Monday, November 26, 2012

TFH 11/26: First Lieutenant Frank N. Mitchell, USMC

Frank Nicias Mitchell was born on August 18, 1921 in Indian Gap, Texas. He grew up in Roaring Springs, Texas, graduating from Roaring Springs High School in 1938. In 1939, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Pacific throughout World War II. He received an officer's commission in 1945.

Mitchell stayed in the Marines after the war, and found himself back in combat as the 1st Marine Division entered the Korean War in 1950. On November 26, 1950, winter was setting in on the Korean peninsula. About one month before, Communist China sent their army into battle in support of their North Korean allies and began to beat back the American and UN forces to the south.

On that day, First Lieutenant Frank Mitchell, leading a rifle platoon of Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, charged to the front of his men when they were ambushed. Despite his own wounds, he consolidated his unit's defenses, held strong during hand-to-hand fighting, and when there was only one way to cover the withdrawal of his wounded comrades, he fought alone to his death. His valor above and beyond the normal call of duty was recognized with our Nation's highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Korean War:


Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Near Hansan-ni, Korea, 26 November 1950. Entered service at: Roaring Springs, Tex. Born: 18 August 1921, Indian Gap, Tex. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as leader of a rifle platoon of Company A, in action against enemy aggressor forces. Leading his platoon in point position during a patrol by his company through a thickly wooded and snow-covered area in the vicinity of Hansan-ni, 1st Lt. Mitchell acted immediately when the enemy suddenly opened fire at pointblank range, pinning down his forward elements and inflicting numerous casualties in his ranks. Boldly dashing to the front under blistering fire from automatic weapons and small arms, he seized an automatic rifle from one of the wounded men and effectively trained it against the attackers and, when his ammunition was expended, picked up and hurled grenades with deadly accuracy, at the same time directing and encouraging his men in driving the outnumbering enemy from his position. Maneuvering to set up a defense when the enemy furiously counterattacked to the front and left flank, 1st Lt. Mitchell, despite wounds sustained early in the action, reorganized his platoon under the devastating fire, and spearheaded a fierce hand-to-hand struggle to repulse the onslaught. Asking for volunteers to assist in searching for and evacuating the wounded, he personally led a party of litter bearers through the hostile lines in growing darkness and, although suffering intense pain from multiple wounds, stormed ahead and waged a single-handed battle against the enemy, successfully covering the withdrawal of his men before he was fatally struck down by a burst of small-arms fire. Stouthearted and indomitable in the face of tremendous odds, 1st Lt. Mitchell, by his fortitude, great personal valor and extraordinary heroism, saved the lives of several marines and inflicted heavy casualties among the aggressors. His unyielding courage throughout reflects the highest credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Earlier in Lieutenant Mitchell's combat history in Korea, his courage in the face of the enemies of freedom also saw him decorated with both the Silver Star and Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V". (Citations from Military Times' Hall of Valor)

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Army Award) (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant Frank Nicias Mitchell (MCSN: 0-48132), United States Marine Corps, for gallantry in action while serving with Company A, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against the enemy near Hamhung, North Korea, on 3 November 1950, as a Rifle Platoon Leader occupying a position in his company's defensive sector. While making a short reconnaissance to improve his position, his platoon was suddenly and viciously attacked by the enemy. Immediately returning to his platoon, which was on the verge of being overrun, he rallied his men to repel the attack and he, although painfully wounded in the ensuing action, refused to be evacuated until the danger of a serious break-through was averted. First Lieutenant Mitchell's actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" to First Lieutenant Frank Nicias Mitchell (MCSN: 0-48132), United States Marine Corps, for heroic achievement in connection with operations against the enemy while serving with Company A, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), during the period 24 September 1950 to 4 October 1950. First Lieutenant Mitchell, acting as a Rifle Platoon Commander, continuously displayed outstanding leadership and professional skill against the enemy. On 26 September 1950, while assigned the mission of assaulting a well defended hill, he fearlessly led the men up the hill. As the enemy fire increased, his platoon became pinned down and forced to take cover. Heedless of his own personal safety, he repeatedly exposed himself to the enemy fire and moved among his men to inspire and rally them to continue the assault. His actions materially aided his platoon in successfully seizing and occupying the objective. First Lieutenant Mitchell's courageous actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. (First Lieutenant Mitchell is authorized to wear the Combat "V".)

Mitchell's remains were never recovered. He left behind a wife and daughter, who received his Medal of Honor and other decorations on August 6, 1952 at their home in Atlanta, Georgia. His family placed a cenotaph in his memory at the Roaring Springs Cemetery in Roaring Springs, Texas. All Marine Corps officers attending the Infantry Officers' Course at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia do so in Mitchell Hall.

1st Battalion, 7th Marines is still a component of the 1st Marine Division and is normally stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. The battalion is currently assigned to Task Force Leatherneck, Regimental Combat Team 6 for combat in Afghanistan.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.