David Seth Mitchell – Captain, United States Marine Corps


U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

October 27, 2009

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

The following Marines died October 26, 2009, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Corporal Gregory M. W. Fleury, 23, of Anchorage, Alaska.

Captain Eric A. Jones, 29, of Westchester, New York

Captain David S. Mitchell, 30, of Loveland, Ohio.

Captain Kyle R. Van De Giesen, 29, of North Attleboro, Massachusetts

Fleury, Jones and Van De Giesen were assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Pendleton, California.

Mitchell was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Pendleton, California.

27 October 2009
By Jennifer Baker, Barrett J. Brunsman and Carrie Whitaker
Courtesy of Cincinatti. Com

LOVELAND – David “Seth” Mitchell was known as “Mr. Personality” when he was president of the senior Class of 1997 at Loveland High School.

Even then the student council member, varsity football player and track runner dreamed of serving in the United States military, friends said Tuesday night at a prayer vigil held in his honor.

“I remember he didn’t want to take anyone’s life,” said friend and former teammate Nick Jackson. “He was thinking about this as a sophomore – he was so thoughtful but he felt such a duty to serve.”

Assistant Athletic Director Kevin Taylor said everybody got along with Mitchell.
“I don’t know that he had an enemy,” Taylor said.

But he did: terrorism.

Mitchell, a Cobra helicopter pilot for the Marine Corps, died Monday trying to defeat it in Afghanistan. He was 30.

Two Marine helicopters – a UH-1 and an AH-1 Cobra – collided in flight before sunrise over southern Afghanistan while supporting combat operations, the military disclosed Tuesday. He was one of four Marines killed. Two others were wounded.

His classmates at Loveland High School, teachers, friends and strangers gathered Tuesday night in the school lobby where Mitchell spent his high school years. Later, they moved outside to light candles in his memory.

The shock and loss was evident. Tears fell freely as friends held one another. His classmates, some now young parents, clutched their babies.

About a dozen gathered their courage to stand in front of television cameras and share their memories of Mitchell.

“Seth was my neighbor and he was also a friend,” said Chandra Johnson. “I always felt like when I had conversations with him – I always felt like what I was saying was important. When he talked to you he really wanted to know what you wanted to say.”

Erica Miller gladly helped organize the Class of 1997’s 10-year reunion when Mitchell’s responsibilities kept him too busy to plan it, she said. But he was sure to attend.

“At our class reunion, he was the first one on the dance floor and the last one to leave,” Miller said.

Mitchell grew up in Miami Township, but his family now lives in North Carolina. They could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. He has one sibling, friends said. He is the first Loveland High graduate to die in Afghanistan.

Teachers said Mitchell was the kind of student impossible to forget.

“He sat in the row by the window, third seat back,” said social studies teacher Jeff Geiger, who had Mitchell in his global issues class. “He was always prepared, always did his work. He was the type of kid every teacher wanted in the classroom. We knew he would be successful because he worked hard and was ready to go every day.
Mitchell graduated from Virginia Tech, joined the Marine Corps in 2001 and was stationed at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, said Marine spokeswoman Corporal Jessica Aranda.

A member of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, he was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

During his time in the Marines, he received 10 medals and commendations, including the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

A former Marine himself, Geiger said he was especially proud of Mitchell, who helped him stay in touch with Loveland High graduates after they joined the military.

“Seth being a Marine, I have kind of a special place in my heart for him,” Geiger said. “Seth was always willing to help out in any way that he could.

“We won’t let him be forgotten,” Geiger said. “He gives us his life. His sacrifice is why we are able to do what we do on a daily basis. Without men like Seth, who knows where we would be?”

Other teachers at Loveland jumped at the chance Tuesday to honor Mitchell’s memory with accolades.

Julie Powers, who teaches math and spent four years working with Mitchell as an adviser to student council, said Mitchell planned on being a pilot from a young age.

“I don’t know exactly what turned him onto that as a young boy,” Powers said, “but before he reached grade nine, one thing was on his radar screen, no pun intended.”

She said he exemplified the strong leadership demonstrated by the 180-member Class of 1997.

“He was someone who put 110 percent into everything he did, and he did everything,” Powers said.

Powers broke down in tears, then mentioned her son, a fourth-grade student.

“If my son would grow up to be even half the man Seth grew up to be, I will consider myself a success as a parent,” Powers said as she cried. “He was just an amazing kid.”

Mitchell was the second member of the military from Clermont County to die in Afghanistan.

Army Specialist Gregory James Missman, 36, of Union Township, an Amelia High School graduate, was killed by insurgents in July. Six residents have died in Iraq. Two other members of the military killed in Iraq had parents who lived in the county.

“I’m sure we will do something to honor one of Clermont County’s finest,” said County Commissioner Bob Proud, founder of the Whole in My Heart support group for the families and friends of those serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. “The first thing I’m going to try to do is contact his parents to express condolences on behalf of a grateful Clermont County. We will never forget his service or sacrifice.”

