Andrew Darrell Mitchell, age 87, passed at his home during the night, September 20, 2012.
Service will be at the Eagle Point National Cemetery, Eagle Point, Ore., at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 25, 2012.
Darrell was born July 20, 1925, in Florence, Colo. to Flora May Stella Gray Mitchell and Andrew Dow Mitchell. He moved to Medford in his youth and lived here most of his life except for about 40 years in Portland, then moved back to Medford in 2004.
When WWII heated up, Darrell was still in high school but left school prior to graduation to join the Navy. He was a communications specialist stationed mostly in the Philippines. He was hand-picked by General McArthur's staff to be on his Special Forces fleet of 178 men to be the first fleet into Japan for the signing of the peace treaty. They lost one man there. He was in mobile communications unit 470 MCU. The mission of the unit was to provide naval communications for Army General Headquarters, Supreme Commander Allied Powers (SCAP), and other Army and Navy activities in the Tokyo area. They were the first Americans to set foot on Japanese soil in 1945, and directed traffic for the "First Infantry" as they came ashore.
He witnessed the signing of the treaty from the ship USS Sirona (AK 43) docked next to the Missouri close enough to see the events clearly.
He was honored to be asked to return to Hawaii for a special remembrance in 1998 on board the USS Missouri (BB 63) in Pearl Harbor to dedicate the Missouri as a war memorial.
In recent years he was included in a group of veterans that were given honorary diplomas in a special graduation ceremony in Portland.
In 1946, Darrell married Bonnie Parsons and has four surviving children; Dary French, Dale Mitchell, Dean Mitchell, and Debi Hager. On November 1, 1975, he married Wini Harrington, who survives; also, daughter, Carolyn Berg. He is survived by six grandchildren; many great-grandchildren; and great-great-grandchildren.
Darrell worked for Groceteria grocery store in Medford for many years, then for Cory Coffee Company and J. Thayer Company in Portland.
His highlight of each year was the family campout held annually since 1968; he missed only two due to illness.
His hobbies included many crafts but his most enjoyed items crafted from walnut shells, which included ships, houses, animals, flowers, carriages, and three crosses on a hill.
He was an elder in his Portland church and found delight in the Lord. He looked forward to passing with great anticipation. All is well with his soul.