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Becoming The Leader I Needed
by U.S. Army Pfc. Cecilia Ochoa
February 25, 2024

The Army defines leadership as the process of influencing people by providing purpose, motivation and direction to accomplish the mission and better the organization.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dalton Mitchell, a tactical power generation specialist with Bravo Company, 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, who has been assigned to Fort Carson for nearly ten years ... promised himself that he would make a difference and become the leader who all junior soldiers need by their side in times of hardship.

February 23, 2024 - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dalton Mitchell, a tactical power generation specialist with Bravo Company, 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, on Fort Carson, Colorado. Mitchell is a leader dedicated to building his Soldiers and supporting them in any way he can. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Cecilia Ochoa.)
February 23, 2024 - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dalton Mitchell, a tactical power generation specialist with Bravo Company, 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, on Fort Carson, Colorado. Mitchell is a leader dedicated to building his Soldiers and supporting them in any way he can. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Cecilia Ochoa.)

Mitchell goes out of his way to form close bonds with each of his Soldiers, getting to know each one individually to understand their needs and build trust.

“The best way to be a good leader is to learn from your Soldiers and create a bond,” said Mitchell. “I had to learn their stories. Not one single Soldier is the same.”

Forming those bonds are important, but Mitchell goes above and beyond to show his Soldiers that he genuinely cares for them and their well-being.

“That's why I ask the big questions,” said Mitchell. “How was your night? You seem a little bit upset, what is going on?” said Mitchell. “I realized that I started getting a lot more positive influence because they felt more inclined to speak up.”

U.S. Army Spc. Camaren Close, a motor transport operator in the same company isn’t one of Mitchell’s Soldier’s anymore, but he will always be appreciative of his former leader.

“I have had legal issues, personal issues, and work issues. By the time Sgt. Mitchell left, I had overcome almost every single one of them,” said Close. “He created a space where it felt comfortable to reach out for help and was always there to assist.”

When it comes to staying Ivy READY, Mitchell said he makes sure that his Soldiers get the help they need whether it's mentally or physically.

January 24, 2024 - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dalton Mitchell, a section leader assigned to 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, provides instructional feedback on equipment readiness to Pfc. Gage Borum, a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer with the 64th BSB, 3rd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div., at the 64th BSB Company Operations Facility, Fort Carson, Colorado. Mitchell informed Borum on details of the upcoming deployment and how to prepare for it. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Isaiah Mount.)
January 24, 2024 - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dalton Mitchell, a section leader assigned to 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, provides instructional feedback on equipment readiness to Pfc. Gage Borum, a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer with the 64th BSB, 3rd ABCT, 4th Inf. Div., at the 64th BSB Company Operations Facility, Fort Carson, Colorado. Mitchell informed Borum on details of the upcoming deployment and how to prepare for it. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Isaiah Mount.)

“If they want to go talk to a therapist, I help them with finding the right resources,” said Mitchell. “If you're not feeling good, go to sick call. Don't think less of yourself if you need help.”

Mitchell understands that the best way to evaluate the next generation of Army leaders is to give them opportunities to lead.

“Having a Soldier be able to take the lead has the most positive outcome,” said Mitchell. “I'm not going to tell you how to cut the apple, just know it has to get cut.”

Learning how to be a good leader wasn’t always the easiest. In prior units he feels some of his leaders didn’t demonstrate the values he considers important as a leader.

He said there was a time in his Army career where he reached out to a leader in his unit for help. His wife was going experiencing a suicidal ideation and he didn’t know what to do. That leader dismissed him and told him to “never bring it up again.” It was this and other experiences with that leader that made him realize he would become the leader to his Soldiers that he needed at that time.

“I swore that day that I would never have one of my Soldiers go through that,” said Mitchell. “I aspire to be the person that anybody can come talk to for help.”

Mitchell dedicates his free time to work with his father, helping veterans and current Soldier who are going through suicidal ideations. He also plans to get his bachelor's in psychology to better help Soldiers in need.

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