Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for February 23, 2009 - Sgt. Roy Mitchell

Sergeant Roy Mitchell

Current Unit: 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad
Current Position: Senior Sniper Section Sergeant
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Baghdad, Iraq
Hometown: Garden Grove, Calif.
Years of Service: 5

On March 24, 2007, Sgt. Roy Mitchell was out on a combat operation in Baquba, Iraq when his unit came under fire. Mitchell was hit twice by gunfire from enemy combatants. One shot hit his leg and another lodged in his head. The injuries threatened to end both his life, and an Army career he felt he had just begun.

"I was hospitalized for six months, and it took me another six months to recover from all my injuries," said Mitchell. "I was given the option to leave the Army, but I was not ready to leave yet. I would have felt beaten by the enemy if I left the Army, and I was not ready to leave all my friends. They are like my family."

Now back in Iraq for his second deployment, Mitchell serves as the team leader of a sniper platoon in Baghdad. He takes great pride in mentoring his junior paratroopers and grooming them to become qualified snipers, strong Soldiers and future leaders.

Mitchell remains focused on his future, and counts the events of 2007 as one of the chapters in his life story. A large scar on the right side of his head reminds him daily how fortunate he is to be alive. For the paratroopers he mentors, it represents a badge of courage and strength worn by a Soldier who refuses to let anything stand in the way of his dreams.

Mitchell recently was recommended for promotion to the rank of staff sergeant during a board held in Iraq. Upon returning home from his current deployment in the fall, he hopes to pursue a college degree and a career either with a Ranger Battalion or a Special Forces group.

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