Mary Makley Wolff, chairwoman of the Miami Township Board of Trustees, said she would work with local and county officials to “try to reach out to the family and to the community to honor the memory of such a hero.”

The other Marines killed in the collision were Corporal Gregory M.W. Fleury, 23, of Anchorage, Alaska; Captain Eric A. Jones, 29, of Westchester, New York; and Captain Kyle R. Van De Giesen, 29, of North Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Separately Monday, a U.S. military helicopter crashed while returning from the scene of a firefight with suspected Taliban drug traffickers in western Afghanistan, killing 10 Americans, including three DEA agents.

The two crashes made it the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in more than four years.

“(Seth) believed every bit in his service for our country … he knew it was his calling,” said friend Marci Weable. “We’re blessed to have had him be a part of our lives.”

Relatives remember pilot who died
By Mary Anderson
Courtesy of The Courier-Tribune
27 October 2009

ASHEBORO, North Carolina — USMC Captain David Seth Mitchell, 30, one of the U.S. Marine Corps officers killed in a helicopter collision over southern Afghanistan on Monday, had family in Asheboro.

On Tuesday, Mitchell’s two great aunts, Frankie Mitchell Wright and Alma Mitchell Wagoner, remembered the popular young man they kept up with through the family network and saw at the annual family Christmas gathering at a cousin’s house in Winston-Salem.

“We came from a big Stokes County family and kept up with everybody’s grandchildren, nieces and nephews through the family. Seth was our brother Joseph’s grandson,” said Wright on Tuesday.

Seth Mitchell grew up in Loveland, Ohio, where he was senior class president when he graduated from Loveland High School in 1997. He was on the football team and voted “Mr. Personality” by his classmates.

He graduated from Virginia Tech and immediately joined the U.S. Marine Corps, Wright said.

His parents, Steve and Connie Mitchell, moved to North Carolina and live in Apex. Seth Mitchell had one brother, Drew, who is 20. Wright said they flew to Delaware this morning to arrange the services.

Mitchell will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Wright said a memorial service will be held later for the family.

“This is really sad. The whole family is so torn up,” said Alma Wagoner. “When they told my brother, Joseph, about his grandson, he cried, and then he fell asleep. He is in very poor health. He keeps a picture of Seth in his room.”

Wagoner said the Mitchell family has served in the military for generations, but Seth is their first wartime fatality.

James Edward Mitchell, father of Wagoner and Wright, was wounded in World War I; Wagoner’s husband was in World War II; all five of their brothers served in the military; and Wagoner’s son, Tommy, who also lives in Asheboro, served during the Vietnam War.

Mitchell was one of four Marines who died after two U.S. helicopters collided in mid-air over Helmland Province. The Department Of Defense said enemy fire is not believed to be a factor in the crash.

Mitchell was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Pendleton, California.

Mitchell was an AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter pilot who had already served two tours in Iraq and had been awarded two air medals for the amount of time he spent flying combat missions. The Marine Corps said it not clear whether he was the pilot on the Cobra in the collision with the UH-1 helicopter.

28 October 2009:

MIAMI TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Captain Seth Mitchell of Clermont County, the Marine Corps pilot killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Monday, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next month.


His body was flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Tuesday, and the plane was met by his parents, Steve and Connie Mitchell of Cary, North Carolina.

A 1997 graduate of Loveland High School, Mitchell played varsity football, ran track and was president of his senior class.

Mitchell, 30, had gone to Afghanistan in advance of his 367th Squadron of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, which was to arrive there today, his father said.

“There was a need for a pilot, and he volunteered to go early,” Steve Mitchell said with a sigh. “I think he felt like it was his calling.”

Seth Mitchell graduated from officer candidate school September 10, 2001. The attack on the United States the next day, by the Al Qaida terrorist group based in Afghanistan, had a profound impact on him.

“He was very upset by it,” Steve Mitchell said. “That’s where everything started, all the conflict we’ve been in the last eight years.”

The family last heard from Seth Mitchell about two weeks ago, via e-mail.

His father recalled that it read: “Sorry I haven’t written. Things here are fine. Flying every day. Gotta go for now. Write more later.”

“When these pilots tell you they’re flying every day, there’s something going on,” Steve Mitchell said. “It’s usually two days on, two days off. … It was a focused mission, but I don’t know what.”

After graduating in 2001 from Virginia Tech, where he earned a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship after his freshman year, Seth Mitchell’s marksmanship with a rifle was good enough that he was assigned to a sniper team.

It wasn’t until he had been a Marine about four years and served a tour of duty in Iraq that he was accepted for flight school. He had aspired to become a pilot since he was about 4 years old.

To show the Marines how committed he was, Mitchell had surgery to correct his vision and got a private pilot’s license after taking flying lessons on his own.

“When he got his wings, he was the oldest service man at the ceremony,” his father said. “He was about four years older, so he was (called) ‘Gramps.’ ”

He did a second tour in Iraq last year, but that time as a pilot of a Cobra attack helicopter. “He loved to fly,” his father said.

