11 QUESTIONS with Joe Bello

We’re trying out a new kind of Veteran profile here at the UWVC!

We’re asking veteran leaders in our community the same 11 questions to see what their responses are.

Why 11?  Well, as you may know, we do a little event each year on 11/11, that has an important moment at 11 AM… 😉

This week we’re spotlighting longtime NYC veterans advocate and leader Joe Bello.

Born in Queens, Joe served in the U.S. Navy from 1984-1995, with duty aboard the USS South Carolina, USS Nimitz and USS Mahlon S. Tisdale.

He has been active in our community ever since, serving and giving voice to vets of all generations.

Joe is currently the Citywide Veterans Director for the NY City Council, and a member of the NYC Veterans Advisory Board (among other things!).


  1. WHY DID YOU JOIN THE MILITARY?  High school burned me out, and my grandfather served in WWII, so I wanted to follow in his footsteps and do something different while learning a skill and traveling.
  2. DID YOU HAVE VETERANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My grandfather and an uncle.  A nephew also served.
  3. WHERE DID YOU ENLIST?  Jamaica, Queens.
  4. WHAT WAS YOUR PRIMARY RATING?  Yeoman (with Legal NEC) and then Naval Reserve Recruiter
  5. DO YOU REMEMBER THE NAME OF YOUR FIRST DRILL INSTRUCTOR?   Can’t remember his name, but it was in Orlando, Florida.
  6. WHAT IS THE WORST THING YOU ATE WHILE IN THE MILITARY?  Camel brains in Egypt.  Long Story! LOL.
  7. WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE DAY IN THE MILITARY? So many!  The first time I got frocked (to E-4) and my first birthday on deployment (my 19th Birthday).
  8. IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME TO THE DAY YOU GOT OUT OF THE MILITARY, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF? You did a good job, you served your country.  It’s all right to be sad that you’re leaving but take what you’ve learned, push forward and look to the future.
  9. DID YOU HAVE ANY VETERAN MENTORS?  So many Vietnam veterans, but especially Ed Daniels and Bob Greene.
  10. WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT AS A VETERAN? Working on my first piece of legislation with then-Councilman Mike Nelson (to increase VAB members) and being a force in helping to create DVS with other veterans and Councilman Ulrich.
  11. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE/LEAST FAVORITE MILITARY THEMED MOVIES?  Favorites: The Caine Mutiny, Patton and Top Gun (I was in the Navy when it came out) Honorable mention: Master and Commander.  Least favorite: Midway (the 2019 one; very disappointing).