Wayne Bell was born June 6, 1947, in Montreal. He grew up on Montreal’s south shore, with a strong affinity to the United States, where Plattsburgh offered luxuries such as drive-in theatres. Wayne and his friends would go there often, visiting the beach and escaping the 1960s political tensions that were emerging in Quebec. While in the US, he encountered an army recruiter, and Wayne made the decision to enlist, planning to become a helicopter mechanic. Basic training ensued at Fort Dix, where Wayne did well and was promoted to PFC. Specialized training at Fort Eustis followed, and soon Wayne was off to Vietnam, in spite of an injury he had suffered while on Christmas leave. In Vietnam he was assigned to the 71st Assault Helicopter Company, where he came to fly Snake Doctor missions, looking to support the other helicopter crews and the infantry on the ground. Wayne extended his tour in Vietnam by six months, so he spent a total of 18 months there. He even decided to reenlist, and he was deployed to Europe as part of the NATO forces there. Wayne spent much of the 1970s in Europe, and he served on a variety of missions, from tracking the Baader-Meinhof Gang in West Germany to jamming Soviet communications with Egypt from Crete. He set up a winter warfare school and advanced through the ranks – and met his first wife too. They decided to return to Canada, and in Calgary Wayne furthered his education and then went into aviation – a fitting path that was a return to his roots. Scott Masters interviewed Wayne Bell over zoom in June 2023.
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