A Cobra has seats for two pilots, Steve Mitchell said. The military told the family it may take months before a report is issued indicating the cause of Monday’s accident and who was flying the AH-1 Cobra that collided with a UH-1 Marine helicopter.

The crash happened before sunrise over the southern province of Helmland while the choppers supported combat operations. Mitchell was one of four Marines killed.

David Seth Mitchell was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 17, 1979. His father’s job took the family to Miami Township in April 1991, when he was 11. While his parents returned to North Carolina in October 2000, Seth Mitchell told the Marines that Clermont County was still his home.

“That’s where his roots were – his friends, his formative years, the high school,” Steve Mitchell said.

In addition to his parents, Steve and Connie Mitchell, survivors include: a brother, Joseph “Drew” Mitchell, also of Cary, North Carolina; his maternal grandmother, Nellie Stewart, and paternal grandfather, Joseph D. Mitchell, both of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

A funeral will be held in North Carolina after the military releases Mitchell’s body. A date has to be finalized for burial at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, but it will be on 6 November 2009.

Pilot who died in Afghanistan crash ‘was living his dream'
Marine Corps captain among 4 troops killed in helicopters' collision
By Christy Goodman
Courtesy of The Washington Post
Saturday, November 7, 2009

Marine Corps Captain David “Seth” Mitchell was always enamored of aircraft. In a fourth-grade assignment, he said he would like to be 11, so that he could take flying lessons. It was obvious to everyone who knew him that he was going to be a pilot.

“This was a goal, something that until they said no, he wasn't going to give up,” said his father, Steve Mitchell, who watched Friday as three Cobra helicopters flew in formation over his son's final resting place near a blue atlas cedar tree in Arlington National Cemetery.

Mitchell, 30, of Loveland, Ohio, was killed October 26, 2009, when two helicopters collided while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan's Helmand province. Mitchell was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Pendleton, California.

Four U.S. troops were killed in the crash, and two were injured, according to military reports.

Mitchell, a 1997 graduate of Loveland High School, was senior class president. His classmates voted him “Mr. Personality.”

“Seth was one of the kids that would stand out far above the rest,” said Julie Powers, a Loveland High math teacher who advised Mitchell on the student council for four years.

In addition to his leadership skills and constant grin, Mitchell worked hard to achieve good grades, play football and run track at his school, she said.

“His dream goal was to be a pilot, and I knew that from when he walked into the building as a ninth-grader, that was more than a dream for him; it was a complete focus,” Powers said. “It didn't matter that he wasn't your typical AP [Advanced Placement] scholar; he was going to do it.”

Powers added, “I don't think the word ‘can't' is in his vocabulary.”

Mitchell majored in English at Virginia Tech, where he was a member of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. By his senior year in 2001, he was an executive officer in the school's Corps, according to a Virginia Tech News report.

Mitchell served four years as a Marine, but he still was not an aviator. He did not meet the vision requirements to qualify for the flight program, his father said. After corrective surgery, Mitchell received a private pilot's license and continued in the prerequisite programs for the Marine flight school.

“All the service branches take the best and brightest right out of the academy,” Steve Mitchell said. “Seth was coming a different route.”

Not wanting to risk having his Marine aviation application lost in the mail, Seth Mitchell drove to the Pentagon to hand-deliver it. He was accepted and became a Cobra helicopter pilot.

Mitchell was two months into his third deployment. He had served in Iraq as a ground intelligence officer and as a pilot. He and another Marine from his squadron volunteered to go early to Afghanistan “because he thought he was needed,” his father said.

Steve Mitchell said his son was so humble that he is just now learning of his son's many awards and accomplishments.

About 175 people gathered Friday behind Steve Mitchell and his wife, Connie, and their son, Drew, as they followed the horse-drawn caisson that carried Seth Mitchell's remains. Navy Chaplain Guy M. Lee spoke words of a hero's leadership, valor and determination. The family members stood stoically as three volleys were fired.

“He loved this country and served it well,” Mitchell's father said. “I'd give anything for this not to have happened, but he was living his dream.”

Mitchell is the 113th casualty of Operation Enduring Freedom and the 577th service member from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Arlington National Cemetery Website Photo
The horse drawn caisson carries the remains of Marine Captain. David S. Mitchell at his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, November 6, 2009
Arlington National Cemetery Website Photo
Honor guard members transfer the remains of Marine Captain David S. Mitchell from the caisson at his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, November 6, 2009
Arlington National Cemetery Website Photo
Honor guard members carry the remains of Marine Captain David S. Mitchell at his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, Nov. 6, 2009
Arlington National Cemetery Website Photo
Honor guard members carry the remains of Marine Captain David S. Mitchell at his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, November 6, 2009.
Arlington National Cemetery Website Photo
Honor guard members stand over the remains of Marine Captain David S. Mitchell at his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, November 6, 2009
Steven Mitchell
Steven Mitchell, left, father of Marine Captain David S. Mitchell, grieves at his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery Friday, November 6, 2009






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