells.

“I’m very proud I was able to make a contribution to my country,” said Sells.

On December 13, 2015, Chapter 10 of the DAV held a ceremony in Sells’ honor to recognize his 65 years of membership and service, as well as his volunteer work. Members of the DAV Department of Virginia, Department of Maryland, and the Department of Washington, D.C. were also on hand to show their appreciation.

In 2012, along with over a dozen other World War II veterans living at Greenspring, Sells recorded a video interview for “Voices of WWII,” produced by the Friends of the National World War II Memorial.