By Airman 1st Class Aliviah Williams | Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. — “I’ve been able to do things people who grew up the way I did may never experience,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman DeMarcus Mitchell, 21st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron bioenvironmental engineering apprentice.
Mitchell did not have the “typical” parenting structure growing up in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. After a series of events which nearly led to him ending up in foster care, his grandmother took him in.
“My grandmother always said it takes a village to raise a person,” said Mitchell. “She was already retired when she took me in, so I was raised by teachers, educators and coaches.”
Mitchell explained it was almost like a blessing in disguise, when his grandmother took him under her wing. Mitchell’s grandmother instilled leadership in him, taught him how to be an individual while expressing the importance of being a team player.
Prior to enlisting into the U.S. Air Force, Mitchell taught boxing at a local gym in Tennessee, where he met his wife, Ashley.
“Everybody loved him,” Ashley said. “I always went to his classes just because he was so high energy and upbeat. You could tell he loved to be there.”
Mitchell’s leadership qualities weren’t just seen by his community members and wife. Once enlisted, he applied his ability to lead others in all aspects of his new career.
Mitchell led all of the physical training workouts for the members of the Delayed Entry Program, a program for individuals waiting to ship out to basic military training. While attending BMT, he became dorm chief, the top leader of the trainees in the entire flight.
At technical school he became an Airman leader, a physical training leader and joined the drill team. Now, stationed at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, he serves as the alternate unit fitness program manager for his squadron, after only two months as a PTL for his unit.
“Helping people is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Mitchell. “I feel like it’s my purpose on this planet to coach and educate people on fitness and nutrition.” Aside from the leadership roles Mitchell has already taken on, he still offers a helping hand whenever the opportunity presents itself.
“You can tell [leadership] is within him and he can’t suppress it even if he wanted to,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brandon Johnson, 21st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron bioenvironmental engineering flight chief.
Mitchell’s accomplishments extend beyond his job. He has worked to improve his home state by helping develop the first 13-week training program for cadets attending Walter State Community College in Morristown, Tennessee, to prepare them for the physical aspects of becoming a police officer.
He hopes to use the feedback from this training program to better the U.S. Air Force PT training program as a whole.
“I love the idea of being able to help other people become the best version of themselves,” said Mitchell. “No matter what your goal is, no matter what it involves, whether it’s making the next rank or gaining some strength numbers in the gym, losing weight or getting a degree or commissioning, it’s you versus you, every day.”