Ray MitchellMr. Ray Mitchell (p/c) was born October 3, 1924 in St. Clairsville, Ohio in Ohio and passed away April 29, 2018 in Port Orange, FL. Mitchell enlisted into the US Army in the spring of 1943 immediately after graduating as a mechanical engineer in June 1942. In pursuing a military career, he followed the steps of his father and grandfather. Mitchell served in the 4th Armored Division that earned distinction spearheading General Patton's Third Army in the European theater of World War II. He saw action in a number of major campaigns, including the D- Day Invasion of France, the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of Central France. Among his many decorations and battle stars was an award of the Legion of Honor by the French government. Mitchell served as a gunner and was transported to the war on the Queen Mary. Mitchell described wartime battles between Spring 1943 to December 1945, and emphasized the necessity of overcoming fear and the vividly expressed hearing deafening artillery.

He told students that in his 90s he still had nightmares about a life or death encounter when he came face to face with a young German soldier, and, how he helped liberate a concentration camp. Mitchell related his first encounters saying “I remember seeing a lot of dead Germans and a lot of dead cattle and thinking to myself, I’m in for some for some kind of crap”. …when we got there (Normandy) it was very clear that it was going to be a bad day. It was obvious that the Germans were going to send everything they had”. When asked what he wanted the students to take away from the interview he said, “If I had to say one thing it would be to never fear others and always respect a man in a uniform and know that some guys made it through and some didn’t but the U.S sustained itself through history.”

For more information, contact (fordj@cookman.edu)