Run honors drill sergeant's memory
June 6, 2014
FORT SILL, Okla. -- More than 200 runners gathered May 31 in front of New Post Chapel to honor one of their own during the 14th Annual Drill Sergeant Mitchell X-Man Run.
Many in attendance personally knew Drill Sgt. Darrell Mitchell and came to share his memory.
"We went to drill sergeant school together and we got to Fort Bliss and inprocessed on Sept. 11, 2001. That's when we started training Soldiers," said close friend Jeff Hubbard. "We had a cup of coffee that night about 7:30, I went home and he had duty that night and stayed. On my way into work the next morning at 3:30 they called and said did you hear what happened? Drill sergeant had a heart attack and died," said Hubbard.
Mitchell had a heart condition that no one was aware of and he died suddenly in front of a formation of Soldiers.
Although his passing was painful, Hubbard said the run is a celebration of his life.
"Mitchell was just one of those guys ... he touched everybody's life that he was a part of. Everything he did he put so much into it he affected everyone around him his co-workers and the Soldiers we were training," said Hubbard. "When he died it had such a profound effect on everybody around that we decided we needed to do something."
Mitchell enlisted in the Army in 1987 as a Stinger crewman. He went on to serve in Desert Shield and Desert Storm with the 1st Cavalry Division. He was assigned to B Battery, 1st Battalion, 56th ADA in Fort Bliss, Texas when he died.
"A lot of people in the ADA world have been touched by him," said Capt. Racheal Mwangi, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery 30th Air Defense Artillery commander. "He was a father, he had two little girls and since then we've always ran to honor him."
30th Air Defense Artillery hosted the 5 and 10K runs as a lesson to the Army's newest Soldiers.
"It's a brotherhood with our senior NCOs and they try to keep it alive and teach our junior Soldiers what honor means," said Mwangi.
The run was formerly held in Texas, but recently moved to Fort Sill for the second year in a row.
Hubbard was the honored guest of the run and he gave away 72 medals to those who placed in their respective age categories.
After the run Hubbard said his thoughts were filled with fond memories of Mitchell and how fast a runner he was.
"I just wanted to be here. I was a part of the first couple they had down at Fort Bliss and then life took over after that with deployments and everything else and now that I'm retired I can do what I need to do."