Protect Our Defenders News Blog


Survivor Spotlight: Aviation Commander Darchelle Mitchell

Darchelle D. Mitchell was born September 11, 1973 in Memphis, Tennessee. She graduated from Warner Robins High School in Warner Robins, GA and is a 2000 Alumni of Fort Valley State University with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology.

Her father served 22 years active duty Army. She joined the Navy when she was 30. Darchelle wanted to show her sons the example her father set for her.

Throughout her career, she faced rape, sexual harassment and racial discrimination. In spite of a stellar record and receiving numerous awards in 2011 she was denied reenlistment after reporting rape. Darchelle refused to be beaten. She went to school and fought to successfully reenlist in 2013. Though she continued to face discrimination, and retaliation for reporting the crimes years before, she persevered and is proud of her 14 years of service to our country.

Darchelle’s career of service:

April 2004, Darchelle enlisted in the United States Navy and reported to USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) in Norfolk, VA. Shortly afterwards during the ship’s maiden deployment she earned both Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist and Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Insignia and subsequently awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal. Additionally, she volunteered for numerous physically demanding Comrels projects with Dubai Autism Center and American Hospital in Dubai UAE. Hand- picked to be an executive tour guide for Military’s top brass officials such as former Secretary of the Navy “Honorable John Dalton”, General Peter Pace, General David H. Petraeus, and Major General Bryon S. Bagby.

With a successful sea tour, Darchelle transferred to the Naval Air Station AIMD Sigonella, Italy. Her technical knowledge and experience of the program greatly aided the command in receiving a grade of “On Track” during May 2009 CNAF Aviation Maintenance Inspection. She enrolled at The University of Phoenix in pursuit of a Master of Business Administration while finding time to participate in the Base to Base Walk for Life and the Drug Enforcement for Youth (DEFY) Program.

November 2009, Darchelle reported to Naval Air Station Oceana Strike Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO SIX (VFA-106) located in Oceana, VA. She continued with my civic duties as the facilitator for the Mentors in Violence Prevention program, volunteered as Command Fitness Leader, and spear-headed the Command Heritage Committee Veteran’s Day Social with the Local Seaside and Harbourway Health Center. She enjoyed spending many personal hours at various volunteer programs such as: Y.H. Thomas Youth Center in Hampton, VA, the Back to School HairCut Drive, the Back to School Salon Day, and Book-Bag Drive with Star Struck Beauty Salon. Darchelle was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal (2 awards), Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal in addition to numerous other campaign and unit awards.

July 2011, Darchelle reported to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL as a Drilling Reservist. Driven with pride and
determination, I applied for Full Time Support in efforts to return to active duty. Now stationed with Recruitment District Command, she was surrounded with intense support which gave her the voice to speak out for the first time about the other side of my military life.

December 2013, Darchelle reported to Fort Bliss located in El Paso, TX. Struggling to find balance, she found comfort in volunteering with the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots. The humbling experience inspired her to create volunteer opportunities for the first EL Paso VAHCS Homeless Veteran Stand-down.

One of her most shining moments was volunteering during the always winning season of the 2014 Fort Bliss Special Olympics Track and Field Team. The second was being awarded her first Joint Achievement Service Medal and Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal by the Brigadier General of the Joint Task Force.

June 2015, Darchelle reported back to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL in which she continued her volunteer passions creating the first ever Second-Class Association in which she served as President and started the first command Adopt-a-Highway Program.

February 2018, she proudly retired with 14 years of honorable service. After retirement, she completed a Master of Public Administration and a HR Certification from Barry University in 2019-2020.