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Veteran's Day 2012

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"Kimberly Mitchell was just 10 months old when her life was transformed by a U.S. airman serving Vietnam.

Overwhelmed by the hardship and destruction he witnessed in the southeast Asian nation, James L. Mitchell decided to visit the Sacred Heart Orphanage in the coastal city of DaNang.

The moment baby No. 899 was placed in his arms, the Kentucky native was in love.

“There were hundreds and hundreds of orphans, from babies to young children,” Mitchell said. “I was the lucky one that day.”

Mitchell, 40, was sent to the U.S. in 1972 and grew up in a loving home with the Air Force technical sergeant and his wife, Lucy, a grade-school teacher.

Her adoptive father’s military career took the family from Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, where the couple adopted a baby boy, to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas before James Mitchell retired after 23 years of active duty and settled in northern Wisconsin.

It was there that Mitchell started to realize that she was different from other kids in her class because of her Asian heritage and her story. She also began giving serious thought to her father’s aspiration for her — that she would join the armed forces herself one day.

“My father encouraged me,” Mitchell said. “He felt that the military provides structure, education, a support network and opportunities that I wouldn’t have in Wisconsin.”

Mitchell attended the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I., before being accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

She was 19, excited about the world opening up to her, when tragedy struck.

A week before Mitchell was due to report to the academy, her beloved father was hit by a bolt of lightning on the family farm and killed.

She deferred her place at Annapolis for a year to look after her mother and younger brother.

While grappling with her loss, she became even more determined to honor her father’s memory by following in his footsteps.

“That was his dream, to have me, his daughter, be in the Air Force or the Navy. He wanted me to serve my country in uniform,” she said.

“I wouldn’t be in the U.S. if it weren’t for him. He and my family enabled me to live a life that I would not have had...I had to find a way to give something back to his country.”

Mitchell graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in ocean engineering, and became a surface warfare officer, serving aboard naval ships off Norfolk, Va., Washington, Hawaii and Bahrain.

Like father, like daughter; Mitchell thrived in the military and made it her career."



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/vietnamese-orphan-adopted-u-s-airman-career-navy-article-1.1197623#ixzz2BduNmruY

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As I recall, BStyles was gone a while from the forums for serving our country. So, BStyles, thank you, and all the other veterans.

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