Billy Mitchell was born on Oct. 19, 1935 at Roswell, N.M. He completed grade school in Lake Worth, Texas and joined the Texas National Guard on March 17, 1949 at 13 years of age. He was discharged on March 16, 1952. On May 2, 1952 Billy joined the U. S. Air Force at age 16. Once his age was determined he was discharged on Aug. 18, 1952. He then enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps on March 31, 1953 and signed to serve three years. He served with the 3rd Marine Division in Korea in 1953 and then served at Camp Nara, Japan in 1954. In addition Billy received his high school GED in 1954. He was then transferred to NAS Pensacola, Fla., where he fulfilled his 3 years on March 30, 1956.
By serving in the National Guard, the U. S. Air Force and the U. S. Marine Corps, the military service to his country was in Billy’s blood. He enlisted in the U. S. Army on Feb. 18, 1958 at the age of 22 years. During his Army career he obtained his associate degree from the University of Applied Arts at Ft. Worth, Texas in horology in 1958, also attended the 5th Army Non-Commissioned Officer School, Crane Shovel Operator at the Engineer Ordinance School, U. S. Navy Amphibious School on Underwater Demolition, 101st Airborne/Air Delivery School and Army Recruiting and Career Counselor Schools. He served at various locations including Ft. Carson, Colo.; Oakland, Calif.; Ft. Huachuca, Ariz.; Ft. Eustis, Va.; Ft. Benning, Ga.; Ft. Campbell, Ky.; Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Ind.; HHB, 2nd BN 27th Artillery, Germany; 176th MP Detachment, France; USARMS, Dallas, and U.S. Army Oklahoma City with duty in Ardmore as Recruiter.
Billy Mitchell served in the Republic of Vietnam from Aug. 16, 1965 to July 25, 1966. He served in three campaigns: Vietnam Defense, Vietnam Counter Offense and Vietnam Counter Offense Phase II.
His awards and decorations include: the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/OLC, Good Conduct Medal w/5 OLC, National Defense Service Medal w/OLC, Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, United Nations Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Campaign Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation w/Palm, U. S. Army Recruiter Badge, Parachutist Badge, Expert Rifle (Carbine), Marksmanship Pistol (Cal.45), Driver Badge w/bar, Mechanic Badge, four Overseas Bars and six Service Stripes. In addition to MSG Mitchell’s awards and decorations he received 18 letters of appreciation or commendation.
Master Sergeant Billy Mitchell received an Honorable Discharge on April 30, 1976 with 24 years, 8 months and 13 days of professional, dedicated and outstanding service to his country.
After his retirement he moved his family to Ardmore and was employed at Michelin, North America for 23 years before his second retirement. He has been active in the Ardmore Lions Club, the Gideon’s International, the Emmaus Community, and the First Missionary Baptist Church of Ardmore where he served on the greeting committee and the prayer room until his health made it necessary to step down.
The professional ability and outstanding accomplishments of Master Sergeant Billy Mitchell brings great credit upon himself, the United States Army, the State of Oklahoma and the Nation.
Following a period of failing health, MSG Mitchell passed from this life to his eternal reward on Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, from the local hospital in Ardmore at the age of 84 years, one month and 13 days.
MSG Mitchell was preceded in death by his parents, the late Frank L. and Grace Cheairs Mitchell; his brothers, Lee and James Mitchell and sister, Clara Kilman.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Laura Mitchell; two sons, William Leeman "Buck" Mitchell and Daniel Todd Mitchell; daughters, Laura Jo Honea and Cara Louise Rogers; a half-brother, Gary Mitchell, 15 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, at the First Baptist Church, officiated by Dr. Alton Fannin. Burial with Military Honors will be at Rose Hill Cemetery.
The family will receive friends during a time of visitation and support Sunday from 4 to 5 p.m. at Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home.
Services have been entrusted to Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home, where condolences may be sent to the family online at www.hdouglasfuneralhome.com.